Easter Sunrise 2023 – He is not Here…

Matthew 28:1-10

After the Sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning and his clothing white as snow. For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.’ This is my message for you.”

So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers and sisters to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

Sermon Text

Easter is a day of transformations. It is a day when the past falls away and reveals, not just the present, but the brilliant future that God has inaugurated around us. The light of what will be bursts out and makes the world shine, even just for a moment, with a light only Heaven can bring about. The glory of Christ resurrected, the fullness of God represented in the fullness of a perfected humanity, this is a glimpse of what we all will someday know when God’s perfected world is established and Christ returns in final victory.

For the women at the tomb that day, the emptiness of their friend and teacher’s resting place was a cause for extreme alarm. Was the body stolen? Did the Romans dispose of it somehow? What caused them to be deprived of this one bit of peace, properly burying their beloved companion as all people deserved to be buried. The alarm they felt melted through the words of a mysterious stranger – “Be not afraid… He is not here. He is raised from the dead.” The reality of his absence was met with something new, the reality of his continued life. Christ had been raised, not by another prophet or miracle worker, but of his own power, a master over life and death, Christ showed us what he will do for all of us someday.

We are now in a place where, when people ask where Jesus is, we must say, “He is not here. He is raised from the dead.” We do not have the immediate consolation of Christ being a little ways off to meet us, reassure us, and comfort us. However, we of faith are given the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit, to settle in our hearts. The presence of God, until that day comes where all is accomplished, sits within us. The light of Easter, of the resurrection, is ours to share, if we are willing. The light shines in the darkness, and shines out most brightly when we gather as we do this morning. The people of God, looking into the darkness of our fallen world, proclaiming the resurrection, and the hope it gives. We are Christ on earth today, proclaim the resurrection loud and clear wherever you go. – Amen.

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