4/16 – Easter Sunday – The Light Of Life
It’s probably not surprising to you that the world’s largest high definition digital billboard exists right in the middle of New York City’s Times Square. This is a billboard unlike any other. It’s eight stories tall, as wide as a football field, spanning a whole city block, and is visible from any vantage point in Times Square. The billboard can be clearly seen whether it’s broad daylight or two in the morning because of the 20 million LED pixel lights built right into it.
Times Square is sometimes called the “Crossroads of the World.” Nearly half a million people visit this tourist mecca every day and about the same number of vehicles pass through every week. If you want to send a message out to the world, this may quite possibly be the best way to do so. You can send your message out day or night, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year, with people from all over the country and all over the world viewing your message, whatever that might be.
In his sermon for Easter Eve of 1532, Martin Luther said: “The words, Christ is risen from the dead, should be emblazoned and inscribed with letters so large that just one letter would be as large as a steeple, so that we would see and hear,
know and believe and think of nothing but this one article.”
Luther never could have imagined a high definition digital billboard in Times Square or a city the size of New York, let alone a new world called America, but he most certainly had a similar grand idea nearly 500 years ago. That is – use whatever means necessary to shout to the world that Jesus Christ is risen from the dead. Christ is Risen!
Today on this great and grand day of days we celebrate the fact that God’s ancient promise to His people has indeed come true and has been fulfilled. God’s rescue mission to save the world through the life and death and resurrection of His one and only Son, JC the Lord, has indeed been accomplished. Sin has been conquered, the devil has been defeated, and death has been destroyed. Alleluia. Amen.
It’s a beautiful and wonderful day. But why did it all have to happen in the first place? How did we get here anyway? Well, because Adam and Eve brought sin into the world through their sin and rebellion, through a web of deceit and lies. With sin came our most cruel enemy – and that is death. With death came the destruction of everything that was good and true and beautiful. Eden was destroyed and the prospect of a perfect life with God came to an end for everyone and everything.
Our own little paradise has been destroyed as well with our own sin, rebellion, deceit and lies. Death has entered our lives, our families, and our community. Every human being lives in fear of death, and no one can escape it. It is the final enemy we must all face. Thanks to Adam and Eve and us – paradise has been lost. We can’t escape the words: “I have sinned by my fault, my own fault, my own most grievous fault.” Yes, death came into the word by Adam, but we too are guilty of hammering the nails in our own coffin. “I’m crying because the world will never be as pure as it was in my childhood.”
Two bright shining angels have some good news for us this morning! “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen!” The crucifixion of Jesus Christ has paid the price for our selfish sins. The resurrection of Christ is the deposit guaranteeing our own resurrection. All those who have been baptized into the death and resurrection of Jesus have put on Christ. We have been given the good and gracious gift of faith. We have sure and certain confidence and hope that because Jesus Christ has been raised from the dead we too shall rise and walk in newness of life. The prophet Hosea predicted long ago what now comes to pass: “After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him.”
This is our great hope – that as we see and experience Jesus Christ risen from the dead this Easter Sunday morning, we are looking at our future. Sin is done away with – the devil is defeated – eternal death is destroyed. Paradise lost is now paradise restored, ready and waiting for us to enter our eternal home.
In the mean time, our Living Lord has created his own high definition billboard to proclaim to the world, “Christ is risen”. It’s not confined just to Times Square or New York City. It doesn’t only reach a million people per week. It is on display anywhere and everywhere God’s people go and wherever the Church of Christ is found on the earth. It is as high and as wide and as deep as the world itself – spanning from north to south and east to west – and going out to the four corners of the earth.
Simply put – it goes wherever you go. You are the light of Christ. You are his banner and billboard. All God’s people, wherever they may be, wherever they may live, are little Christ’s shining the light of his life, death, and resurrection. God sends out his message day and night, night and day, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year, through his people all around the world. The 20 million lights on the Times Square billboard are nothing compared to the 2.2 billion Christians shining their light around the world.
One little light is enough to dispel the darkness of a large cave. In the same way, one little life is enough to shine God’s eternal light to someone who is hopeless and living in darkness. Just imagine the impact when God’s people come together on a day like this to light up this dark world with the Light of Life. It’s far brighter than the brightest billboard. It is a light that will go on shining forever. It is a light that can never be snuffed out. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Most importantly, on this day of days, this light of life is for you. Adam and Eve’s sin and sentence of death no longer holds sway. Christ’s resurrection reigns supreme. He is the Light of the World – and He now lives His life and shines His light through you. So go on – get out there – seize the day – and let your little light shine! Christ is Risen! Amen.