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TriptychEaster Sunday 2016 – Early Service
Luke 24:1-12

He is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! Grace and peace to you from Him who is, who was, and who is to come, our risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! In the name of Jesus, dear friends in Christ,

Have you ever had difficulty finding someone’s house? You keep looking at the directions, keep looking at your GPS, you begin to get a little frustrated with whoever gave you directions, these are the worst directions in the world, you’re thinking to yourself, and then you spot someone walking along the road so you roll your window down and ask them, “Can you tell me where so and so lives? Their house is supposed to be around here somewhere!” And the guy just looks at you and shakes his head because all he can see is acres and acres in each direction of tombstones. You’re looking for the living among the dead! You’ve probably never been that lost before, but maybe so.

Early Easter Sunday morning the women headed out to the tomb to finish burying Jesus’ body. They thought they knew where they were going, but they were really lost. They were carrying spices and probably linen cloths. They’re sad, their Savior is dead. All they can focus on is the practical need of finishing Jesus’ burial. But when they get there the stone is rolled away, the tomb is empty, and two men gleaming in white appear with them! They’re frightened and fall to the ground. And the angels ask them this question, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; He has risen! Remember how he told you…?” Remember how he told you.

Why were the women there? They were there to bury a dead Jesus. But what had Jesus told them? He told them He was going to be delivered into the hands of sinners, crucified, and raised on the third day. But they hadn’t believed Him. They hadn’t taken to heart what He told them. The lost sight of Jesus’ promises. They were lost.

Does that happen to us? Are we ever so lost that we’re looking for the living among the dead? You see, when life is difficult, when problems knock us down, when we hurt, when we’re confused, we can so easily leave Jesus’ words and promises in the dust. Instead of focusing on Jesus’ promises we focus on practical needs or what we’re going to do to solve this difficulty or that problem. Like the women, we’re lost! We’ve lost sight of Jesus’ promises!

Why were the women lost? Why were they sad? Because they hadn’t believed Jesus’ words and promises! So what does the angel remind them? He is risen- remember what He told you? He reminds them of what Jesus said, of Jesus’ promises. Jesus’ resurrection is proof positive that Jesus’ words are true and trustworthy.

For example, say that I were to tell you that this coming Friday the Bemidji police are going to arrest me, beat me up, nail me to a cross to crucify me and on Sunday I’m going to rise from the dead. You’d probably think that I was a little crazy. But imagine if it happened exactly like I told you! Then what would you think? Do you think you’d pay a little more attention to everything I told you?

That’s what Jesus did! Jesus died and rose, just like He promised. Jesus’ resurrection guarantees that all His promises are true!

And that’s huge for us!  For example, Jesus has promised to be with us always.  Can you count on that?  Absolutely!  Why?  Because Jesus rose from the dead!  Again, the Bible has promised that, because Jesus died and rose, that our sins are forgiven in full, completely.  Can you and I count on that?  Absolutely.  Why?  Because Jesus rose from the dead!  God has promised that He will make all things work together for our good.  God has promised that He will rule all things for the good of His Church. Can we count on that?  Absolutely!  Why?  Because Jesus has risen from the dead!

Jesus has promised that when we are baptized, that our sins are washed away, that we’re clothed with His own righteousness, that we’re made heirs of eternal life, that faith is worked in our heart.  Can we count on those promises?  Absolutely!  Jesus has promised that when we come to the Lord’s Supper, that we really receive His true body and His true blood.  Jesus has promised that as we receive His true body and blood, that our sins are forgiven, that we’re given a taste of our future glory in heaven.  Can we count on that promise?  Absolutely!

Jesus has promised that in His Father’s house are many rooms.  Jesus has promised that He’s going there to prepare a place for us.  Can we count on that promise?  Absolutely!  God has promised that as soon as we believers die, that we’ll be with our Savior in glory in heaven.  God has promised that as we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, that He will be with us.  God has promised that we will be raised from the dead someday, and will be given an amazing, glorious, glorified body.  Can you and I count on those promises?  Absolutely!  100%!  Completely!  Totally!  And why?  Because Jesus physically, bodily, really, historically and, as promised, rose from the dead.

Are you lost? Lost in a confusing, complicated, crushing world? Are you lost not know where you’re going? Where you’re going to be when you die? Here are three questions to ask yourself: Are you a human being? Did Jesus die? Did Jesus rise from the dead? If you answered “Yes” you know you’re going to heaven. Why so? Because this is what God says, “Jesus really did die for your sins, Jesus really did rise from the dead, and I, God, say that because of that you’re going to heaven.” Jesus’ resurrection seals it.

Or are you lost in the midst of troubles, heartaches, difficulties, problems of your life? Don’t lost sight of Jesus and His promises! Look at the resurrection of Jesus: Jesus died. Now he has risen and will never die again! That means, you are redeemed! You are reconciled! Your sin is gone! Hell is conquered! Your grave destroyed! Heaven is your home! And you know that’s true because Jesus is risen, He is risen indeed, alleluia! Amen.