April 21, 2019

Rev. Bernt P. Tweit



Epistle Lesson; 1 Corinthians 15:1-11

Gospel Lesson; Luke 24:1-12                         

Sermon Text; Exodus 15:1-11


How do you celebrate a long awaited goal, or victory?  What do you do for the celebration? 

A year ago, the University of Virginia had a humiliating defeat.  They were the first Number One Seed to lose to a Sixteen Seed in the NCAA tournament.  I bet you no one here can even remember the team that defeated them.  It was an obscure college - The University of Maryland, Baltimore County.  Who is that? 

Well, what happened this year?  The University of Virginia, once again, a Number One Seed won! (I bring this up, because there are ties to Wisconsin.  Their coach, Tony Bennett, is the son of Dick Bennett, who brought the Badgers to the Final Four about twenty years ago.) 

Do you know how they celebrated?  The basketball stadium was not big enough, so they moved the celebration to the football stadium.  Twenty one thousand people gathered together, and this is what they said.   “We won this championship in a football stadium, so we are going to celebrate in a football stadium.”

Tiger Woods, a week ago, won The Masters.  That was the first time in fourteen years.  He had overcome a lot of adversity.  How do you celebrate a victory like that?

Maybe there are some personal victories in your family.  Maybe it is the closing of a business deal.  Maybe it is the birth of a child, or grand child.  Maybe it is an academic award.  Maybe it is a music award.  How do you celebrate a victory like that? 

Well, today we are gathered together to celebrate a victory!  It is not just any old victory, but it is the greatest victory ever. 

Today, as we look at God's Word, we are looking at the Book of Exodus.  You might be thinking to yourself, “Pastor Tweit, this is Easter.  We should be focusing on The New Testament.  How can you focus on The Old Testament, like this?”
And yet, I will contest this.  What happens in our Old Testament Lesson for today is the greatest victory in The Old Testament, because two million people were saved. 

That leads us into our discussion of the greatest victory, ever, with Jesus' resurrection from the grave. 

Our text was written in Hebrew poetry.  It is a little different than our English poetry, which we oftentimes think about as rhyming.  Hebrew poetry has parallelism to it.  So, you are going to hear some of the same phrases, kind of repeated, with just slightly different words.

I am going to read through our text for this morning.  I will explain what it is talking about, and then I am going to apply it to you, and to me on this Easter Day.  We read from Exodus, chapter fifteen, looking at the first eleven verses.


Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the LORD.  They said: 

I will sing to the LORD, for He is highly exalted.  The horse and its rider He has thrown into the sea.

The LORD is my strength and song.  The LORD is a warrior.  The LORD is His name.

He has cast Pharaoh's chariots and his army into the sea.  His elite officers are drowned in The Red Sea.

The deep waters covered them.  They sank down to the depths like a stone.

LORD, your right hand is glorious in power.  LORD, your right hand has shattered the enemy. 

In your great majesty you overthrew those who opposed you.  You sent out your burning anger.  It consumed them like stubble.

At the blast from your nostrils the waters piled up.  The flowing waters stood up like a dam.  The deep waters became solid in the heart of the sea.

The enemy said, “I will pursue.  I will overtake.  I will divide the plunder.  I will do whatever I want with them.  I will draw my sword, and my hand will destroy them.”
But you blew with your breath and the sea covered them.  They sank like lead in the mighty waters.

LORD, who is like you among the gods?  Who is like you, glorious in holiness, awesome in praise, working wonders?


These are your words, Heavenly Father.  Lead us in the way of truth.  Your Word is truth.



The situation seemed helpless.  You know what I am referring to this morning.  This is the Israelites, as they are leaving Egypt.  They are on their way to The Promised Land.  They are between a rock and a hard place.  They Egyptian army is pursuing them on one side, and the waters of The Red Sea are on the other side.  They had no where to go. 

But, look at the victory that was given to them.  Look at verse eight, as I read these words.  Here is the victory. 

“At the blast from your nostrils the waters piled up. 

The flowing waters stood up like a dam. 

The deep waters became solid in the heart of the sea.” 

Here is the victory God gave to His people, as the waters of The Red Sea piled up to the right, and to the left.  Two million people walked on dry ground to safety.  They were passing through the waters on their way to victory.

-In this verse, too, we also see a victory that God has won for you.  As we look at this verse, we can't help but think of our baptism.  We were the ones who in our holy Baptism, passed through the waters.  Through the power of God's Word, you were given the victory.  Your sins are forgiven.  Life and salvation are given to you.

In our text for today, we also see the defeat of the enemy.  Look at verses one, four, and five.  You hear this Hebrew parallelism basically saying the same thing again, and again. 

“The horse and its rider is thrown into the sea.” 

