“The resurrection is the axis on which the entirety of Christianity hangs. As Paul tells us, if Christ has not risen then we, Christians, ought to be more pitied than anyone else. We are delusional beings following nothing but a mirage. Throw out the resurrection and you are left with an empty shell that is no more unique, redemptive, or salvific than every other religion the deceived of this world have to offer.”
Song: Christ Jesus Lay in Deaths Strong Bands
Passage: Exodus 14 + Psalm 16
Hello everyone and Welcome to episode #12 of the Anno Domini Podcast. A podcast dedicated to the supremacy of Christ over all things including our days, weeks, and months.
Join me as we explore how Christ is revealed through the cyclical life of the church calendar year. We’ll discover how this calendar once structured culture and how it can again. We’ll also discuss practical ways to observe and celebrate these holy days in our quest to glorify God and live the good life in the midst of all good He has given us.
Well folks this is the day we’ve all been waiting for. The day when Christ, who came in the very flesh of man yet was also also fully God conquered death and the grave and rose from the tomb. Death could not hold Him. Christ is risen!
Easter Sunday. Resurrection Sunday. The day in which Christians everywhere can offer one another the following greeting “Christ is risen” and they can be certain to receive back the glorious reply “He is risen indeed.” Our faith rests upon the very real, historical, and literal resurrection of the body of Christ. As the Apostles Creed so aptly puts it
“I believe in God, the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth;
And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord;
who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead, and buried.
He descended into hell.
The third day he rose again from the dead.
He ascended into heaven,
and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father almighty.
From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Ghost,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.”
The resurrection is the axis on which the entirety of Christianity hangs. As Paul tells us, if Christ has not risen then we, Christians, ought to be more pitied than anyone else. We are delusional beings following nothing but a mirage. Throw out the resurrection and you are left with an empty shell that is no more unique, redemptive, or salvific than every other religion the deceived of this world have to offer.
We need creed’s like the Apostles Creed because we are constantly being tempted to water down the potency of the gospel. The Apostles Creed is a line in the sand stating, here is where the faith lives and dies. To compromise on anything in this creed is to compromise the gospel itself. But more than creeds, we need a Savior to whom the creed really belongs. Having faith is nothing special…many people have incredible faith. No it is not the amount of faith we have that matters, it is in whom we place our faith that makes the difference between right and wrong, life and death, heaven and hell. If we have but the tiniest scrap of faith, say faith the size of a mustard seed, faith that is nothing to brag about but that faith is placed directly in the loving care of Christ, we are promised there is nothing that cannot be done. Entire mountain ranges can be torn from their roots and drowned in the sea should God so desire. Christians have the best creeds because they are true they are not only beautiful and awe inspiring but they barely begin to scratch the glory of the one to whom they are written about.
There are 10 passages to be read on Easter. 5 on Easter morning and 5 for Easter day. We have readings from Exodus and Jeremiah, Psalms, Acts, 1 Corinthians, Colossians, as well as Gospel readings of Matthew and John. Rather than read one entire passage out loud.
Exodus – 14:10-15:1
This passage is all about the Salvation of God’s people from a Prince of Darkness
Our first passage comes from Exodus 14:10 – 15:1. This details the story of the Israelites being chased down by a mad man. Pharaoh and his armies are determined to bring the Israelites back to Egypt. When the people of God saw the doom of the Egyptians coming down upon them they bravely trusted in God’s Providence to provide for them a way of salvation…I’m just kidding they started accusing Moses of trying to kill them and complaining about how they wished they were still slaves back in Egypt. Moses has some choice words for them. He tells them “Don’t be afraid, wait for the salvation of the LORD. The LORD will fight for you. “…when I have gained honor for myself over my enemies”
15:1 “He has triumphed gloriously!” “He has become my salvation.” “In the greatness of Your excellence, You have overthrown those who rose against you.”
“You in your mercy have led for the the people whom You have redeemed.” (Speaking of the His chosen people, “You will bring them in and plant them In the mountain of Your inheritance.”
There is little talk of personal choice here in the description of their salvation. Although willing hearts are expected. God does not ask each Israelite if they would like to be saved or not. He doesn’t give them “options.” He gives them the path to salvation, a long and scary walk through a dark ravine of water and expects them to follow Him because they simply have no other choice. Also, it should be noted that He does not secure salvation for everyone. Just as Christ shed His blood for His people, in this passage, only those whom He has chosen will be saved. This theme is repeated throughout scripture not as a way of describing a limit to the scope of His salvation but instead rather to enforce the efficacy of His salvation. Christ did not shed His blood needlessly for a single sinner. Every sin that the death of Christ paid for results in salvation. Christ, like Yahweh in the Old Testament always saves His people.
This is a small about God’s children being saved by the Victory of Christ.
Vs. 1 “Preserve me O God for in You I put my trust.” “my goodness is nothing apart from You.”
