SPIRITUAL MATTERS: Beyond the chocolate, flowers

By now the Easter lilies have dropped their blossoms, the chocolate bunnies have been eaten along with most of the rest of the candy, spring break has come to an end, and life is returning to normal. But there are things that have not changed.
First, the tomb is still empty. Maybe you have traveled to parts of the country where you were able to visit the tombs of some of our founding fathers. Many tributes are paid to people who served others, and to people who were seen as great.
If you were to travel to the Middle East they might take you to a place that they would declare as the tomb where Jesus’s body was placed after His crucifixion. Is it the real tomb?
There is, at best, much speculation regarding this. We have no proof positive. Why? Because He rose from the dead, bursting the hold of death upon us, and paying the debt of our sin we could never have paid.
Second, Jesus is still ministering to His closest followers. He spent 40 days on earth after His resurrection teaching His followers. He also gave them a great promise. He promised that He would pour out the Holy Spirit on them.
The Holy Spirit would give them the very words they needed to speak as witness to the resurrection.
He also gave them the strength and confidence to live their faith at all times. No longer were they behind locked doors.
Now they would stand before the authorities, religious and political, boldly proclaiming Jesus as the Messiah! Even after the Ascension into heaven, Jesus ministers to us through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Third, His Word has not changed. It is still being fulfilled. The eternal God we worship and serve does not change and neither does His Word.
He continues to prepare us through that Word to be witnesses for Him.
If you were to read through the entire Bible, cover to cover, you would find, first, how Jesus fulfills the prophecies of the Messiah and, second, of all the promises God has made in His Word there is only one He has yet to keep: Jesus will return to this earth and will judge all mankind, living and dead.
Only the faithful will join Him in an eternity of glory in heaven. It is not an entitlement program, but one paid by the suffering and death of Jesus. So, we can say…
Finally, His victory is our victory. When He died on the cross He died so all sin would be paid for. We call that universal, or objective, atonement. He died for all. At the same time, Jesus died for each of us, individually.
That is personal, or subjective, atonement. When He rose from the grave, He did so to proclaim His victory over death. It no longer has a hold on us or, as St. Paul writes, “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
The victory is ours! Keep celebrating.
The Rev. Kendall Schaeffer is pastor of St. Trinity Lutheran Church.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.