Easter Day sermon 1853.
The chief priests said to Pilate: Sir, we remember that the deceiver said, while he was yet alive. After three days I will rise again. Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure untill the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first. Matthew 27: 63.
These words of the Pharisees are written in the gospel of Matthew, and we hear of these words what the lords of the world fear. They do not have such belief that Jesus still will rise from the dead, or from the grave of the dead faith. But they have that fear that the disciples say to the people: He is risen. They give him still such a name: They call him a deceiver, and formerly they have called him an agitator of the people.
This tells us clearly in which esteem they keep him. The spiritual hatred makes them so blind that they must give shameful names to the confessors of the truth. And the more they could vomit their poison on them, the better it would be. Such is the nature of those who in their hearts have spiritual hatred toward Jesus. They do not know how they had to blaspheme and ridicule him. They come therefore to Pilate and accuse Jesus even after his death and say: Sir, we remember that the deceiver said. After three days I will rise again. Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure untill the third day.
Do the Pharisees now keep him in better esteem? I quess that the Pharisees keep him even now in the same esteem as before, even if the Pharisees of this time believe that they are the best friends of the Savior. But their life shows that they are of the father devil. When they drink, curse and fight, commit adultery and steal, then the Pharisees are the best friends of the Savior. But those who are penitent and make repentance might be the friends of the devil.
So the blind world believes and thinks. They imagine that the drunkards and liquor dealers are in highest esteem in the kingdom of heaven. Next to them are the meek whores and honest thieves, but those who have the lowest esteem are the christians who are blasphemed by the name of pietist. And when they have blasphemed the founder and fullfiller of this Christian faith by the name of a deceiver and agitator of the people, then it is no wonder if they call his disciples pietists and wild spirits.
The Savior himself has said: The disciple is not above his Master. It they have blasphemed the Master by the name of Belsbub, so surely his disciples will get the same name. However the Pharisees and Scribes fear that his disciples will steal him at night and say to the people: He is risen. It sounds that the Pharisees and the Scribes have such belief, that he is not risen though he has already said when he was alive: After three days I will rise again. But the belief of the Pharisees is such that the disciples will steal him at night.
Therefore they go to the heathenish judge and ask him to put soldiers to protect the grave of the dead faith so that Jesus would not be able to rise. Of course the heathenish soldiers try to protect the grave of the dead faith. But even if the Pharisees and Scribes lock this grave by the seal of the intellect, they have not powers to keep him in the grave. He surely rises up.
But he will not rise up to the world, but to the disciples and to the believing ones he rises up, and therefore the world consider the last error to be worse than the first. Through the latter error some souls, even if they are few, have begun to believe that Jesus really is risen. And it troubles the slaves of the world when these disciples began to thunder so powerfully that the slaves of the world do not get peace to sleep.
Surely the lords of the world and the chief priests try and always have tried to protect the grave of the dead faith, in which the natural meekness, Josef and Nicodemus, have put him. Let the Pharisees and Scribes still try by the seal of the intellect to seal that large stone which the men of meekness have put on the grave. Let also the soldiers protect the grave so that Jesus would not be able to rise up.
But indeed he rises up and becomes living when the angel from heaven rolls off the stone from the door of the grave. Now the angel sits on the stone of meekness, and you, Mary Magdalene, need not more worry about, who will open the grave for you by rolling off the stone from the door of the grave. You do not need to do anything else but weep beside the grave untill that moment when the crucified and now arisen Lord Jesus comes and asks you: Woman, what are you weeping for, whom are you seeking? For sure you are allowed to weep beside the grave as long as you weep of love and shed tears of missing. But you shall not seek the living among the dead.
And now, you sorrowful Mary Magdalene, turn yourself to the crucified and thorncrowned Savior. Fall on your knees in front of him and pray that great Crossbearer that he would open your eyes, you wretched one, so that you would not imagine that he is the gardener, but that you would recognize him, the crucified one, the crossbearer.
