Easter 2022 Today is a Day of Victory
Alleluia! Christ Is Risen! Christ Is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!
A blessed and joyous Easter Sunday to you, as we celebrate and remember and rejoice in the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Yes. Today is the high holy day of the Christian Church.
Today is a Day of Victory. Today is the day when alleluias return to our liturgy. Today is the day when we celebrate, for Christ has crushed the head of the serpent and danced on the grave of death. Christ is alive, and never again will death have dominion over Him.
I remember Easter as a child. My mother would have my sisters and I get all dressed up and we would go to church. And then, when we returned home, a sliced ham with potatoes and vegetables was set before us. And if that was not enough to eat, the rest of the day we could munch on candy, chocolate Easter eggs, and of course that hollow Easter Bunny that was an Easter staple for many years.
And so, whatever your Easter tradition was/is, may you be blessed this Easter Season as you enjoy the memories of Easter past and create new memories Easter today that will last a lifetime.
Yes. It is good to be here. It is good to be in God’s house to observe and recall what Easter is truly about. For just as Christmas has a “reason for the season” and that reason is the Christ Child… so also Easter is about the Christ child, who was crucified, buried, and then rose from the dead.
Today we gather to recall the events that occurred on that glorious Easter morning. You know the story. Luke’s Gospel informs us that early in the morning, the women went to the tomb to complete the burial process that they had begun on Friday.
The burial preparation had been interrupted because the crucifixion occurred late in the day and so the burial process could not be completed before sundown. And since Saturday was the Sabbath Day, a day in which no work was to be done, the women had to wait until Sunday to resume the burial anointment.
Not wanting to delay the final anointment any longer, the women went to the tomb at early dawn on Sunday morning, taking the spices that they had prepared for the anointment. And to their surprise, when they arrived at the tomb, they found that the stone had already been rolled away from the tomb. And then, when they entered the tomb, they could not find the body.
Our text states “While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them.” Terrified, the women bowed their faces to the ground in surprise and respect for the unexpected men in their midst.
And before the women could comprehend what was happening, the men said to the women, “Why look for the living among the dead? He is not here but has risen. Remember how He told you, while He was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.”
And the text then tells us “They remembered His Words.” And suddenly it all came back to them. Everything that Jesus had told them about this day came flooding back into their minds with new understanding.
Promises that once seemed obscure now made sense. Prophetic Words that seemed beyond their understanding now became crystal clear. And their grief was transformed into joy.
So, what happened next? The women go to tell the other disciples about the empty tomb and that Christ had Risen.
And how do they respond? They do not believe them. To them the news the women tell them sounds like an idle tale. The disciples do not remember the Words that Jesus had spoken to them when He said: “that the Son of man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.”
Instead, all they could remember was Christ had died and was buried. And death meant the end. It was all over because nobody defeats the enemy that we call death.
But Peter was not so sure. He at least wanted to go and see for himself. So, he got up and ran to the tomb; and when he looked inside the tomb, he saw the linen clothes laying on the floor all by themselves.
We are told that he was amazed at what he saw, and then he went home not knowing what to make of what he had just seen. Confused and shaken from all that Peter had heard and seen, Peter was not ready yet to believe in the Risen Lord.
But that is not the end of the story because Peter and all the disciples would soon meet the Risen Lord Himself. And after several resurrection appearances, the disciples too would remember the Words that Jesus had spoken to them about His betrayal, death, and resurrection and know and believe that Christ Is Indeed Alive.
We too have heard Christ instruct us that the Son of man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again. And we have been further instructed that in Baptism our gracious Heavenly Father frees us from sin and death by joining us to the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Romans 10:17 instructs us that “Faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ.” The ear receives the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and through the power of the Holy Spirit, faith begins in the hearer.
This morning as we hear the Good News “He is Risen!” may the Holy Spirit create faith in us to go and shout out for all to hear: “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here but has Risen”.
And may we joyfully ask others to join us as we celebrate today because the stone has been rolled away. And Jesus is no longer in the tomb. Alleluia! Christ Is Risen! Christ Is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!
Let us pray: Almighty God, you give us the joy of celebrating our Lord’s resurrection. Give us also the joy of life in your service; and bring us at last to the full joy of life eternal; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.