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The living hope

1 Peter 1:3-9

Pastor David Ernst

Easter Sunday
Epiphany Lutheran Mission of La Caramuca  
Barinas, Venezuela

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Sun, Apr 12, 2020 

Christ is risen!

He is risen indeed!

Today is the day of the primary festival of the church. We celebrate the Lord's resurrection. In truth, every Sunday is a celebration of the resurrection. For the Jews, the Sabbath was on Saturday, because God finished the creation of heaven and earth on the seventh day. For us, because Christ rose from the dead early on the morning of the first of the day of the week, Sunday is the first day of the new creation in Jesus Christ. We meet on Sundays for the worship of God, not by divine command, because according to the new covenant in the blood of Christ, there are no dates determined by God for worship. However, the Lord has commanded us to meet regularly to hear His Word and receive the sacrament of the altar and also, the whole world recognizes Sunday as the Christian sabbath.

But, today is the Sunday of Sundays, Easter Sunday. On this day occurred the event that changed the history of the human race. We have the evidence in the common calendar divided between the years before Christ and those after Christ. And this event was not Christmas, because in the New Testament there is no specific date for the birth of Jesus, but there is for His crucifixion and resurrection.

Thus Exodus 12: 1-6 says, “And Jehovah spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying: This month shall be the beginning of the months; It will be for you the first in the months of the year. Speak to the whole congregation of Israel, saying: On the tenth of this month, each of you should take one lamb for your parents' families, one lamb for each family. And if the family is so small that it is not enough to eat the lamb, then it will take its immediate neighbor to his house, and according to the number of people, each one according to his eating, you will count the lamb. Your lamb will be without blemish, one year old male; you will take it from the sheep or the goats. And you must keep it until the fourteenth day of this month; and the whole congregation of the people of Israel shall slaughter him between the two afternoons. "

And the evangelists say that the first Holy Week was the Passover week of the Jews. On that night of the plague that killed the firstborn of Egypt, the Israelites were saved by the blood of the lamb painted on the doors of their houses. Jesus held a dinner of unleavened bread with his disciples, but in that week, He was the paschal lamb. Jesus Christ is our paschal lamb. His sacrifice was perfect and sufficient to satisfy the justice of God forever.

But, this is not the end of the story. On the third day, Christ rose from the dead. This event divided the history of the world into two parts. But, how strange the story! Everyone saw Jesus on the cross. The purpose of the Roman crucifixion was not just to kill, but to humiliate those crucified publicly during a slow and painful death. After a while, if the crucified survived, the soldiers broke his legs. In this way, hanging on the cross, the victim was unable to get up with his legs to breathe again. When the spear pierced Jesus' side, blood and water flowed. This meant that he was already dead.

The body of Jesus was quickly buried, before the Jewish Sabbath, without anointing with aromatic spices according to custom. Therefore, St. Mark says, after the Sabbath, “Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought aromatic spices to come and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, at sunrise, they came to the grave. ”

But there was a problem. The authorities had sealed the grave with a large stone. So the women said to each other: Who will remove the stone from the door of the tomb? The other evangelists say it was also a guard in front of the grave. The women discovered the stone removed and the guard on the run.

“And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, covered in a long white garment; and they were shocked. And he said to them: Do not be afraid; you seek Jesus the Nazarene, the one who was crucified; He has risen, he is not here; Here is the place where they put him. But go tell your disciples and Peter that He is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you. ”

The women were frightened and fled from the grave. But, they told their story and the authorities found the empty tomb difficult to explain, because they themselves sealed with a large stone and put a guard in front of the tomb. Then the risen Christ appeared first to Mary Magdalene, then to all the apostles, and after the apostles to many witnesses, once 500 of the brothers at one time.

When the disciples saw the risen Christ, they finally understood why Christ announced His death three times and spoke of rebuilding the temple of His body in three days. They understood that the resurrection of Jesus Christ was different from the revivals that the Scriptures speak of. For example, the daughter of Jairus, the son of the widow of Nain, Lazarus, Dorcas in the book of Acts. Jesus in His resurrection overcame death, also the power of sin and the devil, and did not rise to die again, but to reign forever. And He was the firstfruits of the resurrection. The promise to us is to rise one day and live forever with Jesus.

According to Saint Paul, we share the atoning death of Christ in baptism and through baptism we will share His resurrection. In baptism the new life begins. But, we are still in this world and we also share Adam's sinful nature until physical death.

For this reason, Peter says in the epistle (1 Peter 1: 3-9) “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his great mercy caused us to be reborn for a living hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead ; for an incorruptible, uncontaminated and unfading heritage, reserved in heaven for you, who are saved by the power of God through faith, for the salvation that is ready to be manifested in the last time. ”

For now, says Peter, “although at present for a little while, if necessary, you are afflicted by various tests, so that the test of your faith, much more precious than the gold that perishes, even if it is tested by fire, is found in praise, glory and honor, in the manifestation of Jesus Christ. ”

The problems of this earthly life only serve to prepare us for eternal life. The things of this world will not last forever, but the Word of God, the promise of God, will last forever. Therefore, when the disciples saw that Christ lives, they experienced joy beyond measure. We also when we recognize the presence of Christ in our lives and that his promise is sure. In this is the peace that passes all understanding. Amen.

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