Posted by: The Simple Guy | April 24, 2011

Why do we celebrate today?

Our church service today was different from any Resurrection Sunday service I have ever attended before.  Various ones read aloud from Scripture while we all listened.

Psa 22:1-18 ESV (1) To the choirmaster: according to The Doe of the Dawn. A Psalm of David. My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? (2) O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest. (3) Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. (4) In you our fathers trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them. (5) To you they cried and were rescued; in you they trusted and were not put to shame. (6) But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by mankind and despised by the people. (7) All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads; (8) “He trusts in the LORD; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him!” (9) Yet you are he who took me from the womb; you made me trust you at my mother’s breasts. (10) On you was I cast from my birth, and from my mother’s womb you have been my God. (11) Be not far from me, for trouble is near, and there is none to help. (12) Many bulls encompass me; strong bulls of Bashan surround me; (13) they open wide their mouths at me, like a ravening and roaring lion. (14) I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast; (15) my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death. (16) For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet– (17) I can count all my bones– they stare and gloat over me; (18) they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.

Then we heard these two chapters:

Isa 53:1-12 ESV (1) Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? (2) For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. (3) He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. (4) Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. (5) But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. (6) All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned–every one–to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (7) He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. (8) By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? (9) And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. (10) Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. (11) Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. (12) Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors. Isa 55:1-13 ESV (1) “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. (2) Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. (3) Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David. (4) Behold, I made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples. (5) Behold, you shall call a nation that you do not know, and a nation that did not know you shall run to you, because of the LORD your God, and of the Holy One of Israel, for he has glorified you. (6) “Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; (7) let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. (8) For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. (9) For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (10) “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, (11) so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. (12) “For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. (13) Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress; instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle; and it shall make a name for the LORD, an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”

And finished with:

Mat 27:1-66 ESV (1) When morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death. (2) And they bound him and led him away and delivered him over to Pilate the governor. (3) Then when Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he changed his mind and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, (4) saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” They said, “What is that to us? See to it yourself.” (5) And throwing down the pieces of silver into the temple, he departed, and he went and hanged himself. (6) But the chief priests, taking the pieces of silver, said, “It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, since it is blood money.” (7) So they took counsel and bought with them the potter’s field as a burial place for strangers. (8) Therefore that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day. (9) Then was fulfilled what had been spoken by the prophet Jeremiah, saying, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him on whom a price had been set by some of the sons of Israel, (10) and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord directed me.” (11) Now Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus said, “You have said so.” (12) But when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he gave no answer. (13) Then Pilate said to him, “Do you not hear how many things they testify against you?” (14) But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed. (15) Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to release for the crowd any one prisoner whom they wanted. (16) And they had then a notorious prisoner called Barabbas. (17) So when they had gathered, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” (18) For he knew that it was out of envy that they had delivered him up. (19) Besides, while he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him, “Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for I have suffered much because of him today in a dream.” (20) Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus. (21) The governor again said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.” (22) Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said, “Let him be crucified!” (23) And he said, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Let him be crucified!” (24) So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.” (25) And all the people answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!” (26) Then he released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, delivered him to be crucified. (27) Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s headquarters, and they gathered the whole battalion before him. (28) And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, (29) and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” (30) And they spit on him and took the reed and struck him on the head. (31) And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him and led him away to crucify him. (32) As they went out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. They compelled this man to carry his cross. (33) And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull), (34) they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall, but when he tasted it, he would not drink it. (35) And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots. (36) Then they sat down and kept watch over him there. (37) And over his head they put the charge against him, which read, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” (38) Then two robbers were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left. (39) And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads (40) and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” (41) So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying, (42) “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. (43) He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.'” (44) And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way. (45) Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. (46) And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (47) And some of the bystanders, hearing it, said, “This man is calling Elijah.” (48) And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine, and put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink. (49) But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.” (50) And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. (51) And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. (52) The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, (53) and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. (54) When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!” (55) There were also many women there, looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him, (56) among whom were Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph and the mother of the sons of Zebedee. (57) When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who also was a disciple of Jesus. (58) He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. (59) And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud (60) and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had cut in the rock. And he rolled a great stone to the entrance of the tomb and went away. (61) Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb. (62) The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate (63) and said, “Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise.’ (64) Therefore order the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away and tell the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last fraud will be worse than the first.” (65) Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers. Go, make it as secure as you can.” (66) So they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard. Mat 28:1-20 ESV (1) Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. (2) And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. (3) His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. (4) And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. (5) But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. (6) He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. (7) Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.” (8) So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. (9) And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. (10) Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.” (11) While they were going, behold, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had taken place. (12) And when they had assembled with the elders and taken counsel, they gave a sufficient sum of money to the soldiers (13) and said, “Tell people, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ (14) And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” (15) So they took the money and did as they were directed. And this story has been spread among the Jews to this day. (16) Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. (17) And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. (18) And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. (19) Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (20) teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Then we had a time where people from the congregation briefly spoke up about various pictures of Christ in the Old Testament.  One mentioned about  Abraham saying (while heading up the mountain to sacrifice his son) that the Lord will provide for Himself a lamb for the sacrifice.  Another mentioned that Ruth covered herself for by the robe of her kinsman redeemer.  One man stood up and shared about how death first entered into the world by Adam and Eve’s sin, and how they attempted to cover themselves with leaves, but God covered them with the skin of an animal.  The man pointed out how God did two things (at least) in this instance.  First, God provided their covering (their righteousness).  Second, He demonstrated the gravity of sin, how our works aren’t enough and someone has to die.  The man then directed our attention to John the Baptist who said, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”

I realize this is a long post, but I had to tell you what was happening as the next thoughts occurred to me. There were two things I thought. First, I was thinking about how death entered the world, and then culminated in the Death of God’s Son.  When we realize that God Almighty died, we can see that death had reached is apex.  When we contemplate the ultimate worth of Christ, there is no loss, suffering, or death at all or combined that will ever compare after the fact.  Compared to the death of Christ, all of the atrocities and suffering that came before, or follow are merely an afterthought.  The one of  infinite worth DIED!!

But it didn’t end there.  We celebrate because HE WON!!  He overcame the ultimate triumph of death! This was an emotionally devastating thought for me.  I have no other way to explain it.

But the second thought related to my recent meditating in this passage:

Rev 21:1-7 ESV (1) Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. (2) And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. (3) And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. (4) He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (5) And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” (6) And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. (7) The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.

Folks, this is our hope.  We are not looking forward to some ethereal existence strumming on harps in the clouds.  We look for the time when He who Died, the Lamb that was slain, will say: “Behold!! I am making everything new!!” And then we will live . . I mean REALLY LIVE . . with Him FOREVER!  The resurrection of Jesus is only the first fruit of the harvest that is to come when He will redeem and resurrect His creation.  (see Colossians 1)

Just a side note: I noticed for the first time today how the last part of Rev. 21:6 is a direct fulfullment of Isa 55:1.  Go ahead, scroll back up and look.  I’ll wait.


That is why we celebrated today.  If this truth grabs ahold of our hearts, we will not be able to restrain ourselves from sharing. So why did you celebrate today?



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