“Terrified and Excited”: a description of Easter people. Yes, even Easter people – terrified at times of ourselves, of our future, of the world’s future, of evil, of the enemies of the gospel, of uncertainty – terrified at times, for sure.
And yet, excited with hope, with belief in a new day, a new dawn, a new time, a new start a new way. Hope of the very best life, the very good things of God, the gracious gifts of power and love of God…. excited.
Those close to the Nazarene teacher who witnessed with their own eyes and ears his truthful, wise words and his actions of astonishing love and power must have asked that question we all ask from time-to-time. “Were we wrong about him?”
Was he lying or deceiving or just a mad-man we got sucked in by? Was it all a dreadful hoax. Was he a trouble maker and a man responsible for leading people away from Israel’s God after all. That is what the heavies had always said…
When did you last ask that question? In your suffering, in your loss, in your thoughtful moments, in your listening to other thoughtful voices casting doubt around the realty and the intent of the God of creation, when the church was not all it was cracked up to be, when they let you down, when it got the better of you, when you watched them suffer…
They watched him suffer and they had to have asked that question deep in their very souls, “Were we wrong about him?”
Uncertainty about him and his victory over all of this made them hide in fear. Uncertainty about his victory over all we face makes us hide in fear.
Their life which had foundation and faith and future shape quickly washed out to be a long road of uncertain doubt with nothing to navigate by.
Our life without faith in this man of sorrow and God of love can become some long road of uncertain doubt with nothing to navigate by.
If we were wrong about him then all of sudden life seem very long and very hopeless and aimless.
Oh but Sunday! Our head racing faster than our feet today!
“A sealed tombstone moved”. My tombstone moved out of the way. My sin and its payment of death before God is no longer in the way of his acceptance and love for me and my life in him beyond the tomb.
“Soldiers’ weapons silenced”. Guns wont’ do it. Power won’t do it. Wealth won’t do it. Land won’t do it. Possessions won’t do it. Only he has done it – he’s given me life to the full in the life and death and life of the Son of God sent not to condemn me but save me from all of these idols to which I so willingly sacrifice my heart.
“Angels announcing good things” They were there at the beginning, singing the good song into our hearts when the man was born. They are here now singing the same song with a twist – It is finished! It’s Sunday! Life is yours together. Go tell my brothers. Meet with him together where you live and find hope and soul and joy in that together forever. “Grave clothes now unnecessary with a secret to tell”. Yes. There they are. Silent evidence of the end of death for human beings and all created things. No grave clothes needed. They are now unneeded. Grace clothes placed on us in baptism instead. His robes of righteousness dipped in his sacrificed blood making us alive, accepted, forgiven and victorious… These are the clothes we now have and need. The Risen Nazarite, Son of God has them in abundance for all who call on him in repentance and faith.
“The secret’s out”, Salome said. The secret’s out, I say. The secret’s out, as a local church here, we say.
In this one empty tomb is a thousand promises of forgiveness and life in God the Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer of all life on planet earth and beyond. It is a cosmic tomb with cosmic repercussions of gospel that shake my very heart.
Friends, do you see what this means?
When we are terrified of just about everything, whether we show it or just hide it inside, Jesus exceeds all your human expectations.
When we want some powerful person to fix things, Jesus exceeds all our expectations of rule, power, influence, future hope and life now.
When we want some consumer good or some good fortune to make the farm go OK or a relationship with that person to make life better, Jesus exceeds all our expectations of rule, power, influence, future hope and life now.
When we think we need a bit of something to get by or to triumph over some situation we get Jesus, the cosmic, once and for all, death killer and life giver.
He is the Saviour of the world that no world can contain.
What will you do with this morning, friend?
Reject him because it is just too good or big to be true?
Laugh it off as mere child’s play – some old story from an old church lost in time not worth seriously considering?
Ignore it all together and just keep driving on into the night with your own headlights burning hoping you don’t get lost or come to grief?
Hope BIG. Not in yourself or anything or person but in HIM the only truly human God who is the mystery of life and the average man who knows suffering all at the same time.
Whatever has been taken from you is restored by him and in him.
If there is a way to truly live a good life for others it is in this good man of God’s life given here now.
If there is hope for anything good, anything encouraging, anything healthy, anything whle, anything loving, anything compassionate, anything hope-filled it is this dead man walking – this dead and risen God who loves the world, loves people, loves you.
The secret’s out.
You bear it.
We live it together.
Glory be to the Crucified King. He is Risen. Amen