DATE: April 21, 2019 – Resurrection Sunday
TEXT: 1 Peter 1: 3-5 - ESV Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
How poor an Easter, today is.
Not because of a lack of colored Easter eggs, nor because of a dearth of Easter bunnies hopping down the bunny trails, or because no one has an Easter bonnet with all the frills upon it. Our celebration will be poorer this year because our country, the United States, is one of the few nations of the world in which the customary greetings contain no reference to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. There is no resurrection reference in "Happy Easter", or "Good morning."
If you live in the Greek speaking world, you would address one another with the same salutation that rang through the early church, "Christos anestee!" "Christ is risen!" Those you meet would respond with the equally ancient, "Aleethos anestee," "He is truly risen."
In the Latin church of the first centuries, while Christians were being martyred, the Easter greeting was "Vivit", He lives, and the reply, "Vere vivit", He lives indeed.
n Germany, believers salute one another with exultant joy, "Der Herr is auferstanden" and the reply is, "Er is wahrhaftig auferstanden." Even in Russia, where Communism did not banish reverence for God's truth, loyal followers of Christ, meeting their kindred in the faith say, "Christos Voskres" and receive the reply "Voistinu Voskres."
All these expressions serve one thought and purpose: They glorify the risen Savior. But for many, this is a almost kind of holiday.”. That’s the way it was the year Jesus died for us. The days were filled with almosts.
The disciples had almost stayed awake in the Garden of Gethsemane. They had almost stood by His side. Peter had almost defended His Lord in the high priest's courtyard. Pontius Pilate had almost pardoned the Christ. He almost released the Son of God. He almost heard his wife and his own conscience saying that Jesus was innocent. He almost let Jesus go. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus believed in Jesus and had almost proclaimed Him as their Lord, but they, too, failed, and weren't present or kept silent at the Lord's trial.
In contrast Satan had no almosts. From the day Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, Satan’s henchman had acted with single-minded purpose. One of Jesus' disciples is successfully bribed. The crowd calls for Jesus' death. The governor is successfully threatened, and the sound of hammer on nails resounds on Good Friday morning as Jesus is nailed to a cross. Satan had no almosts, no failures. Jesus was stripped, beaten, humiliated, mocked and wounded. The church turned away from Him, justice rejected Him. Satan had no almosts. Jesus, the innocent Son of God died in our stead and was buried.
Make no doubt about it. Jesus was dead. Not almost dead. To assure doubters, a spear, wielded by an experienced Roman soldier, was thrust into His heart. So no skeptic or fanatic could suggest that Jesus had been almost dead, a guard was posted, and a seal placed upon the rolling rock at the grave’s entrance. The priests were sure Jesus was dead’ so were the disciple; so were the women who went to embalm a dead body.
Yes, Jesus was dead but now He is alive. It is God’s truth which changes everything It forgives sins, opens heaven and provides hope. This is what we celebrate today… and that is the way our devotions will begin from henceforth. CHRIST IS RISEN. HE IS RISEN, INDEED!
THE PRAYER: Dear Savior, I give thanks for what You have done. May I remember, and all the world believe this the most important fact in history. In Your Name. Amen.
The music which introduces and concludes our devotions was written by Guy Baumann. He along three of his brothers perform on the album: The Baumann Brothers which may be ordered here: http://thebaumannbrothers.com/index.html