He Has Risen!


Easter Sunday, Luke 24:1-12

Grace and Peace to you, from God, our creator, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Alleluia! He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!

Our journey to Easter Sunday began more than 40 days back as we came together as a community to mark the beginning of Lent with the sign of the cross marked on our own foreheads in ash, reminding ourselves that we are dust and to dust we shall return. A sign of that very same cross that Jesus was crucified on Friday morning. We have experienced the temptations and the suffering, some of us more so than others. We have walked through heartache and we have dwelled in the valley of the shadow of death.

It is for this day that we have walked through the desert and wilderness. It is for this day that we have endured through all of the pain and suffering. It is for this day that the disciples have came to the tomb to ensure Jesus is prepared properly in his burial, only to find the tomb empty!

First, the women come to the tomb, Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and others that are not named. The women are the first to truly know what the empty tomb signals. They are reminded of the words of Jesus by the two men in dazzling clothes who spoke words of comfort and reassurance that what Jesus said was going to happen truly did. It is in the resurrection that their belief grows stronger and they experience the hope and promise of the empty tomb. Their response is one that we should all be able to support and follow in our own path. They respond by breaking their own silence of grief and mourning to speak the truth that they now know. This is what God expects and asks of them, and it should also be an example for us.

Even though the women return speaking the truth that they now believe deep down in their hearts, there is still doubt and confusion among those that have not seen for their own eyes. Perhaps Mary is the first one to preach a sermon proclaiming the risen Christ, “I have seen the Lord.” In all honesty, do we need to say anything more than that on Easter?

This first sermon seems to fall on deaf ears. Luke goes as far to say that the other disciples do not believe their “idle tale.”  The disciples more accurate response to the women was that the story of the empty tomb was pure nonsense, or garbage if you want to put it in other terms. They doubted the word of the women and it was guilt-ridden Peter, whom had denied Jesus, that was the first that had to get up and run to see for himself. He leaves the tomb amazed, yet maybe still not fully comprehending what he has just experienced.

What has your experience been this Lent and Holy Week? Has it been one of repentance and forgiveness? Has it been one of contemplation and prayer? It is even possible that you have just went with the flow of the season and have not thought too much about it.

More importantly, have you seen the Lord? Have you witnessed God’s promise? Maybe it was in the love shown to you by a loved one or even possibly a stranger. Maybe it was in the action of others as they went beyond expectations to help their neighbors. Maybe it is in the joy and celebration that we encounter today in the resurrection. Christ is present in all of the above. I had the opportunity to witness the Lord Thursday evening as people came forward for the foot washing and was reminded of the actions of Jesus during that last supper as he bent down to wash the feet of all of his disciples, most likely even Judas. It was again on Friday as I was folding the towels used during the foot washing after they had been washed. I was reminded of the feet and hands that they touched and the love that a community has for one another through Christ.

In all of this God’s promise shines through with a dazzling brightness that is first proclaimed through the men that appear to Mary and the other women in the empty tomb, “He is not here, but has Risen!”

Alleluia! He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!

By Alex Steward

I am a husband, father, and pastor within the ELCA. I did not grow up in the church and thus come at this pastoring thing with an unique perspective.

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