The Firstborn of Creation? (Easter Sermon)

This is an adapted form of the sermon I preached this morning, the Resurrection of Our Lord. The gospel text was Luke 24:1-12.

Last Sunday, we heard the Passion of Our Lord according to Luke. And I invited you to write down questions that the story brought up in you. A few of you did so, and I have been trying to address these questions in my sermons the past few days. This morning we’re looking at this question:

In Colossians it says that Jesus is the firstborn of creation. What does that mean? Since he was here with God and the Holy Spirit since the beginning of time?

When I first read that question, I thought, well, this is a fairly straightforward one to answer. Yes. It means that Jesus existed at the beginning of time, alongside the Father and the Spirit at the dawn of creation. In fact, John’s gospel tells us that Jesus was in fact God’s Word, through whom God created all that is.

But the more I thought about it, the more I wondered if there was more to it than that. The preexistence of Jesus is an interesting theological detail, but I started thinking there must be more. There must be meaning there, there must be power there, there must be something there that makes a difference. But I didn’t know what it was. I knew it meant something. But what? Jesus is the firstborn of creation. So what? What does that mean?

So the women, Mary Magdalene and the others, followed Joseph of Arimathea. You may remember this from last week’s gospel story. Mary and the other women followed Joseph to the tomb where Joseph buried Jesus. They saw the tomb. They saw how the body was laid. And very early in the morning on the first day of the week, they went back to the tomb. Only they didn’t find the body of Jesus there. Luke tells us, “They didn’t know what to make of this.”

They didn’t know what to make of this. No kidding. They were there, at the right tomb. The stone was there, just rolled away. Where was Jesus? They knew something was up, but what?

When they told the apostles about it, they were understandably skeptical. But Peter went to see. And when he found only the linen cloth, he went off wondering. Wondering what had happened. Wondering what it meant. Wondering if it would make any difference in his life.

All they knew then was that the tomb was empty, and that Jesus had apparently risen from the dead. No wonder they were confused and wondering! That’s not a lot to go on.

But there was more coming. Luke tells us several stories about Jesus encountering his disciples after the resurrection. Matthew and John tell us different stories. They tell us about how he ate with them, taught them, gave them the Holy Spirit. Peter and the women didn’t know it, but there was more coming. It was just the beginning.

The Day of Resurrection was just the beginning. The beginning of something so new, so amazing, so holy and magnificent and glorious, that nobody could understand it at first. Nobody could have understood what was happening. What was changing. What was being transformed and created. But they did start to understand over time. They did start to see over time.

That’s why Easter is seven weeks long in the church. It’s not just today. It’s fifty days of exploring what this means. Fifty days of celebrating the newness and the life. Fifty days of reminding each other that the resurrection does make a difference. It changes everything. It promises everything. It transforms everything.

Over the next seven weeks, we will see that the resurrection brings us a lot of things: It brings us the breath of Christ. What does that mean? Find out! It brings us forgiveness, and a calling. It brings us the voice of Jesus. It brings us peace, a peace that the world cannot give us.

Over these seven weeks, we will see that through the resurrection we are equipped to love one another, and to be united with one another. And we’ll see that we receive the Holy Spirit.

What does any of that mean? We’ll find out!

But for now, for right now – this is just the beginning. And we don’t have to figure it out. For now, we can just stand in wonder.

I guess it’s kind of like the birth of a child. You know that that child is full of potential and life and love. But you have no idea what that life is going to look like. But over time, you will.

Jesus is the firstborn of creation. That does mean he was in the beginning with the Father and the Spirit. But there’s more.

Jesus is the firstborn of creation. It also means that he’s the firstborn of the new creation. The new creation that began on the day of resurrection. The new creation that changes and transforms everything, even you.

Jesus is the firstborn of the new creation. And today is just the beginning.  

Image by Grober Arzapalo from Pixabay

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