Easter Sunday – B LSB #’s 457, 470 v1-4, 461 v1-4, 469
Text – Mark 16:8
And they went out & fled from the tomb, for trembling & astonishment had seized them, & they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.
BECAUSE THEY WERE AFRAID
Have you said nothing because there is fear in your life as well? Of course, that’s a good excuse right? How can you go wrong if you’re no worse than those 3 women who knew Jesus in person? How can you go wrong, if you’re no worse than those women who loved Him enough to go back into the tomb, to anoint what they thought was His rotting flesh?
How can we go wrong? If I go into detail, there are a million ways. Every sin we ever commit is an instance of going wrong. But it would take far too long to look at all our sins in detail. Today we’ll be looking at our failure to tell the news that Jesus is risen. We’ll be examining times when we, like those three women, said nothing to anyone.
All of us have been hurt by someone we love. As we love them, & are enabled by the Holy Spirit, we forgive them & move on. The relationship may even grow stronger after that sort of forgiveness.
Yet, we also know there are many more occasions when we choose not to forgive. We choose not to tell that person about the forgiveness of sins Jesus guaranteed through His resurrection. Instead, we make the conscious decision to hold a grudge, to scheme for revenge, or simply to ignore them because they’ve hurt us.
As children of God, we’re aware that isn’t the proper attitude, but living out our calling as disciples of Christ is never easy. Constantly, we have the devil & our sinful nature battling against that new man created in us by the power of the Holy Spirit. Our old Adam prefers that we say nothing to anyone, especially when it comes to the message of forgiveness. Satan wants us to have nothing to do with the healing of another person’s soul. It’s easy enough to say, “Christ is Risen.” Even, “He is Risen Indeed.” It’s easy enough to live out our Easter calling by celebrating this Sunday with going to church & enjoying the fellowship of a family meal.
It’s way more difficult to live out our Easter calling through forgiving that wretch who hurt me, especially if he or she is unrepentant. We’re afraid to tell them they are forgiven, because we’re afraid they’ll take advantage. It’s a legitimate fear, yet our Savior’s death on the cross calls us to resist that fear & to forgive in spite of it.
Jesus died so we might have the Holy Spirit living in us, & it’s that Spirit of God which empowers us to do what is impossible – forgive someone who does not deserve to be forgiven. As Christ hung on the cross, dying, He forgave those who crucified Him. Still, after they were forgiven no one helped Him down from the cross.
They did not deserve their forgiveness, but the Son of God gave up His life for them anyway. In our struggle to forgive, God doesn’t call us to give up our lives, but He does call us to sacrifice our pride. That can be a more difficult sacrifice to make. Giving up our lives is a one-time decision, but actually living for someone, may involve years of suffering with them.
Time & time again, you’ll be called to swallow your pride & share forgiveness with that person. You can easily tire of it, & your sinful nature will all the while encourage you to say nothing: “They made their bed, let them lie in it. They deserve it.” Thank God our Savior did not take that attitude, & that’s the message we have been given to tell the world!
Christ did not leave us to die in our sins. He’s destroyed sin & death. We’re no longer captive to them. We’ve been set free, & that message of release is what brings spiritual life out of death. In Christ’s resurrection, life was brought forth from the grave. That news removes fear from our lives, because as Scripture says, “Perfect love drives out fear.” And we have a Father who loves perfectly. We have a Savior who loves perfectly. The fears in our lives will be driven out as God works in us through the power of His means of Grace.
Have you been telling anyone that news? I assume all of you know someone who’s hurting & struggling, someone living in fear with little hope for tomorrow. Our world is filled with such people. We know that with certainty because we too are such people. Our personal lives also have known fear, pain & struggle.
Yet, as Christ’s resurrection brought Him from death to life, so can those hurting friends & neighbors of ours be brought from death to life. The Gospel alone has that power, & you have that Gospel. Even we ourselves can be brought to life once again, from our fear, from our pain, & from our doubts.
There’s no need to live in slavery to sin any longer. The chains between death & sin were broken when death could not hold our Savior in the grave. Christ broke the grip that death had on Him & on us. Our sin no longer matters because it has been paid for.
Since Christ became sin for us, there’s no reason to fear telling Him of our sin. In the very telling of those sins to Jesus, He removes them from us. He lifts the burden of guilt & fear from our shoulders. That is the greatest news that you have the privilege to tell, the news of your own forgiveness. Whoever believes that shall be saved.
Jesus asks us to tell Him the news of our sin; then He cleanses & renews our conscience. What joy it is to receive that cleansing. Have you been telling your Savior about your sins? Have you been receiving His cleansing? Let go of your fear. Sin, death & the devil have been conquered. There’s nothing left to be afraid of. Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Amen.
But the pains which He endured, our salvation have procured. Now above the sky He’s King, where the angels ever sing. Alleluia. Amen. LSB 457:3.
Pastor Dean R. Poellet