In the most Holy Name of Jesus. AMEN.
“IT IS FINISHED,” came the cry from the cross.
For thousands of years, Adam’s disobedience had brought savage destruction upon the earth. In rebellion and fear of God’s claim over him, Adam hid after eating the fruit. But having listened to the words of the serpent spoken through the lips of His wife, Adam had placed Himself and all of creation under the thick shadow of the evil one’s corruption – a shadow that hovered like a thick dark cloud over all creation from that time until now.
God continuously worked to create and preserve a foothold in this realm. He gave Adam and Eve the promise of redemption. That promise was passed down from generation to generation. He preserved the failing spark of faith as He saved Noah and his family when the earth was cleansed of the infection of sin by the waters of the flood.
But the contagion resides in the heart of man, not in the environment. And the prince of the power of the air would not allow faith and trust in God and His promises to flourish. At every opportunity, the lord of darkness incites mankind to forsake the promised of salvation and instead cling to the dark haze of self-directed misery and suffering until faith was nearly lost again.
When darkness again threatened to destroy all knowledge of Him, God ignited the light of faith and hope in His promised salvation in Abraham – raising him up to believe and trust in His promises and fanning faith into a flame that burned so brightly that Abraham would believe that God would even raise His son Isaac from the dead if he were to be offered as a sacrifice.
Through Isaac’s Son, Jacob, God raised up an entire nation and then rescued them from the clutches of stone-hearted Pharaoh. He brought them into the land He promised on oath to Abraham, and warned them of the contagion of sin that resided in their heart. He told them that it would never be by their own strength that they could continue to be His people, but that they must rely only on Him.
Yet, in spite of the warnings and the many promises of grace and blessing, they again rebelled. Nearly the whole nation defected and returned to live under the tyranny of evil – seeking help and rescue from every false God but refusing to hear and receive rescue from their Creator who had raised them up as His special possession.
As He had warned them would happen when they disobeyed, God drove them from the land. Seeking to lead them to call out to Him for help and rescue.
After He resettled them in the land, they would always be under the thumb of another nation – they would always need to look for deliverance and trust in Him who promised it.
Years passed. The desire for deliverance grew. And behold, that Word that was with God in the beginning, the Word that was God was sent forth into the world again, this time becoming flesh and dwelling among us.
In Him was life, and in a world of darkness and corruption and death, that life was the light of men.
Knowing full well that the dark delusion of error and sin would keep them from recognizing Him, He came into His own. Born of a virgin, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law.
Through words and works He bore witness to the fact that He was the light, come into the world, to rescue with world from the darkness of sin and death. But the darkness of man’s heart cannot be destroyed by merely shining the light of knowledge and truth upon it. Though the darkness scatters it still exists in dark crevasses and the deep the recesses of the human heart.
That is why, though the light and glory of God in Christ shone upon them, the Pharisees and Chief Priests still sought to put Jesus to death. Their darkened hearts sought to snuff out the light. By sinful hands, He was raised high above the earth, shining the light of His love and grace upon all the nations of the earth.
And there, upon the cross, suffering in His own human flesh the wrath of God over the sins of mankind, the creator of the universe finished the hard work of redeeming us from sin and error.
And thus the heavens and the earth which He created and fell into the corruption of sin were redeemed. The work of rescue from the curse of mankind’s disobedience and rebellion had been accomplished.
Then, He dimmed the light of His glory. He gave up His Spirit and died. He was taken down from the cross, and laid into the tomb.
And, having finished the work that He had done, He rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done.
And when the Sabbath was past, [to women came] and very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. And entering, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe . . . and he said to them, “Do not be alarmed, You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified, He is risen; he is not here. See the place where they lay him.”
And that angel sent them forth with the Word of hope and promise that doesn’t merely shine the light of truth onto the sinful heart – but gives them a word that is to be planted deep within the heart to forth with a brightness from within. The GOOD NEWS that HE is Risen.
And just as the truth of the resurrection burst forth from the tomb that first Easter, Christ our Lord calls all to see the tomb this day and know the truth. His is a light that darkness cannot overcome. He has emerged victorious over sin – over death – over the devil. He was raised on that cross to rescue you from the darkness of sin, to give to you His Holy Spirit so true faith and trust in God would burst forth from within YOU and your own stone-cold dark tomb of a human heart would be replaced and you would know and believe in All He has done to rescue you from the darkness of sin.
The empty tomb means darkness is defeated. Death no longer has any hold. Sin is vanquished and no longer can hold you under it’s sway. Jesus resurrection means He gives life to your mortal body, calling YOU out of darkness into the light of His love and mercy so that you may live here and now as a beloved child of God, trusting in the full and visible redemption of creation when our Lord returns on the clouds in the brightness of His splendor to raise your mortal body from the tomb and bring you to life eternal. This is the expectation and trust of all who have been given hope and faith to believe in all that Jesus has accomplished for you. And the empty tomb gives no room for doubt, no room to question, no room to ponder. The empty tomb is God’s sure and certain proof of His love and His promise to you. Therefore, let us rejoice, and proclaim this truth far and wide,
Alleluia, CHRIST IS RISEN!
He is Risen Indeed, ALLELUIA.
In the Name of our Risen Lord Jesus. AMEN.