Easter Truth Brings Eternal Joy by Pastor Roger Rohde April 16, 2017

Easter Truth Brings Eternal Joy

Psalm 16:9-11

The words of our text speak of an event that would occur approximately

1,000 years after these words were first recorded. The prophecy before us

declares that the Holy One will not see decay. This Holy One is Jesus. Jesus did

not see any decay of His body during the three days it was in the tomb. Peter in

his Pentecost sermon noted: “Brothers, I can tell you confidently that the

patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. But he was

a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one

of his descendants on his throne. Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the

resurrection of the Christ, that He was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his

body see decay. God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the

fact” (Acts 2:29-32). Paul proclaimed a similar message in Acts 13: 34-39: “The

fact that God raised Christ from the dead, never to decay, is stated in these

words: ‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings promised to David.’ So it is

stated elsewhere: ‘You will not let your Holy One see decay.’ For when David had

served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his

fathers and his body decayed. But the One Whom God raised from the dead did

not see decay. Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the

forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through Him everyone who believes is

justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of God.”

The point is that the resurrection of Jesus we celebrate today brings us

Easter truth that can provide us with eternal joy.

The resurrection of Jesus assures us that the soul of a departed Christian

immediately goes from this life to be in heaven with Jesus. Once a

Christian’s earthly life on earth is over, the body returns to the ground from

whence it came, and the soul goes to be with the Lord in heaven. Solomon put it

this way in Ecclesiastes 12:7, “The dust returns to the ground it came from, and

the spirit returns to God Who gave it.” For this reason Jesus said to the repentant

thief on the cross, “Today you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43). This is

what Jesus is talking about in John 11:25 when He said a Christian does not die.

When a Christian departs this life he goes to heaven to dwell with the Lord, which

Paul says is far better than continuing to live on earth (Philippians 1:23).

This truth is important for us to keep in mind as we all have to deal with

death. We may have been experienced the passing of a spouse, a parent, a child,

a relative or friend. There is heartache and pain whenever death befalls us.

Death is not natural. It is not the way God created it to be. Death is a part of our

lives today because of sin. Yet, the Lord tells us through Paul that “we are not to

sorrow as others who have no hope, for if we believe that Jesus died and rose

again, we also know that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep”

(I Thessalonians 4:13-14). Easter truth of Christ’s resurrection brings us eternal

joy knowing that through Christ death has no power over us. “Nothing can

separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:39).

Easter truth is also about a Christian’s body rising again from the grave on

the Last Day. Job noted in today’s Old Testament Reading: “I now that my

Redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand upon the earth. And after my

skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see Him with

my own eyes – I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me”

(Job 19:25-27).

What a day it will be when our Savior returns to open all the graves. Those

who trusted in Christ will see their bodies transformed like unto His glorious body.

Paul wrote in today’s Epistle Reading: “Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all

sleep, but we will all be changed – in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last

trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and

we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable,

and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the

imperishable and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will

come true: “Death is swallowed up in victory. ‘O death, where is your sting? O

grave, where is your victory?’ The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is

the law. But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus

Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always

give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in

the Lord is not in vain” (I Corinthians 15:51-58).

The Easter truth is meant not only to console us when a brother or sister in

Christ passes away, but it is meant to comfort us as we also face our own death.

Easter truth brings consolation, peace, joy, and hope to all who cling to Jesus

Christ by faith. May we be blessed by the Easter truth of Jesus’ resurrection and

may we be bold to share its life-giving truth and blessing with others. Amen.

No comments yet

Comments are closed

St. Paul’s Lutheran Church All rights reserved 2017