Reborn This Easter Morn! 1 Corinthians 15:1-10

April 04, 2021
Rev. Nathan J. Rusert

Alleluia! The Lord Is Risen! He is Risen indeed! "1 Awake, my heart, with gladness, See what today is done; Now, after gloom and sadness, Comes forth the glorious sun. My Savior there was laid Where our bed must be made When to the realms of light Our spirit wings its flight." Sermon Text: 1 Corinthians 15:1-10. Sermon Theme: "Reborn this Easter Morn!" preached for The Resurrection of our Lord - Easter Dawn, 4-April-2021 preached at Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Tell City, Indiana by Rev. Nathan J. Rusert.

Episode Notes

Easter Dawn, The Resurrection of Our Lord                     4-April-2021
Sermon Text: 1 Corinthians 15:1-11
Sermon Theme: Reborn this Easter Morn! by Rev. Nathan J. Rusert

I.N.R.I. Alleluia! Christ is Risen! “He is Risen, Indeed! Alleluia!” Isaiah the prophet calls all nations to the victory Feast over death on the Mount of the Lord. Peter and John to verify Mary Magdalene’s report that a crime has taken place - a grave robbery. They find it as Mary said, plundered, but plundered by neat grave robbers. Grave robbers who even took the time to fold the handkerchief that had been on their Master’s head and lay it by itself. The graveclothes that had wrapped the Master’s lifeless corpse were neatly replaced and laid in order the shelf where He was put to rest. John believes. What does he believe? He tells us that they didn’t yet know the Scriptures that Jesus must rise from the dead. He believes what Mary had reported - the Lord has been taken out of the tomb and we don’t know where they hid it - His grave has been desecrated. The disciple whom Jesus loved, is heartbroken not only to see Him die upon the cross, but now to see the depths of depravity and desecration his loving Lord was subject to in His death.
        Mary weeps. Her grief of losing her Teacher is compounded by the fact that His body is gone. She will never see Him again. Her last act of love, completing the anointing of His body for burial, has been thwarted. She is so grief stricken that she cannot see or hear the comfort that God’s living holy angels in the place of death would bring to her. She cannot see Who this troublesome Gardener is who comes asking questions as she sobs.
          Perhaps you know the depth of grief Mary and John suffered that first Sunday morning after the mock trial, mob demand for death, Jesus’ suffering the horrible punishment of crucifixion, dying, and being laid in a tomb. The grief of standing at the grave of a loved one is consuming. It tears us apart even after a prolonged illness or an aging failing body tells us that death is coming to those we loved. The sudden death of those we love crushes us with grief. Jesus’ betrayal to His death took less than a day - to fast - to sudden - how could God take the One I loved away from me so suddenly - we weep.  
          Maybe you know a deeper grief, hidden mourning, one that few ever talk about - but is reflected in St. Paul calling himself an “ektroma” in Greek - nicely translated “one born out of due time” - more closely meaning a “miscarriage” medically classified as a “spontaneous abortion.” In the place where only life, hope, and joy should spring death came. The hope of new life growing your family were suddenly gone, death came, and you do not know where your baby went or why God allowed this to happen. Your child died, your hopes were dashed, your joy was turned into sorrow and grief - grief that you buried because few can understand the hurt.
      One can and does. Jesus lives! Stop hiding your grief. Stop trying to drown its pain with your chemical of choice. Be honest and listen. The Gardener - He who planted Eden’s garden for Adam with the Tree of Life in its center - draws near as we weep in the grave filled garden of this world - He calls you by name. He comes to comfort you with the assurance that death has lost its sting. It is defeated, your sin has been entirely paid for by Him alone, you are reconciled - brought back to the living God in Jesus. His God is now your God. His Father is now your loving Father - who tenderly invites you to call upon Him in all trouble.
        Rejoice! You are: “Reborn this Easter Morn!”
      What is the goal of a Christian’s life? Heaven? Jesus didn’t promise heaven to the dying repentant thief - He promised paradise - Eden restored. Jesus didn’t promise a disembodied floating around on clouds to His despairing disciples at the Last Passover - He promised to prepare a place in His Father’s House for them and to come again to bring them fully into that physical dwelling place. The apostles didn’t preach that death brought us to a glowing comforting light to float around as spirits devoid from our human bodies. Instead they taught that death was the last enemy to face. They taught the resurrection of our physical bodies. They taught that we look for creation restored - new heavens and new earth where sin, death, and Satan are no more - and we bodily dwell face to face with God in Christ’s eternal righteousness. Feasting forever with our God, our Creator, our Redeemer, our life giving Lord. We echo Jesus’ teaching through the prophets and apostles in the Creeds of the Church - All three confess and fix our eyes upon the completion of our baptism - the resurrection of our bodies and the life of the world to come.
