Hear Us Laugh, O Grave!

Text: Mark 16:1-8
In the name of Jesus.  Amen. 
Hear us laugh!  Yes, hear us laugh at you o grave, for the angel of the Lord rolled away the stone to show the entire world that you are not as powerful as you might think.  Indeed, o grave, the stone was rolled away to show everyone that your threats of death are a fa├žade.  You have been exposed, o grave, Christ is risen.  Empty talk – that is all you’ve got, o grave!  Did you hear that, o grave, you’ve got nothin’ because you could not keep Christ contained.    
With that stated, though, don’t you claim to be all powerful, o grave?  Aren’t you the one who supposedly rules the bloodshed of war?  Aren’t you the one who lounges at the hospital ICU?  Aren’t you the one who is a constant threat against young mothers and babies in the womb?  Don’t you lean inward on us when we are sick, whispering that you are coming for us? 
O grave, you may claim all of this, but we shake our heads at you in disgust.  We chuckle with the laugh of victory at your overinflated self-assessments.  We taunt you not once, but we taunt you a second time, for Christ our Lord and God has risen out of your so-called power. 
Do you not see o grave, Jesus is not in your lair of death.  He is not with you, but He is with us, His church—He is ALIVE! 
On Friday night it seemed that you were the one that was alive as you consumed the lifeless Son of God into your deep cavern.  This morning, though, we hear that the Christ has risen, which leads us to conclude that you are the one that is lifeless and dead, for Christ is alive and well, seated at the right hand of the Father. 
“And what about our deaths, caskets, and burials,” you may ask? 
O grave, do you not know that by Jesus’ three-day rest in the tomb that He made the burial places of His baptized, holy?  Yes, o grave, do you not know that those who are baptized into Jesus were baptized with Him in death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life?
O grave, it would seem that you don’t even have complete authority in the cemeteries that you apparently run.  It appears that someone has moved into your domain.  It appears that the cemetery plots of the baptized are under new management. 
Let us be very blunt and to the point, o grave!  You will not get us.  You will not keep us in your clinching jaws.  It is true that at the end of our lives we are put six-feet under, but there in your midst, o grave, we rest in peace as if we are tucked in for a cozy nap, for our caskets are sanctified. Indeed, we will rest in your midst until we are called forth to glory.
Speaking of glory?  Listen up, o grave, we want to tell you something wonderful – a mystery. There is a time coming – a time appointed – that you will hear a trumpet.  It will be a blast of a trumpet!  And we who have died will be up and out of the graves so fast that you won’t know what hit you.  In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet, we will burst forth from your midst with resurrected bodies, and we will see our Lord face to face, never to die again.  You will eat our dust.    
“And what of our sin,” you may ask, o grave?
It is true that our sin puts us in a casket.  Our sin unites us with you o grave; however, have you been so quick to forget about Good Friday?  Christ said, “It is finished!”  And with his suffering and died for us, He accomplishing forgiveness, life, and salvation.
O grave, we ask again, where is your victory?  Where is your bite?  Where are the fangs of your jaw? 
That is just what we thought - you have no answer o grave, for all your power is gone.  You have no answer this day, o grave, for Christ is risen. 
Yes, Christ is risen, o grave; therefore, we will not fear you this day. 
And there is more, o grave.  Since you have no response to us – since the news of the empty tomb has dumbfounded you, let us preach to you a bit more and maybe taunt you a third or fourth time! 
Christ is risen, which means that all of our sins is buried deeply in His wounds. 
Christ is risen, which certifies that our guilt is truly forgiven. 
Christ is risen, which means that death has been swallowed by Life.
Christ is risen, which means that the devil has lost.    
Christ is risen, which means that we confidently walk in the vocations that the Lord has placed us. 
Christ is risen, which means that we have the assurance of a holy and certain hope to meet the days ahead.
Christ is risen, which means that we will be seated with Him at the Heavenly banquet. 
Christ is risen, which means that He is seated at the right hand of the Father interceding for us.  
Christ is risen, which means that we will have the joyful expectation of new bodies on the Last Day – bodies free from sin and death. 
Christ is risen, which means that we will rise from the grave as well. As they say, “Ain’t no grave gonna hold this body down.” 
Indeed, Baptized Saints, Jesus has risen from the grave.  He is not in the grave.  He is not possessed by the grave. The grave could not hold Him down.  The grave is empty. 
Baptized Saints, your Redeemer – Jesus – lives.  Do no fear the grave.  You belong to Jesus.  Alleluia
The peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus the Resurrected one. Amen.
Note: the idea to personify ‘the grave’ comes from David Peterson’s Easter Sermon in his book, “Thy Kingdom Come.”

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