The Resurrection of Our Lord
Passage: Matthew 28:1–28:10
†††In the Name of Jesus†††
Pastor Murray Keith
Text: Matthew 28:1-10
Date: April 16th, 2017; Easter Sunday
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
Today there is a lot of searching going on.
Chocolate Easter eggs have been hidden in all kinds of places and excited children are searching to find and devour them.
There are a lot of people searching - but not just children, and not just for chocolate Easter eggs, and not only on Easter Sunday.
People are searching for something deeper in their lives.-0p
People are searching for love, and peace, and meaning in their lives.
What are you searching for?
When we take the time to slow down and reflect on our lives we discover that something is missing.
We recognize that something isn’t right.
We see that things aren’t the way that they are supposed to be.
We know our struggles with our sin, the problems we have in our relationships, the troubles we have with our health, and so on.
We see that things aren’t the way that they are supposed to be in the world.
There are natural disasters, tragedies of all kinds, nations at war, people stealing from each other and hurting each other.
Things in our lives, and in the world, aren’t what they are supposed be and this is troubling for us.
Most troubling of all, however, is death. The death of our loved ones and our own impending death.
It leaves us searching for answers. For meaning. For peace and contentment. For love, and light, and life - in the midst of the hatred, and darkness, and death.
People are empty, and sadly they are searching in all the wrong places.
In our culture of affluence it is common to see people trying to fill the void with “stuff”.
They try to find meaning in big houses, and fast cars, and a bunch of toys.
We too fall into this temptation.
But material possessions will never do the trick. They might satisfy for a moment, but soon we are wanting more and more - the void is never filled.
People try to achieve contentment through self-indulgence.
Vacations, and booze, and drugs, and hobbies, and doing whatever I want as long as it brings me pleasure, is believed to be the ticket to fulfillment.
But, as it is with material possessions, these experiences of pleasure may satisfy for a moment, but they never seem to do the trick either. They come and go and soon we find ourselves empty again.
With King Solomon, we discover that all of this is vanity and it never truly satisfies.
To be sure, I am not saying that nice houses, and cars, and boats, and vacations, and hobbies are inherently bad - they can bring us a lot of joy.
What I am saying is that when they become the focus and centre of our lives - we are left empty. The void remains.
Beyond stuff and self-indulgence, people try to find meaning, and peace, and contentment by searching “within” - they believe there is something inside of themselves that they just need to discover or unlock.
But the truth is that we are so lost and we are so empty that there is nothing inside to find - there are no answers within.
People are searching - and they try to find what they are looking for in the ways I have mentioned and in many other ways also.
Whether people know it or not - the reason why we feel this void, the reason why we have this sense that things aren't the way they are supposed to be, the reason why we find ourselves searching - is because of our broken relationship with God.
We are missing God, and without him, we will never find peace, and contentment, and meaning, and life.
It has been said that there is a “God-shaped” hole in the heart of every person.
St. Augustine recognized this when he said, “O Lord, our heart is restless until it rests in you.”
And this is true.
Sin has caused separation between us and God and we feel and experience that great void.
Sin has caused disaster and tragedy in our lives and in this world - and on our own we simply can't cope.
Sin leads to the ultimate consequence of death - and on our own we are hopeless and helpless in the face of it.
God is the answer. He is what we are searching for.
Yes, sin causes separation between us and God, sin causes us suffering and sorrow, sin causes death - but God has saved us from all of that through the life, death, and resurrection of his Son, Jesus Christ.
God removed the separation between us when he became one of us - when he took on our flesh.
Jesus lived the perfect and sinless life that we are unable to live.
On Good Friday, to save us, to earn the forgiveness for our sins that we all desperately need - Jesus was wounded for our transgressions. He was crushed for our iniquities. Upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed (Isaiah 52:5).
Jesus is the answer to what he are searching for - and never is that more evident than when he rose victoriously over sin and death.
The women went seeking Jesus on that first Easter morning - they were searching for his dead body so that they could give it a proper burial.
They encountered an angel who said to them, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified” (Matthew 28:5).
The angel then shared with them the most wonderful Good News, “He is not here, for he has risen, as he said” (Matthew 28:6).
Dear friends, Christ’s victory over sin and death (your sin and death) is what you are searching for - and he has provided you with all of the love, peace, contentment, and life that you need.
God has found you, he has saved you, and he makes what you are searching for yours through his Word and Sacraments in the church.
What we are searching for is not hidden and it’s not a secret. The search ends here.
The search ends at the baptismal font when and where God claimed you as his own, cleansed you of your sin, and personally gave you the gift of salvation.
The search ends as you hear, read, and meditate upon God’s Word. Through the Word you grow in your understanding and you are strengthened in your faith that God’s answer to what you are searching for is Jesus.
The search ends as we gather at the altar to receive Christ’s true body and blood. In a miraculous way we come into contact with God and he nourishes us, forgives us, and gives us the gift of everlasting life.
My brothers and sisters in Christ, please join us at St. Paul’s throughout the entire year to receive what you are searching for - Jesus and his gift of salvation.
God is here for you - and in him you will find and receive true love, contentment, meaning, hope, and life. Eternal life.
The search for what you are missing ends with Jesus and all that he has accomplished for you.
“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (Colossians 3:1-2).
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus unto life everlasting. Amen.