St. Stephen’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and School | Beaver Dam, WI | 920.885.3309

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Sunday: 8:00 a.m., 9:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m.
Thursday: 6:00 and 7:00 p.m.
Friday: 1:30 p.m. (No singing)

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Easter’s Message Lasts Into Eternity

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I Corinthians 15:19-28

Easter Sunday

4/4/21

St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church—Beaver Dam, WI

 

A few days ago, we celebrated a holiday that some people look forward every year. It allows them to play tricks or practical jokes on people. Some of us here might have even fallen prey to some of the foolishness. April Fools’ Day occurs on April 1. Many of those jokes and tricks are harmless. People just want to have fun. Even the person who had been tricked ends up laughing. This day is for fun.

 

There are people who take their pranks and tricks to a whole new level. The only one laughing is the person who came up with the trick. They are mean. They are ruthless. They take the fun out of April Fools’ Day.

 

A rumor circulated around the city of Corinth. This rumor caused many people to question their faith and doubt the words of comfort Paul brought. Some people in the congregation believed there was no resurrection from the dead. These false reports contradicted Paul’s preaching of Jesus. If the dead were not raised, then Christ would not be raised. If Christ had not been raised, the entire Bible would be useless.

 

Paul could not stand around and do nothing. He boldly proclaimed, “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (I Corinthians 15:20). This message was true. The teaching stood at the center of the Bible’s message. Christ had been raised. The resurrection from the dead was sure and certain in all things.

 

Since Christ has been raised from the dead, its benefits lasts forever. “For as in Adam they all die, so also in Christ they will all be made alive” (I Corinthians 15:22). Adam passed down sin to all his descendants. Christ has broken the curse of sin and death in the world bringing forgiveness and life to the world. All those people with faith in Christ know they will rise on the Last Day. Death has been swallowed up in victory. Christ lives, and we too shall live.

 

This is the wonderful message of Easter that we continue to hold to. Christ lives! Christ has been raised from the grave. His sacrifice for sins is complete. Do we have any doubt in the resurrection? We walk with the women to the tomb early on Easter morning. They find the tomb empty. An angel greets them with the wonderful message that Jesus has risen from the dead, just as he said he would.

 

Since Jesus is the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep, we know that we too will awake from death. So many people fear death. They know that it will come. They see death among family and friends. Some face their mortality with much fear and trepidation. Death is all around.

 

The difference comes in how people will face death. Sin brings fear to death. People know that they will have to face a judge for all their wrongs. People worry about what will come afterwards. People face death thinking everything will just end at death.

 

Paul tells us that we will rise. On the Last Day our bodies will rise. We will exit the graves with our bodies reuniting with our souls. We will stand looking up to see our eternal King coming for all to see. With our own eyes we will look upon him. We will go to heaven to live with Jesus for all eternity.

 

Each year Easter holds this wonderful message before our eyes. Christ has overcome. The beaten, bloodied, and weak Savior, takes us up his glory once again. The tomb is empty. Christ proclaims the message of peace to his followers because he lives.

 

Just imagine if that were a terrible joke. Just imagine the greatest April Fools’ prank was that Christ had not been raised. Paul tells us what our outlook would be, “If our hope in Christ applies only to this life, we are the most pitiful people of all” (I Corinthians 15:19). If Jesus only comes as our role model in life, we would have no hope of a victorious life. If Jesus remains in his tomb, we would remain in our graves.

 

If Easter is only about the here and now, we should be pitied in this life. We cannot turn this day into a time with family and friends. We cannot look at Easter as just another festival on the church calendar. We do not look at Easter as simply having a meaning of some kind of vague hope in the future.

 

Easter allows us to look to eternity. Don’t get me wrong, it brings joy to our hears right now. Our sins are forgiven. This message of Easter is something people should check out. It brings such great joy to a person’s heart that they need to hear it.

 

Easter shows us all the words of Jesus are true. The news of Jesus’ resurrection dawns over our sin darkened soul. The message of God’s Word of forgiveness brings peace and comfort to our soul. We live in peace and joy now.

 

Easter also points us to eternity. We know that Jesus lives, so Jesus will live. Easter allows us to look beyond the horizon of this earth to the horizon of heaven. Our Lord has overcome all things for our sake. Our Lord will come to take us to be with him. We do not need to be pitied at all. We should be overjoyed at the great news of Jesus risen.

 

This is no joke. We do not have to doubt. Jesus’ words bring joy to our heart and mind. We live for he lives. We have an eternal hope that Easter solidifies in our mind. We sing out with confidence “I Know that My Redeemer Lives”. We shout out our Alleluias. This joy will not stop today but will last for all eternity. Easter’s Meaning Lasts Into Eternity. Amen.

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