120408 Mark 16:1-8

Last Updated on Saturday, 23 June 2012 Written by Pastor Schmidt

Sermon Text: Mark 16:1 – 8

Sermon Theme: Don't Be Alarmed This Easter!

Good Morning. Allow me to introduce myself to you. My name is Abraham. Not the well known Abraham of the Bible. I am a reporter for the Jerusalem Daily Times. I happened to be with the group of women who went to the tomb of Jesus early on the Sunday Morning following his death. I went along because I thought it would be a good follow-up story to all that had happened on Good Friday. You see, after Jesus died, he had to be buried quickly before the Sabbath Day began. So Jesus' followers didn't have a chance to properly prepare his body for burial. The women were returning that day "to finish the job", so to speak. As we got closer to the tomb, someone in the group asked a very important question, "Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?" But, when we arrived, to our amazement we saw that the stone had already been rolled aside. We went inside the tomb, but didn't find Jesus' body. Instead, we saw a young man dressed in a white robe (later I was told that it was actually an angel!), whose very first words were, "Don't be alarmed...You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him." I remember that my very first thought at that moment was, "DON'T BE ALARMED! Really?! Are you serious?! I was there at the cross when Jesus cried out, 'It is finished!' I saw him die. I was still there when the solider jabbed his spear into his side, just to make sure he was dead. I watched his followers place his lifeless body in the tomb. Because the stone was so large, they even needed my help to roll it in front of the tomb. DON'T BE ALARMED?!?! How could we not be?!?!" Excuse me Abraham. My name is Daniel Schmidt, and I am one of the Pastors here at St. Matthew's. Allow me a few moments on this Easter Morning to share with you, and with all those who are here this morning, why you and I are able to take to heart the encouragement of the angel, DON'T BE ALARMED THIS EASTER!

I think that at this point in the lives of Jesus' followers it was somewhat understandable that they would be afraid. For many of them, the past three years had been spent at Jesus' side. They had put their hope and trust in him. They loved him. They believed that he was the promised Savior of the world, the one who would save the people from their sins and from the eternal pain of hell. But on Friday, they saw his lifeless body being taken down from the cross, and placed in the tomb. They thought Jesus was dead and gone. You can imagine the feelings of despair and disappointment they must have experienced.

If Jesus had remained in his grave, each one of us here this morning would have to live our lives in fear. Because of our sins, we deserve only God's wrath and punishment. There is no way we can save ourselves. If Jesus remained in the grave, then there is no hope of heaven for you and me. The Bible teaches us that without a living Savior, you and I would be dead in our trespasses and sins. But, the Good News for us to hear this Easter Morning is that Jesus lives! He has risen from the dead! The tomb is empty! That means that we are able to put way any and all fear. The empty tomb is God the Father's stamp of approval on the sacrifice his One and Only Son made for us. Jesus paid in full the payment price for your sins, my sins and the sins of the whole world through his perfect life and innocent suffering and death. You and I are forgiven of all our sins. The guilt is gone! The door to heaven is open for us by our Savior, Jesus Christ. Thanks to our living Savior, we enjoy a new relationship with our Father in heaven. No longer do we have to fear punishment from him. Rather, for Jesus' sake, he loves us. Since Jesus Christ lives, we have the wonderful assurance that he is in heaven each moment of our lives, watching over us and caring for us. Jesus lives, so you and don't have to be alarmed this Easter!

Think of what it would mean for you and me if Easter never took place. If Jesus had not been raised from the dead, if he had stayed in the grave, we would have to be alarmed this Easter. If Jesus did not rise from the dead, then we would have to fear our own death. But the Good News for all of us to remember this Easter is that living Savior has said to you and me, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die" (John 11:25,26). Again he says, "Because I live, you also will live" (John 14:19). Jesus lives! So we can live without fear of our own death. Throughout his earthly ministry, Jesus showed his power over death. On that first Easter morning, Jesus showed the power he enjoys over death as he himself came out of the grave. And the promise our almighty, living Savior makes to you and me is that he will do the same with our lifeless bodies. We can live unafraid of death. Our Savior, who took away sin, and who conquered death for us, assures us of a life that never ends. This life is not just made up of years, or decades or even centuries. But it will be an everlasting life of joy and happiness in the mansions of heaven, with our living Savior! My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, don't be alarmed this Easter!

The Good News that the tomb of Jesus is empty not only assures us that we will live with our Savior forever in heaven, but it also assures us that we live with him now. Our living Lord made us the promise, "Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age" (Matthew 28:20). The fact that Jesus, our Savior, our Lord and our God, lives with us at all times fills every single day of our life with peace and comfort. It means that when we leave here this morning, when we go back to school, go back to our jobs, go back to our everyday lives, Jesus Christ goes with us and is by our side each and every day. It means that in times of trouble, we can count on his help. It means that in times of need, we can expect him to provide for us and take care of us. It means that with the same almighty power with which he walked out of his grave that first Easter, he will guard, guide, and protect us. When we are feeling all alone, our Savior will continue to love us and be by our side. When a loved one dies who believed in Jesus as their Savior, he will be there to comfort us. Jesus lives! So don't be alarmed this Easter!

Jesus Christ lives! How can we be so sure? We can be confident of this fact, because the Bible proclaims this Good News. That confidence will naturally lead to action on our part and will fill our lives with purpose. Did you notice what the angel instructed the women to do? The angel said, "But go, tell his disciples and Peter, 'He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.'" When Christians stand at the entrance of the empty tomb and know that they, like Jesus, will rise and live forever, they want to go and share this Good News with anyone and everyone. Filled with the Good News of Easter, you and I no longer live for ourselves, but we live for our living Savior. We no longer live to serve ourselves, but we live to serve him. Each day in our life, we reflect his love, forgiveness and patience as we deal with others. We talk to our friends, our neighbors and the people we work and play with about our living Savior, Jesus Christ, and his love for sinners. We invite them to a worship service or a Bible class to hear the message of God's Word: the message of Law and Gospel; of sin and grace, so they too don't have to be alarmed this Easter.

I would like you to think about this question: Why are you here this morning? Perhaps you are thinking to yourself, "I always make sure that I am in church on Easter and Christmas. Isn't this what we are supposed to do?" If this is what you are thinking, allow me to encourage you not to wait until next Easter before you walk into God's house again. I will not apologize for the fact that when you come here to worship, you will hear God's Law. God's Law will tell you that because of sin, you deserve only punishment forever in hell. But, each time you come here to worship, you will also hear the Good News from our God's Word. That Good News is the Gospel message; the message of the Bible which tells us that through Jesus Christ alone all of your sins and all of my sins are washed away. On behalf of Pastor Schultz and myself, I pray that all of you have a very blessed Easter. Don't be alarmed this Easter! Jesus lives! The tomb is empty! He is risen! He is risen indeed! Amen.

Our Mission Statement:

Compelled by the love of Christ, St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and School seek to reach out to our families, community and world, using Law and Gospel to make disciples, growing and nurturing them in their Christian faith and life.


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8:00 A.M. & 10:30 A.M.

9:15 A.M. Bible Study for All Ages

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St. Matthew's Lutheran Church
818 West Wisconsin Avenue
Oconomowoc, WI 53066




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