Vigil of Easter

Dear saints in the light of Christ at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

On the very first Friday — the sixth day of creation — God completed His work of creation. It was finished. “God saw everything He had made and indeed it was very good” (Genesis 1:31).

And man turned away, falling into Satan’s temptation and disobeying God’s command. How then does God respond?

He promises redemption. Mankind continued in it’s wicked ways and how then does God respond? He provides an ark and saves Noah and his family, delivering them from the death of the flood.

As the Israelite nation was being delivered from the Egyptians, they grumbled and complained. How does God respond? He delivers them through the waters of Red Sea, on dry ground! They rebel against God’s commandments and His ways, and how does God respond? He gives an enduring Word to Moses, He remains faithful to the people and promises to continue being their Lord and provides them a land of milk and honey.

And you and I continue to against God’s commands. Satan continues to tempt and attack the world. Adam and Eve hid in the garden, the Israelite nation was on the banks of the Red Sea, they wondered the wilderness, and now, Satan pushes us and traps us where he thinks he wants us, with nowhere to go. How does God respond? He gives His Son.

As God called His creation on the sixth day, so also, on the sixth day — a Friday — God looks at the sacrifice on the cross, and it was very good. Why? Because all of God’s just demands for a perfect sacrifice are met in Jesus. Jesus, a lamb without blemish or defect, was the sufficient sacrifice.

He who created and sustained the world, He who redeemed and gave Israel a great promised land, He who saved the people of Ninevah through the preached Word and turned them into a people of repentance and faith, is indeed generous, gracious, and merciful. For our sin deserves death. He has spared us from death and taken it upon Himself. From the greatest and the least, the rich and the poor, the founding members and the new; et all rejoice and receive Christ’s gifts in His death and resurrection. His wonderful mercy and grace beyond all telling.

Life is yours, for you have been baptized into His death. But Christ is does not remain in death, for Christ is risen! (He is risen indeed, Alleluia!)

He’s made it through. He has triumphed gloriously! His “it is finished” from the cross holds up against death and the grave. Nothing can hold the crucified Jesus down. The grave has lost its grip.

The seal of the grave is broken and the morning of the new creation breaks forth out of night. Creation is remade. Darkness is dispelled. Slaves are redeemed. Wickedness takes to flight. Mankind is saved from the fires of hell. Sin is washed away. Innocence is restored. For man is reconciled to God in Christ. And you, baptized saints in Christ Jesus have been buried with Him and also promised the resurrection.

So do not weep for your transgressions: forgiveness has dawned from the tomb. Do not fear death: the death of the Savior has set you free. He has defeated death. It is no more. It is destroyed. He has captured Hell. He has abolished its cruel justice and mocked every one of its claims. He drained the Cup of Wrath. And death could not contain Him. Death is dead. Jesus lives. And you have been baptized in Him!

“Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I will open your graves and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will bring you into the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people.” (Ezekiel 37:12-13)

“Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel!
Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem!
The Lord has taken away the judgments against you” (Zephaniah 3:14)

The table is set. There is nothing more to do, nothing more to add. He has welcomed you not just as His guest, but as His precious, beloved Bride in whom He is well-pleased. Let none go forth hungry for righteousness. The risen Christ is here for you in His body and His blood. “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness.” (Zephaniah 3) Here is God’s response to you. “Take eat, take drink.” Here your sins are forgiven and you have life and salvation.

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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1 Response to Vigil of Easter

  1. Amen. Yes it was very good.

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