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The Resurrection of our Lord 2019
Immanuel Lutheran Church, Hamilton, Ohio
Pastor Kevin Jud
April 21, 2019
Is. 65:1-17, 1 Cor. 15:19-26Luke 24:1-10

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There is a great battle being waged right now between darkness and light.  You can daily feel the pressure that this conflict brings in the world, in the community, in your family, in your own being.

In the beginning there is the light of God and people live in the light because there is perfect harmony between God’s will and the will of man.  God’s light shines uninterrupted and people love the light and live in the light.  But then comes a cosmic fall into darkness.  An archangel rebels against God and puts himself and his followers at enmity with the light of God.  The devil and his demons become an inky cloud of darkness that float around the earth trying to extinguish the light.  The dark cloud floats into the Garden of Eden and with the darkness comes sin, suffering and death.  The darkness appears so attractive to our ancestral pair and then the inky darkness overcomes Eve and Adam and robs them and their offspring of joy, hope, love and life.

That inky cloud of darkness moves freely in the world today.  It comes to you from the prince of darkness himself whispering his deception, “Did God really say?”  It comes to you from other people who live in the darkness and want to spread it so they are not alone.  It comes to you through those glowing screens: in your hand, on the wall, in the theater, bringing you messages that glorify sin and make lives of darkness seem so normal.  It comes to you from your own flesh as you crave the forbidden pleasures of the darkness and far too often give in to their siren call.  You can feel the darkness pushing into your life as sin and evil maneuver to become your master.  As the darkness takes control it slowly snuffs out joy, hope, love and life.  In so many ways you feel the pull to give in to the darkness and become a part of the darkness.  The darkness wants you as its own.  It wants to take over so you live in the darkness, and live as darkness.

The inky cloud of darkness is very thick in Jerusalem the last week of Jesus’ life.  The darkness envelopes the religious leaders, Judas, the crowds who cry out for Jesus’ blood, and all who take part in torturing and killing Jesus.  The darkness overcomes Jesus on Calvary as the light of the world is extinguished on the cross.  The inky dark cloud completes its work as Jesus, the light of the world, is snuffed out and shut into the silent, deep darkness of the tomb.

Darkness wants to take over the world, and on that terrible Friday 2,000 years ago darkness has won.  The light of the world is extinguished and lays dead in the utter gloom of a sealed tomb.  Dancing on Jesus’ grave the devil rejoices that the darkness can now spread unrestrained.  The devil has won.  Darkness has won.  Jesus is dead.  But… Jesus …did… not… stay… dead.  Christ is Risen!  He is risen indeed!  Alleluia!

The darkness of the tomb is undone as the stone is rolled away and light floods into the place of the dead, destroying the darkness.  The darkness cannot resist the light and it has to flee.  The inky cloud of darkness that came over Jerusalem is driven back by the light of the great good news.  Christ is Risen!  He is risen indeed!  Alleluia!

At His baptism Jesus enters into the darkness of your sin; He becomes one with the darkness of your sin and carries it to the cross where the darkness engulfs Jesus.  The sky becomes dark for three hours and the devil is victorious as a Roman soldier spears Jesus in the side.  Jesus dies for the darkness of your sin.  But Jesus does not stay dead.  Christ is Risen!  He is risen indeed!  Alleluia!

Jesus Christ is the light of the world and the darkness cannot comprehend the light.  The darkness is driven back by the light.  The light bursts out of the darkness of the tomb and the light of the Good News of Jesus’ resurrections spreads from Jerusalem to Judea to Samaria and to the ends of the earth.  The light of the Good News of Jesus’ resurrection has spread as far as Hamilton, Ohio and this morning it continues to drive back the darkness.  Christ is Risen!  He is risen indeed!  Alleluia!

The darkness of the tomb is undone as the stone is rolled away and light floods into the place of the dead, destroying the darkness.  The darkness cannot resist the light and it has to flee.  The inky cloud of darkness that came over Jerusalem is driven back by the light of the great good news.  Christ is Risen!  He is risen indeed!  Alleluia!

The battle between darkness and light continues this morning.  The devil and His demons want to convince you that you belong to the darkness; that the darkness is your destiny; that you were made for the darkness.  Indeed, as a descendent of great-great-grandpa Adam you are born a child of darkness.  You are born spiritually blind, dead and an enemy of God.  But that all changed.  In the water and the word of Holy Baptism you are rescued from the darkness.

Colossians 1:13 (ESV) 13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,[1].

Ephesians 5:8 (ESV) 8 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light[2]

The great Good News of Jesus’ resurrection is that you no longer belong to the darkness.  In your baptism you are transferred to the kingdom of light and you belong to the light.  The light of Christ drives out the gloom of darkness in your life.  In the midst of the trials and troubles of life, the light of Christ brings true joy, true hope and true love.  In the midst of your struggle with the darkness of sin and evil you know that the light is victorious.  Christ is Risen!  He is risen indeed!  Alleluia!

The light of Jesus’ resurrection even drives back the dark cloud of death.  Death comes into the world with Adam and Eve and death is coming for each of you.  Death and the grave seem like a final destination, but Jesus clearly shows that the grave is not permanent.  Christ is Risen!  He is risen indeed!  Alleluia!

On the last day Jesus will return and raise the dead.  In Christ’s resurrection death has lost its power.  1 Corinthians 15:55 (ESV) 55 “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”[3]  The light of Jesus’ resurrection is the antidote to the darkness of death because if Jesus rose from the dead then you will rise from the dead because you have been united with Him in your baptism.  Romans 6:3-5 (ESV)  3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 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. 5 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.[4]  Christ is Risen!  He is risen indeed!  Alleluia!

Jesus rose from the dead!  The light of Christ drives back the darkness in your life.  As you live in the light you are the light of the world.  As you live as light you will repel darkness.  You will bring the light of Christ into darkness, but not everyone likes the light.  Many people, when confronted by the light of Christ, close their eyes and retreat back into the darkness.  Far too many love the darkness instead of the light.            John 3:19 (ESV) 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. [5]

Evil loves the darkness.  You live in the light.  Sin loves the darkness.  You live in the light of Jesus’ forgiveness.  Death loves the darkness.  You live in the light of your coming resurrection to eternal life with Jesus.  Live in the Good News that Jesus has driven away the darkness of your sin so you can live in the light – you can live as the light – you can be the light of the world.

Even on this Easter morning you can feel the tension of the great battle between darkness and light.  The battle rages on, but you know who wins.  Christ is Risen!  He is risen indeed!  Alleluia!  Amen.


[1]  The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001

[2]  The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001

[3]  The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001

[4]  The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001

[5]  The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001

 

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