March 27, 2016

Pastor Mark F. Bartels

The First Lesson; Isaiah 12:1-6

Epistle Lesson; 1 Corinthians 15:1-10

Gospel Lesson and Sermon Text; Luke 24:1-12

The text we will look at this morning, this blessed Easter Morning, as we celebrate the resurrection of our Savior from the dead, is the Gospel Lesson, taken from Luke, chapter 24.

“But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how He told you, while He was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” And they remembered His words, and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened,”

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


I have three boys who are now grown men. But, when they were living at home, and they were teenagers, on occasion they would turn on a movie, on TV. It would be some 'guy movie', that had a lot of action going on in it.

As they were watching the movie, I would be walking around the house, doing various chores. About two hours into the movie, this is what would usually happen. All of a sudden, I would hear this crescendo of suspenseful music coming from their movie. I could hear the action getting really exciting. I could hear my boys getting really excited. With about ten minutes left to the movie, I would get drawn into the room where they were. I would sit down on the couch, and get all wrapped up in their movie. Inevitability, I would ask the boys a question, like, “Why did he just do that?” Or, “Why did she say that?”

The answer they would give was, “Dad, you would have had to have seen the rest of the movie in order to understand that.”

We are in Luke, chapter 24, which is the last chapter of Luke. If you were to just open up your Bible to this chapter, it would be like walking into the movie in the last ten minutes, to the most climatic part. Here's all of the music, and all of the singing, and all of the excitement. As we sit down, we ask, “What was going on here?” “Why was He in the grave?” “Why did He die?” 'It says He rose from the dead, and that is a miracle, but why is that so thrilling for everybody, that He rose from the dead.”

To which we would have to reply, “You really can't understand what was happening in Luke chapter 24, unless you know the rest of the story, the back-story.”

The back-story is so critical to understanding what was happening that day. I am not talking about the back-story that He was put to death by the Romans on Good Friday. I am talking about a much, much deeper back-story than that, that is so critical to know, to really understand what is going on in Luke chapter 24.

Sometime ago, there was a baptism here at Holy Cross. (One of the things I love about baptisms is that families invite their family and friends to come to church. People who aren't normally in church, sometimes get to hear a Gospel message.) At this baptism, there was a family sitting up front, during the second service. When the baptism was over, as often happens, the family stayed, while they were taking pictures of the baptism, which was wonderful! As the family was leaving, I was cleaning up around church, picking things up. There were only two people left, a father and son, who was maybe ten, or twelve years old. They were standing in front of the lectern, looking at the first window. It is a window, with a beautiful green tree. Right in the center of that green tree is a bright red apple. Coming up the tree is a snake.

I could see this father and son looking at the window, pointing, and talking to each other. As I walked by, I said to the little guy, “That is a pretty cool window, isn't it?”

He said, “Yah!”

I said to him, “Each one of these windows is a Bible story. On this side they are Bible stories from The Old Testament, and on the other side they are Bible stories from The New Testament.” Then, I thought I would throw this little guy a 'softball', and asked him, “Do you know what Bible story this window is all about? A green tree, and a red apple right in the middle, with a snake coming up the tree.”

The little boy said, “No.”

So, I asked him, “Did you ever hear of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden?”

He said, “No.”

As soon as he said that, my pastor's 'heart' went to the window on the other side. This window pictures Jesus risen from the dead, with His foot on top of the grave, holding a victory banner. I thought to myself, “This is a window about death being defeated, but this little guy doesn't know where death comes from. He doesn't know what caused death. He doesn't know the back-story for the implications of this window.”

What is the back-story? The back-story this window tells is God created a beautiful, perfect world. Adam and Eve – perfect and sinless, in total harmony with God, and one another. Nothing but absolute love. In the middle of that garden, God planted a tree called The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. He told Adam and Eve,

“You can eat from any tree in the garden,

just don't eat from the tree in the middle of the garden,

because the day you eat of it,

you will surely die.”

It was a wonderful way for them to show their love for God, by obeying His commands. But, we know what happened. We know Adam and Eve ate from the tree. They sinned. The Bible tells us God told them,

“Dust you are,

and unto dust you shall return.”

Death entered this world because of sin. The Bible tells us,

“Sin entered the world through one man,

and death through sin.

And so, all die,

because all have sinned.”

In fact, not only did physical death enter the world, but think of what happened to Adam and Eve, because of sin. It totally, totally damaged them, to the point that Adam and Eve were so terrified of God, after they committed this sin, the Bible tells us they hid from God in the garden. This wasn't like a game of Hide and Seek. Did you ever try to hide from someone, as an adult? You can just imagine Adam and Eve hiding somewhere in the garden saying to one another, “Sh. Sh. Quiet. He is coming. Don't breathe. Don't move.” They were terrified. They realized they had turned against God, and they were terrified of what God was going to do to them.

What they did not realize was that God was still on their side. That was the wonderful message God gave them, when they had fallen into sin. The first promise He gave them was when He spoke to the serpent, Satan. He said,

“I will put enmity between you and the woman,

your offspring and hers.

