Easter Sermon from 167 AD
From the final section of Peri Pascha (On the Passover), one of the earliest Easter sermons extant, written around 167 AD. The author is Melito of Sardis (d. AD 180). He was the bishop of Sardis and a great authority in early Christianity. He was involved in the dating of Easter, and he is the first known Christian pilgrim.
"When the Lord had clothed himself with humanity,?and had suffered for the sake of the sufferer,? and had been bound for the sake of the imprisoned,? and had been judged for the sake of the condemned,? and buried for the sake of the one who was buried,??
He rose up from the dead, and cried aloud with this voice:?? Who is he who contends with me?? Let him stand in opposition to me. ?I set the condemned man free;? I gave the dead man life; ?I raised up the one who had been entombed.? Who is my opponent?
??I, he says, am the Christ.? I am the one who destroyed death,? and triumphed over the enemy,? and trampled Hades under foot,? and bound the strong one,? and carried off man to the heights of heaven,??
I, he says, am the Christ;? therefore, come, all families of men,? you who have been befouled with sins,? and receive forgiveness for your sins.??
I am your forgiveness,?
I am the passover of your salvation,?
I am the lamb which was sacrificed for you,
?I am your ransom,
I am your light,?
I am your saviour,?
I am your resurrection,?
I am your king,?
I am leading you up to the heights of heaven,?
I will show you the eternal Father,?I will raise you up by my right hand.??
This is the one who made the heavens and the earth, ?who in the beginning created man, ?who was proclaimed through the law and prophets, ?who became human via the virgin,? who was hanged upon a tree,? who was buried in the earth,? who was resurrected from the dead,? who ascended to the heights of heaven,? who sits at the right hand of the Father,? who has authority to judge and to save everything,??? through whom the Father created everything from the beginning of the world to the end of the age.??
This is the Alpha and the Omega.?
This is the Beginning and the End—an indescribable Beginning and an incomprehensible End.?This is the Christ.?
This is the King.?
This is Jesus.
?This is the General.?
This is the Lord.?
This is the One who rose up from the dead.?
This is the One who sits at the right hand of the Father.??
He reveals the Father and is revealed by the Father,?
To whom be the glory and the power forever. Amen"