[Luke 24:1-6] But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. 2 And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. 5 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? 6 He is not here, but has risen.”
Grace, mercy, and peace be to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
You are Dressed New in the Risen Lord
He is not in the tomb but has risen.
On Good Friday, Jesus hung upon the cross dressed in perfect love for God the Father and perfect love for His neighbor. This perfect love meant a love unto death. Jesus carried out His Father’s will of salvation for sin-fallen man.
Jesus, therefore, hung upon the cross dressed in your death – dressed in all your sin and your shame – Jesus hung dressed in all that is yours so that now, risen from the dead, he may dress you in all that is His. On the cross, Jesus put on your old clothing so that in His resurrection He can dress you in what is new.
Sin is forgiven. Your Passover Lamb has been sacrificed. What shall we say then? “Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?” Should we continue in the old? “By no means!” He has hung up the old to dress you in the new. And He has indeed dressed you.
“For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” [Galatians 3:27]. Since the risen Christ has become your new garment, daily put off the old self and put on the new man of the Lord Jesus – which is yours. “Be renewed in the spirit of your minds” and “put on the new self, created after the likeness of God.” [Ephesians 4:22-24]
This putting off of the old self and putting on of the new man is the work of Jesus’ death and resurrection in you – which is yours by your Baptism - which you cling to by faith.
By Baptism you yourself have died with Christ and have been raised with Christ in the glory of the Father. This is what the Bible teaches: “Having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.” [Colossians 2:12]
And Romans 6 – “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.” [Romans 6:3-5]
Raised in a resurrection like His. By God’s work of Baptism you are now a partaker of Christ’s death to sin and of His resurrection to everlasting purity and righteousness. His work, His gift. His clothing for sinners - by the power of the resurrection by which He rose Easter morning. Thanks be to God.
Therefore, put off the old. Dress in the new. Each hour. Repenting. Believing. Fully forgiven. Being made new. By His Easter resurrection.
Will you ever fully be made new? Do you know? At the appointed time. And it is therefore guaranteed – a promise. On the right day, God will raise this mortal, sin-filled body immortal and without sin. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet, we will be changed – “For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed” - this mortal body will put on immortality, this perishable self will become imperishable. [1 Corinthians 15:51-53]
Death will no longer have dominion. Sin will no longer have dominion. You will become righteous. There is an appointed Easter for you when your body will be raised from the dust. What Jesus is on His Easter will become complete in you on that day. For now, you are being clothed; then, you will be fully clothed.
Therefore, do not despair at your lack of progress. Don’t despair on account of falling short. Don’t despair on account of still being so full of sin. That appointed Day hasn’t come yet!
We say in the Apostles Creed, “I believe in the holy Christian Church, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.” His resurrection is yours now, but you still live in that ‘forgiveness of sins’ part of the Creed. So, you will be a sinner. But the resurrection and the life-everlasting will come – and then we won’t be sinners anymore.
His Easter resurrection will finish that work on that appointed day. For now, live day by day, repenting, but not despairing. Trusting. He will finish it. He has.
And do not be troubled that this world disappoints. Don’t despair over your lack of contentment. This world and this life do disappoint. The resurrection of Jesus for you is the end of this perishing world and the beginning of the new. Don’t seek the living among the dead – your life is in the risen Christ, not in the perishing world.
And do not be troubled by the fear of death. Jesus feared in the garden of Gethsemane. Death was a hard ordeal on the Cross. It is hard for you. Yet by the glory of the Father, Jesus stands alive Easter morning, and so will you.
Don’t be saddened that this life has meant so much loss. Don’t be overcome. You’re not alone. All of you with whom I’ve spoken much over these past few years have this in common – that Your losses, in various ways, have been immense.
Job is your man of Easter. Job suffered the loss of all things in his flesh – he buried all his children, his wife cursed, he lost his prosperity. Yet Job rejoiced in our reading this morning because he knew he would one day be clothed again, in his same flesh, yet totally new flesh, and would see the risen Savior: “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold.” [Job 19:26-27]
“So – because Jesus is risen for us – we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.” [Ephesians 4:16 – 5:4]
Jesus is risen. All that is mortal – all that is sin – is swallowed up by life by His resurrection. It is finished. He is risen. As He was once clothed in the sin that is yours, you are now clothed in all that is His. On the appointed day, you too will be risen dressed fully and only in Him. Amen.
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia.
Now, may the peace of God which surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.