Sunday April 12, 2020 Easter Sunday the Resurrection of Our Lord (Cycle A)
The tie in between today’s readings: Steps of Faith
Psalm 118:1-2; 16-17; 22-23, Acts 10:34-43, Colossians 3:1-4, John 20:1-9
Easter is here! The most important celebration in the Christian calendar. Advent has its charm in anticipation. Christmas is beautiful in its fulfilled promises. Lent is special in its preparation, but Easter is the victory! Christ’s triumph over death and the Devil provides deliverance from sin and eternal life for us, if we will receive it by faith. Faith is the key. Salvation’s faith varies in progression and types. Now is the perfect time to assess where we are in our Christian walk. Our sections in Psalm 118 will guide us in the topic headings for the rest of the readings concerning this Easter Sunday and these all-important steps of faith.
Psalm 118:22-23 (NASB)
22 The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief corner stone.
23 This is the Lord’s doing;
It is marvelous in our eyes.
John 20:1-9 (NASB)
The Empty Tomb
20 Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene *came early to the tomb, while it *was still dark, and *saw the stone already taken away from the tomb. 2 So she *ran and *came to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and *said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.” 3 So Peter and the other disciple went forth, and they were going to the tomb. 4 The two were running together; and the other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter and came to the tomb first; 5 and stooping and looking in, he *saw the linen wrappings lying there; but he did not go in. 6 And so Simon Peter also *came, following him, and entered the tomb; and he *saw the linen wrappings lying there, 7 and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself. 8 So the other disciple who had first come to the tomb then also entered, and he saw and believed. 9 For as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead.
This section points to the historical facts of the resurrection. The Pharisees (the builders in Psalm 118) refused to believe and the disciples, even after Jesus told them repeatedly about it, still struggled. Throughout history, many people opposed to Christianity tried to refute the resurrection because they understood that the whole of our faith rests upon it. Many of these antagonists became believers, overwhelmed by the truth that an honest investigation revealed: Christ is risen. Where do you stand on the resurrection? Faith’s first step starts with the facts. Seek and you will find.
Psalm 118:1-2 (NASB)
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
2 Oh let Israel say,
“His lovingkindness is everlasting.”
Gentiles Hear Good News
34 Opening his mouth, Peter said:
“I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, 35 but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him. 36 The word which He sent to the sons of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ (He is Lord of all)— 37 you yourselves know the thing which took place throughout all Judea, starting from Galilee, after the baptism which John proclaimed. 38 You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. 39 We are witnesses of all the things He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They also put Him to death by hanging Him on a cross. 40 God raised Him up on the third day and granted that He become visible, 41 not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, that is, to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. 42 And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead. 43 Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.”
How does the resurrection relate to me? What does it mean to believe in Christ for the forgiveness of sin? The short version is this: Jesus wants you to join Him in His resurrection…but you must die first. This can only be accomplished by faith. By faith, God unites you spiritually with His Son’s sacrifice on the cross. By faith, you die with Him. By faith, “He who knew no sin became sin for us that we may become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). By faith, you’re placed in the tomb and by faith, you rise again with Jesus to new eternal life in His resurrection. This is faith’s second step. It goes beyond the facts into action. Like a gambler, you take your chips and go all in on the cross, but because the resurrection is true, it’s a sure bet. You may find that this next step of faith to be difficult, but remember, the lovingkindness of God provided this salvation for you and His lovingkindness will help you reach it. Ask and you shall receive.
16 The right hand of the Lord is exalted;
The right hand of the Lord does valiantly.
17 I will not die, but live,
And tell of the works of the Lord.
Put On the New Self
3 Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. 3 For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.
This new resurrected life in Jesus is an active life. You are a citizen in the Kingdom of God. You live by the laws of His kingdom: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. This third step of faith is a growing up process with stumbles and falls as you look to become more like Christ. God’s Spirit will give you all the power you need to pursue this life of holiness. Knock and it will be opened to you.
Salvation is a God thing. He has provided everything needed for you to be with Him in heaven forever. Seek the facts! Ask for faith! Knock for power! Do not let this Easter pass you by unchanged. Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again. Maranatha!