April 21, 2019 [Easter Sunday2 Timothy 2:8  J.D.Roekle

 

Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David.  This is my gospel.

 

Remember Jesus Christ: He Has Risen!

 

Dear Friends in Christ,

          How’s your memory?  Let’s test it for a moment.  What month and day did Easter fall on last year?  You’re correct if you said April 1st.  Now, what did you do on Easter?  Were you in church here or somewhere else?  What did you have for your Easter dinner?  What details do you remember?  If you are like me, Easter celebrations tend to run together and it’s difficult to remember many of the details from year to year.  Sometimes we need to be reminded by people with better memories than ours.

          Early on the first Easter morning, an angel announced to the women coming to prepare Jesus’ body for burial that Jesus wasn’t there.  “He has risen!” the angel said.  And then, the angel went on to test their memory: “  Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.  Then they remembered his words.”  It was a good thing that angel was there.  He helped clear things up for them as to what was happening to Jesus by simply pointing them to words Jesus had spoken to them. 

          The Apostle Paul is testing our memory this morning.  What’s so special about Easter Sunday?  The devil wants nothing more than to get us to forget its significance.  The world around us tries to divide our attention which often keeps us from remembering.  And we are our own worst enemies as we get so distracted by so many things that are far less important.  Today on this Easter morning, let’s simply remember Jesus Christ and hear again the simple yet powerful truth that He is risen!  We’ll do that by talking about each phrase of this short verse. 

          Paul begins: Remember Jesus Christ.  Names are important.  But a name isn’t just merely a title.  A name includes reputation.  It includes everything that a person is, or has done or stands for.  For instance, what do you think of when you hear the name Giannis Antetokounmpo?  He plays for the Milwaukee Bucks.  He will likely win the MVP.  He’s known as the ‘Greek Freak’ because of his abilities for a man his size.  Perhaps even more comes to mind when you think about Giannis. 

          Now consider the name Jesus.  What does this name bring to mind?  This is the God-given name for him at birth which angels delivered to Mary and Joseph.  It is a name which means ‘Savior.’  From the moment this Jesus came into the world, he was all about carrying out his mission to save.  Everything he did played a part in completing what he had set out to do in defeating Satan who had ruined his creation.  On Good Friday, the battle reached its final decisive hour.  It was on the cross where God and Satan battled for 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 that wasn’t the end of Jesus!  Far from it.  It is on this day that we celebrate that Jesus has arisen.  He is alive! 

          What you need to remember is that Jesus is also the Christ.  Jesus is the ‘Anointed one.’  God chose him and anointed him to go the distance for us.  The Old Testament prophecies talked about a Messiah who would come.  Jesus is that Messiah who fulfilled all those prophecies.  God chose Jesus not only to suffer and die, but also to rise and to live forever.  Now Jesus Christ has ascended to the right hand of God where he rules all things in heaven and earth.  Do you remember this Jesus?  Since he has all this power, he also has power to save all those who believe in him. 

          Paul also calls on us to specifically remember that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead.  At times, we may try to comfort each other when a loved one dies by thinking that death it natural.  Death is inevitable, but it’s not natural.  God did not create people to die at the beginning.  But when Adam and Eve sinned, death entered into the world.  And not only physical death, but eternal death – permanent separation from God. 

          That’s what was in store for every sinner…each one of us.  That truth can fill us with fear!  Our sin separates us from God, threatens to separate us forever!  But remember that Jesus Christ was raise from the dead.  He carried all your sin to the cross with him and now he comes out of the grave victorious.  His resurrection proves that God accepted his sacrifice for our sins. 

          And Jesus’ resurrection is the very foundation of our faith.  That’s what we celebrate today.  His resurrection gives us certainty about our forgiveness and all the promises God has made.  You can trust God with your life and with your soul! 

          Have you ever wondered what nonbelievers do at Easter?  Yes, often time the world crowds in and puts a secular spin on Easter.  But that side of Easter hasn’t caught on like it has a Christmas.  And so, as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, what do nonbelievers do?  Even more, what do they do when they stand next to a casket?  Or what do they think when faced with their own mortality? 

          Be thankful, dear friends that you remember the truth about Jesus.  That he is the resurrection and the life!  That whoever believes in him will live, even though they die! 

           There’s another important truth Paul reminds us of: Jesus Christ is descended from David.  David was a man, and as a descendant of David, Jesus Christ was also a man.  That means that not only did the Son of God rise on Easter morning.  The Son of Man did too.  In so doing, Jesus is giving us a glimpse of the day he will raise us from the grave.  When he calls us out of our graves, our bodies will be much different, much improved.  Our bodies will no more be broken with handicaps, diseases, or illnesses.  There will be no more aches or pains.  No longer will we experience disappointment or fear or experience tragedy.  The old order of things will all be gone. 

          Paul reminds us that “We will all be changed in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.” (1 Corinthians 15:51,52) Jesus was raised from the dead.  And because he rose, he will show his power over death by raising up all people and glorifying the bodies of all who trust in him.  That’s the comforting truth that Job confessed: “After my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” (Job 19:26,27)

          The Apostle Paul wraps up all these things that we talked about this morning by saying: “This is my gospel.”  Now, this ‘gospel’ or ‘good news’ isn’t just Paul’s privately held religious opinions.  This is the gospel of Jesus Christ!  It is God’s message that he gifted to Paul ad to us.  It is a message of peace and hope to the world!  God has given it to the world.  Because God said it, it is true!  In God’s grace, he has given this gospel to us.  Your faith in him is secure and sold.  This gospel is rock, not shifting sand. 

          Dear friends in Christ, by next year at this time, you may forget many of the details of what you did today.  But always remember what God has done for you.  Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David.  Amen.