Brothers and sisters in Christ, welcome to the resurrection! There is no greater joy in all the world than to proclaim this truth—the truth that is above all else—the truth that reigns above all things in all creation. Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! Alleluia!
The joy we share this day in this good news has not come easily nor without a long and often dark journey. Mere days ago—still countable in hours even—we commemorated Good Friday. That day which is Good not because of us, not because of any good we will ever do but because while we are all, every last one of us, utterly unable to save ourselves, Jesus was about the terrible and awesome business of saving not just you, not just me, but everyone and all of creation.
You see, this story of Jesus’ death and resurrection is not about some guy who faced adversity and worked really hard and made a great recovery. The tomb and the grave are no mere obstacles to overcome. For make no mistake, death is our enemy and this was no mock battle with a savior who was merely asleep. He did not pretend to face an enemy that we must face. He died as we all die. Real flesh and blood death just like us.
But God would not leave it that way. He would not leave his son in the tomb. And he does not leave us either. For early in the morning on the first day of the week, the women, broken hearted, headed for the tomb of Jesus. The one they had thought would be the Messiah, the king, the mighty man of God. But when they arrive at a place of death, they instead found a proclamation of life.
An angel of the Lord came down from heaven and rolled back the stone from the tomb and sat down upon it. Do not be afraid, the angel tells the women at the tomb, I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised. Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here but has risen!
Jesus was not merely a mighty man of God but he is God himself, God who wrapped himself in our flesh and blood, filled himself with our hearts our very lives, and took upon his own shoulders all the broken sinfulness of the world, climbed up on the cross, opened wide his arms to hold us all, and dove into the last and greatest battle with death itself. He was not in the tomb when the women went that morning because death had been defeated. He had died, just like we all will, so that when he rose, he could bring us all with him. He died to be united with us so that we are united with him in his resurrection.
Let all the vault of Heaven resound! He is risen! Alleluia!