So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.Colossians 3:14-24
Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and never treat them harshly.
Children, obey your parents in everything, for this is your acceptable duty in the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, or they may lose heart. Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything, not only while being watched and in order to please them, but wholeheartedly, fearing the Lord. Whatever your task, put yourselves into it, as done for the Lord and not for your masters, since you know that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward; you serve the Lord Christ.Matthew 28:1-10
After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.’ This is my message for you.” So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
One of the themes from Matthew’s account of Jesus’ resurrection is “fear.”
Fear is one of the primary forces that drive us to do a lot of things. Fear can give us phobias, paralyze us, make us hide, retaliate, cower, strike out in anger, make excuses, fail to take chances, run away from responsibilities, cover up our actions, and the list goes on and on.
As get old and begin walking into the twilight of life and the unknown we can be plagued with fears. If we allow our minds to wander in imagined situations we tangle ourselves into a web of fear of our future.
Instead let us focus on the fact that our risen Lord tells us over and over in the scriptures, “do not fear.”
John 14:1, “Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.”
Matthew 10:31, “do not fear, you are of more value than many sparrows.”
Instead of looking inward at our frailties and allowing fear to rule our hearts and minds let us determine to take a stand against it and look to Jesus our Savior for healing and deliverance.
The second theme from Matthew is worship.
These two, fear and worship, fit together because the answer to fear is to worship and trust.
We worship Jesus, who came to set us free. He alone has the power and authority to fill our hearts with faith, freeing us from fear. Easter Sunday is a day of rejoicing and crying out “He is risen,” and responding, “He is risen indeed.”
Easter is a day to rejoice in our freedom. It is a day to relish the fact that we are free.
We are no longer bound to the fear of death. We know where we will spend eternity. As believers we are free from sin, cleansed, washed, clothed in robes of white, and our names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
He is risen!
His risen indeed, Alleluia!
Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress;
my eye wastes away from grief,
my soul and body also.
For my life is spent with sorrow,
and my years with sighing;
my strength fails because of my misery,
and my bones waste away.
I am the scorn of all my adversaries,
a horror to my neighbors,
an object of dread to my acquaintances;
those who see me in the street flee from me.
I have passed out of mind like one who is dead;
I have become like a broken vessel.
For I hear the whispering of many—
terror all around!—
as they scheme together against me,
as they plot to take my life.
But I trust in you, O Lord;
I say, “You are my God.”
My times are in your hand;
deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors.
Let your face shine upon your servant;
save me in your steadfast love.
Christ is risen! Alleluia! If nothing else is said on Easter Sunday, this alone would be sufficient. The whole Gospel, all the promises of God, all our hopes and expectations are captured in these words: Christ is risen! Alleluia! We come on Easter for worship. Adult education will have to be put aside for this week. Not because it's unimportant, but because it's enough to join together in liturgy and song, in Word and Sacrament. No classes this Sunday, April 16 or next Wednesday, April 19. So our next adult education classes will meet on Sunday, April 93 and on Wednesday, April 96. We'll continue our Reformation 500 journey as we explore some of the great tensions in our Lutheran understanding of the faith: saint and sinner, church and state, God's wrath and God's love. Come join us! And a blessed Easter to you!