This is the Sermon for Easter Sunday -- April 20, 2014 at

Shaped by the Cross Lutheran Church
Laurie, Missouri



Isaiah 53:10-12

But the LORD was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand. As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities. Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, And He will divide the booty with the strong; Because He poured out Himself to death, And was numbered with the transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, And interceded for the transgressors.

Sermon for Easter Sunday                                                                                                                                                                                                     4/20/14

The Servant Shares the Victorious Life


My Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

He is risen! He is risen indeed. Hallelujah!

This morning we bring to a close our Lenten series on the Suffering Servant of Isaiah. Rather than use our Gospel as our text today, we will go back to Isaiah once more. But don’t worry, I will not ignore the Easter accounts. Today is all about the glorious truth of Easter. Jesus Christ has risen from the grave. Our theme this morning is, “The Servant Shares the Victorious Life”.

Easter begins at the tomb. The LORD was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief. Without Good Friday, there really is no Easter. The will of God was, from the very beginning, that His Servant would die for our sins. The Lord was not pleased simply to crush Him and put Him to grief. His will was that Jesus would be the guilt offering, the One who died because of human guilt. That is why God came in human form. Easter is the reasoning behind Christmas. He had to be human, bound to the law just as all of us are: Sin, and you die. The other side – the side none of us has accomplished – is that if you live utterly without sin, you will live forever.

But Jesus changed that. He lived the sinless life of perfect obedience to the Father from a heart of love, and not merely from a sense of duty. He earned eternal life. Then He died anyway. Death had no power over Him, but Jesus died nonetheless. He said that no one would take His life from Him, but that He Himself would lay it down. He died deliberately, and by His choice when the time was right. As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities.

He knew anguish. He was so sorrowful on that night in the garden that it nearly killed Him. His sweat came as great drops of blood – which doctors say can actually happen when you are under enough stress emotionally. Then came the arrest, the trial before the kangaroo court of the Sanhedrin, the trials before Pilate and Herod, the scourging, illustrated so graphically in Mel Gibson’s movie, The Passion. Finally came the cross. All of that is summed up here in our text by the words “the anguish of His soul”.

And then Isaiah says, “He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities.” That is where Isaiah comes to Easter! The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave is the evidence that God saw all that His Servant, His Son, bore and He was satisfied. The debt of sin is paid. The wrath of God is not just appeased, but used up and worn out and met completely by the “guilt offering” of Christ for us. It is now as though we had never sinned. We are covered by Jesus and His atonement. God is satisfied. Just as He looked on His newly created world and saw that it was very good, He looks on us in the light of Jesus and His death on our behalf, and we look very good once again – without stain or spot or any such thing. Jesus bore our iniquities to the cross and nailed them there forever.

By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many. That was Isaiah’s elegant way of saying what Mark said in chapter 16, verse 16, “he that believes and is baptized shall be saved.” “His knowledge” means “the knowledge of Him”. By it we are justified, declared holy and righteous by God Himself. That is the glory of God, that He rescued and redeemed us, His creatures, at such a tremendous price, from our own sins. Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, And He will divide the booty with the strong; Because He poured out Himself to death, And was numbered with the transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, And interceded for the transgressors.

You see Easter is not just about resurrection. That peculiar show on TV called “Resurrection” shows us that resurrection all by itself is not necessarily a good thing. In fact, when the dead rise on the last day, many will rise to discover that their resurrection is nothing good. They will rise to eternal condemnation, and regret, and pain, and sorrow. He that believes and is baptized shall be saved, but he that does not believe shall be condemned. It is by knowing the truth, and accepting it as true, and living in the light of it that one finds salvation. Isaiah said, By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many. We call that faith. Jesus said, "If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." You see, even there, in the words of Jesus, you gotta know the truth. The knowledge of Him sets you free.

He poured Himself out to death. No one killed Jesus. He gave up His own life. He was numbered with the transgressors. He died between two criminals as one of them. But His crimes were our sins. He bore the sins of the many, Isaiah said. That is what we celebrate today. Sure, we say, He is risen! And you reply, He is risen indeed! Hallelujah! But we do it because the resurrection is the divine declaration of forgiveness. God said, “It worked!” He was satisfied! Sin as a cause of divine displeasure toward all men is done with. God is not angry with us over our sins because of Jesus. No one goes to hell due to their sins. When they get there, there will be an accounting, and they will suffer over them, but they don’t go to hell because they sinned. You and I have sinned too! Yet we will go to heaven. The reason anyone goes to hell is unbelief. They choose hell by rejecting heaven and salvation and glory in Jesus Christ.

Many will go to hell because they refuse to believe in the Jesus that existed and suffered for them. They have another “Jesus” in their minds. Or they reject the concept of God altogether. Or they believe in some way that they have to make it on their own, earn their way, be fit and deserving. They actually believe that they can be deserving of eternal glory. Some believe in other deities, fictional though they are. Good examples are the Mormons and the Moslems. We can point to when these deities were invented, when their holy books were written, and even trace many of the sources from which the authors borrowed – or stole – their writings and ideas. Joseph Smith wrote his book just a century and half, or so, ago. He stole a novel by a retired Methodist minister, inserted some Old Testament chapters directly into the book, and started his own religion.

Some would say that such things do not matter. That all religions are alike, or that all the gods are just the same god under different covers. But He is risen! He died to atone for our sins, and God raised Jesus from the dead to declare us forgiven, and said there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. No one else has died for us or risen again. Period. Of course, some say that I am wrong, and way too focused on this doctrine, this form of the faith. But that points out that this what it is – faith. He is risen. That is the proclamation of Scripture. Many disagree, even some within the church, so-called. But that is our Easter joy!

Because Jesus has risen, we shall also rise. We shall rise to eternal life in glory with Him. We call that ‘heaven’, but we don’t really understand it. It is good, and it is beyond all sorrow, sickness, pain, or death. It has no end to put a stop to our joy, or the enjoyment of the many blessings of God, and we will not have to deal with those little consequences of sin, like bad eyes, deafening ears, aching joints and muscles, or the frustration of not knowing what is going on or why or what it will mean for us in the future, or the larger consequence of sin: eternity in hell. We will live in God’s presence and glory – conscious of His presence, unlike now. He is among us, be we have no consciousness by our senses of his presence, just the confidence in it because He said He would be with us always, even to the end of the age.

So, for now, we confess with Isaiah that The Servant Shares the Victorious Life. In our circles as among all of God’s people, however, we say it like this: He is risen! He is risen indeed! Hallelujah!

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

(Let the people say Amen)


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