Rev. Mark Buetow
St. John 20:1-18
What has fallen has been lifted up again. What has been lost has been recovered. What was ruined has been made whole again. What was destroyed has been repaired. What was cursed has been blessed. We who expected death have been given life. All this because He who was dead is now alive! Christ who was slain is alive again.
When the Lord made man He gave him life and put him in a garden. When Adam and Eve left the garden it was in shame and death. Our Lord enters the garden in shame and death; He is laid in the tomb. But He leaves the Garden alive and the tomb is left empty. Where man brought death into the world in a garden, Christ brings forth life from the garden.
When Adam and Eve were driven from the Garden, an angel with a flaming sword was stationed to keep them from ever going back. The flaming sword of God's judgment blocked them from that paradise ever again. Now angels are in the empty tomb, no longer swinging deadly flaming swords but pointing to the risen Christ who is the Life of Mary and Peter and John and all the world. In this Garden the angels are not enforcing the bad news of the curse but proclaiming the Good News of Jesus' resurrection.
The Lord walked in the Garden and Adam and Eve hid themselves. Now in this garden of the empty tomb, Jesus comes, hidden to reveal Himself to Mary as the risen Savior. A serpent preached to Eve. Eve then shared these lies with her husband. The result was the Fall into sin and the judgment of death. Now, Christ speaks to Mary and she goes to proclaim that He is alive to the disciples. The lies of death are replaced by the Good News of life. What happened in the Garden of Eden is reversed in the Garden of Christ's empty tomb!
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, by His death that conquered death and His life which restores life, Christ has overturned the work of sin and death in this world. By your Baptism into Him, you have died and rise with Him. By the preaching of His Gospel He has called your name and turned you to Him. By His Holy Supper He lives in you and promises to raise you up at the Last Day. All the powers of hell and death have been defeated and they cannot hurt you. By his death He has rescued you even from death. By His resurrection He has promised you to be raised and have eternal life. All of the curse that you have been under has been undone by your Lord Jesus and paradise is once again yours. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.