Let the words my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable to you O Lord, our strength and our redeemer. Amen
We have been traveling, you and I; for six weeks from Ash Wednesday to this day. Since last Sunday, we have traveled with Jesus from his triumphal victory into Jerusalem, people waving palm branches, singing “Hosannah in the highest heaven! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David!” David?
After that Sunday, we traveled with Jesus to the temple where he overturned tables on Monday, then on Tuesday and Wednesday, he taught, and answered all kinds of questions.
Then he celebrated the Passover meal with his disciples and gave them bread and wine at his last supper. “Take it, this is my body.” “This is my blood of the covenant which is poured out for many.” We now call “the Lord’s Supper.” And then after all this, one of the beloved Twelve turned on him and betrayed him, turning him over to the chief priests and scribes.
Then came his horrible death on Friday afternoon. We spent some time there at Golgotha this week. We always say “suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried”. We go over that without thinking to much when we say it. But we must think about his suffering (not today). After he died, he was placed in a borrowed tomb. The people attending him had not really prepared him for burial, for the Sabbath had arrived, when no work could be done.
The people of last Sunday waving those palm branches were waiting for a messiah who would give them peace in an otherwise violent land controlled by Roman soldiers. But they weren’t listening to his message. “Repent for the kingdom of God has come near!” By now they were disappointed. Their Savior was dead. They had been more concerned about his ability to heal the sick and get their bellies filled with bread and fish from the mass feedings he accomplished.
Were they in for a surprise! On this morning, on that third day of his death, when the women went to finish the job that couldn’t be finished on Friday, they went to the tomb to complete the task, and they found the tomb empty! The tomb was empty! She ran and told Simon Peter and the other disciple (John). They ran and saw—linens wrappings over here, and the cloth that been over his head rolled up and placed over there! No grave robber would have taken the time! He was not there! He was alive!
Then it was Mary Magdalene who saw his silhouette against the bright sunlight. After a few words she recognized his voice. She ran and told the disciples. Mary Magdalene—the first evangelist—“I have seen the Lord!”
The chains of death could not hold him! And just as gruesome Friday was, Sunday is all the more glorious! Jesus was even greater than what anyone could have expected. He gave his life for them and you and me on Friday as atonement for our sins. He was the sacrificial Lamb for our sins! And then, on Sunday morning he was resurrected, giving us the hope of everlasting life with Him and His Father! And it is this that we put our faith. And whosoever believes in him shall have everlasting life! It was all coming together—to fruition!
We came here this morning to celebrate. You got up and put on your finest to give thanks and praise to the one who is alive and the one who gives us life. Jesus always compared the kingdom of heaven to a banquet and this morning we celebrate with the banquet of bread and wine, of his body and blood. We gather as a community of believers socializing, although at some distance, but we share our joy—our joy to be called children of God and our joys of life with each other on this glorious day God has given us.
And so on this day, this day that we have been waiting for—this day that the Lord has made, this day when we have reached our destination, there is not much else that can be said. “I have seen the Lord!”
Christ is risen! Hallelujah! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!