I rejoiced with those who said to me,
“Let us go to the house of the Lord.” Psalm 122:1

I Know that My Redeemer Lives

The Resurrection of Our Lord – Pr. Anderson sermon
St. Mark 16:1-8 “I Know that My Redeemer Lives”
March 31, 2024 | Christ Lutheran Church

In Nomine Iesu
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The Exordium
Sick and infected, a man who has lost everything. This sounds like what we heard on Friday as we stood under the cross. The man who has lost all of possessions, his herds, and his children lived long before Jesus was crucified. Job was a man of wealth. At the asking of the adversary, God allows Job’s possessions and health to be torn away from him. He lost everything except his life. And as he stands at the face of death and his friends can’t even recognize him, Job makes one of the most powerful confessions that is heard around the world! “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me!” (Job 19:25-27). What a statement to be made! We can’t even fathom all that Job was dealing with, yet he made his confession that somehow after all that happened, it was all going to be alright.

And it certainly is going to be alright! When we hear and see Job, we see a lot of what happened on Friday. Pain, suffering, loss, and death. Yet as Job experienced all these trials and temptations, he put his faith in his Redeemer. He knew that only God could be his Redeemer. The faith that Job had was put in the promise kept by God. A promise that we witnessed as the Son of God, the Redeemer of the world died for its sins. Jesus took on the curses of Adam for us. As we look toward Job’s great confession, confessing that his eyes shall behold the Redeemer, we rejoice because that confession is ours as well. The tomb is empty, Christ is risen! With joy we rise and sing hymn # 348. He Is Arisen! Glorious Word!

He is arisen! Glorious Word! Now reconciled is God, my Lord;
The gates of heaven are open. My Jesus died triumphantly,
And Satan’s arrows broken lie, Destroyed hells direst weapon.
O hear What cheer! Christ victorious Riseth glorious,
Life He giveth— He was dead, but see, he liveth!

The sermon text for today is taken from the 16th chapter of the Gospel according to St. Mark. We read some verses once more in Jesus’ name:

And very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, [the women] came to the tomb when the sun had risen. And they said among themselves, “Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?” But when they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away—for it was very large.
And entering the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a long white robe sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him.

We Pray: Almighty God, who through the resurrection of Your only begotten Son Jesus Christ overcame death and opened unto us the gate of everlasting life, replenish us, we humbly ask You, with Your heavenly grace, that, dying unto sin always and living unto righteousness, we may at last triumph over death and the grave, in the full image of our risen Lord, to whom, with You and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and forever. Amen. (The Lutheran Liturgy, companion altar book for The Lutheran Hymnal, p. 114)

As we begin today all energized, worshiping in this beautiful church, having the smells of breakfast hit our noses, the followers of Jesus did not have the same festive tune we already have this morning. For them it is somber. These women have one job in mind. They are not rejoicing in what their Savior accomplished. They want to make sure everything is right for His final rest in the tomb. Now when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome brought spices, that they might come and anoint Him. And very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. There is no joy here. All these women know is the aftermath of the weekend’s events. The man who they called Lord and Teacher was arrested under the cover of darkness, tried before the religious leaders and the secular government even though He was innocent. He was then beaten, flogged, and crucified.

The shock of it all, the tragedy of it all looks to be at its end. As the women look for a way to cope with the events, they try to stay focused on the task ahead. And they said among themselves, “Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?” They had stayed and watched as Joseph and Nicodemus took Jesus from the cross and placed Him in this new tomb. They know exactly where they are going, to a grave that should have a body in it. We know Jesus is dead. There was no way out of Friday’s events. Like the women, we heard the Jews as they mocked Him saying, “You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross” (Matthew 27:40). Just hearing those insults and we remember what happened to Jesus. As we stand with the women below the cross, in that instant it feels like none of Jesus’ miracles could have possibly happened. How could a man who saved many from their illnesses, demon possessions and brought others back from the dead survive this Roman execution?

As our minds drift back to the events of Friday, which I’m sure the women’s minds were drifting as well, we understand why this morning would have begun all about business. How else are you going to distract yourself. This is like losing a best friend, a mentor, or a close family member. We know that it cuts much deeper than that, this was the death of the Son of God. This was traumatic for the women and the followers of Jesus, and it is traumatic for us. We sat here and watched Jesus pick up our sins and put them on His back. He died our death. After everything that happened, Jesus’ body is lying in a tomb. This tomb that the women are worried about the stone in front of should be just like the tomb that will come and get us. There are times when we think about the tomb that will house our remains and it can cause us to shudder. Why did we even bring it up? Thinking about death grosses us out because most of the time our thoughts will wander to the sins that we have done which will confine our bodies to that tomb. As our sins press down on us, pushing us toward the tomb, like the women, today we hear great news! The tomb that Jesus was put in only different to ours in one way. When we peak inside, we don’t find a body.