          How can we be certain that these bodies of ours shall rise from the dust of death? (Vs.1-2) Remember who you are! Brothers and sisters born from above by God the Holy Spirit in the watery word of Christ baptizing you as a beloved child of the Heavenly Father. Paul didn’t make up a good story - He received the good news - the Gospel - by baptism - Jesus taught it to him - and sent him to preach it. By God’s grace through the power of the Holy Spirit they laid hold of the Truth. This truth must be continually heard, so God the Holy Spirit might strengthen us to stand in Easter, not in despair of death. This Good news saves - saves not because we promise to try to do better - it saves because Jesus has done all for our salvation and gifts it to us within His Church through His Word. Hold fast to His Word! His promises sealed and given to you in baptism, absolution, preaching, and His Supper. Unless you believed in vain - ears grown dull of hearing the truth and enticed instead to listen to the white devil’s spiritual lies popular with our dying world and loved by your sinful flesh.
        What is the good news? The Gospel? (vs.3-4a) It is received - not invented by us - received from God through the prophets and apostles. Received by us through the preaching office within the congregation. The cross is at the heart of the Gospel - Christ died for our sins. The crucifix with the body of Jesus nailed to it is the Gospel in 3D. An empty cross - doesn’t preach the resurrection - its just an empty cross. Christ died for our sins! Christ died for my sins! On Calvary, nearly 2000 years ago the full payment was made for me. There Jesus purchased and won me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil. He didn’t do it by plunging the world into 30 trillion dollars of debt, or with gold or silver. He gave the most precious payment of all - His own innocent flesh given into the suffering I deserved. His Holy precious blood full of the life of God poured out to wash away my sin, my death, and fill me with His righteousness and His life.
        Looking to Jesus nailed to the tree - confess Christ died for my sins. How do you know that this is true? The Scriptures - God’s Word and promise from the day of Adam’s rebellion onward - promised that instead of you the sinner dying - the innocent Lamb of God would sacrifice Himself in your place to take away the sin of the world. Look to His Word. Listen to the prophets, the sacrifices, all point towards Calvary - the cross. Isaiah is clear - we are the straying sheep, but the Lord has laid on our Good Shepherd the iniquity of us all. His wounds. His stripes alone heal us. Christ died for our sins. This truth of God’s Holy Word teach us to view the deadly nature of sin. It cannot be tamed. It must die and it only can die in the innocent flesh and blood of the only begotten Son of God. Stop trying to handle sin by yourself - come to the cross and throw it on Jesus. That is where it belongs, for it has been put there by God the Father that through faith in Jesus you might be clothed in His holiness, righteousness, innocence, and blessedness.
        When Satan accuses, death threatens, or sin entices - look to the crucifix and confess - “Christ died for my sin.” When your flesh would lead you to despair and shame - look to the cross - Christ died for our sins - He comes for sinners. Broken hearted sorry sinners belong in His Church - where He breathes forth His Holy Spirit to daily and richly forgive us our sins as we cling to the good news of the Scriptures - Christ died for our sins.
          The wages of sin is death - Jesus took our wages and died our death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus. (Vs.4b-8) On the third day Jesus rose from the dead - according to the Scriptures. The promise of the Head Crusher of Satan the heel biter -given to Adam and his wife - was the promise of the resurrection. Dead Abel’s blood crying from the ground was a promise of the resurrection. Job knew in the midst of his terminal suffering that he had a living Redeemer - death would not hold Him and He would raise Job to life from the dust of death. The Psalms sing forth again and again of the promise of the resurrection of the body. Abraham and Isaac sincerely believed it. A Christian is more certain of what he reads in the Scriptures than what she may feel, think, or experience in life.
            There were over 513 eyewitnesses of Jesus’ physical bodily resurrection. Many were still alive when Paul sends this letter to the congregation at Corinth - they could talk to eyewitnesses of the living Christ. We can listen to them - we have their word on it - sealed by their blood - as they witnessed that Jesus is risen even to death. Jesus physically rises for our justification. He has forever buried our sins in the grave with His flesh and blood - He rises to make us a new creation. Life begins anew today. Life that washes the scales away from our eyes to behold His gift and promise of life. Just as murderous Saul was reborn and the scales removed from his eyes by baptism in Damascus. The city where he had intended to imprison and murder Christians became his death and rising to new life in Christ Jesus through baptismal water poured over him by Ananias - a preacher sent by the risen Lord.
          Today this new life is yours! (Vs9-11) God’s living grace in Christ Jesus turned Saul from a murderer to be a life giving Apostle - as Paul preached the good news of the cross and empty tomb. His grace sustained Paul. His grace sustains you. Mary wept, John believed in despair. The Gardner came - Mary heard her name - Jesus lives and stood before her in His living flesh. John handled His warm living flesh, felt the wounds of our salvation, and felt His living breath exhaled upon them to fill them with the Holy Spirit to proclaim cross won forgiveness to us crushed despairing sinners. Jesus lives! We shall again see those whom we have buried, even those we have miscarried - on that last and great Easter morning - when Jesus comes in glory preaching His creation restoring Word - Arise! Amen.

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