Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, as He said. Come, see the place where He lay. Then go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead, and behold, He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see Him. See, I have told you. So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell His disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell My brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me.”
Sermon: The King Raised
P: Christ is risen!
C: He is risen indeed. Alleluia.
On the Sixth Day of Creation, God made for Himself a king. From the dust of the ground He brought forth His king and placed him in a garden made just for him. He wasn’t just someone for an all-powerful God to boss around like a peon; this man was God’s representative on earth. And this king was not created to lollygag around the garden all day; he was made to have dominion and to rule. This king was created with feet, for God gave him work to do, and he had to get around. His blessed work was to tend the garden and to guard it, and that meant also guarding His bride, Eve.
But Adam blew it. He blew it big time. A preacher from hell, an angel, came into the garden. Beautiful and glorious on the outside, but ugly on the inside, Adam let him in. And he came to His wife spewing his poisonous lies. Now, Adam should have taken those feet and planted them right between his wife and the serpent and said, “Eve, don’t listen to that preacher. He’s a liar.” But he was a very convincing preacher, smooth-talking and slick. You’ve been mesmerized by him too. God had graciously said to Adam, “the day you eat of it, you shall surely die.” But instead of moving his feet and standing up to the serpent, he was caught flat-footed and did nothing. Instead, he turned his toes to his deceived wife. “Take; eat, Adam,” and he did.
Almost all kings leave some kind of legacy, something they are remembered for. David was the great warrior king, who purchased the land for construction of God’s temple. Solomon is remembered for his wisdom and for building the temple. But King Adam built nothing. His legacy was death. His work brought tombs and graves into the world, funeral homes and obituaries, sickness and disease, fear and anxiety. Before the fall, Adam and Eve revered God with a holy fear. Now they were scared of Him and everything else. Because of them, the world was filled with fear. Little boys would now be afraid of the dark. Teenage girls would live in fear of not being thin or pretty enough. Women now would fear the judgment of other women more than the judgment of God. Men would fear conflict in a world where men needed to have courage, backbone, and self-sacrifice. But men feared failure, causing many of them to “bury” their lives before they were even dead. And then there’s man’s conscience. There’s a saying that says that death and conscience make cowards of us all. And so man even feared telling the truth and being honest about himself. Instead he re-labels his sins. “I’m not stingy. I don’t lack generous spirit. I’m good with money.” “It isn’t stealing if the other guy’s got more than enough.” Indeed, death and conscience now make cowards of us all.
So God drove His king out of the garden, and placed security guard angels at the door. Angels that stood at attention. With flaming swords. To keep the man away from the tree of life in the garden. The garden was no longer his home. Adam made man’s bed, and it’s a grave, and he’ll now have to lie in it too.
But God loved the king that blew it and He promised one day to send another. The Seed. A royal Seed. His only-begotten Son, God in the flesh, God with feet. These feet would not be the feet of a coward, but the feet of a champion who came into the world to restore all that King Adam ruined. His were the feet that came to crush the head of that false preacher who deceived Adam and filled the world with fear. But this king, our Lord Jesus Christ, was not caught by the enemy flat-footed. He used His holy feet to get just where He needed to help fallen man, to heal the sick, the blind, deaf, and the lame. To feed the hungry. To walk right into a tomb and raise Lazarus. To walk right into a funeral procession and raise a widow’s son.
He used those feet to get where He needed to go to instruct the ignorant. To preach to them about entrance to a Kingdom that they could never merit. A Kingdom that He bestowed freely. This King was just the right king. And His feet were just the feet that were needed to save you. To open up the entrance to the garden paradise that Adam closed up. But the way back to the Garden of Paradise meant that this king had to be sliced up by the sword. A king had to bleed; a king had to have the courage to sacrifice Himself for rebels. A king who would not be tempted by that preacher from hell to take the easy road and let a world be damned. And Jesus didn’t blow it.
He had the royal feet that willingly staggered to the cross as this King shouldered your sin to the cross. He had the royal feet that laid in the grave to heal your wandering feet.
But what good is a dead king? What good are the feet of a king if they can’t move? How can a dead king give out gifts, give out a share in his kingdom, give glory and honor to his rebel subjects? How can a dead king share his royal feast of feasts? What good is merely a Crucified King, if that king is not raised to show His wounds and bring peace to man’s raging and guilty conscience? It’s no good. So God raised up this King to be our King Raised. The Crucified King raised from the dead, so that you might reign with Him forever. That you might see that you are no longer in your sins. So that you might see that in Him death has no power over you. So that you might hear and rejoice in the results what our King’s holy feet accomplished—Satan’s head crushed, and the teeth in His accusing mouth kicked in.
Our King was raised on this holy day and what wonderful things we hear about. We see the sad and scared Marys, a picture of God’s sad and scared church, filled with joy and gladness at the angel’s preaching. We see the stone rolled back and no body in there, catching a glimpse of our own future graves. Remember how those angels stood and guarded the entrance to the garden of paradise? How different things are on this morning. See the angel preacher in white. He has no sword. He is not imposing. He has no scowl on his face. He’s not even standing on his feet. He simply sits in a garden graveyard and preaches a short but magnificent sermon. “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, as He said.” No need for fear in this fear-filled world, says the preacher from heaven. This King has on the cross dealt with and conquered all that could ever make you afraid.
See how Mary Magdalene and the other Mary take hold of those blessed feet of the Second Adam, as Jesus comes to them and preaches the same sermon. “Don’t be afraid.” They grasp and worship at the feet of their Savior and King who took the bed that Adam had made for man, laid in it for three days, and emptied it of its dread and power.
How great was that sixth day when God made Himself a king with feet. But how much greater is what happened on this day, the eighth day, the first day of a new creation, when God placed His King back on His pierced feet, that you might be baptized and fed with His life-giving body and blood, and reign with Him forever.