Roger's Postings

Friday, March 29, 2013

Luke 24:1-11   Looking for the living among the dead!!              31/3/13

 {1)  On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. {2} They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, {3} but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. {4} While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. {5} In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? {6} He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: {7} 'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.'" {8} Then they remembered his words. {9} When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. {10} It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. {11} But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense.

 He is risen! He is risen indeed! The Lord Jesus has risen from the dead. The one who died on the cross for our salvation has now risen from the dead so that we can be sure that we have a living Lord and saviour. This is truly fantastic, life-changing news. This surely gives us the impetus to go forward in life with renewed zeal and a new attitude to life.

But does it? I wonder how many of us today are still back with those women on that first Easter morning, still going to look among the dead for the one who is living. Going through the motions of life: doing what we have to do in order to maintain an appearance of having it all together; but inwardly are mourning, lonely and without hope. Still looking for that something that will put life into our life and give us some sort of certainty and enthusiasm for the future. Sadly our world is full of people still looking for the answers to life; pinning their hopes one thing after the other, only to be let down again and again.

 Others are like the disciples hiding away in fear and loneliness, not wanting to believe because it goes against the grain of our commonly held views. Nobody dies like that and comes alive again: that is simply a yarn that somebody wants us to believe. It has to be a story that someone has made up to try to drum up business, we think.

 Even in the church there are those who want to keep Jesus at an arms distance, almost of if they don’t want a living and active Lord in their lives – except to give them what they want. But while he is out there at a distance there is no real need to change our lives or our commitment. We can pretty much live as we please. We can stay scared, lonely and self-centred. In this way we keep on looking for the dead rather than the living.

 While other again want to be like Mary Magdalene and hang on to Jesus for dear life. They want their own personal experiences and their own fulfilments, without thought of sharing what they have seen and know, with others around them. Their only thought is for themselves and their own happiness and peace of mind.

 Yes, I know full well, that we often see and experience deadness within the church and it’s life. But so often the problem again lies with us: we want to look for and find that which is dead. We want the services, sermons and the people to be less than perfect so that we ourselves can sit back and only be involved on our own terms. When we see pain, suffering and death; or failure, poor health and unhappiness, we can sit back and say the church and God is dead and useless.

 When we are looking at the church and the people within it, of course we will find evidence of death. In a tomb you will often find either a corpse or emptiness. The church is made up of sinful, selfish human beings, so how can it not have its failings and shortcomings. The question there is, are they looking to Jesus Christ and his death and resurrection for their help or forgiveness or not.

 But it is here today that I would like to remind you all of the angels message to the women in the empty tomb. "Why do you look for the living among the dead?  He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.'"

 Even though not one single person on earth sought Jesus’ living presence on the first Easter morning, he still rose from the dead. Just as on Good Friday he died for all, even though not one of us deserved it. So too is Jesus alive and active today even though not many seek him or want him: even though most do not want to believe or accept this fact.

 Here though, let us be sure, that he was raised from the dead, and he is alive. This is not just some fanciful story. Let us remember that Jesus said time and time again that he would die and three days later be raised to life again. But even more telling is the fact that their are many passages in the Old Testament, that we know were written hundreds of years before this, on many different occasions, that speak of the Messiah having to die for the sin of humanity and that he would rise again, and that he would continue to be active throughout the ages. Then since his death and resurrection there has again been account after account of people testifying to the fact that this Jesus did die and rise again three days later. So just as it is written: he is not dead, but has risen – Jesus is alive and active, yesterday, today and forever.

Here let us remember that he is here with us today as he promised that he would be. He is here in, with and under the ordinary things of life. He promises that he is with us every time his Word is read and spoken: through the Bible readings, the sermon, or an encouraging word from a fellow believer. He is here in the bread and wine of Holy Communion. He is here in the waters of baptism. He is here in every loving action of his people. He is alive today and active in our world in the ordinary everyday things of life. In all those things that connect us back to his death on the cross there is Jesus Christ himself.

 WE here also need to remember that wherever Jesus and his Spirit goes today, he brings his word of forgiveness. He extends the same love to us all that he showed on the cross, and the extent he is prepared to go in order that we might all be a part of his family. He wants us all to know that he died for us all, so that forgiveness of sins, life and salvation might be ours. Life here and in heaven is now assured for all who are simply willing to trust what he has to offer.

 Then knowing that we do have God’s love and forgiveness – and that salvation and eternal life is ours, he also reassures us that he is with us and does care for us, as we go about our daily lives. He does offer us the power to achieve what we think we cannot achieve on our own. He enables us to love as he has loved us. Through his word of love and forgiveness in the ordinary situations of life, new life begins in a fantastic way for others. Throughout as we live as his people we have the assurance that no matter what, we have Jesus and his forgiveness, life and salvation with us: and no one and nothing can take that away from us.

So believe you, me: Jesus is not dead, but has been raised from the dead. He is risen! He is risen indeed. He is risen so that we can be sure that his death on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins, was for real. He truly is our Lord and Saviour.

 Now we know that we are loved; we are saved, and we do belong. The Lord is with us always, as he promises us. Now we can live in the midst of the troubles and heartaches of this world with a real sense of peace and underlying joy and commitment. We can love; giving our all for the benefit of others. All because our Lord Jesus has died for us and has now risen from the dead.

 This is Good News. This is amazing news. Too good to keep to ourselves. So like those women who went to the tomb, let us now go out from here knowing that Jesus is alive and with us; and let us share this good news with others. For He is risen. He is risen indeed!  AMEN

 Pastor Roger Atze
Glandore/Underdale Lutheran Parish







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