Everything Depends on our Taking all this to Heart

Easter 1 Tuesday

Matthew 28:5-6

“But the angel said to the women: “Fear not! I know that you seek Jesus, the crucified. He is not here. He has risen, as he said. Come and see the place where the Lord lay.””

As Christ overcame death, so he also overcame sin. For on account of his person, he is righteous. But since he takes on the sins of others, he becomes a sinner, as he laments in Psalm 41:4, “I said, ‘Lord, be gracious to me; heal my soul, for I have sinned against you.’” This is the reason why sin attacks him. And he, the Lord Christ, gladly lets himself be attacked and brought to cross in order to die, just as if he had deserved death and sinned himself. As Isaiah say, Isaiah 53:12: “He was counted among the evildoers,” although he did not sin; rather, we sinned. And he does no more than that he receives strangers and takes our misdeeds on his shoulders. But in his case, the holiness, hidden under other people’s sin, is so great that sin cannot overcome it. Thus, sin attacks and hits the wrong man, just as death. This is why sin grows weary and dies in his body, as St. Paul says. In the same way, the devil also wanted to demonstrate his dominion over Christ, which is why he uses his power against him and wants to subject Christ to himself. But he encounters he greater power he cannot overcome. For although the Lord Christ pretends to be weak and only acts as he would have to go down and retreat from the devil, there is an insurmountable power hidden in this weakness. The devil does not see this, and this is how he loses his power, so that our Lord Christ can boast that he was overcome while he prevailed. And this is why these three mighty enemies, death, sin, and the devil, must lie prostrate before him. We celebrate this glorious victory today. Now everything depends on our taking all this to heart and believing it firmly: In Christ, God fought with, and prevailed over, the devil; righteousness fought with, and prevailed over, sin; life fought with, and prevailed over, death; goodness fought with, and prevailed over, evil; and honor fought with, and prevailed over, blasphemy. We should let such an image be commended to us and contemplate it often. For just as in the first image on Good Friday, we see how our sin, our curse, and our death lie on Christ, turning him into a wretched, miserable man, so we see on Easter a different image in which there is no sin, no curse, no disfavor, no death, but only life, grace, blessedness, and righteousness. We should lift up our hearts by this image. For it is presented to us and given to us as a gift, so that we should receive it just as if God had raised us with Christ today. For as you see no sin, death, and curse in Christ, so you should also believe that God does not want to see them in you, for Christ’s sake, if you accept his resurrection and take comfort in it. Faith brings us such grace. But on the Last Day, we will no longer believe it, but see it, grasp it, and feel it. Nonetheless, while we are still here on earth, sin, death, shame and disgrace, and all kinds of deprivations and infirmity remain in our old body. We must endure them. But they do not go further than the flesh; for according to faith, we are saved already. And just as Christ rose from the dead, without sin and death, and is in an eternal life, so we are as well – in faith. For sin is gone and we have become God’s children through Christ. All that’s missing is that we bow our head and let ourselves be buried, then our body will also rise to eternal life and be pure and holy without sin.

 

St. Louis ed., 13.1:515-516.

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