Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Amen of the Resurrection of Christ

The Resurrection of Our Lord
Easter Day
April 4, 2010
Luke 24:1-12

Our observance of Lent has given way to our celebration of Easter. But there’s one more thing we need to do before we leave our Lenten focus. There’s one more word left in the Lord’s Prayer we need to meditate on. Our look at the Lord’s Prayer and the cross of Christ during Lent has shown us that the prayer our Lord has given His Church has as its foundation and essence His suffering and death on the cross. It is because of the cross He has given us His Prayer to pray. It is by the cross that everything we pray for in the Lord’s Prayer is applicable to our lives and profitable.

But even as we have looked at the Lord’s Prayer in light of the cross we have now come to the place where we are zeroing in on the Resurrection. The empty tomb has replaced our focus on the cross.

The last word of the Lord’s Prayer reflects that. The word “Amen” is a word that finishes off our prayer the way the Resurrection finishes off the suffering and death of Christ. It puts a stamp on it. Christ rising from the dead isn’t so much icing on the cake as it is a stamp on what was accomplished through the Cross. It seals the deal.

Everything for salvation was accomplished through the Cross. That’s why we can pray the Lord’s Prayer in confidence. Jesus said it Himself on the cross—It is finished. But it is still true that if Christ had remained in the tomb then all would be lost. Our faith would be in vain. We would have no hope. The Resurrection puts the stamp on the salvation accomplished in Christ’s suffering and death.

That’s how it is when we say “Amen” at the end of our prayers. Amen, it is true. What I have prayed for is in accordance with Your will. That’s assuming, of course, that we have prayed according to God’s holy will. When we pray the Lord’s Prayer we can be assured that we are. It is, after all, the prayer our Lord has given us to pray. The petitions He has given us in His Holy Prayer encapsulate His will for us. How can we say anything but “Amen” after praying it?

I don’t know about you, but I don’t always feel especially spiritual or conformed to God’s will when praying the Lord’s Prayer. Sometimes it just seems like words I’m praying. I know the words. I know what God wants me to be praying for. But I don’t always take them to heart.

The women and the disciples had a little problem in this way, too. They went to Jesus’ tomb on Sunday morning expecting to see His body slowing decaying. They certainly didn’t expect to see it gone. But their eyes didn’t deceive them, His body was not there. It was their lack of faith that deceived them. Jesus had told them He would suffer, die, and rise. He told them beforehand. But it all just seemed like words to them.

They could not say their “Amen” to the words of Jesus because they couldn’t get it passed their feeble minds that Jesus would actually die, much less, when He actually did, rise from the grave. Now on Sunday morning their fears were giving way to surprise, their surprise was giving way to belief, and their belief was springing forth in joy and amazement. They could now say their “Amen.”

Jesus had suffered and died. He was the ground of their faith. His sacrifice on Calvary for the sins of the world. Because of that we can say Amen when we pray. He had now risen from the grave. He had accomplished salvation and now sealed the deal. We can be sure of who He is and what He has accomplished. We can know that when we pray the Lord’s Prayer we are praying for what He knows we need. It may sound at times like so much words, but they are the words of the one who was crucified, rose, and goes before us as we pray to our Heavenly Father and live out our lives.

Try this, the next time you’re down and out, or you’re in over your head, or you’re frustrated, at you’re wit’s end, or you’re confused, or you’re worried, or you’re doubting, or you’re not all that happy with God, or you’re even angry with Him, or even if things are going well and you’re not thinking about all this stuff all that much—remember that one little word at the end of the Lord’s Prayer. Keep that word in mind. You have finished your prayer off with a word, a conviction, that what you have just prayed is what you need, whether you feel it or not, whether realize it or not.

When you say “Amen” you’re saying, God, You take it from here. You accomplished salvation for me and sealed the deal. You sustain me. You keep me in the faith. Keep me firm in the knowledge that the one who was crucified was the one who rose. That the one who rose has come to me in my Baptism. That the one who came to me in my Baptism comes to me at this altar, giving me His body and blood for the forgiveness of all of my sins and the strengthening of my faith.

Much more could be said. God’s Holy Word is inexhaustible; the Lord’s Prayer itself is inexhaustible. His work of salvation in His suffering and death and resurrection can never be delved into enough. His blessings are ever new and eternal. But no matter where you’re at or what you’re going through, you know one thing: Jesus died and rose for the sins of the world. He has given you new and eternal life and you may conclude that among all the other things there are to say, “Amen” puts a seal on things very nicely.


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