He is not here! He is Risen!
Why does Easter bring so much joy? The answer can only be found looking back.
When we look back from Easter we see what Jesus went through. We see the death of Christ. We see Him hanging on the tree in bloody and sweaty agony. We see Him carrying His cross forward from Jerusalem to Golgotha. We see Him being sentenced by the crowd saying, “Crucify Him, Crucify Him.” We see Him being beaten and whipped within an inch of His life. We see Him being spit upon and slapped around. We see Him being taken and bound. We see Him also crying in agony from the garden, that the cup of God’s wrath be taken from Him. We see Him being cruelly attacked by the Pharisees and Sadducees. We see Him being challenged by demons. We see Him being rejected in His hometown of Nazareth. We see Him being tempted by Satan himself. We see Him bearing our sins in His baptism. We see Him being plotted against even as a little child. We see Him finally born in the flesh as a man.
This was the road that Jesus chose. This was the road He chose to walk. Did the Son of God deserve any of this? Certainly not! Yet, in order to save man, He walked this road of suffering His whole life long until His death.
If we look back upon our own lives, there is pain and suffering. Everyone has lost a loved one. If you haven’t then you will. Everyone has seen the sufferings of a fallen world, be it through a bad economy, or through warfare, or through drought or flood. Pain and suffering is a constant companion throughout our lives. And even more so we have made poor choices. We have sinned against our neighbor time and time again. If not in deed, then by word. If not by word, then in thought. If not by thought, then our own sinful corrupt nature sinned all the more keeping our eyes off the One True God. Our lives are filled with pain which indeed we ourselves can create as well. Yet, at the same time, there is nothing we can do about it. The corruption is too deep. The pain is too real. Any belief that we can change it substantially by ourselves is only a mere illusion. We were stuck in this world, and, believe Jesus, we were content with our sinfulness, though it drove us to destruction.
But then again, that is why Christ came, that He might walk that road for us. And walk that road He did. For, we have looked back on the road He chose to walk. The path that was ours leading to destruction, to our death and eternal death. Yet, now this morning we see the end! Christ is Risen from the grave. He has paid for our sins. He has released us from all guilt. He has set us free from our bondage to sin. He has stayed the Fathers wrath. He has declared us righteous in His resurrection.
Brothers, in this life the road that Christ walked still lays before us. For we as sinful men must still suffer, we must still have trial and temptation come against us. And we will falter on this road. We will stumble. We will fall. We may even break our back and our necks in each fall. Yet, Christ has walked the road. Christ has completed the journey. And as Christ has completed the journey, so also shall Christ raise you again to continue your walk on this sorrowful road. And when you come to life’s end, you shall die as Christ died. You shall be struck down by the very sin that corrupts your nature. Yet, you will not remain dead. For Christ, has walked the road of death as well and has overcome it.
“Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.”
You have been baptized into Christ. What does this mean for you? It means that as you walk through this evil of tears, through this valley of the shadow of death that is life, you have the assurance that all your sufferings are not without purpose and are not without end. For you know the end. Christ has walked the road to cavalry for you, and there is no longer death, but life at the end of the road. Christ has arisen and so shall you with Him. For you have life in Him.
This is why Easter is such a blessed and wonderful day. For when we look back at our lives, they are all clouded and tainted with evil and sin. Yet, Christ has undone it all. Christ has covered it all, because He loves you. So, rejoice this Easter day! And again, I say rejoice your whole life long. For your road is paved. Christ is with you on the way. And the end is life eternal. Alleluia! Amen.