Sunday, 4 April 2021

Glorious Resurrection Day

 Scripture:  John 20 v 6 - 9: "Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie,

7  And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.
8  Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed.
9  For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead."

We relive the moment those first disciples of Jesus experienced when they came upon the empty tomb, wondering where His Body is.  The folded napkin lying apart was a powerful message to every Jewish person.

When the Master of the house leaves the dinner table with no intention of returning he throws the used napkin onto the table.  If, however, he is coming back he folds the napkin neatly and the servants know not to clear the table as he is not done yet.

The disciples would have got that message without knowing when they would see Him, but Mary saw Him first in the garden not recognising Him at first but He called her name and that was enough for her.  Jesus was risen from death and they were witnesses to this astounding miracle.

The other wondrous statement came from His own lips just before He died, he cried out, It is finished!  Gentile believers can ponder on those words but Jewish people know its meaning.  This was sent to me yesterday by a precious sister.

"The sacrifice is complete! 

Each year, on the Jewish holiday called The Day of Atonement, the High Priest would enter into the temple and make a special sacrifice for the sins of the people of Israel. As soon as the priest had killed the animal, he would emerge from the place of sacrifice and declare to the waiting crowd “it is finished” in Hebrew. 
In this sacrifice, all the sins of Israel were symbolically placed on the lamb that was killed and punished in their place. Yet the Bible teaches that this sacrificial system was never really complete or finished because the sacrifice of that lamb was imperfect and temporary. But when Jesus died on the cross, he became the perfect and final sacrifice for all sin. The Book of Hebrews describes how Jesus was the ultimate Lamb of God and by his sacrifice, the work of forgiveness was finally complete." 
- Michael Maynard

From His death to His resurrection there are hidden messages to most Christians yet the Jews who have rejected Him as their Messiah and Lord are well able to understand plainly what He intended them to know.  Even in the Passover, which we celebrated this week, there are many strong messages that Jewish people observe annually since the first Passover in Egypt  over 4000 years ago.

The blood of a lamb painted on the doors of the Jews who were slaves in Egypt, spared them from death.  Jesus, was born in the special stable where the spotless Passover lambs were kept for sacrifice.

1 Corinthians 5 v 7 - 8: "Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
8  Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth."

Jesus is our Passover Lamb whose Blood is applied to our hearts to cleanse us of sin and destroy demonic power over us.  Sin is death, forgiveness from God means that death has passed over us.  Eternal separation from God has been removed, and we have been reconciled to Him like the prodigal son coming home to his father.

This is a day of much rejoicing for the whole of mankind but many are ignorant or blinded to the truth.  They mock and scoff at those who believe and worship their own gods and idols in false religions that never achieve salvation and eternal joy.

Those of us who are born again in spirit and truth have been changed.  We are no longer ignorant nor lost.  By the grace of God we have been rescued out of the world of pain and sin, into the blessed hope of eternity in Heaven.  We are baptized into His Body to be united with Him forever.  Do not make the mistake of believing that baby baptism or christening is valid!

The Bible is clear, after you are born again you must be baptized in water.  A baby cannot understand salvation so is not born again until it can.  Therefore baby baptism is just a head wetting, it does not achieve what water baptism does.  When you go under the water you identify with the death of Jesus, when you come up out of the water you identify with His resurrection to life.

We were in Him when He died.  We were in Him when He was buried.  We are in Him when He resurrected from death and those who are born again baptized believers are seated with Him in heavenly places.  Our spirits are continually with Him.  This is what this day means.

It's not about bunnies and chocolate eggs or Easter.  That name came originally from the Babylonian fertility goddess, Ishtar, hence chickens ,eggs and rabbits are symbolic.  It has nothing to do with Christianity.  It was added to our traditions by the Roman Catholic Church, who had no grasp of the Passover, which was the institution of Communion at the Last Supper.

So do not be confused about the reality of Jesus, nor think the chocolate eggs are linked to His sacrifice.  No harm in enjoying the treats but don't teach your children falsely.

No other leader of any religion has claimed eternal life, has risen from the dead nor is returning alive to Earth.  Only our mighty King has done that and He is coming soon to complete His promises.  Those who are walking in His light will live forever with Him in Heaven.  Those who reject Him will face Him on Judgment Day.

We who know Him and live in His righteousness, must show His love to the lost and dying world.  We are living in the last days before His return.  We are His messengers to those who think the pitch darkness around them is actually enlightenment.  Let Him see us in action, sharing the miracle of the Cross, bringing souls into His Kingdom.

His tomb is empty!  He is alive!  We are alive in Him!  Hosanna to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!  Enjoy the eternal fruits of this wondrous day Beloved Friends and Family of God.  I love you all.

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, how it grieved You to send Your Son to be our substitute for sin, but there was joy too, knowing it was the only way to buy back every soul.  There was joy on this day when He brought the captives from Abraham's Bosom back to heaven.  You own every soul but many refuse to acknowledge Jesus or have a relationship with Him.  Those are Your terms and conditions of salvation.  Help us to help them know the truth.  In Jesus' name. Amen.