Alleuia, Christ is risen! He is risen indeed, alleluia!
We are so used to grand celebrations of this resurrection. Grand music, not just from our fantastic organist but usually many other musicians to trumpet this glorious day. After the sunrise celebration and the feast of the Lamb we are accustomed to the Easter breakfast. Churches usually gathering together in their greatest amount of any day of the year, for it is the culminating day of our life and history.
As the world lay still on the first day of the week after Jesus’ death, many were quarantined (okay, maybe more like hiding in fear as the disciples were), many in fear of not knowing what was next, how would they proceed after the death of Jesus.
And that first Easter day was quite subdued. First the two women were told the greatest news in the history of the world. As they went to the tomb the angel let them know, Jesus is not here, He is risen, just as He said. There wasn’t a grand gathering of all the faithful. No, the faithful were scattered just like today. They were unsure. As the disciples heard from the women the news they ran to see for themselves.
You see, the devil had done his worst. That slithery snake took the biggest bite he could muster up in nailing Jesus to the cross. The old evil foe thought he had won. Little did he know Jesus would proclaim victory over him and death itself.
That slithery prince of this world still is nipping at the heals of the world. He has been salivating as he leads people to fear a virus; Satan has been rubbing his hands together as people fear economic collapse; the old evil foe has been rejoicing as he gives people opportunity to be away from churches and the hearing of God’s Word; and the father of lies has been pleased to have people love and trust their own feelings and thoughts as he spins conflicting reports and attacks so that chaos ensues and leads anywhere other than Jesus who has conquered sin, death, and the devil himself.
Yet, what great victory our Lord brings forth through the devil’s worst attempts. This is nothing new.
As Satan took Job’s family, his money, his land, his animals, as Job’s friends abandoned him, as his own wife encouraged him to give up, Job makes this great word of confession and proclaims the resurrection. For I know my Redeemer lives and at last He will stand upon the earth. And even more than that, I will see Him myself with my own eyes!
What sweet joy this sentence gives, I know that my Redeemer lives.
Satan has continued and tried his best to silence and kill the Word of God. There have been those even with the church who would be used to silence the preaching of the Gospel, focusing on money, making the Gospel a consumer product to change and pander to the whims of people’s thoughts and desires of what they want. Satan would try to take churches away, tell his lie that religion is merely a private matter, he may even be tempting you now to think that you do not necessarily need to gather with the saints and receive His gifts.
The wily serpent will not give up. But neither does Your Lord.
In the midst of separation, the Gospel has been proclaimed on national news encouraging faith in Christ to be held on to, in the midst of isolation the love of Christ has brought people together to care for their neighbors in new and yet simple ways, in the midst of empty churches the Gospel has been broadcast more than ever taking up bandwidth to come into your lives.
For every bite the serpent Satan takes at the heals of Christ, his head just gets crushed. Death is defeated. Jesus is risen. Your sins forgiven. You have no fear of death, you do not worry about worldly matters as most essential, for you have been buried with Christ in baptism and if you are buried with Him, you are also raised with Him in glorious resurrection.
As we go about our days, we may be scattered, we may have fears and doubts. But take heart, Jesus has overcome the world, He is risen just as He said, and in Him you have life and salvation.
When that slithery serpent comes to you and leads you into temptation, laugh in His face and proclaim this good news, you are baptized into Christ and Jesus has defeated Him. When you succomb to temptation and fail, and Satan, the accuser, points at your sins and says see, you failed, you lose, point to the cross of Jesus and say, see, in Christ I win, I am forgiven. When that father of lies would lead you think you are alone in these days, rejoice that you are gathered with angels, archangels, and the whole company of heaven as you receive the Lamb’s high feast, that you are never alone here at the altar of Christ, even if you come during these days in groups of 10 or less.
For nothing that this world brings, nothing that the devil would attack us with, will separate us from the love of Christ. While the world has paused and sat in stillness and isolation, Jesus marches on into your hearts and lives to give you forgiveness of all your sins, to give you peace that surpasses understanding, to bring you life in the midst of death. What a great and glorious day this is, even in our present situation. Rejoice, sing, and feast. For death is defeated and in Christ you live in the new creation with Him forever.
Alleuia, Christ is risen! He is risen indeed, alleluia! Amen.