We each know ourselves how things like that can go. We’ve all had times when we realized that we were slow to learn our lessons. We should just know that it’ll go better for us if we don’t sin. We’ll have a better day if we don’t get angry, don’t lust, don’t cheat or deceive. We should just know that we’ll feel better about life and ourselves if we do good works, showing care toward our neighbor and going even a little out of our way to help someone, even our enemy. It’s good to forgive. Forgiveness is divine. But often we don’t remember our lessons.
Or how about this one: We should know better than to fear. Our negative attitudes and our unhealthy emotions often show that we have failed to learn our lessons.
The women at the tomb who were perplexed, confused and frightened at the sight of the angels, should not have been. So likewise you should not fear. A lot people are deathly afraid of shame or embarrassment. There’s no reason to fear. Jesus has forgiven you all your sins, so now because of Him God loves you. It’s not such a big deal if there a few human beings that think little of you. Your God thinks you’re special and worthy. That’s a lesson to not forget.
A lot of people are afraid of the future because their imagination is way too active at thinking up the worst possible things that could happen. What’s the worst that can happen? You don’t have to imagine it. Just look at the cross, it happened to Jesus. He suffered. He died. He cried out “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me.” Jesus willingly took that cross so you don’t have to. – so you can hear God say instead, I will never leave you. I will never forsake you.
A lot of these fears we have about the future, about suffering, about shame, stem from that greatest and ultimate fear, the fear of death. And I just can’t tell you, stop it. Don’t be afraid of dying. Because it is real and it is inevitable. Everyone’s doing it. No one seems able to beat it. Except One.
And when you believe that, when you remember His words, when you put your trust fully in Jesus Christ who is your life, the fear evaporates away, like fog when the sun shines through. When you believe that Jesus Christ has forgiven you all your sins, the fear of shame and embarrassment evaporates. When you believe that Jesus lives forever and is sitting at the right hand of God the Father almighty, in control of all things for your good, your fear of the future evaporates. When you believe that Christ is the life, your fear of death evaporates.
A colleague of mine told me that one of his parishioners once told him, “Pastor, you need to get some new material. It seems like every time I hear you preach, it’s the same old thing: Jesus and His resurrection.”
But there is some truth behind that parishioner’s criticism. We in the church can’t get enough of talking about the resurrection of our Savior from the dead.
We need to keep this good news in our thoughts all throughout the year and in our daily lives. We like the women at the tomb who heard the angel’s message, need to “remember His words.”
We are surrounded by a world that is seeking a living among the dead.
If you’re looking for some sense for your life in the things that give you pride, you’ll be so disappointed when they pass away. Your strength, your health, your prosperity, your good luck, your honored position among citizens can give you the false impression that you are worth something on your own. But all of those things don’t last forever. They grow weak, old and succumb to death. If you get some sense of the value of your life and your purpose from those things, it’s like you’re seeking the living among the dead.
If you’re prioritizing your life around those things that give you pleasure, if you make all your choices based on what’s gonna feel good, you’ll be disappointed and you will suffer because such things never last and they never give the happiness they seem to promise.
By nature we are drawn to love these things most. And all these things we love most are passing away they are dying, they will not last forever. Why do seek the living among the dead?”
Find your sense of life in Christ, the Life.
Find your identity, not in the temporary, dying things that you’d like to be proud of, but in Christ your life.
And He will find you.
He found you and made you His own in the new life of baptism.
He finds you when through His word, you hear that precious Gospel that your sins are forgiven and you will be with Him now and forever, even through the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.
He finds you when you are fed His body and cleansed by His blood.
He finds you and gives you eternal life. He is Christ, your Life.