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Posted: April 12, 2012 7:58 p.m.

Scharf: Easter — it’s in His hands

Last week, we saw how The Life of Easter is the death of fear. We read Mark 16 and saw the women who went to the tomb full of fear, and we described how Easter answered every single one of those fears.

Just like in our lives, Jesus is the answer to every single one of our fears. I know it sounds childish but it is true. Your failure and mine means that we should have plenty of which to be afraid. But Jesus has removed our fear. Easter has removed our fear.

Sure, it looked like he was losing as he hung on that cross, but in that sacrifice for our sins, he was winning the ultimate victory over all our problems.

No, that doesn't mean that all your problems go away. The women at that tomb still did not have an easy life as they left the gravesite that morning. It's just that now, they had the truth. That's what makes the difference. Life in the power of Easter does not mean that we are free from problems. Rather we are freed from our problems. The Life of Easter is the death of fear. Sure, we still have problems, but now there is nothing to fear.

Even death, "the last great enemy" as 1 Corinthians 15 calls it - even death is put to death on Easter.

It has no power anymore. Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. That means that God has made you free to live in peace, regardless of your past failures - free to live in joy, regardless of your present circumstances, free to live in hope, regardless of what looms on the horizon for you. And that kind of life can only be found in one place: in Jesus Christ who died for our sins and rose again to be our Savior. He promised that whoever believes in him will live, even though they die. He promised you heaven. And that removes all fear. That kills all fear, because, Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. That is the beating heart of all our hope.

No, you are not strong enough to overcome all the things you fear. You aren't even strong enough to face all the things you fear. But God is. And yes, sometimes the Lord does calm the storm. But more often than not, he lets the storm rage and calms his child.

He fills you with the Easter life Job proclaimed in the words we sing every Easter from Job 19: "I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes - I and not another. How my heart yearns within me!" (Job 19:25).

As the hymn says, "He lives to silence all my fears; He lives to wipe away my tears. He lives to calm my troubled heart; He lives, he lives all blessings to impart!"

So let Him. Let Him impart those blessings. Let Him kill your fear. Make it a habit to be here in God's word, where we see again and again the death of our fears.

You know, it only makes sense. Everyone has issues in life. It just depends how you handle it, whether or not you fear it. Really, it just depends whose hands our lives are in.

Think about it:
A basketball in my hands is worth about $20.
In LeBron James' - $16 million a year.
It depends whose hands it's in.

A golf club in my hands will make blisters.
In Bubba Watson's - a green jacket.
It depends whose hands it's in.

A staff in my hands might help keep me upright on a hike.
In Moses' hands - it parts a sea.
It depends whose hands it's in.

Two fish and five pieces of bread in my hands make a couple of fish sandwiches.
In Jesus' hands - they feed thousands.
It depends whose hands they're in.

Some wood and nails in my hands might produce a bookshelf - might.
Those nails in Jesus' hands produced salvation for the world.
It depends whose hands they are in.

Fear in my hands paralyzes me.
Worry in my hands makes me weak.
Stress in my hands will kill me.

So put your worries and concerns and stresses, put all your fears and failures in Jesus' hands.
Put your hopes and dreams, your families and futures, your relationships and everything else in the hands of Him who died for you and rose again, because it depends whose hands it's in.

So do not fear, for Christ is risen.
He is risen indeed! Alleluia! Amen.


The Rev. Jonathan Scharf is pastor of Abiding Grace Lutheran Church in Covington. Worship every Sunday is at 10:30 a.m. Full sermons and more information can be found at www.abidinggrace.com.

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