Lectionary Year B
April 20, 2003
Step VI - Contemporary Address
(JFC) On Easter Sunday, we might hope to open some eyes of both believers and
doubters in the pews to some realities of the Gospel, even in the Old Testament.
B. Describing the Audience
(JFC) Easter Sunday's audiences run the gamut, there are regulars and once or twice
attending and everyone in between, too. Some pew sitters on this day are conversant with the Gospel and some find it a strange language. They challenge us to be clear.
(JFC) A sermon, entitled for this working draft, "Easter in the Old Testament?"
God is "All-powerful" the text says. With such omnipotence, it seems likely that God is trying to inform/convince/invite even Old Testament people to anticipate an everlasting relief/rest/promise of no more finality in death. With that power, God destroys death's claims to be the end of life.
I. God Does Some Pretty Positive Things
A. God throws a party, the mother of all parties. The menu makes the mouth water to read/anticipate. It gets repeated repeatedly in these few verses. It is a big party. It is a party with a point. The point on Easter is that the party of life is never ending. It goes on and on, without a curfew.
B. God reveals a truth that supercedes all other truths. It hides under veils until God portrays it in Jesus Christ in the New Testament, perhaps due to the inability of OT folk to imagine such a generous gift as everlasting life.
II. God Undoes Some Pretty Negative Things
A. God defeats death's powers. Now, can we, in our mortality, imagine such a
powerful God doing such a powerful thing? In God, at least in Christ, death has no more claim to be the end of the story of life as God sees it. God sees life go on beyond death.
B. God wipes away tears. Tears we will weep, like every news cast brings to my eyes. Yet, God, this omnipotent God, will hand us a tissue. God is that compassionate. Death can make us sad to separate from a loved one, to be sure. However, there is more.
III. God Does Some Pretty Personal Things
A. God speaks. Isaiah hears the voice of God as do most every prophet in the Old Testament and evangelist, disciple and apostle in the New Testament. Listen. God has more to say, re: life beyond the grave. And, God shows up personally, is present, finally proved in Jesus' Incarnation and the Holy Comforter's coming (John 16:7) to remain with us until the end of the ages.
B. God saves us (h['Wvyi), similar to what God gives us is Jesus Christ's life, death and resurrection - salvation, well being, (spiritual) prosperity, serenity, security, etc. It comes to all, as Mark 10:45 declares. Isaiah's contemporaries were surprised to be invited to the party of life everlasting as were those outcasts with whom Jesus customarily ate and those Jesus surprisingly invited to the feast, e.g., in Matthew 22:1-10!
And, this God who raises His only begotten Son from the grave on Easter might well have been trying to get resurrection's message across to people for many centuries before. At lease, it comes across to us this Easter, surely. Thanks be to God.
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