April 4, 2021
Fr. Philip Eberhart
HE IS NOT HERE. HE IS RISEN!
Come, Holy Spirit, come among us here. Open our eyes, Lord, to your REAL PRESENCE here today … Jesus Christ, risen from the dead. Help us, Lord, to see you … take the veil away from our eyes. Touch us and let us touch you, as your disciples did so long ago on that first Easter morning. Be among us this day and forever more. Come, Lord Jesus. AMEN.
HE IS NOT HERE! HE IS RISEN!
Seven words that changed the world! The women that morning came expecting one thing, wondering how they would be able to get into the tomb to do their religious duty for their friend and Master. They were on a mission of mercy.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ, no matter what anyone says to you, is one of the most well attested facts of history – there is no other explanation for these events. The four gospels tell the story from various points of view, with the witness to particular groups of people in mind: Matthew as a witness to the Jews, Luke to the Gentiles, Mark is the “JOE FRIDAY” gospel (Just the facts, ma’am!) and John, as he refers to himself, “the one who Jesus loved”, the one and only disciple at the foot of the cross, tells a very spiritual and personal story of these events.
Today we are still, like the women and the disciples, trying to do our best to wrap our minds around the events and their implications for our day to day life! 2000 years on, and we will take the rest of eternity, as we say in the Holy Week services, “contemplating these mighty acts, by which God has wrought our full salvation.”
He Is NOT Here. HE IS RISEN! Seven words that enfold the central kernel of truth for the universe. It all comes back to these words. The resurrection of Jesus from the dead, … “turned the world upside down.” Those are not my words, but the words of the leaders of the known world, only 4 or 5 decades after this event!
Have you had your world turned upside down? The fact is the resurrection of Jesus – the living Christ turns our world back upside right!! We are like the pilot who crashed the jet he was flying when he “pulled up” and flew into the ground, because he had lost his bearings- his horizon- and was flying upside down at night! We are flying upside down at night!
The resurrection reorients our lives, just as it did the women and the disciples that day and the subsequent days as Jesus appeared to them in various ways and places. He met Mary Magdalene in the garden, to disciples on the road to Emmaus, then he showed us at the Upper Room, behind a locked door: “Peace! Do not be afraid!”
After the days of Jesus appearances, his ascension to heaven, which they witnessed, and the empowering of the Holy Spirit for witness at Pentecost, these men and women were different, to say the least. They were a force for the reconciliation of the world, cooperating with the Spirit of God to share the word of His resurrection.
They were different people! Different than they were before; different from the world around them; different from anything the world expected.
And Jesus final words, before He ascended are the most promising in the whole story… “And behold, I am with you even to the end of the age.”
HE IS RISEN!
This event didn’t just have an impact on the world back then, it has impact and influence in our own lives today. He is still today, “with us.” He is still alive! That is the meaning of today!
I want to just remind you of something that Peter wrote.
It’s not in our readings but it should be:
Born Again to a Living Hope 1 Peter 1:3-9 esv
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
As OAK McEachren could be heard to say, “There it is!”
If you want to ask the question, “SO WHAAT?” here it is.
Seven outcomes of those seven words:
1. [You are] born again to a living hope…
2. [You have an] imperishable, undefiled, and unfading inheritance…
3. [You are receiving] a salvation ready to be revealed…
4. [You experience the] tested genuineness of your faith…
5. [Your life is] to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ…
6. [You have a] joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory,
7. [Because you are] obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls
He is not here. He is risen!
Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in you that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.