Sermon Text for 3rd Week in Easter – Is your Savior still in the grave?

April 25, 2020 Church Blog, Sermons0

Sermon Text for 3rd Week in Easter – Is your Savior still in the grave?

Easter 3A – Is your Savior still in the grave?
To watch the video as you read the sermon please go to our 3rd Week in Easter Online Bulletin >>>

  1. As I mentioned last week, the Gospel lessons for the first few weeks after Easter all take place on that first Easter day as news of our Savior’s resurrection reached the disciples.
    1. The people 2000 years ago may not have been technologically savvy, but they knew enough about the world to know that dead people stay dead
      1. So when they heard the report of the women who returned from the tomb early in the morning that He had risen Luke tells us, “these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.”
      1. Last week our Lord appeared to the apostles locked away it the Upper Room for fear of being persecuted in the wake of Jesus’ crucifixion and the Lord came and stood among them with a message that brought peace.
      1. The events of today’s Gospel reading are the prequel to last week’s Gospel, as we’ll note later on.
    1. Today’s Gospel take place on the road between Jerusalem and a town about 7 miles away called Emmaus.
      1. Luke reports that these two disciples (not apostles) were talking about the events that had just happened surrounding Jesus’ death.
      1. And as they were talking our Lord joins them, but their eyes “were kept from recognizing Him,” clearly a divine operation because they knew Jesus.
      1. But He had something to teach them that would have been lost in the emotion of the moment if they had recognized Him.
    1. He begins with a question that makes them review the events of the weekend as though they were explaining them to someone who had never heard, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?”
      1. And their answer reveals that they didn’t understand what had taken place saying, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel.”
      1. Notice they spoke in the past tense, we had hoped…for these men and the apostles locked away in the Upper Room their Savior was still in the grave.
      1. And if their savior was still in the grave what hope did they have…how could they believe His promise, “I am the resurrection and the life and He who believes in me will never die,” if He was dead?
    1. How about you? Do you live as though Your savior was still in the grave, as though His words were nice life lessons but nothing more?
      1. You see if Christ was still in the grave then the disciples would have to attach some other significance to what He had said and done.
      1. And I suspect that’s what they were mulling over as they walked the road back to Emmaus, “What did all this mean if He’s dead?”
    1. If you watch Discovery, A&E, the History channel, etc there is no shortage of “Biblical scholars” who will tell you all kinds of things about the significance of Jesus’ life that aren’t biblical because to them He’s still in the grave.
      1. Most commonly it boils down to, “He was an exemple of love and sacrifice or a revolutionary for radical equality against oppression.”
      1. The world, in all of its wisdom, is convinced (as these “uneducated” followers of Jesus thought too) that dead people don’t rise so they have to create meaning.
  2. But no meaning for the events that just happened has to be created, our Lord revealed that night what His life, ministry, death and resurrection mean.
    1. First, He chides them (and all who live as though He’s still in the grave), “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!”
      1. And then He says, “Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?”
      1. The Greek word “necessary” used here means divinely ordained, this wasn’t an accident this is what was foretold.
      1. And Luke reports that beginning with Moses and the Prophets Jesus interpreted all things in Scripture about Himself.
    1. When they reach Emmaus, they convince Jesus to stay with them because it was late and when He breaks bread for the meal, they recognize Him and He disappears
      1. Suddenly realizing with whom they had been talking, they ran back to Jerusalem to let the apostles know that He had risen.
      1. Luke reports, As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” which is where our Gospel started last week.
      1. In the upper room He again interpreted for those gathered everything that was written about Him in the Scripture, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”
      1. Everything in the OT: the narratives, the poetry, the songs are about the salvation delivered through the death and resurrection of Christ – the Scripture is a seamless whole, no other meaning has to be given than what is written.
    1. Beloved in the Lord we are not called to live as though our Savior was still in the grave
      1. We are a resurrection people filled with resurrection joy because death and the grave have been conquered and His victory is our victory through faith.
      1. That means that in the face of persecution, famine, or the pestilence we now have we don’t have to cower in fear because even death itself has no hold over us, it is just the portal to life immortal.
      1. We have in our hearts the message of hope, of sins forgiven, hope that we can give others during these times who otherwise only know despair.
      1. If people were to ask you where is Jesus now you can respond as we do at Easter, He is risen…He is risen indeed, alleluia! – and because He lives you too shall live!