Sermon for Easter 3 – April 18, 2021

+ Easter 3 – April 18, 2021 +

Series B: Acts 3:11-21; 1 John 3:1-7; Luke 24:36-49

Beautiful Savior Lutheran

Milton, WA

 

“A Hands On Savior”

 

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

In an Easter poem, author John Updike once wrote,

 

Make no mistake: if he rose at all
It was as His body;
If the cell’s dissolution did not reverse, the molecule reknit,
The amino acids rekindle,
The Church will fall.

 

In his poem, John Updike get at the heart of Jesus’ resurrection and the joy of Easter. That Jesus’ resurrection from the dead – like so many of God’s promises in Scripture – is real, physical, tangible. Jesus rises from the dead, not metaphorically, symbolically, or spiritually. No. Jesus’ resurrection is a real, bodily, physical resurrection.

 

Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?  See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”

 

St. Luke, the beloved physician, lays out Jesus words like a medical report. Notice his attention to detail. Earthly, physical, evidential details. Jesus speaks, See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Jesus invites his disciples to look and see. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.

 

This is not the stuff of fairy tales or legends. This is the stuff of history. Evidence. Facts. Eyewitness testimony. Jesus is revealing for the disciples and for us the physical nature of his resurrection. In Jesus, God takes on a real, human body. In Jesus, God has flesh. Blood. Bones. In Jesus, God has hands and feet. He is no ghost. He is real and he is risen from the dead.

 

Now, in one respect, this is nothing new. God has always worked this way, using the stuff of his creation to accomplish his word and will. God is a hands on kind of God. Flesh and blood of the Old Testament sacrifices forgave sin. A rainbow in the sky announces God’s covenant with all creation. Smoke, flame, and fire accompany God’s presence with his people. God is always using the stuff of his creation to bless his people.

 

And yet, in another respect, this is something new. Something completely different. In Jesus, God the Creator becomes one with his creatures. God becomes man. In Jesus, God is tangible. Touchable. Knowable. Seeable. Hearable. A hands on Savior.

 

Jesus invites them to touch Him. Jesus is bone of our bones, flesh of our flesh. That’s why we believe our bodies will rise from the dead and we don’t just go on as “spirits” or “souls,” because Jesus rose bodily from the dead. His tomb is empty. The disciples not only saw Jesus, they touched Him. Flesh and bone.

 

And just to drive the point home, Jesus goes one step further for his disciples and us.

And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?”  They gave him a piece of broiled fish,  and he took it and ate before them.

 

Is Jesus hungry? Perhaps. But Jesus is showing his disciples that he’s no ghost. He eats the fish and it doesn’t fall to the floor like on Looney Toons. It’s yet another sign of his fleshly, bodily, physical, resurrection.

 

But there’s something else going on here as well. Psalm 74 says: You crushed the heads of Leviathan; you gave him as food for the creatures of the wilderness. Leviathan was the great “sea monster,” the dragon of the sea, the devil. The image is that Leviathan was being served up as an appetizer at the messianic banquet, which is why the Jews always had a course of fish on the Friday evening Sabbath meal, and why Roman Catholics traditionally eat fish on Friday, and why Jesus multiplied bread and fish in the wilderness.

 

Jesus’ eating fish in the resurrection is a sign that He has conquered Death and the devil who is now served up as a first course. Jesus is the One who swallows Death and devil. “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

 

And this is good news for Jesus’ disciples and for you. Jesus’ physical resurrection signals our own. Because Jesus rose from the dead, so will you. Jesus’ resurrection means your resurrection. Jesus is the first to rise from the dead, but not the last. Jesus’ resurrection, then, means a new creation, a new beginning, a new life for his disciples and for you. Where Jesus has gone, in him, you also go. Through death, into life. A real, bodily, physical resurrection.

 

This is what John is getting at when he writes, Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears[a] we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 

 

What we will be – our own bodily resurrection – has not yet appeared. But Jesus’ resurrection is the guarantee – the proof and promise – that it will. Jesus rose from the dead. And one day, so will you.

Once again, Jesus is a hands on kind of Savior. He gets his hands dirty in the muck and mud of sinful humanity. He nails his hands and feet to the cross to save you. Those are the same hands he shows to his disciples here in Luke 24. And the same hands – the same crucified, risen, and ascended body – that comes to us with all of his physical, tangible, touchable, taste-able promises. Word, water, body and blood.

 

This is how Jesus works for his disciples and for you. Jesus takes the stuff of his creation and uses it to bless you. Jesus takes water, like the water that flowed from his side on the cross, to join you to make you a new creation. Jesus takes his body and blood, broken in death, and puts it into the bread and wine of the Lord’s Supper to forgive you. Jesus uses ordinary words deliver his peace, presence, and promise.

 

Real. Physical. Tangible. Just like our Lord’s resurrection for you.

 

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Beautiful Savior

is a traditional Lutheran Church, faithful to God's Word and His Sacraments. We equip God's people to serve, love, and encourage one another as we grow in our personal relationship with Christ. We reach out to the community as beacons of light, sharing the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Savior.

Church Office Hours

Monday - Thursday 8:30am-3:30pm

Friday 8:30am-11:30am

The office is closed on Fridays during the summer months of June, July, and August.

Preschool Office Hours

August - May
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
8:30am-12:30pm

By appointment only June and July

Contact

Address
2306 Milton Way
Milton, WA 98354
Phone
(253) 922-6977
Fax
(253) 922-6977
E-mail
staff@mybslc.com