Your Lord is not Lost. Vigil of Easter 2015
St. Peter Lutheran Church
St. John 20:1-18
April 4, 2015
“Your Lord is not Lost”
Alleluia! Christ is risen!
The disciples don’t understand what has happened. The stone is rolled away from the entrance to the tomb, and the body of Jesus is not there. John and Peter come and gaze into the empty tomb and then go back home. Mary is convinced that someone has stolen the body of Jesus. That would be the first thing you would think in such a situation. And this is just the final straw for her. After watching her Lord suffer and die in weakness, pierced and hanging from the cross, how can it be that now even His body is stolen? How could God allow such a thing if Jesus is His Son?
Even today liberal bible scholars tell us that Mary’s first instinct was right. Someone stole the body of Jesus, or the disciples weren’t clear on where they buried Jesus. Some even say that Jesus wasn’t ever buried in the first place. He was just thrown into a ditch somewhere and eaten by animals.
Such conclusions are no big deal to make for people who don’t believe in Jesus. But for Mary and the disciples and for us, the loss of Jesus would be the end of everything. You can imagine the grief of the disciples when they believed that Jesus was just dead and someone had taken His body. It would be the same as if someone were to convince you that what the liberal bible scholars said was true. Jesus just died on the cross and then His body was taken or somehow destroyed and He didn’t really rise from the dead. What would we do? How would we live? What an empty dark hole of a festival Easter would be!
Sometimes in our lives, though, it is like Jesus really is lost. We may not doubt that He rose from the dead, but for all that we can’t find Him anywhere. We feel like Mary, wandering around Jesus’ tomb weeping. Saying, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him!”
But when Mary is weeping, distracted with sorrow, the voice of God calls softly to her, first through the angels, then through Jesus himself. When we feel as if we have lost Christ, God’s voice calls softly to us too.
“Woman, why are you weeping?” Then again, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” She says, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” Then she says to Jesus, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” Finally Jesus calls her by her name: “Mary.”
Before Jesus called her name, the voice of God asked, “Why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?”
The answer was, “I am looking for Jesus.” And God’s quiet voice was asking, “Then why are you weeping? You’re looking for Jesus, the Lord, who became what you are to redeem you. He is the Lord, did you forget that? Are you afraid your Lord will get lost? Yes, He is the Lord who slept in the boat during the storm and then awoke and silenced it. You were so afraid then, but did you have anything to fear?”
Yes, it is the same Lord Jesus who created you,
Who brought Noah safely out of the ark,
Who brought Israel through the Red Sea,
Who brought the three men through the fiery furnace,
Who shut the mouth of the lions in the pit.
And now, what are you afraid of? Death? Do you think death is stronger than your Lord? Didn’t He say that He would rise from the dead?
But Mary forgot about all this in her fear. She couldn’t hear the quiet voice of God. So Jesus called to her, “Mary.”
Our Lord Jesus also calls our name to rouse us from our fear.
He called us by name when He baptized us and raised us from sin and death.
He calls our name when He preaches His word. He calls us by name when He gives us His body to eat and His blood to drink.
Who are you looking for? You are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. No one has taken Him away, for He is the Master.
He is the one who is from the beginning, who created heaven and earth and human beings in His image.
He brought Noah safely through the flood, Israel through the Red Sea, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego through the fiery furnace.
And He is the Lord and Master of death. He rose from it and He has brought you through it too, for you are baptized into Him.
Your Lord Jesus does not get lost. His word holds true. And He will see that you never get lost. He will call you, His sheep, by name until He calls it at the right hand of the Father and says—“Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”
The peace of God that passes understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Soli Deo Gloria