Saturday, April 26, 2014

Easter Tiny Bible Bits 2014

Based around the six statements of Easter, this is what I wrote over the last few weeks on Tiny Bible Bits.

Matthew 21:8-9 – A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
The story of Easter can be summed up by a series of statements which I’ll be looking at over the next week-and-a-half. The cries of the crowd is the first one – Hosanna.

When Jesus enters Jerusalem, he rides in as a humble king; not on a chariot, but a donkey.

The crowds, in the capital for Passover, saw Jesus as a Messianic conqueror. In Jerusalem to remember God’s saving hand in Egypt, saw Jesus as the answer to the dilemma that was Caesar.

So they cry out for God to once again save them.
And He would.

He would bring salvation through the cross, not the sword.
He would bring peace between God and humanity, not the Jews and the authorities.

He would bring a lasting deliverance to all those who would place their trust in Him.

As we’ll see in a few days, the crowds quickly turn on Jesus.
One reason is that He wasn’t the kind of Messiah they were expecting.
Thankfully for them, and us, Jesus is the prefect saviour which we all need.

Matthew 22:21-23 – “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” asked the governor.
“Barabbas,” they answered.
“What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” Pilate asked. They all answered, “Crucify him!”
“Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”

Surely we wouldn’t respond in a similar manner as those before Pilate. Surely.
Unless, if you’re anything like me, you dare to examine your thought life… Then, I suspect, that you put Jesus to death all too often.

When the Spirit of Christ convicts you of sin, you crucify its prompting.
When the Spirit of Christ reminders you to be involved positively in the lives of others, you ignore the suggestion.

In so many ways we, like those in the first century, decide that we don’t want Jesus, instead, desiring something else.

Matthew 27:46 – About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).

Constant union.

Since time infinite this is what Jesus had, as a part of the Trinity, with The Father.

At Easter, that union was broken so we could be united with our Heavenly Father.

This is the good news of Good Friday.

Who are you going to bring to church at Easter to hear about it?

John 19:30 – When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

What is finished?

The mission of the Incarnate God.
Paying the wages of sin for humanity.
Separation between you and God.

This is why we can call Good Friday good.

Mark 15:39 – And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”

Did you go to church Easter weekend?
When you encountered the Easter story, how do you respond?

How did you respond to the God who would break into human history in order to live a perfect life and be unjustly put to death?

How did you respond to the God who would lay down His life in order to bring unity with His creation?

How did you respond to the God who is intimately familiar with grief, suffering, pain and sorrow?

Like the centurion, you stood before the Easter story, how did you respond?

Matthew 28:6 – He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.

The truth of this verse should’ve been the core message of church on Easter Sunday.

The tomb was empty…
Jesus was raised…
Just as He said.

For some, once the benediction was given, Easter was over for another year.

But the gospel of the resurrected Jesus continues all year.

For this Sunday, and every day, we should celebrate that…
The tomb was empty…
Jesus was raised…
Just as He said.

Matthew 28:6 – He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.

At the tomb the angels told the women to come and see.
Come and see the empty tomb.
Come and see the faithfulness of God.
Come and see where He lay.

On Easter Sunday many churches had a determined effort to invite others to church. On Easter Sunday we especially want our family and friends to hear about the Lord who conquered the grave.

This Sunday, like every Sunday, billions of Christians will once again come together to remember that Jesus is risen.

So this Sunday, even though it’s not Easter Sunday, who are you going to invite to “come and see?”

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