Cruce Tectum

Cruce tectum, hidden under the cross, a blog for Epiphany Lutheran Church, Dorr, Michigan

Location: Moscow, Idaho

Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Resurrection of Our Lord - Easter Day

The Resurrection of Our Lord: Come to the Feast[1]
March 31, 2013

Text: Luke 22:7-20; Amos 9:11-15 (ESV): “‘In that day I will raise up the booth of David that is fallen and repair its breaches, and raise up its ruins and rebuild it as in the days of old, that they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations who are called by my name,’ declares the LORD who does this. ‘Behold, the days are coming,’ declares the LORD, ‘when the plowman shall overtake the reaper and the treader of grapes him who sows the seed; the mountains shall drip sweet wine, and all the hills shall flow with it. I will restore the fortunes of my people Israel, and they shall rebuild the ruined cities and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and drink their wine, and they shall make gardens and eat their fruit. I will plant them on their land, and they shall never again be uprooted out of the land that I have given them,’ says the LORD your God.”

He is risen!  He is risen, indeed!  Alleluia!

            The Book of the Prophet Amos has served as the basis of our Lenten meditations.  Taken as a whole, the pattern of the book is death and resurrection.  Amos preaches God’s slaying Law to Israel and to us.  He kills us with God’s Word of Judgment against our sin.  And then, when God has us right where He wants us, which is to say, good and dead, with no presumption of helping ourselves, then He gives us hope.  It’s right at the end of the book.  It’s our text for this morning.  In that day I will raise up the booth of David that is fallen and repair its breaches, and raise up its ruins and rebuild it as in the days of old” (v. 11).  This verse is about the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and the restoration of the remnant, the resurrection of the holy Christian Church.
            Beloved in the Lord, Jesus Christ is risen from the dead!  That’s an astonishing fact.  It’s a real resurrection, flesh and blood.  There is no body in the tomb of Jesus, because our Lord’s body is living, moving, still bearing the wounds of crucifixion, no longer to hurt Him, but because from them He imparts life to His people, to us, who once were dead in our trespasses and sins.  Our Lord Jesus has the Words of eternal life.  He is the Bread of Life.  He is the Resurrection and the Life.  His life is the light of men.  All of which is to say, the risen Lord Jesus gives you life.  He gives you life eternal and abundant.  He gives it to you now, already, in your Baptism, albeit in a hidden way.  And He gives it to you on the Last Day when He will raise you bodily from the dead to live with Him forever. 
            This new life our Lord Jesus imparts to you to in a Feast!  It is the Feast of Salvation, the Feast of His crucified and risen body and blood, given and shed for you, for the forgiveness of your sins.  Jesus lives to give us His gifts at the altar.  “Come to the Feast,” the Lord Jesus says to you.  Come, for everything is now ready” (Luke 14:17).  And this Feast is beyond imagination.  He describes the abundance of this Feast in our text.  The abundance is such that the plowman appears in the field at the same time as the reaper; the one treading grapes does his work at the time of planting.  Now, think about that image for just a moment.  No break between harvesting and planting.  “(D)ouble production in half the time.  God provides it all” (Lessing).  What great grace!  Beloved, come to the Feast.
            “But I am not worthy,” you confess, and you’re right.  You are not worthy in and of yourself.  “[Your] face bears the marks of worry.  [Your] shoulders are stooped from burdens.  [Your] lips are dirty from slander.  [Your] heart is hardened toward [your] spouse and children.  [Your] fingers are stuck accusing [your] brother.  [Your] arteries are clogged with bitterness and resentment” (Lessing).  But all of that is over now.  Christ is risen, but your sin is buried forever.  Come as you are, weak, burdened, dying, for in this Feast the Lord gives to you forgiveness, life, and salvation.  He raises up the fallen and strengthens those who stand and has mercy upon us all.  The fact is, God has clothed you for this Feast in wedding garments that cover up the stains of your sin.  He clothes you in Baptismal attire, the blood of the Lamb that makes your robes white, the righteousness of Jesus Christ, the Savior.  Come to the Feast, for in Christ, you are clean!
            And this Feast here at the altar is but a foretaste of the Feast to come, the marriage Feast of the Lamb in His Kingdom which has no end.  In other words, this Feast is eternal.  Our text from Amos finds its ultimate fulfillment in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and in His raising you from the dead on the Last Day.  On that Day, He will plant you in His new creation, a new heavens and a new earth.  And you shall never again be uprooted.  No more sin.  No more death.  No more crying or pain.  The old order of things has passed away.  The new has come.  And God wipes away every tear from your eyes.
            Beloved, our God has fulfilled His promise.  He has raised up the booth of David in the flesh of His Son, Jesus Christ, who is risen from the dead.  And from the risen Lord Jesus He raises the ruins of Israel and builds it into the holy Christian Church.  You come to the Feast as living stones of that building, the Church.  Your life is in Him.  For He is risen!  He is risen, indeed!  Alleluia!  In the Name of the Father, and of the Son (+), and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.        

[1] The theme and many of the ideas in this sermon are from R. Reed Lessing, Restore the Roar! (St. Louis: Concordia, 2012).


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