A Homily for Easter Sunday
April 1, 2018
(Isaiah 25:6-9; Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24; 1 Corinthians 15:1-11; John 20:1-18)
Jesus is Risen: He is Risen Indeed!
Mary Magdalene’s testimony is a simple one: ‘I have seen the Lord’.
There is here no philosophical defence or over-reasoned argument. There is no elaborate explanation as to how the Jesus she recently buried appeared alive.
Rather, Mary’s is the account of a witness. She has seen. A simple, personal, grounded, obedient, wonder-filled testimony: ’I have seen the Lord’. It is the earliest response to the resurrection!
It wasn’t, however, the last. This same testimony was given by Peter (Cephas), Jesus’ closest followers, and over five hundred people who formed part of the early church. This community was, and is, in essence a people gathered around their testimony: ‘…he appeared…’
This account of God’s action in the person of Jesus is of ‘first importance’ to the Apostle Paul, and now to us.
For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared…(1 Corinthians 15:3-5, NRSV).
A simple account.
Yet for many across our globe, this has become the hope that transforms life as we know it. In the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus we see forgiveness, grace, restoration, purpose, and hope for all people. It draws us to love all nationalities, rich and poor, slave and free, male and female. This testimony calls us on.
The resurrection of Jesus is not only an event of the past. It is a glimpse of our future. A foretaste of your destiny. Jesus’ resurrection is a start.
After all, in this event, as the prophet foretold, the luxurious banquet of God is prepared. The wine is well aged. The food extravagant. Yet this is no feast to sustain for a mere day. In taking our seat at the table of this God we discover that death is ‘swallowed up’ for all eternity. The enemy is finally defeated. Here – in this generous and costly will-of-God – we find eternal life.
So today we join with Isaiah and proclaim: ‘This is the one we have waited for’! We are drawn into the refrain of the psalmist: ‘His steadfast love endures forever’.
And we declare to all creation:
’This is the day that the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.’ (Psalm 118:24)
Dear friends, Jesus is Risen: He is Risen Indeed!