The Good News of Jesus Christ
Have you heard the news? Jesus has risen from the dead. Mary Magdalene and another Mary went to the tomb. At the tomb, they found the stone that sealed the mouth of the tomb had been rolled away, and an angel was sitting on top of it. The angel told Mary and Mary Jesus had risen from the dead, just as Jesus said he would. The angel invited them to look at the empty tomb, then told them to go and tell the other disciples to go and meet him in Galilee, up north, back where Jesus' ministry and their discipleship began.
Jesus is risen from the dead. Jesus is alive. This is the news, the good news. All the events of the past few days: the last supper when Jesus gave his body and blood under bread and wine for us; the crucifixion when Jesus was executed, sacrificing his body and blood to take away the sin of the world; the death and burial when Jesus commended his life breath back to his Heavenly Father and died and his body was removed from the cross and buried in a new tomb, a stone rolled in front to seal it. Now the sealed tomb is open, and Jesus, the crucified one, lives and breathes again.
That is the news, the good news, of Easter.
Yet, this morning the news we saw, heard or read reminded us of the power of death. News of wars, tragic accidents, avalanches and mudslides, earthquakes, gun violence, unemployment, hunger, poverty, desperation and hopelessness of all kinds. Then there's the news that spreads through your families and friends. News of who's sick, who's missing this year, who's going through a tough time. We live in a world filled with pain and suffering; violence and injustice, and we know that news because we experience it at every turn.
So, what does this good news that Jesus is risen from the dead mean for us. How is Jesus resurrection a victory over sin and death for us and this whole world?
First, Jesus' resurrection is the sign that God is keeping God's promise that the last word will be spoken by God, and it will be a life-giving, life-sustaining word of love. God is not leaving us or forsaking us. God is not silent, absent or dead. God is not anger and wrath and punishment, but goodness and beauty, life and love, merciful, giving and gracious.
Next, Jesus' resurrection means God is creating a new creation. All that seems so important, power, riches, everything that we use wrongly against each other, God is renewing and returning to us, as gift.
Finally, it means that the way of Jesus -- the way of love, forgiveness, service, humility, peace, gentleness; the way of faith and trust in God alone; the way of hope in God's goodness and graciousness; the way of love for God and love for neighbor -- the way of Jesus is God's way of living and relating in this world and the next.
These benefits of Christ's resurrection come to us through baptism; through fellowship of Christ's body and blood in the supper; through the good news of God's word itself, when the Holy Spirit creates faith and trust in us. Through faith, we see this world differently, we see Christ living and at work everywhere around us. Through faith, we see Christ crucified and living so that we can introduce him to our friends and family, to those in power and those who live in oppression, to those with much and those with nothing, so that they too might come to trust God with their lives, as we do.
That is why this community exists, it's our purpose, to know the power of Jesus' resurrection and to share this good news in all we say and do. But it starts for us in baptism and in the meal. Here we die with Christ and rise with Christ; here we eat and drink Jesus and in eating and drinking receive his gifts in fellowship with God and our neighbors.
Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again. It is the mystery of our faith, God's grace and the faith to receive it. Through this living faith, everything changes. You are loved. You are forgiven. You are new in Jesus Christ. Amen.
The latest news, sermons and commentary on our life in mission together.