Kurt Jacobson
5 min readMar 31, 2024


“Is It Still True?”
March 31. 2024
Mark 16:1–8
When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.” So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

Easter was the most challenging Sunday for me in my days as a preacher. I loved everything about Easter, except preaching. I found immense joy in worship, the crowds of people, the inspirational music, the darling children, the gorgeous Easter “garden” spanning the front of the church. But what I did not love was preaching Easter. Why? Because everyone knew the story, so what was I to say? Short of resorting to cheesy stories to explain the event or theatrics to recreate the inexplicable mystery of resurrection, every year I struggled to find something fresh, non-cliché, biblically and spiritually enriching to proclaim.

Perhaps because I’m getting older and hold no responsibilities on Easter Sunday, I no longer struggle over trying to explain or make some kind of fresh sense of what happened. I wish I had come to this point long before I stepped out of the pulpit. Today, I have come to simply accept the story at face value.

You know the story. Jesus died on a cross. He was laid in a tomb. It was sealed. On the third day the “very large stone” over the entrance was rolled back. Women go looking for the body. A messenger says, “He has been raised; he is not here.” The tomb is empty and Christ is risen. Amen. Time for Easter breakfast the youth are serving.

I have no explanations for any of that. But I have experiences of it. I have seen it happen in the lives of countless people. I read it everywhere in the scriptures. The resurrection story is not new. It is the pinnacle of what God has been doing all along. There are many biblical stories with resurrection to apply to times in our lives.

Remember the Israelites escaping bondage in Egypt? Think of the times when you have been freed from patterns and behaviors that impoverished and diminished your life…that is resurrection.

Remember the blind man whose eyes were opened by Jesus? How about times when fresh insights have come into your life with a new way of seeing the world, another person, or yourself… there is resurrection.

Remember the disabled man to whom Jesus said, “Stand up, take your mat and walk?” What about the times when you felt stuck and without direction in life and then … More resurrection.

Remember the raising of Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha who died before Jesus could come and heal him? Remember the comfort his sisters experienced when he came out of the tomb? Remember when you have felt the presence of a deceased loved one or heard his or her voice… Blessed resurrection.
Everywhere in scripture are resurrections to give us hope in the experiences of our lives.

So, if I were a preacher before a crowd today, I would focus on two questions. The first one I am certain people bring to this day. The second one is a question that goes forward beyond today. Both stand as bookends to the story of Jesus’ resurrection.

The first question: Is it still true? Is it true for my life? It is not because we think the story might have changed since last year. Rather, it is because our story has changed. Our life is different today from what it was last Easter, and we want to be reminded that Easter is still real, even if the preacher has not produced something new to say about it.

However your life has changed since last Easter, whether for better or worse, this story is still true. The story was true yesterday, today, and it will be true tomorrow. It may take months or even years for the truth of resurrection to free you from whatever tomb or darkness exists, but it will. That is the promise of Easter. God never leaves anyone in the darkness of the tomb. The messenger is still proclaiming the good news, “He has been raised; he is not here.”

If you make your way to a church today, pay attention to the effort of musicians, decorators, preachers and others who have gone to great lengths to make this day bright and beautiful, filled with flowers, inspiring music and a rousing sermon. All of these are signs of Easter truth, empty tombs and resurrection reality.

Yet beyond these signs, Easter is the lens through which we are to see everything, not just something from the past celebrated every spring. Getting Jesus out of the tomb is not the ultimate goal of Easter. Easter is about our new life. That means that today is not the end of the story, but the beginning. The most important part of Easter is not what happens today, but how we live it tomorrow and forever.

“He is going ahead of you,” said the young man to the women at the empty tomb. He is going ahead of us rolling back stones, emptying tombs and calling forth life.

Easter happens in the Galilee of our lives: the hometown, the familiar places, the usual relationships, the ordinary circumstances.

This brings me to the second question: What difference will Easter today make tomorrow?

“He has been raised; he is not here.” “He is going ahead of you to Galilee.”

If we come to Easter as an annual remembrance and observance of an event in history, we have missed the point. Easter happens in the everydayness of life.

To answer the second question, I suggest making Easter a verb. Try on this word: Eastering. Jesus alive and eastering with and in you. How might this eastering in your life make tomorrow different?
The resurrected Jesus means there is a new center to living and a new hope for whatever comes in our eastering life!

Easter Prayer
Living God, before the sunset,
Easter us to joy and energy, courage and faithfulness;
Easter us that we may be fearless for your truth.
Come and Easter us tomorrow with healing mercy and justice, peace and generosity.
We pray as we wait for the Risen One who has promised to come again and make all things new. Amen.
“Prayers for a Privileged People” by Walter Bruggeman, (Nashville: Abingdon, 2008), pp. 27–28. (adapted)



Kurt Jacobson

Author of “Living Hope” & “Welcoming Grace.” Lutheran preacher (retired) but still writing to inspire and aim for a world of mercy, love and respect.