The Great Vigil of Easter 2009
“The Waters of Salvation”
In the name of the Father and of the † Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Our text for tonight is the Exodus and crossing of the
We gather here tonight to keep vigil, or watch for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. What makes this night different from any other night? Why should we gather here and hope and trust that our Lord has risen from the grave? Why should we, modern 21st century Americans, care two hoots about an event that happened close to 2000 years ago?
We keep vigil tonight because Jesus’ death and resurrection from the dead is the defining event in the history of the world. We see the world through His death and resurrection. If you look at the world any other way, it simply is not reality.
The people of
This is your lot as children of death. We are lost and hopeless. We, like them so many years ago, are in darkness and left with fear because of our sins. Will God deliver us? Will God see us through this life and into the life to come?
We know the rest of the story, of course. God opened a path for them right through the middle of the sea, so that they were safe on dry ground. The water that once spelled their death now was their salvation. God saved them through the water, by protecting them AND by destroying their enemies.
My dear friends in Christ, tonight we learn what this story is really about. This great story in the history of
When Jesus died on the cross, He was laid to rest in the tomb. For three days He rested in the grave. But after three days, He burst forth from the tomb. God had exalted Him, He had lifted Him up out of the grave and death. As
Jesus rose triumphant from the grave! Just as the people of
Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:3-11)
This is the song of all creation. His death is your death, and His life is your life. The women brought incense and spices to Jesus’ tomb to bury him. These spices and incense were used to cover up the smell of death. But that smell which was meant to cover up death is now for us a reminder of life, eternal life in him. With Jesus’ resurrection from death the power of Satan is undone, the power of death is finished, the power of hell is gone forever. So rejoice in your risen Savior! Pray and watch this night, for we rise in the morning to greet Him with the dawn of a new day, the Lord’s Day, the day of the Resurrection of the Dead. In the strong name of Jesus. Amen.