The Resurrection of Our Lord, 2017

The Resurrection of our Lord, 2017
Rev. Benjamin Tyler Holt
Mark 16:1-8

Don’t ignore the evidence.

When I say that, what evidence do you think of?

We are obsessed with evidence.

When a police car pulls up behind us on the road, we check our speed and seatbelt, because we obsess over evidence.

There is, in law enforcement, a thing called the CSI Effect—where jurors, because of their habitual watching of crime dramas, have unrealistic expectations regarding evidence.

An eyewitness, or four or five, isn’t enough. If guilt is to be proved—DNA evidence must be provided.

We are obsessed with evidence.

So, don’t ignore it.

Today we celebrate the evidence of our salvation, the empty tomb, the empty grave, our goal, our hope, and the words of Christ fulfilled:

“I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who believes in me shall never die” (Jn. 11:25-26).

Don’t ignore the evidence.

 “When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him” (Mk. 16:1).

What did they expect to find?

They expected to anoint Jesus’ dead body. They bought spices. They had those specific plans for that day. And…

This evidence convicts them.

They didn’t expect Jesus to rise from the dead.

They didn’t expect what He said to be true. So…

They ignored the evidence that mattered most! Jesus’ own testimony, His own words.

“[Going to the tomb] they were saying to one another, ‘Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?’” (Mk. 16:3).

What did they expect to find?

They thought the stone would block their way.

That’s evidence of their foolishness and sin. In more ways than one, it was going to be impossible for them to use the spices they bought.

This is compelling evidence of the sin and doubt of the devoted followers of Jesus.

And as much as we’d like to ignore such failings, we can’t.

If there were no evidence of our sin, if the Mary’s never doubted, if there were no reason for it, why would Jesus have been nailed to the cross.

And Jesus, Himself, says, “I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance” (Lk. 5:32).

So, sinners, repent!

What evidence is against you?

In the courtroom of God’s justice, what accusations would satan levy against you? What could he say?

If you’re a wife, do you submit to your husband as to the Lord?

If a husband, do you love your wife as Christ loved the Church?

Have you been disobedient, unfaithful, or lazy?

Have you been hot-tempered, rude, or quarrelsome?

Have you hurt someone by your words or deeds?

Have you stolen, been negligent, wasted anything, or done any harm?

Do you fear, love, and trust in God above all things?

Do you curse or swear? Do you lie?

Do you despise the Word of God? Do you attend church regularly? Do you understand that those two questions are the same?

Did you know that the Sunday with the highest attendance is Easter—and the Sunday with the lowest attendance is the Sunday after Easter?

Do you honor, serve, and obey your parents?

Do you lead a chaste life?

Are you afraid of what’s in your browser history? Or have you mastered browsing privately the incognito tab?

If you don’t use a computer, what if your inner monologue were published in the newspaper?

When we consider our sins in thought, word, and deed, when we consider the evidence against us, we can’t deny what we deserve: “The wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23).

So, don’t ignore the evidence.

Confess it.

“If we confess our sins, [God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 Jn. 1:9).

Confess before God that you’re guilty of all sin.

Name the sins you remember; confess the fact that you can’t remember them all.

Don’t ignore the evidence satan uses against you; admit that it’s true.

“When the devil throws your sins in your face and declares that you deserve death and hell, tell him this: ‘I admit that I deserve death and hell, but what of it? For I know One who suffered and made satisfaction on my behalf. His name is Jesus Christ, Son of God, and where He is there I shall be also!’” (Martin Luther).

Don’t ignore the evidence, especially the evidence of the cross and empty tomb.

There is, most certainly, a mountain of evidence against you.

Don’t deny it.

But you One who suffered and made satisfaction for you, Jesus Christ.

His tomb is empty and unguarded. It holds not the Author of Life; rather, it holds all sin, and there it shall remain until Jesus returns.

And when He returns, Christ Himself will roll the stone back in place, sealing the tomb, forever separating you from sin, death, and the devil.

That is a poetic picture of what the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting looks like.

The greatest evidence, our greatest comfort, our hope, is the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

“Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not [in the tomb]” (Mk. 16:6).

Sin and death are in the tomb, the grave.

For a time, Jesus was in the grave.

Our beloved dead are there.

And for a time, so will you, but only for a time.

“For [we] know that [our] Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after [our] skin has been thus destroyed, yet in [our] flesh [we] shall see God” (Job 19:25-26).

“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. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 6:5-11).

Don’t ignore the evidence.

The Water and the Triune Name of God is evidence of God’s faithfulness to you.

You are God’s own child! Gladly say it! You are baptized into Christ.

Don’t ignore it. Don’t forget it. Don’t withhold it.

The bread and wine, Jesus’ body and blood, are His pledge and token, the evidence of the New Covenant between God and Man.

The Passover lamb was sacrificed for our sins, and His blood covers the door of our lips as we eat and drink.

“For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Cor. 11:26).

Don’t ignore it.

Today we celebrate the evidence of our salvation, the empty tomb, the empty grave, our goal, our hope, and the words of Christ fulfilled:

“I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who believes in me shall never die” (Jn. 11:25-26).

Don’t ignore the evidence. Rejoice in it!

Christ is Risen! Alleluia!

He is Risen, indeed! Alleluia! Alleluia!

For all who believe, this is most certainly true: Where He is, you shall be there also!

In Jesus’ name, Amen!

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