The Resurrection of Our Lord – Easter Day

St. Mark 16:1-8

April 16, 2017

Immanuel Evangelical-Lutheran Church, Alexandria, Virginia

On Friday, the weeping women heard His last words.

“It is finished,” Jesus said, and they believed Him. It’s all over.

You’ve heard those words.

“Finish them!” the coach shouts, when the opponent is on the ropes.

“You’re finished!” says the boss, as you get fired.

“We’re finished!” she snarls, ending the relationship.

“It is finished,” Jesus said. They believed Him. It’s all over. Death wins.

So early in the morning, they do their duty. The women go to serve a dead Jesus. They show love and devotion. Yet hope is lost. They believe the jeers from Friday. “He saved others; Himself He cannot save.” 

They will honor Him with their spices. Sweet smells hiding a corpse’s stench.

“Who will roll away the stone?” they ask. What are they saying? “God has left us. Jesus is dead. And with Him, our hopes.”

Is there any of that in your life? I know there is. You set out, you came to this place with excitement. Here, at the center of the free world, is power, influence, opportunity. You believed you could make a difference, take your chances, and rise. You will change the world! But it changes you. You become squeezed into its mold. You’re a cog in the machine, and you’re easily replaced.

Who will roll away the stone? We’re the ones trapped, alive, yet already inside the grave. So quickly, it is finished.

So you look at your struggling child and weep.

You consider your relationships—or lack thereof—and despair.

The doctor has bad news for you.

Your stats are down.

You’ve passed your prime.

What else is there for you to do?

Go with your spices!

Weep in graveyards!

Anoint your dead!

“It is finished,” Jesus said, and they believed Him. But they were wrong. Jesus finished those very things that trouble you.

He bore your griefs, and they are finished.

He carried your sorrows, and they are finished.

He was wounded for your transgressions, and they are finished.

He was crushed for your iniquities, and they are finished.

So tell your accusers that Jesus said, “It is finished.”

What are you, death? You are finished.

What are you, grave? You are finished.

What are you, sins? You threaten me with my past, but Jesus buried you. You are finished!

Jesus said, “It is finished,” but He is not finished.

“Behold!” He says, “I am making all things new.”

Is your body growing old? Christ is risen, and your body too shall be made new.

Does your child struggle and suffer? Christ is risen, and He will not abandon Your little one.

Do you feel your life slipping away? Christ is risen, and today your life is made new.

Your body is not finished. Behold, I am making all things new!

Your life in the body has meaning. Behold, I am making all things new!

Whoever you are, whatever your story, this story is your story. In fact, you’ve already been written into it. This history becomes your present, with the three little words, “Go tell Peter.”

Peter thought it was finished, Peter thought he was finished. Jesus was dead, but if He was risen, that could not be good news. Why? Peter denied Jesus. He cursed and swore, “I do not know the man.”

Does Peter deserve friendship? Does Peter deserve forgiveness? No, no.

But the Word comes especially for and to Peter. Jesus is risen. Jesus forgives. Be at peace!

Are you anxious? So was Peter. Do you have doubts? So did Thomas. Have you thought you are better than others? So did James and John. Have you argued? So did they all, on the night Jesus was arrested!

Jesus sends words of comfort to them through the holy women at the tomb. They walked to the graveyard weary, finished. They ran home made new.

They ran home with a Word, and that Word is also for you:

Christ is judged, and you are acquitted.

Christ is fallen, and you are raised up.

Christ is spit upon, and you are wiped clean.

Christ is mocked, and you are praised.

Christ is hated, and you are the Father’s beloved.

Christ is finished, and you are begun.

Christ is killed, and you are reborn.

Christ is buried, and you are baptized.

The stone is rolled away, and the door to paradise is opened to you.

Christ is risen, and death is undone.

Christ is risen, and the demons are put to flight.

Christ is risen, and Adam and Eve are lifted up from hell.

Christ is risen, and you shall rise too.

Christ is risen, and He is making all things new.

So sing and dance, clang the cymbals and blow the trumpet, for Jesus Christ is risen today, Alleluia!

Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!