Sorrow is associated with pursuing other gods. We often think that to follow Christ is to merely choose a life of saying NO to the fun things in life but this is profoundly wrong headed. While Christ does promise us suffering in this life when we follow Him, He also promises us here in this Psalm, written to us, that in following Him, our hearts are glad and we can rest in hope. In fact we are promised that in His presence is fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore.”
Closing benediction” “Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
1 Christ Jesus lay in death’s strong bands,
for our offenses given;
but now at God’s right hand he stands
and brings us life from heaven;
therefore let us joyful be
and sing to God right thankfully
loud songs of hallelujah. Hallelujah!
2 It was a strange and dreadful strife
when life and death contended;
the victory remained with life,
the reign of death was ended;
Holy Scripture plainly saith
that death is swallowed up by death,
his sting is lost forever. Hallelujah!
3 Here the true Paschal Lamb we see,
whom God so freely gave us;
he died on the accursed tree–
so strong his love!-—to save us.
See, his blood doth mark our door;
faith points to it, death passes o’er,
and Satan cannot harm us. Hallelujah!
4 So let us keep the festival
whereto the Lord invites us;
Christ is himself the Joy of all,
the Sun that warms and lights us.
By his grace he doth impart
eternal sunshine to the heart;
the night of sin is ended. Hallelujah!
5 Then let us feast this joyful day
on Christ, the bread of heaven;
the Word of grace hath purged away
the old and evil leaven.
Christ alone our souls will feed,
he is our meat and drink indeed;
faith lives upon no other. Hallelujah!
This is one of those hymns that is so rich with theological depth that one can sing it over and over and continually get new insights and encouragement.
Verse 1, Jesus was dead in the strong bands of the grave. He was dead because our sins were laid on Him. He is now at God’s right hand and is bringing us life from heaven. Our response to this is joy and song.
Verse 2 When Christ (Life) was fighting the Satan and Death (the result of sin) it was strange in that it had never happened like this before. In fact, as GK Chesterton noticed, the Gospel is the only truly “new” thing to happen which is why it makes it such Good “news” Of course the victory remains with Christ and Satan is cast down like lighting and the reign of death is finished. Scripture promise that Death will be swallowed up by death (or victory). Christ will come to put to death, death itself and therefore death no longer has the sting it once had.
Verse 3 The Paschal Lamb means the Passover Lamb. A spotless, without blemish lamb that God gave to His people. The blood of this perfect Lamb, whose love for us was so strong that He was willing to die on the cursed tree, His blood now covers the doorposts of our heart and “faith” points to the blood so that just as in the first passover, Death will passover and not have victory over us in the end. Because of this shed blood, Satan cannot harm us. Christian, you are forever protected from the evil one by the work of Christ. Hallelujah
Verse 4 The festival that Luther is describing is the Lord’s Supper. The Lord invites us to eat with Him since we are His sons and daughters. Christ who, just as Psalm 16 promised, is the Joy of all is also the Sun which warms us and lights our way. By the vastness of His kindness to us, we are promised “eternal sunshine to the heart.” Living in the Pacific Northwest, this is a promise I can get behind. Seriously though Luther ends verse 4 by stating that because He has given us this salvation, achieved by His resurrection, the “night of sin is ended.”
Verse 5 Again, I believe Luther is describing the Lord’s Supper. He describes Christ as the Bread of Heaven purged of the leaven of false teaching and wickedness. We are then told that only Christ can truly feed our souls and that He is our meat and drink. In other words He is our entire portion and faith lives, not on bread alone but by the every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.
I so often think of Psalm 51 and the words of King David. Although I am not a king, David and I share the burden of being fallen creatures in desperate need of a Savior. I love the beginning of Psalm 51, the example of it – that David does not make any attempt to justify his sinful actions nor appeal to his position as the anointed king of Israel. He is prostrate before the Lord of Splendor and simply appeals to God’s merciful nature:
Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin!
As the Psalm continues, I am made shockingly aware that there are myriad times in which I am just not miserable enough about my sin. Of course I know when I transgress, but am I crushed by it? What a blessing it is for David to see the severity and have such a visceral reaction to his sin. It is a reaction that compels him to be aware of only one relationship – “Against You, You only have I sinned.”
For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
and blameless in your judgment.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.
It is a sobering, even crushing, thing to consider what I deserve, what my life, isolated from Christ, had wrought for me. God does not change, nor will He violate any component of His character – Holiness, Righteousness, Justice (etc.)… BUT, what a glorious and beautiful and humbling thing it is to behold the Savior for the first time in your life and to know what the love and mercy of Christ Jesus has wrought. Christ saved me! I succeeded in nothing, I accomplished nothing. All I did was receive the gift of faith from God and know Truth for the first time – the gentle touch of the Lord upon me – the ache of desolation in my heart turned to love and the desire to be with the One who is mighty to save. Easter commemorates the finished work of love and justice, and what a wonderful thing it is to have that initial feeling and understanding perpetuated by the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Thank you Joe for a wonderful message and reminder. God bless you and your family…
Les, for some reason I missed this very thoughtful comment when you first wrote it. Thanks very much for sharing your earnest love of Christ.