Summary: An Easter Sunday sermon which talks about the fulfillment that was accomplished through Jesus’ life and death, and the Promise that was given through His resurrection.
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from our risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
Christ is risen! (He is risen indeed. Alleluia!)
From the womb to the tomb.
That’s a phrase that has been bantied about in recent times, especially in our country.
Some see it as the way our government has intruded into our lives, controlling them from womb to tomb.
Others see it as how our government takes care of us, from whom to tomb.
At least one insurance company uses it as their advertising slogan. They will take care of all of your needs, from whom to tomb.
In other words, there are a lot of people, agencies, companies and even governments that promise to take care of us from the minute we are born to the moment of our death.
This morning, I would like to look at that phrase in a somewhat different perspective.
109 days ago, on the evening of Dec. 24th, we sat here in this little congregation, some of us in the very same seats, and we sang songs of glory and praise and adoration in remembrance of a tiny little baby whose birth we were celebrating that night.
We heard a very familiar story that evening about two people, Joseph and his young wife Mary, who had traveled from their home in Nazareth to the City of David, which was known as Bethlehem. That night, we heard about a miraculous birth. Miraculous in many ways.
Miraculous because Mary was still a virgin. The child she had conceived was not from the seed of Joseph or of any other man. The child she was to have that night was a gift from God.
And this was the true miracle of that night. That God, our Creator, the Creator of all the heavens and the earth, came down from heaven and became a man. He took on human form, not in some supernatural fashion by just appearing as a grown man, or perhaps, as God is often portrayed, as an elderly grandfatherly type. He came in the form of a baby. Helpless, and, in this case, totally innocent.
Over the course of the past 15 weeks, we have followed the life of this babe of Bethlehem as he grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and men.
We celebrated Epiphany, where, we can see so clearly with our twenty-twenty hindsight, given to us through the writings of the Apostles, that Jesus showed himself to be the promised one from God.
We witnessed Magi from the East come and worship this young child as the King of the Jews.
We heard how the little boy Jesus had astounded those in the Temple with his understanding and answers.
We were privileged to hear again how he had gone to the banks of the River Jordan to be in the company of his cousin John.
We heard how John was reluctant to baptize Jesus because, through the power of the Spirit, John knew who Jesus was.
He said to Jesus: "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?" Jesus replied, "Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness."
My friends, that is what we have been hearing and talking and rejoicing in for these past weeks. Fulfillment.
You can’t really understand the Resurrection if you first don’t understand God. Who He is and why all of this – the birth of Jesus, his baptism, his temptation, his calling of disciples, his teaching and preaching to the multitudes, his many miracles, his very suffering and his death – why all of this HAD to happen.
God, our Father, is holy.
Holy is a word that we Christians like to throw around a lot. We speak of being holy, of acting holy – sometimes we are accused of, or accuse others of being “holier that thou.”
I teach the Confirmands and those who go through instruction class that one of the attributes of God is that he is Holy.
But what does holy really mean? Perhaps I should take this mic and ask a few of you what you think it means to be holy.
Well, here’s the definition, and quite a good one, from Webster’s. To be holy is to be: exalted or worthy of complete devotion as one perfect in goodness and righteousness.
Here’s how God is described in scripture:
Deuteronomy 32:4 He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.
Psalm 18:30 As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless.
I tell you this, because, as the Creator, when God spoke the words; “Let there be…” and there was, there were no imperfections.