Sermon Text, St. Matthew 28:1-10 (v. 5-6). 5 But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here; for He is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.”
Lord, this is Your Word and these are Your words. Sanctify us by the truth. Your Word is truth. Lord, help us to trust in Your dying words, “It is finished!” and to believe that You actually deliver us from every evil of body and soul. Amen.
Dear fellow redeemed in our crucified and risen Savior, Jesus Christ:
“Amen” is much more than just the end to a prayer. It means something. We say it so much, we might forget what it means. “Amen” means “true.” Amen: “it’s true.” So it means: “I believe it.”
When we say Amen, we are saying that we aren’t uncertain. It’s what Luther teaches us in the catechism: “ ‘Amen’ means that we should be sure that these petitions are acceptable to our Father in heaven and are heard by Him .. Amen, Amen: that is, Yes, Yes, it shall be so.”
Oh, wouldn’t that be wonderful, we think. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be so sure. You hear people say that all the time: How can you be so sure?
We hear people say it, but perhaps we start to think it too: How can I be sure that I’ll be saved? How can I be sure that God loves me? How can I be sure that God will answer my prayers? How can I be sure God cares for me?
We have a counterpart in the Easter story: Jesus’ followers. They weren’t sure that God’s promises were true anymore. In fact, they were pretty sure now that they weren’t true. To them, the death of Jesus was the “no” to all their hopes and prayers. The tomb was one big “no.” The women were going there to dwell for a while on the “no” to their prayers: Jesus’ dead body.
We know there was no good reason for them to doubt. But unlike them we have the advantage that it’s all written down for us by eyewitnesses! And yet somehow we think we’re different. We think we have good reasons to doubt. But when we doubt we cancel our “Amen.” All we see before us at such times are the no’s to our prayers – all the reasons not to believe.
What does God do about it? I’ll tell you what He does – or, what He did.
He jammed a cross into the ground, stuck His only Son on it, and then God said, “Amen!” – to you. Jesus said, “It is finished!” – as we heard on Good Friday, He paid in full for all the sins of everyone in the world, including our doubting and untrusting — then He died. This was His “Amen!”
But can we be sure Jesus’ death really took away all our sins? Can we be sure that it applies to us? How can we know for sure?
The answer comes from the angel: “You seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said.” This was the proof that God accepted Jesus’ death as full payment for the sins of everyone in the world, including you. Then God caused a mighty earthquake and sent His angel to roll the heavy stone away, as if to say: “Amen!” – to you.
That’s what God did about the “no” in your heart. Jesus’ death and resurrection is God’s “Amen” to you. This brings forth your Amen.
He says “Amen” to you in Jesus’ resurrection – then you just say it back to Him. Our little “Amen” is just us holding God to His promises, holding on tightly to His proof that His promises are all true – just like the women held onto Jesus’ feet.
Just as Jesus met them for their reassurance and certainty, the risen Jesus meets us in His Supper, to actually speak the forgiveness to us, God’s Amen. When He comes to you in His Supper – as “this is the true body of Christ” and “this is the true blood of Christ” are spoken to you — what do you say? “Amen.” It strengthens you in faith, to go through life saying: “Amen! It’s true.”