One Friday, an innocent man, a Holy man, deserted by even his closet followers, nailed to a cross like a criminal, alone and on a lonely hill died that others may have life, and the earth shook.
Three days later, the earth shook again when this man was raised from the dead and brought life to the world, and the aftershocks of this good news has been felt ever since.
He is risen.
He is risen indeed.
Yes, and in our risen Lord we rejoice, for Christ’s victory over death, is our victory over death. On his way to the cross, Jesus brought earthly and eternal sight to a blind man.Raised Lazarus from the dead and gave him life and the promise of eternal life.
Now, we receive our Risen Lord, and receive life- today and eternally, AND REJOICE, and never again need to be afraid.
Today, storm clouds don’t threaten, they bring soothing shade.
Today, there are no tears of sadness, only of joy.
Today we don’t see the sun setting on our lives, but the rays of sunshine in the beautiful break of day, WE REJOICE that in our resurrected Lord, we live in the sure promise that will be fulfilled on our last day. That we too will be raised up, to meet our Lord and be welcomed home.
And meet those that have gone before us, and see their smiling face’s again.
We rejoice in the truth, that the Words of our Lord have been fulfilled, that in his death, we died to sin, and in his resurrection, so to will we be raised up.
Just as Jesus told his disciples the truth, that he would die and be raised again in three days, Jesus has told us the truth “believe in me and receive eternal life”. Yet there are those who conspire against this truth.
The genious of Bill Gates was to take a highly intellual process and make it simple and easy to understand and available to all. Yet, his vision of making computer technology accessable to the masses and not just the select few, caused many to conspire against him.
Jesus on a cross died for sinners, not for a chosen few, but for thieves, prostitutes, the poor and the rich, the lowly and the highly, and made forgiveness assessable too all. Was raised to life-and says here take it, says to us there’s no catches, believe in me-repent and follow me and receive forgiveness and life.
Forgiveness in Christ alone-it is that simple, and it is assessable to all.
Through no efforts of our own, Christ has won our battle over darkness and death- that is the Gospel.
The battle has been won and the biggest conspirator of all, the devil knows it-that he was defeated on the cross yet though he knows his days are numbered, he still works against the truth.
Beaten by Jesus on the cross, he now attacks the Word of God.
Sometimes blatantly, and sometimes to sutially attacks the Church and its people-to make them doubt the truth, to hide the truth behind lies.
Jesus, the truth is the centre of our lives, the truth that others conspire against.
Like Judas was bought off to hand over Jesus to those who wanted to kill of the truth, after the resurrection, the same people bought off the guards in order to hide the truth.
A blatant attempt to hide the truth-that we see clearly as a lie.
For we know: He has risen-he has risen indeed.
But the most deceitful lies are those that are partly based on truth.
We are constantly reminded that we are sinners, and we cannot argue that-because even the Word of God confirms that.
But the lie comes after. That in our sin, in our walking away from Jesus, in our weaknesses, and in constantly failing to live as we would wish, that we should doubt our forgiveness-that’s the lie.
Or, yes, Christ did die and was raised for sinners-but not sinners like you. You’re too far gone, beyond help or at the very least-you better get your act together and become that perfect person you have to be.
That’s the lie and the deception.
A deception that in the Gospel today we can clearly see for what it is an out and out lie.
A lie that if we only saw an empty tomb would leave us guessing, but in faith don’t see just an empty tomb but the living presence of Jesus.
The legendry American Gridiron coach Vince Lombardi once said that a players greatest moment, is not winning or losing, but when you are broken and busted and have nothing left to give, and you look across and you see your team mates-and they are the same.
In our lives, we still take the bumps and the bruises, and we take them with our families, friends and loved ones. But sometimes, we look across and they are no longer there, just emptiness, except for Jesus, and
as he lifts us up, we see he wears our bruises, and says I am with you, I have always been with you and will be to the end.
Fear not, my victory is yours.
In Jesus selfless act on the cross, and in his desire that we accept in him our victory over death, accept in him undeserved forgiveness-the lie is dispelled and we see the truth. We see the love of God, shown to us through His Son Jesus, given to us-to save us.
Jesus backs up his Words with actions.
Just as he said he would be raised, he was.
Just as he said he brings forgiveness, he has.
The words of the angel in today’s Gospel that were said then towards the disciples, are also said to us.
The angel in declaring to the Mary’s “He has risen just as he said. Go quickly and tell his disciples, that he has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you to Galilee” shows what’s to come.
The women are to give this wonderful message to the fallible disciples who had fallen away. It’s not “tell them Jesus told you so, or boy are you going to get it”, but a message that says “you are still in his plans, he has not forgotten you -you still matter to him”.
In Matthew 28:9-10, the corresponding text to today’s Gospel we hear that on their way to Galilee, Jesus meets the women and greets them.
And what does he say? When we consider the Greek text, the closet common day word is Hi. Which in Australian speak would be G’Day.
Jesus has been raised from the dead, and in his first recorded conversation, there is no choir of angels, no sound of trumpets or visions of glory. No words of ridicule towards those that gave away to their fears while he suffered, but an earthly and friendly – G’Day.
That is brilliant. What a wonderful picture that gives us. Jesus reaching out his hands to us and warmly says Hi, G’day-great to see you.
In the garden, Jesus needed the disciples most, they slept. When Jesus was on trial, Peter denied him, and when he had risen as he said he would, they are no where to be seen.
Yet when Jesus meets the women on their way to the disciples, he confirms the angel’s message; except for one thing.
Jesus does not call them his disciples-he calls them his brothers.
In that one change, that one Word is crammed the whole New Testament Gospel of forgiveness. Jesus could have said many negative things of his disciples-and all would have been true.
But what IS Jesus response: he calls them his brothers:
welcomes them into his family.
Jesus says what he means and means what he says.
Jesus said he will be raised, and he was.
Jesus said he brings forgiveness, and he has.
Jesus says that in him, we are given eternally life-and we have been and we rejoice.