As the world, and the devil thought they had snuffed out the light of Christ, that they had won the day, the stages of humiliation are over, and the stages of exultation have begun! But when they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away—for it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a long white robe sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. Would this be possible? Is this all a dream? Someone was in the tomb but not who they expected. As angels serve as the messengers of God, it is only fitting that angels would bring the message that we all seek! The message that Job confessed! For the Redeemer to stand again on the earth after the horrible yet needed death to take the sins of the world to the grave, His grave had to be empty!

Jesus told His followers that He wasn’t going to just die! The Redeemer lives! What comfort this sweet sentence gives! For the women to find this comfort they had to listen to the angel’s message. They had to believe that their eyes weren’t being fooled. The only thing that resides in there is their sins, forgiven by Jesus who no longer resides in the tomb. As God keeps His promises, the women see that Jesus’ Word is true. The women could believe that His body was stolen. An angel reveal otherwise. And maybe the fact that as they left the tomb, they will be the first to see Him.

The reason they get to see Him is because this is the message they hear. The glorious message of an empty grave. But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him.” The man who we watched be crucified, who we shed tears for as we watched Him cry out taking on our eternal pain, punishment, and abandonment has risen! Those things that we deserve float away. You do not have to be alarmed anymore. The crucifixion, the ultimate sacrifice was needed for your ransom. This empty grave is the judges gavel coming down declaring the world not guilty. As the Father turned His back, He saw that perfect sacrifice, that beautiful love for you and He says to you it counts. Your sins are forgiven and forgotten in the blood of the lamb!

The curse of Adam tried so hard to hold on. The devil tries to pull you down so that you spend eternity with him. Jesus knows that you can’t deal with it. As He watched the curse eat you alive, He left His throne to take your place. The devil knowing the Son of God tried to stop His mission. He thought the curse of the cross would be too much. Jesus held on through all the pain, through the experience of hell and as the devil thought “I have Him now, I have killed Him,” the devil’s mistake was the Son giving up His life for you. And then in the final act, the devils hold over eternal death was severed as Jesus burst forth from the grave. You have no reason to fear the cross because without the cross you don’t get today. You don’t get confirmation of the empty grave. It is through this empty grave that you can rejoice, your sins are forgiven, and your eternal death is destroyed.

This joy that we have as we sing hymns of thanks and praise here today is not only for us to enjoy. We rejoice as the Lord of life brings the whole world life in this message. Already on that first Easter day, the angel told the women the beautiful message of good news, needs to be shared with others. “But go your way, tell His disciples—and Peter—that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you.” Here is the truth of Jesus’ Word. He sees His disciples again, out of the grave, alive. He left His grave clothes in the tomb. The world can search for Jesus in the tomb. They will not find Him. The father of lies tries to teach that He didn’t rise, or He is a made-up man. The eyewitnesses have no reason to lie as the message that they shared would get them killed. It is here at the empty tomb that the Gospel takes true form. The cross washed us clean, and the grave buried our sins.

What a relief to be here in church today. We woke up a little bit earlier. We decorated the church with Lily’s and white. We do this not because of what we have done, but because we have a new life hearing this great message. Women traveled to the tomb of Christ and found only an angel. They heard the sweet message, “He is risen.” We are declared not guilty. As the devil looks to create doubt in us, to get us to focus on ourselves, it is here at the empty tomb that we find strength and hope. Our sins didn’t crush our Savior. He bore them and died for them so that we would belong to God. We find the strength of the cross and grave nourishes us in our lives through the Means of Grace. We see the forgiveness of the cross and our declaration of innocence from the open tomb in His Word. The cross’ forgiveness is found in the Supper. Christ’s glorious resurrection is found in our baptism. The Gospel sings to us that because His grave is empty, God’s promise of our resurrection will take place on the last day. Where we will see Jesus Christ face to face and hear those echoing words of Job, I know that my Redeemer lives! What comfort this sweet sentence gives! He lives, He lives, who once was dead! He lives my ever-living head! (ELH # 351 v. 1). Amen.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost; as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, forevermore. Amen.
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