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Summary: Jesus’ resurrection means he has conquerored death by paying for all our sins; therefore, through him we, too, are conquerors not only over death but also over every other problem we face.

YES! He Lives! Jesus Has Risen!

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. The Word of God through which the Holy Spirit kindles Easter joy in our hearts is the account of Jesus’ resurrection recorded in Mark 16

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”

But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.

“Don’t be alarmed,” he said, “you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. 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.’” (Mark 16:1-8 NIV).

This is the the word of our Lord.

Dear friends who celebrate our Savior’s return to life,

As I watched the news coverage of the war in Iraq unfold three and half weeks ago, it was like riding an emotional roller coaster. Sometimes the news seemed good; sometimes pessimism filled the report. From moment to moment our perception of the situation changed. I can’t even imagine the roller coaster ridden by those who had loved ones on the front lines. Now as hostilities quiet down, we can look back at the war with calmer emotions.

Sometimes, I think, the same thing happens with Easter. We were not personally there for the events that enfolded nearly 2000 years ago. It’s tempting to look back on those events with our emotions disengaged. Although that can be good when evaluating a war, it is not good to evaluate Easter simply from an intellectual point of view. Our faith in the risen Jesus involves our heart and soul as well as our mind.

So walk with those woman on the first Easter morning, put yourself on their roller coaster. Your Savior is dead. Your hopes and dreams shattered. You have nothing left but to care for his dead body one last time before it decays. But the grave is open. He is not there. An angels says, “He has risen!” Could it be true? Bewilderment and fear overcome them. It’s too shocking and amazing to be true. But it is true. Yes! He lives. Jesus has risen!

That’s the truth which rings in our hearts today and sets our emotions ablaze. Yes! He lives! Jesus has risen! That’s the theme today: Yes! He lives! Jesus has risen! Why does that set our hearts ringing? Because he has conquered death and we, too, our conquerors through him.

1) Jesus has conquered death

Jesus certainly had died. Think of the events of that first Good Friday. We have the testimony of Scripture that says, “he gave up his spirit” (Matthew 27:50). The Roman soldiers, who knew what death looked like, made sure he was dead, piercing his side with a spear. An eyewitness testifies that blood and water flowed it, clearly showing his death (John 19:35). No doubt about. Jesus of Nazareth had certainly died.

But this same Jesus of Nazareth, the same Jesus that was crucified, the same Jesus who had died, is alive. He has risen. A holy angel (and remember that angel means “messenger;” an angel is a messenger from God), a holy angel announces God’s message. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen!” Yes! He lives. He has risen.

Since Jesus truly did die and since he really has reason, we can draw only one conclusion: Jesus has conquered death.

How did that come about? To answer that, we need to see the connection between death and sin. Just as a stinger makes a bee dangerous and fearful. Our sin gives death its power to hurt and destroy. The service on Good Friday drove home just how deadly our sin is as we saw our Savior suffering and dying because of what we’ve done.

The only way for us to rightly understand and truly believe what Easter is all about is if we first of all see how serious and deadly each and every one of our sins is. Take amount to reflect on your sins this past week. Your neglect of God’s Word or laziness in prayer. Your worries that questioned God’s promises. Your doubts that led you to make choices and decision centered around what seemed best for you instead of being focused on glorify Jesus. Our sins give death the power to take us to hell where we suffer God’s anger for eternity.

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