Summary: Easter Sermon based on Paul’s encouragement to Timothy and all Christians
Easter 2000 (Free Text)
April 23, 2000
Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel,
-- NIV 2 Timothy 2:8
When the women arrived at the tomb early Easter morning, the angels who greeted them did so with the unbelievable announcement: HE IS NOT HERE! HE HAS RISEN! But then one of the angels told them that this miracle should come as no surprise to them: REMEMBER HOW HE TOLD YOU…
REMEMBER, REMEMBER, REMEMBER… How many times did Jesus say that to his followers during his earthly ministry? Probably not enough! Probably not enough for followers who are described in Scripture as being SLOW TO BELIEVE, AFRAID, people with DOUBTS ARISING IN THEIR MINDS. REMEMBER…
St. Paul, whose word we have before us this joyous morning, also told young pastor Timothy REMEMBER. These were some of the last words that St. Paul ever wrote. His death at the hands of the Roman government was imminent, and he knew it. He knew that his work for the Lord Jesus on earth was nearing completion. He knew that soon he would join the ranks of martyrs who had died for their faith rather than deny it. What does a man about to die think about? Childhood joys? Memories of teenage freedom? Professional accomplishments? Friends? Family? Loved ones?
This is what was on Paul’s mind: REMEMBER JESUS CHRIST, RAISED FROM THE DEAD, DESCENDED FROM DAVID.
In contrast to what much of the religious world thinks, the heart of the Christian faith is REMEMBERING – remembering what God has done for us. The main message that God has for us is not “Go and do!” but rather “See and believe!” And that is what we do well to REMEMBER this Easter morning, the great things our Lord Jesus Christ has done for us, so that through him we may have the forgiveness of sins and eternal life.
We really can’t do anything else, can we? What else can we do this morning but go to the empty tomb, gaze inside, and then ponder with amazement what this means for us? Nothing! There’s nothing else we can do, and there is nothing else we need to do. For God in his rich grace has done everything for us. He defeated sin, death, and hell. He rose in victory, the guarantee that we are forgiven, the guarantee that by his power he will also raise from death all who trust in him. It is he, as St. Paul says in Corinthians, WHO GIVES US THE VICTORY THROUGH OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.
How could we possibly forget those great things? Ahhh, Jesus hasn’t changed over the centuries, but the nature of his disciples hasn’t changed too much either. We have fears, we have doubts, and we, too, are slow to believe.
But all the more reason to listen to what God the Holy Spirit says through St. Paul this morning: REMEMBER!
Remember Jesus Christ…
REMEMBER JESUS CHRIST… “What’s in a name?” Shakespeare once asked. Much! A person’s name represents everything they are, everything they have done, everything they stand for. We hear names and immediately mental images form in our minds: Douglas MacArthur; Abraham Lincoln; Payne Stewart; JonBenet Ramsey.
REMEMBER “JESUS” – That name that God himself gave to his Son, the name that means “Savior.” He came to this earth in the quietness of Christmas on a violent mission. He came to do battle with the forces of hell. And, some years later, he did do battle. Throughout his earthly ministry he undid what sin and Satan had done; he healed the sick, drove out demons, raised the dead. But it was on Good Friday that the battle reached its final, decisive hour. “It was,” as Luther wrote in a hymn, “a fierce and dreadful strife when life and death contended.” Remember the writhing agony of the cross, as God and Satan went “head to head” for the eternal possession of your soul. It was a struggle to the death. And by the end of the day, Jesus the Son of God, lay dead in a tomb.
But, as the hymn goes on, “the victory remained with life; the reign of death was ended.” He is risen! Through his resurrection Jesus saved us. He is alive, and death is dead. And he is King of Kings and Lord of lords. For..
REMEMBER JESUS IS THE CHRIST! “Christ” means “The Anointed One.” This is the one whom God hand-picked and anointed to be our champion. He is the Messiah; all the prophecies of Scripture are fulfilled in him. There is no mistake. This is the one, and the only One, who has God’s own approval. Why would doubts rise in our minds if our Christian faith is the right one? For Jesus is the CHRIST, and that does not just mean he was the one that God appointed to suffer and die; he is also the One God appointed to rise and live forever and ever. He rose to ascend to the right hand of God, where he rules all things in heaven and earth. And if he has power to rule all things, he has power to save those who believe in him. And you who do believe in him are saved!