Hear therefore, you crucified and from the grave risen Ruler of life and death, our Father etc.
The gospel: Mark 16: 1.
By the gudaince of the gospel of today and in consequence with the writing in the history of the gospel we shall through God's grace in this holy hour consider the resurrection of Jesus. First (consideration). Who has rolled off the stone from the door of the grave? Second (consideration). Who has said that Jesus is resurrected? Third (consideration.) Who has wept beside the grave? Fourth (consideration). Who has first seen him resurrected?
If only all the soldiers would die when the angel comes down from heaven. We hope also that the eyes of the sorrowful and penitent Magdalene will become opened, when she sits near the grave, so that she feels that the crucified Savior is living and therefore she does not any more seek the living among the dead.
First consideration: Who has rolled off the stone from the door of the grave? An angel of the Lord has come down from heaven and rolled off the stone of meekness from the door of the grave. The meek men, Josef and Nicodemus have put that stone there. The outer side of this stone of meekness is smooth but the inner side is almost rough. And it is also so heavy that the women have not powers to roll it off from the door of the grave. That is why they must ask each other: Who will roll off the stone for us from the door of the grave?
But an angel of the Lord lifts off that stone and sits down on it. And the heathenish soldiers become dead when the angel comes down from heaven. They are not more able to fight even if they have come with the purpose that they must protect the grave of the dead faith so that Jesus would not be able to rise from the grave.
Jesus has lain in that grave since the Jews and pagans have crucified him by their ungodly life. He has lain there in the grave of the dead faith since the men of meekness, Josef and Nicodemus, took him down from the cross. Even if these men of meekness have not crucified Jesus as the Jews, Pilate and the heathenish soldiers, they have indeed because of the honor of the world been mute dogs when they should have barked at the lords of the world and the sorrowless crowd because of the terrible and horrible murder of the Savior.
But no one have wanted to openly confess that Jesus is innocent, except that penitent robber, for what reason he received promises of grace and salvation. But Josef and Nicodemus have then been mute dogs when they should have barked at those who murdered Jesus. Why did they not defend Jesus when Jesus was alive? At that time they have not said one word about the innocence and righteousness of Jesus. But after the death of Jesus they have gone to Pilate and asked him if they would get permission to put the body of Jesus in the grave.
They have thus shown their love to the dead body of the Savior but not to the living Son of God. And therefore they have done so many good works for the dead body of the Savior that they do not need to regret that they have been mute when they should have spoken to the world, Jews and the heathenish Judge, that Jesus has not done anything evil.
Who shat the mouth when they should have said the truth to the murderers? Is is not possible for anyone to become saved by that life, that he puts the dead body of Jesus by means of the cover of meekness in the grave of the dead faith, and does not care to speak to the murderers of the Savior because of the honor of the world.
Second consideration: Who has said that Jesus has resurrected? The whole world knows that Jesus has died on the cross. But this knowledge does not help the world to be released from hell, because the world does not want to believe that Jesus has resurrected. And how can the world believe it, when Jesus' own disciples have not been able to believe it before they with their own eyes saw him? Who has now said that Jesus has resurrected? Yes! The angels have first said to the women: Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not in the grave but he resurrected. And the women believed it partly, namely those women who had followed Jesus from Galilee.
But the disciples have not believed before they were allowed to see the Lord themselves. Mary Magdalene did not believe before she saw (the Lord), but she has first told to the disciples that Jesus is not more in the grave. And the disciples, Peter and John have also come running to the grave. But John, who was younger, run faster and came first to the grave, and peeked (there in). But Peter came afterwards and began probe the linen clothes and the napkin. What did Peter find now in the grave of the dead faith when he jumped there in?
Nothing but the linen clothes. And those linen clothes maybe still are in that grave. No other marks of the Savior have been left in the grave of the dead faith than only the linen clothes and the napkin. And those things the confessors of the dead faith serve now. They do not feel that the Savior is resurrected but they always probe those linen clothes and then they believe. But what do they believe? Yes! They believe that the body of Jesus is not in the grave. But they do not believe that Jesus is resurrected and alive in the hearts of those who believe.
