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2015 Easter Vigil Homily

April 4, 2015

April 4, 2015 at Calvary Evangelical Lutheran Church – Mechanicsburg, PA

“Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; He is not here. See the place where they laid Him.”

The women came to the tomb looking for Jesus: “When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint Him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb.” They sought Jesus of Nazareth, the One who was crucified. But the young man tells them that Jesus is no longer in the tomb: “He has risen; He is not here. See the place where they laid Him.” Instead, they can see Him in another place: “But go, tell His disciples and Peter that He is going before you to Galilee. There you will see Him, just as He told you.”

Whom do you seek? Whom have you come to see in this place? You’ve gathered here; certainly it wasn’t aimlessly. You didn’t come just to pass the time, did you? No, you have come seeking the LORD who made the heavens and the earth. You have come seeking the LORD who delivered Noah and promised never to destroy the earth by flood. You have come seeking the LORD who brought Israel out of bondage and crushed His people’s enemies. You have come seeking the LORD who showed Himself to be greater than Nebuchadnezzar’s idol and the fire of his wrath.

So where do you find Him? The LORD is present here. He makes Himself accessible to you. That happened as He took flesh and dwelt among us, as He was born, crucified, died, was buried, and the third day rose again from the dead. The Scriptures testify about Him and His work. But He is not just captured in the words of a book, to be a figure of history. No, He goes before you, just as He has said.

The LORD is here as He is promised. He is here as He makes Himself present in the waters of baptism. He is here as He comes to this altar. Through this presence He brings His aid to you. He has created you and He has re-created your heart, mind, and soul. He has shown His favor, taking you through the flood to safety. He has removed you from bondage to sin, death, and Satan. He has delivered you from false rulers and idols and the fire of their wrath.

You are here seeking the LORD where He is found. He does not lie in a sealed tomb outside of Jerusalem. No, He is active and living, risen for you, so that He can make Himself present here for your salvation. So your final destination is not the dust, the floodwaters, the slave quarters, the fiery furnace, or the tomb. And so you will see Him where He has gone before you, just as He said, even in the new heaven and earth that He restores by His death and resurrection.

+ In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

One Comment
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