Easter Sunday – April 10, 2017

Christ Is Risen! He Is Risen Indeed! The Resurrection of Our Lord

These are the readings for Easter Sunday.

God’s Word for This Week

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Sinners should fear God. Sinners ought to die for their wickedness. The grave should be the place of ultimate defeat for mankind. Yet on this day, the Second Adam did all that the first had left undone. Bearing our guilt and suffering our verdict, the Son of Man died, but three days later he rose in glory. As a result, fear is gone, mankind is redeemed, and Christ calls us his own brothers. Jesus came from death to life, and through baptism he brings us with him.

First Lesson – Jonah 2:2-9

Was this the prayer Jonah prayed while in the belly of the fish, or are these thoughts that came to him later?

Certainly, Jonah wrote the prayer’s final form at a later date. The flow of thought, however, is consistent with the thoughts of one who has just had a very close brush with death. Jonah recounts his hopeless situation and immediately follows that up with his amazing rescue.

What was the real depth of Jonah’s misery (verse. 4)?

Jonah was lying on the ocean floor, entangled by seaweed, covered by the swirling sands of the deep. But that paled in comparison as Jonah felt the seaweed of his terrible sins strangling him, dragging him from the gracious presence of his Lord. Isn’t it ironic that earlier Jonah had tried to flee from his Lord?

Why could we describe Jonah’s prayer as a prayer of thanks more so than a prayer of confidence?

When the fish swallowed Jonah, he wasn’t moving from one danger to another. The fish was a part of the solution. Jonah’s time in the fish was similar to the time Jesus spent in the grave (Matthew 12:39-40). When Jesus died, his mission was complete. The grave was not a punishment, but a place to await the Father’s exaltation. So it was for Jonah in the belly of the fish.

Second Lesson – Colossians 3:1-4

What does Paul mean when he says, “You died”? And how is it that our life is now “hidden with Christ in God”?

We died when our sinful connection to this earth was put to death on the cross. Our life is now in Christ. That life is hidden to the world that doesn’t understand the power of the cross. We now live each day in eager anticipation of Christ’s return in glory.

Gospel – Matthew 28:1-10

Why did the angel roll back the stone from the tomb?

Certainly not to let Jesus out. It was to prove to the world that Christ had risen.

How might the angel’s words, “He is not here; he has risen, just as he said,” have made the women feel ashamed?

Why were they bringing burial spices for their risen Savior? Hadn’t Jesus told them on several occasions that he would rise on the third day? It’s actually sad to note that crowds weren’t gathered there that morning to see the risen Savior.

Why were Jesus’ words “my brothers” so comforting to the disciples?

The women walked to the tomb, arms full of spices and hearts full of disappointment. They had come to a place of disappointment, broken promises, and fear. All they had hoped to do was anoint the body of a dead man. A dead Jesus does no good for anyone—not for the women, not for the disciples, not for us. But when the angel spoke, the tomb became a place of victory, a place of promises fulfilled, a place of joy. Do not be afraid! The angel spoke two amazing words, “was” and “is.” Yes, he was crucified, but no, he is not here in the grave. He is very much alive, just as he said. That fact fundamentally changes our relationship with God forever. You can see in it the words of Jesus to the women, “Go and tell my brothers.” Jesus had good reason to remind those men of their desertion. Jesus had good reason to remind them that they were nothing but servants. Instead, he took this moment to call them “my brothers” for the very first time. The living Son of God had made full payment for sin so that he could call us brothers. Mankind is redeemed; death is defeated; fear is conquered. And Christ looks upon us forgiven sinners and calls us his brothers. This is the day the Lord has made!