“He has cast Pharaoh's chariots and his army into the sea. 

His elite officers are drowned in The Red Sea. 

The deep waters covered them. 

They sank down to the depths like a stone.” 

Here we see the defeat of Israel's enemies.  The waters came crashing down.  The chariots, the horses, the army, and the officers were all drown in the depths of The Red Sea.  They sank like a stone. 

-It is a reminder to you, and to me of the defeat Jesus has won for us.  He has defeated our enemies.  He defeated our sin.  He defeated death.  And, He defeated the power of the devil. 

When we gather together for Easter, which we are doing here today, we think of the victory Jesus has won for us.  But, not everybody thinks in those terms.  There is a local church (and I am not going to tell you which church) but over the course of the past month, I was saving some articles from the newspaper.  Their focus for Easter morning was Bacon and Eggs, and money filled, plastic eggs.  That was their focus, encouraging people to come.

There is a national retailer that had this motto (but, I am not going to say the name of this national retailer) leading up to Easter Sunday and Easter Day.  (Just smile, as I say this.)  Their motto was, “Make it the best Easter, ever”.  Just smile at that for a moment.  How can you improve on what Jesus did two thousand years ago?  

-The greatest Easter ever, happened two thousand years ago, as Jesus burst forth from the grave, in victory, defeating our sin, death, and the devil.  And so, here we are this morning, celebrating that victory Jesus has won for us. 

But, an encouragement, and I will share this cute, little story to go along with this.  When I was a freshman in college I lived in the dorm.  We moved in, in August.  I vividly remember a conversation I had with a classmate at Spring Break.  We were leaving to go home for Spring Break.  He was taking his laundry home, because I think his mom was going to do his laundry for him.  He said, “This is the first time I am bringing my sheets home.” 

I think we all kind of cringed there, a little bit.  He moved in, in August, and went home for Spring Break in March, and that was the first time he was taking his sheets home! 

I love my wife, because we have clean sheets every week.  And, I love sleeping in clean sheets! 

-It is not just today that we celebrate the victory Jesus won for us on Easter.  Every Sunday is like a little Easter in which we get to gather together to celebrate the victory Jesus has won for us, over our sin, over death, and over the power of the devil. And so an encouragement to gather together to celebrate Jesus victory not just at Easter and Christmas, but every Sunday of the year.

As Moses was singing this song of victory, he was giving all praise, all glory, and all honor to God.  If you go to verse eleven, you see how he concludes this song of victory, when he says,

“LORD, who is like you among the gods?

Who is like you, glorious in holiness,

awesome in praise, working wonders?” 

Throughout this poem Moses does something called this.  It is called anthropomorphism.  Moses is giving to God human like qualities.  God is a spirit being, and yet Moses uses phrases like this. 

“...the blast from your nostrils...”

“ blew with your breath...” 

“...your right hand has shattered...” 

He is giving all credit to God for the greatest victory that happened in The Old Testament, the saving of two million people. 

-Today, on this Easter Day, we are celebrating the victory that Jesus has won for not just for two million people, but that Jesus has won for everybody.  Jesus has won it for you, and for me.  At the cross, when Jesus said, “It is finished”, our sins were paid for.  Death was conquered.  The devil was defeated. 

On this Easter Morning, as Jesus rises from the grave, God our Heavenly Father accepts the payment Jesus made for our sin.  We are forgiven.  Life and salvation are yours.

I close this morning with these three kind of random thoughts that will all tie together. 

        -Back in 1939 Britain entered World War II.  Nazi Germany was on a rampage, and people were wondering if they were going to conquer the whole world.  In the summer of 1941, Winston Churchill was speaking to his people over the radio.  The people could not see this, but it was a symbol that stood for years to come.  His speech was known as 'V is for Victory'.  It would be four more years before World War II was won.  But, that speech stuck.  'V is for Victory'.  There were 'V's that were painted all over the place in England.  It brought people together to signify the victory they wanted to be unified for, and to come together to defeat evil.

        -Sometimes in schools, whether it is grade schools, or high schools, or universities, the cheerleaders will get individual classes to chant a song.  Then, they get the whole student body together to get them roused up, during a pep rally for a game.  One of them goes something like this.  (I will just pick a class.)  The cheerleaders will start something like this.  “Freshmen, freshmen, don't be shy.  Let us hear your battle cry.  V I C T O R Y, victory is our battle cry.”
Before long the whole student body is joining together in that song, because they want to get ready for victory.

        -Guys, today is Victory Day.  Today we gather together.  We gather together to celebrate the victory Jesus, our Savior, has given to us. 

Where o death is your victory? 

Where o death is your sting? 

The sting of death is sin. 

The power of sin is The Law. 

But, thanks be to God,

He gives us the victory,

through our Lord, Jesus Christ.