S-1250 ES/3A 04/22/11, (O) 199, (S) #200, L.S. LSB # 633; #471; #547; (C) # 801
Text: Job 19:23-27; 1 Corinthians 15:1-11; Mark 16:1-8
Theme: “Broken TOMB” (Matthew 27:62-66; 28:1-7)
Question: “Have you seen a Broken Tomb?” 9th in Sermon series Broken BUT not Broke
SOLI DEO GLORIA, Armour, SD
Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed! The text for our Victory Celebration is from the Gospel lesson: “The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, ‘Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while He was still alive, “After three days I will rise.” Therefore order the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest His disciples go and steal Him away and tell the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last fraud will be worse than the first.’ Pilate said to them, ‘You have a guard of soldiers. Go, make it as secure as you can.’ So they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard. Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, as He said. Come, see the place where He lay. Then go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead, and behold, He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see Him. See, I have told you’” (Matthew 27:62-66; 28:1-7).
Introduction: In Nomine IESU
Beloved in Christ, we have arrived! We started out 46 days ago on a long and arduous journey to Golgotha. By the grace of God we have made many stops along the way. We have learned much about our Broken lives, hearts, bread, justice and our world. On Friday we stopped beneath the cross of Jesus as we saw Him dying and giving up His Spirit into the hands of His loving Father. Friday showed us the Son of Man dying for a broken world. Friday we saw Jesus put in a cold grave! Friday, we left weeping and crying because Jesus died for our sins. That was then. But today, we stand before the Broken Tomb—broken by the mighty power of Him who spoke to Martha saying: “I Am the Resurrection and the Life…” (John 11:25b). Broken by the One who said, “Destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands” (Mark 14:58). Broken by Him who destroyed the grave once and for all.
Yes, saints in Christ the tomb is broken. Death has no more power over Christ or us. The sting of death has been eradicated. Christ stands victorious over our enemies—the grave, sin and death. The evidence is clear the tomb has been broken. Christ’s body is not in the tomb any longer. Don’t listen to archeologists who tell you, “that they have found an ossuary with the bones of Christ in it.” IT IS A LIE. Instead listen to the truth as revealed in God’s Holy Word. In our Gospel text this morning we hear the angel saying to the women who came in the early hours on the first day of the week: ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for He has RISEN, as He said. Come, see the place where He lay. Then go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead, and behold, He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see Him. See, I have told you.’” Thanks be to God that the women heard the glorious news and left with great joy and told everyone.
Today, we hear the same Good News: The Tomb has been broken. The Tomb has been busted. The Tomb has been burst by the mighty power of the One whom Job longed to see with his own eyes saying: “For I know that my Redeemer lives,” (Job 19:25). Yes Jesus is our Redeemer. He has won our freedom. He has given us life and salvation. Again, I will say this is not a lie, or a joke but the truth. PAUSE.
Beloved in the Lord, How would you like to step into a coffin, get comfortable and have the lid nailed shut? You think I am kidding. Do you realize people are doing it? It’s all part of a seminar in which people are paying to “experience” death and then “experience” a resurrection. On a typical day in Daejeon, South Korea, Jung Joon puts several people into wooden coffins and pounds the lids shut with a wooden hammer. That wouldn’t seem unusual if Jung were an undertaker, nor would it be unusual if the people in question were dead. But, in fact, Jung isn’t a funeral director… and the people aren’t dead.
Jung is an entrepreneur, and each wooden coffin lined up in a room at his place of business contains a very live person who paid $25 (mind you, paid) for the privilege of being “dead” for 10 minutes. With arms folded over their chests, they lie there “resting” in a dark space that’s all at once very creepy and very claustrophobic.
Jung’s business is aimed at stressed-out workers in Korea, where the suicide rate is the highest in the developed world because of ruthless competition and financial woes. Jung, who calls his seminar Coffin Academy, uses death as a teaching tool. The controversial idea is that you can teach people to appreciate their lives more if they can face death head-on.
“It’s a way to let go of certain things,” says Jung. “Afterward, you feel refreshed. You’re ready to start your life all over again, this time with a clean slate.” Jung starts every seminar with the invitation, “Okay, let’s get close to death.”
The, registrants show up for a four-hour session, which begins with them writing letters of goodbye to family and friends as well as crafting their own tombstone epitaphs. Then, after attending their own funerals, the newly “deceased” climb into their coffins for the excruciating ordeal of darkness and contemplation. After 10 minutes of being “dead,” the coffins are opened and the bodies are “resurrected,” hopefully with a new sense of perspective on life.
Coffin Academy might seem like a good, if bizarre, idea to a lot of people, but I’m guessing it’s because a lot of those same people don’t realize the experiment has already been done for real. Christians understand that, on Easter, Jesus Himself emerged from the darkness of actual death and an actual tomb, not playing dead but defeating it and bringing ultimate meaning to human life and the certainty of everlasting life. If we’re going to go to school on the reality of death and the meaning of life, it’s the historical fact of Jesus’ resurrection that should inform us once and for all. Christians don’t need to get close to death in some seminar because Christ has already gone through the real thing and out the other side to new life — and promises we will do the same. PAUSE.
Early this morning we gather by the tomb to hear the greatest news ever proclaimed; because today is a day about an empty tomb, and someday, empty coffins; and our Easter Sunday worship time is a kind of Empty Coffin Academy. For this day is about life. Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Alleluia! What a turnaround from Good Friday’s death. Take one more look at that death. Everything that sin does was done to Jesus when He hung on that cross. All that sin has done in us, with us, and to us was on Him on that cross. All the sin that is lived out in our thoughts, words and deeds was on Him when He hung on that cross. He was guilty with it. He suffered for it. He died for it. His dead body was placed in a tomb. But now Jesus is alive again. There’s been a resurrection! That validates the cross and what happened there. Look what happened to sin. Jesus absorbed it, paid for it in FULL, and overcame it in His death and resurrection. Your sins are forgiven! All of them! I don’t know what a sinner you are, but I know what a Savior He is!
The cross and the resurrection mean that now there’s life after sin. There is life for sin, that is, there is Christ Jesus. Remember what we just heard: But the angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, as He said. Come, see the place where He lay. Then go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead, and behold, He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see Him. See, I have told you’” Life is great after sin has been conquered, given its death-blow. There’s a new freedom that you have. You are justified. That means God says you’re not guilty. More than simply, “not guilty” as we might think of with the Korean death academy, we are declared alive, that is utterly clean, whole, reunited with the Father who has become “Our Father. We are declared “innocent” for Jesus, going to death this past Friday was declared Guilty – guilty of your sin and mine. We stand, innocent. Yes now, you are right with God. You are at peace with God. You’re no longer hell-bound, but heaven-bound. You are alive in Christ, and Christ is alive in you.
And the Good News is this: Even though, our lives, homes, relationships and even our world are Broken to be sure; but thanks be to God that we are not broke. Instead we are blessed. We are forgiven and we are children of the heavenly Father. All of this is yours because the Tomb has been BROKEN. Amen.
CHRIST IS RISEN! HE IS RISEN INDEED! ALLELUIA! AMEN!!!