Epistle Lesson: 1 Corinthians 15:19-26
If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died. For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead has also come through a human being; for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, after he has destroyed every ruler and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
Epistle Lesson: Acts 10:34-43
Then Peter began to speak to them: “I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all. That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
Christ is RISEN! At our service earlier this morning, we looked at the Resurrection throughout the history of the church. Not only though did we look at what has been said about the Resurrection, but we too entered into this story. We too have reason and joy this Easter morning to shout our Hallellujah’s and give our thanksgiving to God who favored no one, but gave forgiveness to all people of all nations in that glorious Resurrection. In our Epistle Lesson, Paul wrote to the Church of Corinth that death came through a human being, that each and everyone of us through the sins of Adam had remained in a state of sin, and through the Resurrection of One who is the Christ, so that ALL may have life and have that life eternal. This is not just a Christian story folks, this is the human story. This is why each and everyone of us has a part to tell in this story. This morning we just heard what that Resurrection meant to one such artist. The beauty that I found of Ron DiCianni’s painting, is his understanding that this Resurrection did not just affect the people of the future, but of all people of all time. Through this one event, as I have been referring to it, the main of event of our faith, The King of kings and Lord of lords walked into a new world with an establishment of a new kingdom. A kingdom where death no longer has victory, a kingdom where there is no pain of sin anymore. When we take seriously this bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ, we begin to see the world shift. Not only shift, but it begins to do everything that Jesus has been preaching about and becomes a “Radical Reversal”. There is truly Power and Authority in the Resurrection!
You know, you may be sitting here today and thinking, yeah, so what? I am just another Christian in Franklin County, really what does the Resurrection of Jesus Christ have to do with me? Well let me begin just with this. There is so much that the Resurrection has to do with each of us we will be looking and discussing this Resurrection in detail for at least the next 7 Sundays. That is how important this event is and honestly, over the next 7 Sundays we won’t even begin to really understand the fuller implications of the Resurrection, that my brothers and sisters in Christ will take our lifetime. But let’s begin today with Peter. You may remember Peter as the fisherman who followed Jesus. He was one of the 12 disciples, and was actually one of the three that was closest to Jesus. Peter, on the night of Jesus’ arrest had denied Jesus 3 times. But Peter is not his actual name. Rather his true name is Cephas, but Jesus changed his name to Peter which comes to us from the word Petra or Rock. It was going to be on Peter, on the Rock, that Jesus was going to build his Church, the Bride of Christ. And that is exactly what is happening here in our scripture lesson from Acts. Here we have Peter, boldly proclaiming the power and the authority that was placed with Christ Jesus in the Resurrection. Peter says, “You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all.” Notice here in this clip of Peter’s sermon that Jesus is known first and foremost as the peace that he taught. Jesus was not the warrior or victor by force, but by his suffering and servitude. Jesus did not overcome death with that of killing death, but overcame death by humbling himself to the most grotesque form of death, that of a cross. And because, he who is God, gave himself over to death and over came death, literally Christ is placed Lord over all that there was, is, and ever will be. That means when you testify as one who is a believer in Christ and the power and authority that comes with that Resurrecton, when you take upon yourself that name as an Easter people, you are also saying that you desire Jesus to be Lord over your life. Lord over all
aspects of that life. Earlier today I talked about in the Sunrise service how I tried to live both lives: both a life that was in sin, and a life that was on show for the world to see. I speak about those times of my past not as times that I brag about, but rather to show the graciousness and glory of God in the Resurrection that he offered even me, a two faced believer, forgiveness. I do not, do NOT want anyone here thinking well Pastor King must have it all put together now that he has believed and has placed Jesus Lord of his life. I don’t. I still sin, I still mess up, BUT the difference is that I do not desire that life that doesn’t place Jesus as Lord of my Life, in ALL aspects of my life. That means Lord over my time, Lord over my parenting, Lord over my politics, Lord over my finances, and yes, even Lord over my marital life with Jackie. Through the Resurrection, Christ is LORD OVER EVERYTHING!
So now that we have that accomplished, what do I do now? Well beginning with the Gospels, the Disciples were commanded by our Lord Jesus Christ to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. From that time on, the apostles laid hands on new believers and were told to go and preach the good news, the leaders of those new believers have laid hands on other new believers and have been commanded to go preach the good news of Christ’s Resurrection, and so on, and so on, and in my baptism and confirmation I was commanded to go and tell people of Christ’s Resurrection and my own experience of what that means. And In 2008, Bishop Kammerer licensed me to lay now my hands on new believers to send them out as new believers proclaiming the good news of the Resurrection of our LORD and Savior Jesus Christ and that there is forgiveness offered by the blood and resurrection of Christ Jesus. And each Lord’s Day, this eighth day, the day that God raised the dead, we gather at the table and proclaim that forgiveness that was given to us in this awesome and powerful Resurrection. We not only though hold onto that light and keep it to ourselves. But we close our worship service the same way, with a benediction where I as your Pastor sends you, the ministers of Jesus Christ back out into the mission fields to declare your witness to the Power and Authority in the Resurrection! Amen.