A Sermon for Series A Easter Sunday 2017 “Raising Up the King”

 

First Lesson Acts 10:34-43

Second Lesson  Colossians 3:1-4

Gospel Lesson  Matthew 28:1-10 

He is risen! (He is risen indeed, alleluia!)  I bring you grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father, and our risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Amen.  The text for our meditation this glorious Easter morning is the Gospel lesson just read.  [Matthew 28:1-10]

My son Peter is currently living in the Kingdom of Bhutan.  That’s a little tiny country north of India in the Himalayan Mountains.  Peter is the chef in a very exclusive resort, and this resort is just outside the capital of Bhutan, which means he has some ‘extra’ duties ‘outside’ of the resort.  On a fairly regular basis, Peter is called upon to prepare a meal for the King and Queen of Bhutan.

On occasion, the King and Queen have friends who stop by, like the King and Queen of Sweden, or the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, and Peter has been invited to prepare banquets for them as well; and it’s not uncommon that, at the end of the meal, Peter might be invited out to receive a ‘thank you’ from these guests.  So, Peter has had the opportunity to meet these ‘royals’.

I’ve never met a King or a Queen; but I have it on good report that they don’t look all that different from you and me.  Two arms, two hands, two legs, two feet.  God made us all. God loves us all.  The only thing that separates you and me from kings and queens is their heritage; and, actually, if we go back far enough in our heritage, even that doesn’t set us apart from them.  You might even say we’re all descendants of a king.

On the Sixth Day of Creation, God made a king for Himself, our forefather Adam. From the dust of the ground God brought forth His king and placed him in a garden made just for him. He wasn’t just someone for an all-powerful God to boss around like a peon; this man was God’s representative on earth.

And this king wasn’t created to lollygag around the garden all day; he was made to have dominion over the earth and to rule it. This king was created with feet.  God gave him work to do, and he needed to get around. His blessed work was to tend the garden and to guard it, and that meant also guarding His bride, Eve.  But King Adam wasn’t up to the task.

An angel, came to the garden. Beautiful and glorious on the outside, but ugly on the inside, and Adam let him in. The angel came to Adam’s wife spewing his poisonous lies. Now, Adam should have taken those feet God gave him and planted them right between his wife and the serpent and said, “Eve, don’t listen to him. He’s a liar.” But instead of moving his feet, instead of standing up to the serpent, he allowed himself to be caught flat-footed and did nothing. And then, he turned his toes to his wife who’d been deceived; listening to her as she said, “Take; eat, Adam,” and he did.  So much for tending to creation.  So much for guarding his wife.

So much for Adam.  Almost all kings leave some kind of legacy, something they’re remembered for. David was the great warrior king, who purchased the land for construction of God’s temple. Solomon was remembered for his wisdom and for building the temple. But King Adam built nothing. His legacy was death. His work brought tombs and graves into the world, funeral homes and obituaries, sickness and disease, fear and anxiety.

Because of Adam’s sin, God drove His king out of the garden, and placed angels at the door. Angels that stood at attention; with flaming swords; keeping man from the tree of life in the garden. Before he sinned, Adam had no need for the tree of life.  He and Eve were immortal; but in their sin they brought death into the world; death for all mankind.

Even so, God loved the king who wasn’t up to the task; and He promised one day to send another, a greater king. A royal Seed. His only-begotten Son, God in the flesh, God with feet. These feet wouldn’t allow themselves to be caught flat footed.  These weren’t the feet of a coward, but the feet of a man of action, a champion who came into the world to restore all that King Adam ruined.

His were the feet that came to crush the head of that evil angel who deceived Adam and filled the world with fear. His holy feet got himself where He needed to be; to help fallen man, to heal the sick, the blind, the deaf, and the lame; to feed the hungry; to walk right into a funeral procession and raise a widow’s son back to life; to walk right up to a tomb and raise his friend Lazarus back to life.

He used those feet to get him where He needed to go to instruct the hard hearted. To preach to them about entrance into a Kingdom that they could never merit. A Kingdom that He bestowed freely. This King was just the right king. And His feet were just the right feet needed to save you and me. To open the entrance to the garden paradise that Adam’s flat-footedness had closed.

He was just the right king, but to return us to the Garden of Paradise meant that this king had to be sliced by the sword. This king had to bleed; this king had to have the courage to sacrifice Himself for rebels. And so, in spite of his body being battered and beaten, his royal feet willingly staggered forward; as this King bore our sin to the cross, where he died; finally resting his royal feet in the grave.

But what good is a dead king? What good are the feet of a king if they can’t move? How can a dead king give out gifts, give out a share in his kingdom, give glory and honor to his rebel subjects? How can a dead king share his royal feast of feasts? What good is a merely crucified King, if that king isn’t raised to show His wounds and bring peace to man’s raging and guilty conscience? It’s no good at all.

Thanks be to God he did raise this King from death to life.  He is risen and because he was crucified and raised for you, one day you will rise, to reign with Him forever.  You’re no longer in your sins, you’re in Christ and in Him death has no power over you.  Rejoice in what our King’s holy feet have accomplished—Satan’s head crushed, and his accusing voice silenced forever. Death’s power removed, and the slavery of sin abolished.

Our King was raised on this holy day and what wonderful things we hear. We see the sad and fearful Marys, a picture of God’s sad and fearful church, now filled with joy and gladness at the angel’s preaching. We see the stone rolled back and no body in there, as we catch a glimpse of our own future graves.

How different things are on this morning. Remember those angels whose duty it was to guard the entrance to the garden of paradise?  Remember how they looked?   See the angel at the tomb; the angel in white. He has no sword. He’s not imposing. He has no scowl on his face. He’s not even standing on his feet. He simply sits in a garden graveyard and preaches a short but magnificent sermon. “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, as He said.”

See how Mary Magdalene and the other Mary kneel down and take hold of those blessed feet, as Jesus comes to them and says again, “Don’t be afraid.” They grasp and worship at the feet of their Savior and King who laid for three days in the bed that Adam had made for all men, as he emptied it of all its dread and power.

It was a great day, that sixth day when God made Himself a king with feet. But how much greater is what happened on this day, the eighth day, the first day of a new creation, when God placed His King back on His pierced feet, that you might be baptized and fed with His life-giving body and blood, and reign with Him forever.

In Christ’s service,

Pastor