Sermon by: Rev. Dr. Austin Brinkerhoff
After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”
8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
11 While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. 12 When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, 13 telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ 14 If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” 15 So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.
Lord of Calvary and the Empty Tomb, on this morning of Your resurrection I greet You with shouts of gratefulness and praise. I greet You as the God of victory over sin and death. I greet You as the Lord of life – Who, by the power of Your love, has transformed us from people of darkness into people of light.
And that is so very important because the world around us is so full of tragedy. I read about and hear about the thousands of people dying from the coronavirus. I read about and hear about the moral decay in our society, the lack of caring, the increase in violence, the promotion of sin both in the world and in many churches and denominations. Yet, Father, there is so much good happening as well. Every single day more and more people are turning away from the lies of this world and turning toward the truth of Your Word. More people are praying these days than in a very long time. People all around the world are being saved and baptized and healed and transformed into new creations. There are many people, many Christian witnesses who want to prove through our loyalty to You in our daily living that Your power of love is far stronger than any evil which may come upon me.
And isn’t that what this Easter morning is all about — the fact that because Christ has risen from the tomb, by His power and grace, I too can rise from the darkness into the light. I too can become a new creation. I too can be given a new life in Him.
Lord God, my prayer on this Easter Sunday is that by the power of the resurrected Savior I would recommit myself to active Christian discipleship. And that my church (Christ United Fellowship) would be a lighthouse for the unsaved, a courthouse for the unfaithful, and a warehouse for the unfed and unclothed.
Increase my Christian integrity. Help me to spread the assurance of salvation You have given me this day. Live in me and through me. Walk with me and give me peace. Give hope to the hopeless, strength to the weak, love to the lonely, comfort to the grieving, and faith to the faithless. Let the awesome glow of Your resurrected presence shine upon everyone I know and love.
Glorious God of the Empty Tomb, I greet You, praise You and thank You from the very bottom of my heart!
In Jesus’ name I pray and now I pray as He taught me to pray:
“Our Father, Who art in heaven,
hallowed be Thy name,
Thy kingdom come,
Thy Will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,