The Easter Mystery Revealed

Resurrection of Our Lord-Easter Dawn
I Corinthians 15:51-57
March 27, 2016
Camp Trinity—New Haven, MO

V   Alleluia! Christ is risen!
R   He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

In the name of + Jesus.

2.

St. Paul’s great chapter on the resurrection crescendos with a hymn of glory and exultation over the final enemy.

“Death is swallowed up in victory!”
Where, Death, is your victory?
Where, Death, is your sting?

This morning we join our voices to that Easter hymn. Death is swallowed up in victory.

But first, a mystery. In the New Testament, a mystery is not something that’s unknown, but instead something that’s revealed. For a time it’s hidden, indeed. But in the fullness of time, God shows something new.

The Paschal mystery—the thing revealed at Easter—begins with that which is hidden and revealed in Jesus Christ. There have been many people who have claimed to be God, or claimed that their god is the true God. Some have even backed up their claim with power and might and victories and fantastic, even miraculous sounding stories. Jesus isn’t alone in that respect. Many people have done signs and wonders, either by sleight of hand or illusions, or by actual demonic power that is displayed in mockery of the true God.

One thing, however, distinguishes Jesus from all the rest. Every one of them is dead. But Jesus is alive. His resurrection is vindication of everything He said and did. If someone promises to rise from the dead and actually does it, that is a person that you can believe. And Jesus’ resurrection isn’t like other pagan myths of gods coming back to life. He died in a very public way. The account of His death includes people who actually existed, who can be verified in other historical accounts (He suffered under Pontius Pilate). And His resurrection is witnessed and testified by numerous independent observers. Earlier, St. Paul lists them: Peter; the twelve; over 500 disciples at one time; His half-brother James, who didn’t believe until the resurrection; and last of all, Paul himself, who was so convinced of the resurrection that he turned 180 degrees from the most zealous persecutor of Christians to their greatest missionary.

The mystery revealed by the resurrection of Jesus is that He is truly the Son of God. Our entire faith rests on the resurrection of Jesus; if Christ had not been raised, then our faith is in vain. But that’s not all that’s revealed in the resurrection of Jesus. There is yet another mystery.

Now I’ll tell you a mystery. We’re not all going to die, but we’re all going to be changed — in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye when the last trumpet sounds. It will sound, and the dead will rise immortal, and we’ll be changed. This decaying body must be made one that can’t decay, and this dying body must be made one that can’t die.

The resurrection of Jesus reveals to you today your own resurrection. We will all be changed. The first man, Adam, was made from the dust of the ground, and we are all sons and daughters of that first man. But the second Man rises from the dead by the Spirit. Likewise, the Spirit will also raise us on the Last Day and give eternal life to me and all believers in Christ. This is most certainly true.

But first this mortal body must be put off. The body of dust must return to dust. But when that angelic trumpet sounds, the resurrection will happen. In the twinkling of an eye. And then we’ll be clothed with immortality. A new body, fully sanctified and not able to die once again.

It is a mystery, which means that we don’t know all the details of this resurrection. Some of it is yet hidden. But what is revealed is sufficient for our faith, for our hope in what is to come. Look to Christ and see that mystery revealed. He is the firstborn of the dead and a picture of your own resurrection.

1.

So death is nothing more than a little nap. There is no fear in laying down each night for sleep because you know that you’ll wake up again in the morning. And so, the resurrection of the dead takes away all fear from death. You know what’s going to happen after you close your eyes for the last time in this body of dust. You will wake up again to a new life, a new body.

Death has lost its power. Where, O Death, is your victory? It is swallowed up in a greater victory. When the stone was rolled away, this enemy was defeated once, for all.

Where, O Death, is your sting? Sin gives death its sting, and the Law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Death has lost its sting because the risen Christ will always be the crucified Christ. His will be the only body in the resurrection that has scars—eternal reminders of His love for us that drove Him to the cross to suffer and die, to be the Sacrifice and offering for our sins. You are forgiven, and so death’s sting is removed.

Thanks Be to God, Who Gives Us the Victory through Our Lord Jesus Christ

In the name of + Jesus.

V   Alleluia! Christ is risen!
R   He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Jacob W Ehrhard
VD+MA