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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed. Hallelujah!

The Rev. Dr. Norman Nagel preached in an Easter sermon from 1981: ,,There is now nothing in all the world that you can be more sure of than Jesus crucified for you, risen for you" (Nagel 120). This statement is Good Friday and Easter Sunday in a nutshell.

The Church doesn't need liberation theology, social gospel theology, name it and claim it theology, rolling on the floor laughing theology, slain in the spirit theology, your best life now theology, and any other pop, quasi-entertainment driven theology that seems so prevalent on the American airwaves. The Church and the world needs the Christ crucified and risen for you theology.

Why? Because we have a problem with sin. Our 21st century society doesn't like that dirty word ,,sin". Sin makes us feel uncomfortable, shameful, and guilty. The plethora of 12 step theologies that overwhelm the culture often don't take sin seriously, and in fact would prefer to push sin into a small, dark corner to be forgotten about.

Jesus suffering on the cross won't let us forget about our sinfulness. Christ crucified won't let us push sin into a forgotten corner. Good Friday places the spotlight squarely on sin. There it is! You see, this is the punishment for sin. This is where sin ultimately leads you: suffering and death. That God-man hanging on the cross is bearing our sin in His own body. He is suffering for us in order to redeem us. Jesus became sin and a curse who bore the full wrath of His heavenly Father.

Christ crucified is true liberation, liberation from sin, death, and the devil. The empty tomb shows how helpless sin, death, and the devil now are. The resurrected Christ shows that He is the perfect sacrifice that has paid for all sin, once and for all. The resurrected Christ shows that death will be undone. The resurrected Christ shows that the devil is now defeated.

Christ crucified and risen for us is the only gospel the Church and the world needs. Christians live under the theology of the cross, namely, that in this life we can expect to suffer because we have faith in Jesus. Our life will not be a bed of roses, but more often a couch of thorns. To be sure, God blesses us, but He also allows us to endure trials and tribulations in order to strenghten our faith in Christ.

When Christ returns we will then live under the theology of glory. Christ will arrive in His full majesty. Our bodies will be raised up and reunited with our souls. The ravages of sin and death will no longer afflict us. Worldly suffering will no longer burden us. All discrimination will end. All poverty will end. All wars and violence will end. But this won't occur until the last day, that great and glorious day when we will experience Easter Sunday in all its heavenly glory.

Nagel, Norman. Selected Sermons of Norman Nagel: From Valparaiso to St. Louis. Frederick W. Baue, Ed. Copyright © 2004 Concordia Publishing House.

1 comment:

Pastor Kelly J. Leary said...

excellent Peter -- excellent! Hey I'll give you a call later on this aft -- after 4 I have a late funeral today