Sermon for Easter Sunday – 3.31.24

+ The Resurrection of Our Lord – March 31st, 2024 +

Series B: Isaiah 25:6-9; 1 Corinthians 15:1-11; Mark 16:1-8

Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church

Milton, WA

 

“Faith Founded On Fact”

 

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed. Alleluia!

 

In 1770, John Adams (future president, then, a lawyer) was called upon to defend British soldiers who had been involved in what became known as the Boston Massacre. One of his famous quotes from that trial… “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” 

 

In the 1950’s there was a weekly TV show that followed Sergeant Joe Friday around Los Angeles as he tracked down clues, interviewed eyewitnesses, and examined evidence. One of his famous quotes in the show: “just the facts, ma’am.”

 

Now perhaps you’re all wondering…what do John Adams and Detective Joe Friday have to do with Easter Sunday? I can tell you in two words: facts and faith.

 

Jesus’ death and resurrection for you is a matter of fact and faith.

 

Jesus’ resurrection is a matter of fact because it is a fact of history. It is the pivotal fact of history. It is the hinge upon which all of human history pivots and finds its meaning. It is a matter of fact as any other fact of history, from the Egyptians to the Roman Empire. Jesus’ tomb is empty. The body of Jesus is risen from the dead.

 

Jesus’ resurrection is also a matter of faith because everything we believe in rests on the fact that Christ was put to death one Friday afternoon outside Jerusalem; he died for our sins and raised for our justification three days later.

 

Think about it in the form of a question. What’s you’re the foundation of your faith in Jesus? Not our feelings – those come and go, and go up and down. Not our sincerity – we could be sincerely wrong after all. Our faith is not founded on our faith. And it’s not some kind of fairy tale we all each other and then nod in agreement like we’re all in on the joke. No, your faith is founded on facts: Christ died. For you. Christ rose. For you.

 

We believe because Jesus rose from the dead. Jesus’ death and resurrection is the foundation of your faith. Your faith is founded on these facts:

 

Fact: Christ died for your sins according to the Scriptures. Christ was buried. Christ was raised from the dead on the third day according to the Scriptures.

 

Fact: The tomb was empty. The burial linens were folded and neat. The guards were bribed to say the disciples had stolen the body.

 

Fact: The women came to Jesus’ tomb expecting to finish the burial job. The angels bore witness: He is not here; he is risen…just as he said.

 

Fact: The risen Jesus appeared in the flesh to Mary Magdalene. He appeared to Peter (Cephas) and the twelve disciples.

 

Fact: Jesus was seen by Thomas who cried out in faith founded on fact: “My Lord and my God.” Jesus appeared to the two Emmaus disciples. He ate grilled fish on the seashore with seven more disciples. And sometime in those 40 days after his resurrection, Jesus appeared to over 500 brothers at one time, to James, and finally to Paul on the road to Damascus.

 

Fact: The good news of Jesus’ resurrection that was delivered to Paul, and which Paul delivers to us was not written down like one of those games of telephone played by a bunch of middle-schoolers hopped up on Mt. Dew. Not at all. The disciples and gospel writers are credible eyewitnesses (or close associates of them – Luke and Mark). They were sane, sober, rational people. They went from not believing that Jesus had risen from the dead (even though He had told them this would happen) – to believing. They had everything to lose and nothing to gain from their testimony. All but one of the 12 died professing and confessing the faith founded on the fact of Jesus’ resurrection.

 

Fact: The people in power, the religious authorities, the Roman rulers, Pontius Pilate, the chief priests and scribes had a vested interest in a dead Jesus. They had motive. Means. And opportunity. To produce the corpse of Jesus and parade it through the streets of Jerusalem on Sunday night and Monday morning. But they did not. Why not? Because there was no corpse. Jesus had risen from the dead, just as He had said.

 

Facts indeed are stubborn things. But this fact – the death of Jesus on a Friday afternoon  and his bodily resurrection on a Sunday morning – this fact is not only stubborn. It’s true. And it saves you.

 

Think for just a moment of the opposite. If this is not true. If Christ did not rise from the dead. Then I’m wasting my time here and yours. Then our faith is in vain. Then the New Testament and apostles are all liars and so are we. If Christ isn’t raised, our faith is futile, worthless, a waste of time. And worst of all, if Christ is not raised, we still have sin and death to deal with all on our own.

 

But, remember and rejoice this Easter morning that facts are stubborn things. Facts are saving. Your faith is founded on this fact: Christ died for you. Christ rose from the dead bodily for you.

 

And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. 

 

And when you doubt or despair of these facts, or of your faith. Remember and rejoice that your faith is founded on these facts, not your feelings, not your sincerity, not your anything. Your faith rests entirely in the hands of Jesus who was crucified for you and who rose from the dead for you. Just the facts, ma’am. And here they are once more.

 

Because Christ is raised from the dead we believe that we too shall rise with new and improved bodies. Jesus is the “first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep,” Jesus’ bodily resurrection is the preview and down payment of our own resurrection on the Last Day.

 

Because Christ is raised from the dead, we believe that there is genuine bodily life after death. We don’t just float on in heaven as spirits or memories or some kind of force. What is buried a physical body will be raised a spiritual body designed for eternal life with God.

 

Because Christ is raised from the dead, you are justified before God. His sacrifice is sufficient to cover all your sins. His “it is finished” from the cross holds. His word is true, His promises are certain. When He says, “Whoever lives and believes in me will never die forever,” this is as certain as Jesus risen from the dead is certain.

 

Because Christ is raised from the dead, Death has lost its power. On the cross, Christ became the sinner for us all. And now in the resurrection, He is the cure, the antidote, the medicine, the anti-serum to the sting of Death.

 

Because Christ is raised from the dead your faith today, tomorrow, and every day, is founded on this fact: Christ Jesus died for you. Christ Jesus rose from the dead for you.

 

Alleluia. Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia!

 

A blessed Easter to each of you…

 

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

 

 

 

Beautiful Savior

is a traditional Lutheran Church, faithful to God's Word and His Sacraments. We equip God's people to serve, love, and encourage one another as we grow in our personal relationship with Christ. We reach out to the community as beacons of light, sharing the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Savior.

Church Office Hours

Monday - Thursday 8:30am-3:30pm

Friday 8:30am-11:30am

The office is closed on Fridays during the summer months of June, July, and August.

Preschool Office Hours

August - May
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday
8:30am-12:30pm

By appointment only June and July

Contact

Address
2306 Milton Way
Milton, WA 98354
Phone
(253) 922-6977
Fax
(253) 922-6977