Sunday, April 4th, 2021

You Do Not Belong to the Tomb

The Resurrection of our Lord [b]                             April 4, 2021


Isaiah 25:6-9

And in this mountain
The Lord of hosts will make for all people
A feast of choice pieces,
A feast of wines on the lees,
Of fat things full of marrow,
Of well-refined wines on the lees.
And He will destroy on this mountain
The surface of the covering cast over all people,
And the veil that is spread over all nations.
He will swallow up death forever,
And the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces;
The rebuke of His people
He will take away from all the Earth;
For the Lord has spoken.

And it will be said in that day:
“Behold, this is our God;
We have waited for Him, and He will save us.
This is the Lord;
We have waited for Him;
We will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.”


In the Name of Jesus.


What happened at that tomb?


It seemed, perhaps, a small thing at the time. At least on the world stage. A small thing in the great movements and history of the world.


A small thing, really. It was at a confined place, outside of Jerusalem, not up in Greece or in Rome. No world capitals or great cities would even know what happened at that tomb on that otherwise normal morning.


A confined location, a confined time. The crucified One on the first day of the week walks out of the tomb, alive! Death swallowed up in life in the person of Jesus.


But the particularity of it! It was done by a particular man, Jesus, on a particular day. It’s no normal event, to be sure, this resurrection of a dead man. But will it matter for others? Will it matter for you and me?


Will this single Name and life even be known by the philosopher in Athens or the politician in Rome? Will it help the sinner in Albuquerque?



This resurrection of this One man, it’s the defeat of death.


But death is not confined. Death isn’t limited to a particular place. To whom does death not belong? As Isaiah says, death is over all peoples, all nations, everyone. Isaiah 25:7:

 [The Lord] will destroy on this mountain
The surface of the covering cast over all people,
And the veil that is spread over all nations.


Death is so universal, so all-encompassing, it is sometimes referred to as a “natural process.” It’s part of being human. It happens to all. So our world, covered by the veil of death spread over all nations, tries to clean death up and act as if it’s acceptable. Death is like a leaf falling to the ground, we hear in our world, so that the leaf, in dying, gives life to the next generation.


But a man is not a leaf. Death is not good. No life comes from it. It can’t be cleaned up. It is the total negation of life. It is not part of being human. It’s part of being a sinner. To be human is to be alive. To be a sinner is to be under the veil of death. Death is the judgement, and this judgement knows no borders.



So what is the rescue from death? For the rescue to be true, it must be universal, all-encompassing, not confined to one small location on one particular day. For the rescue to be true, it must be a total swallowing up of the covering of death’s veil cast over all peoples, over all nations. Isaiah 25:8:

[The Lord] will destroy on this mountain
The surface of the covering cast over all people,
And the veil that is spread over all nations.
He will swallow up death forever,
And the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces;
The rebuke of His people
He will take away from all the Earth.


This victory is full. No borders of place or time, no confinement of location or generation. Full victory over death, to all peoples, to all faces with tears of mourning, forever, for every day of every year of every generation—death taken away from all the Earth.



That’s what happened at that tomb on that particular day, when the Crucified One stood up and walked out.


The terror of death, the judgement of sin, the dead body on the cross, it came to one man, Christ Jesus. But he did it for all. For every person of every family of every nation of every generation, no one left out. He did it for all.


Our sin accounted to him—he took it upon himself, he was clothed in it, when John baptized him with all the sinners at the Jordan river.


His righteousness accounted to us—he clothed us in it when he baptized us into the Holy Name.


The judgement for all came to one Man.


Now the victory. The walking out of the tomb, the breaking the bonds of death. The victory is one man.


The victory is Jesus, the Lamb of God, atoning for the sin of the world by the shedding of his own blood, then, on the third day, raised up from the dead by the Father, never to be subject to death again (Romans 6:9).


The victory is Jesus making known his triumph over this death even in Hell itself. He descended into Hell to proclaim to the demons their defeat. Their defeat is the cross, where he redeemed all sinners. Their defeat is the open tomb, where he tore to shreds the veil death.


He descended to Hell to declare to the demons that it’s over, their defeat is complete, death no longer reigns over the sinner.


The victory, it is accomplished by the one Man. But the one who stood up out of the grave, he has a Name.


His Name is Jesus. And Jesus means, Yahweh saves. Yahweh is his Name he gave to Moses at the burning bush. Yahweh means, I am. He is the God who was, who is, who will be, and who brings all creatures to life.


He is the God not of the dead, but of the living.


With his Name, he gives you all that he is. With his Name he gives all that he promised. He has promised the atonement of sinners (Isaiah 53). He has promised the resurrection of the body (Job 19:25-26). He has promised that this salvation is a swallowing up of the shroud of death covering all peoples (Isaiah 25:7) and is an eternal feast of victory for all (Isaiah 25:6).


This salvation is universal. It is that the Redeemer has atoned for the sins of every sinner. Even those who walk away from this gift, they don’t negate the atonement—for Jesus, the Lord of life, did no deficient work—they only refuse the atonement for themselves, choosing instead to try to justify themselves in their rejection of the gift.


Now, the Redeemer is resurrected. Living and breathing. And his resurrection is for all. For every sinner. For every person fearing death. For you and me.


This salvation was accomplished at a particular time and location for all. But the Lord delivers it now not generally, not in a way that is unsure and uncertain to a particular sinner; he delivers this gift of life to a particular sinner at a certain time and place, by a manner of delivery he has designated.


The Name belonging to the cross and the resurrection, the Name who defeated death, standing up out of the tomb (Mark 16:6), is now the Name proclaimed to the sinner in the Gospel:

I declare to you the Gospel which I proclaimed to you, which you also received, and in which you stand, by which also you are saved.”

[1 Corinthians 15:1-2]


The Name is given us in the Gospel. The Name is given to. You bear the Name of crucifixion and resurrection.


In your Baptism, everything he accomplished on the cross, everything he did in breaking the bonds of death and walking out of the tomb, is now joined to you (Romans 6:3-10). Jesus’ crucifixion and his resurrection belong to you as surely as to him, or Baptism into his Name means nothing.


His victory over death, his righteous standing before the Father, his joy of the eternal feast, it is your victory over death, your righteous standing, your eternal joy—all by gift.


He is risen, he is risen indeed. He walked out of the tomb. You do not belong to the tomb. You belong to his resurrection. You are risen, you are risen indeed. You know it now by faith. You will know it then by sight.


In the Name of Jesus.