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Winner and still champion

1 Corinthians 15:20-26

Pastor David Ernst

Easter Sunday
Epiphany Lutheran Mission of La Caramuca  
Barinas, Venezuela

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Sun, Apr 24, 2011 

The time has come. During the 40 days of Lent, we recalled the suffering and death of Jesus Christ. Now we celebrate His victory over sin, the devil and death.

There are three possible perspectives on the story of the Passion and Resurrection of Christ. First, and most appropriate for Lent, we meditate on Christ's sacrifice. That means, Jesus Christ fulfilled the Law of God perfectly in His life, but as the innocent Lamb of God suffered and died to pay the price for our sins. God created Adam and Eve to live in peace and harmony in the garden of Eden, but they broke the primordial harmony by their disobedience.

Therefore God cast them out of the earthly paradise into a world of pain and death. However, the Lord did not want to lose his human children, so gave them the promise of a Saviour from eternal death, a champion who would defeat the devil who deceived Adam and Eve.

Thatīs why St. Paul writes in our text for today: "And since death came through a man, by a man the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive."

At various times, some people believed that Jesus Christ by His death paid a ransom to the devil to free us from sin. This is a mistake. Christ died to satisfy God's justice. For God did not want the destruction of anyone, but a just God by by nature cannot overlook the sin of man. Divine justice required someone to pay the price and Christ did.

But it was the desire of the devil to destroy us all, and Christ also thwarted this cruel plan.

Another perspective on Holy Week: By Christ's suffering and death, God showed His love for all and showed us a better way than to threaten and punish sinners. John 3.16 says, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." Also, Romans 5:8, "But God shows His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." In addition, among Christ's last words were, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do. "

However, it was not His sole purpose for Christ to set an example for us. Yes, we can look to Christ as a model of compassion and mercy. But we can not imitate Christ perfectly, because we can not love God or our neighbor perfectly. So we can not sacrifice our lives for the world. Only Christ can do this.

But we can share in the victory and exaltation of Christ in His resurrection. So St. Paul writes: "But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming." In other words, when Jesus returns in glory, we also will be resurrected to live with Him forever.

In Christ we have victory over our sins, which the devil wanted to us for our downfall and eventually we will overcome the finality of physical death. Therefore, Isaiah prophesied, "And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever;

and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth,for the LORD has spoken. It will be said on that day,

"Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us.This is the LORD; we have waited for him;

let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation."

Christ is risen!He is risen indeed! Amen.

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