He will crush your head,

and you will strike His heal.”

This was the promise that God was going to fix what Adam and Eve had totally messed up. He was going to fix this problem of sin. He was going to fix the problem of death. He was going to fix the problem of Satan. He was going to do it by sending a seed of this woman to fix it all.

The rest of The Old Testament are promises as to who this seed of the woman was going to be. Then, we get to The New Testament. In The New Testament we run across a phrase Martin Luther coined, 'The Great Exchange'. In The New Testament we find Jesus came. He made something called 'The Great Exchange'. Now, if I made an exchange with you, it could be something like this. I will exchange my Reese's Pieces Peanut Butter Cups for your M & M's. That would be a pretty good exchange, I suppose. Here is a really good exchange. What if I said, “I will take the crumpled up piece of paper in your pocket, and I will give you my wallet with all of my credit cards, and money in my wallet.” That would be a good exchange, wouldn't it? What if I said, “Give me the Kleenex in your pocket that you blew your nose in, and I will give you in exchange all of my bank accounts, my house, my car and everything that is mine.” That would be a great exchange! But, that is nothing compared to 'The Great Exchange'.

'The Great Exchange' is this. The Bible tells us Jesus said, in essence, “You give me your most filthy, rotten, dirty, pathetic sins that are so bad that you really deserve to be condemned, and damned in Hell for all eternity, and suffer for all eternity. Give me those. And, give me everything that goes with them. Give me the shame, the guilt, the punishment, and consequences. Give me your death. Give me that. And, in exchange, I will give you everything that is mine. I will give you my holy life. I will give you my sinless perfection. I will give you my Home in Heaven. I will give you life, instead of death.”

The Bible says,

“God made Him who had no sin

to be sin for us,

so that in Him

we might become the righteousness of God.”

That is 'The Great Exchange'. Good Friday is when that Great Exchange really went into effect. When Jesus went to the cross, the Bible says,

“He was put to death”,

(for what?)

“for our sin”.

There is 'The Great Exchange'. Jesus said “You give me your sin. Give me your sin, and I will take all of its guilt, all of its shame, and everything that goes with it, along with all of its consequences, and then I will die for you.”
Here is the question: “Did that Great Exchange take? Did it take? Did God the Father accept that exchange?”

When the women went to the tomb on Easter Morning, they fully expected to find the dead body of Jesus. They thought He had failed in His mission, to somehow save Israel. They took with them, spices that were used to cover up the indignity of death. When we die, our bodies decay, and there is odor. They were going to try to cover that up. They did not expect what they found. They found the stone had been rolled away. They found that the body was not there. They found two men, angels, who said,

“Why do you seek the living

among the dead?

He is not here.

He has risen.”

Then, the angels said something very interesting. They talked about something we refer to as 'Divine Necessity'. They said,

“Don't you remember,

when He was with you in Galilee?

He said, 'The Son of Man

(here it is)


(this is absolutely necessary)

the Son of Man must be turned over to sinful men,


and on the third day rise from the dead.”

This is 'Divine Necessity'.

If Jesus truly took the guilt of your sin, if He truly removed the guilt and shame of your sin, then He must have power over the effects of sin. He must be able to defeat death. This is 'Divine Necessity'. And so, when Jesus rose from the dead, here is the implication. The implication is, (listen to this passage)

“He was put to death for our sin,

but raised to life for our justification.”

'To be justified' means 'to be declared innocent, holy, sinless, not guilty'. There it is. There it is! 'The Great Exchange' took, and God the Father, because of what Jesus did, says “Everything that Jesus has is yours. It is yours! You are not guilty. Your sins are washed away. You are forgiven. You are holy in my sight!” That is the powerful, powerful implication of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.

Sin and its effects have been defeated.

That is why the Bible says,

“If Christ has not been raised from the dead,

your faith is futile,

and you are still in your sins.

But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead.”

The second implication of Jesus' resurrection from the dead is this. Jesus said,

“Whoever believes in Me Will live,

even though he dies.

Whoever lives and believes in me

will never die.”

Because Jesus has defeated sin, He has defeated mortality. He has given you everything that is His. Eternal life is His, and He gives it to you. Not only your soul, but some day your body will rise from the dead.

This is a powerful passage. It says,


I tell you a mystery.

We will not all sleep

(talking about death),

but we will all be changed in flash,

in the twinkling of an eye.

For the trumpet will sound,

the dead will be raised imperishable

and we will be changed.

For the perishable must, must clothe itself with the imperishable.

And the mortal, with immortality.

When the perishable has clothed itself with the imperishable,

and the mortal with immortality,

then the saying that is written will come true.

'Death has been swallowed up in victory.

Where oh death is your sting?

Where oh grave is your victory?

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.'”

That is the second great implication of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead is:

One day all believers in Christ

will rise to immortality in Heaven.

Everything He has is yours.

The last implication that I want to talk about, even though there are many of them, is just this one sentence. This is from Romans 10,

“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord,

and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead,

you will be saved.”

That is a massive implication.

“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord,

and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead,



Christ is risen!

He is risen indeed!