But have the soldiers not reported to the lords of the world and the high priest how the matter has happened with them? It is true that the soldiers have told it, but the lords of the world will indeed not believe that Jesus has resurrected, but they want to make that matter vain, because they give money to the soldiers and teach them to lie. The high priests and Scribes want by all means prevent that such belief would come upon the people that Jesus is resurrected from the grave of the dead faith.
And naturally the heathenish soldiers do what the lords of the world command. They will by no means tell the people that Jesus has resurrected, but as they have been taught to lie, they also lie against their knowledge and conscience even if they are not quite sure if he has resurrected or not. But they know that much, that an angel came down from heaven and that they became died and that the dead body had disappeared. But they do not tell it to the people, but they say as they have been taught to lie that the disciples came at night and stole him.
Third consideration: Who has wept near the grave? Mary Magdalene has wept near the grave, and I suppose that she is still weeping there. If I know her right, so I suppose that she is weeping the tears of love and missing. But her eyes are so covered that she considers her Savior as the gardener. She does not recognize Jesus even if she is weeping for his sake.
Isn't it curious that a sorrowful and for Jesus' sake weeping soul will not recognize Jesus even though he is standing beside her. Tears flow so richly that she does not see that crucified and thorncrowned King, but believes that he is a gardener.
What does thus the wrong wordly sorrow effect in the heart of a blind wretched one, when even this soul who was broken by the love of Jesus and downpressed by missing, sorrow and longing, was not able to recognize him who had let his blood shed for her and other penitent souls' redemption.
Oh, no! Oh, no! You sorrowful Mary Magdalene! Why do you now sit beside the grave of Jesus unhappy ang grieved, brokenhearted, weeping while you miss the dead body of Jesus? Have you not already heard from the angel's mouth that Jesus has resurrected? Why do you still seek the living among the dead? Turn around yourself and look to the opposite side of the grave. See, that crucified and from the grave risen Lord Jesus stands alive beside you and asks you: “Woman, why weepest thou? Whom seekest thou?”
You must now by your own mouth confess that you are seeking Jesus; that your heart has a burning desire and missing to (see) Jesus. But you do not recognize Jesus even if he stands beside you, because you do not believe that he has resurrected now, but you continuously believe that he is dead. However you have loved him by a pure heart. And your sorrow and your tears effect so much that he must reveal himself to you.
Fourth consideration: Who saw first Jesus alive and who saw him last? Sorrowful Mary Magdalene stands or sits so long time beside the grave that the crucified Lord Jesus must come in front of your eyes; and it must be as a sign for all sorrowful ones who are missing Jesus.
After the death of the Savior the faith of the disciples ended. They were not more able to believe that he has resurrected. And this unbelief will still torment the disciples when the sin, the world and the devil kill their Savior. The selfrighteousness rises up to the head when they feel that Jesus because of sin died in their hearts. They are not more able to believe that Jesus is living, when the crowd of the devil has crucified him.
But now the crucified Savior reveals himself for such sorrowful and doubting disciples and says: "O, fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!" And he explains them the scriptures. And they began little by little to understand the word of God. And even if they do not yet know the Crucified one, they indeed begin to love him.
Listen now even you sorrowful disciples, how he explains the scriptures to you. Hear and understand, you fool and slow of heart to believe, so that your hearts would become burning of love, and you had to pray him when you come nearer the village into which you are travelling: "Abide with us; for it is toward evening and the day is far spent."
Do not let the unknown expounder of the Bible go away even if he makes as though he would have gone further. Do not let him go away, you sorrowful and doubting disciples, but require him to come with you into the village where you are travelling to. Perhaps your eyes will be opened so that you will know him in breaking of bread. But do not lay down to sleep there but go and tell this glad tiding to the other disciples who have not yet seen him. Amen.