Blessed brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus Christ. This month we relish in the Holy Season of Easter, the resurrection of the Son of God who has redeemed the world unto Himself. As I am want to do from time to time I like to see what the fathers of our Lutheran Confession had to say concerning these most blessed of festivals. I came across a sermon preached on April 13th, 1533 by Martin Luther. A short segment of this sermon says it all with astounding might and force. I share this section with you in the hopes that it speaks as brilliantly to you as it does to me.
“Therefore, we must juxtapose against our sin and death the suffering, death, and resurrection of this man who is called Jesus Christ, almighty, eternal God and sinless, righteous man. If the devil approaches us and says, ‘Look here, see how great your sin is; see, too, how bitter, how terrible is the death you must suffer;’ then you must counter with, ‘Devil, don’t you know the power of my Lord Jesus’ suffering, death, and resurrection? In him there is eternal righteousness and eternal life, his resurrection from the dead is mightier than my sin, death, and hell, greater than heaven and earth. My death and sin are minute drops, but my Lord Jesus’ death and resurrection is a vast ocean.’
This is all so very true that the devil cannot deny it. Christ’s resurrection and victory over sin, death, and hell are greater than heaven and earth. Even though we were to magnify them many times, Christ’s resurrection and victory would still be greater. Just as his person is great, eternal, infinite, and incomprehensible, so are his resurrection, victory, and triumph great, eternal, infinite, and incomprehensible. Even though there were a thousand hells and a hundred thousand deaths, they would be mere sparks and droplets over against Christ’s resurrection, victory, and triumph. Christ bestows the gift of his resurrection, victory, and triumph to all who believe in him. Since we have been baptized in him and believe in him, it follows that even if you and I had one hundred thousand sins, deaths, and hells, it still would be nothing, because Christ’s resurrection, victory, and triumph, which become ours through faith and baptism, are far greater. If that is true, which it certainly is, who or what can harm us- sin, earth, the devil, hell, the world, pope, emperor, or whatever foe? This is the second point of this sermon, that we not only reflect on the great and wonderful events which happened in Christ’s person, but that we know and believe that all this happened for our benefit, as God’s Word promises it to us and through faith it becomes our very own. St. Paul states (I Cor. 15:57): ‘But thanks be to God which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.’”
One cannot miss the confidence Luther displays in the meritorious work of Christ. He lived his life that way, confessed the Faith that way, and his soul ascended to eternal life that way. May you be so blessed this Holy Season of Easter to confess, with confidence, the meritorious work of Christ for you. HE IS RISEN! HE IS RISEN INDEED! ALLELUIA!