Easter Sunday (Revised Common Lectionary - Year C)
Acts 10:34-43 (or Isaiah 65:17-25); Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24; 1 Corinthians 15:19-26 (or Acts 10:34-43); John 20:1-18 (or LukeGod’s love, God’s Son, God’s command, God’s purpose
‘When the Holy Spirit comes on you… you will be My witnesses… to the ends of the earth’ (Acts 1:8).
This great advance of the Gospel – Salvation reaches ‘the Gentiles’ (Acts 10:45; Acts 11:1,18) – is a movement of ‘the Spirit’ (Acts 11:12). The Spirit speaks through the Word (Acts 10:44; Acts 11:15). In God’s Word, we read of (a) God’s love for the whole world (John 3:16); (b) God’s Son who died for ‘the sins of the whole world’ (John 1:29; 1 John 2:2); (c) God’s command that ‘the Good News’ should be preached to ‘everyone’ (Mark 16:15); (d) God’s purpose that there should be disciples of Christ in every nation (Matthew 28:19). ‘Every person in every nation, in each succeeding generation, has the right to hear the News that Christ can save… Here am I, send me’ (Youth Praise, 128). ‘Go forth and tell!’ (Mission Praise, 178).
Make sure that you belong to Christ. Put your faith in Him
What a contrast there is between those who belong to Christ – ‘My servants will sing out of the joy of their hearts’ – and those who have refused to come to Christ for salvation – ‘You will cry out from anguish of heart and wail in brokenness of spirit’ (Isaiah 65:14)! God is preparing a great future ‘for those who love Him’ – ‘I will create a new heaven and a new earth’. He is calling us away from our sins – ‘Past things will not be remembered. They will not come to mind’. He is calling us to His ‘holy mountain’. How can we enter into our full enjoyment of God’s eternal salvation? God’s Word tells us: ‘I will pay attention to those who are humble and sorry for their sins and who tremble at My Word’ (Isaiah 65:17,25; Isaiah 66:2; 1 Corinthians 2:9). Make sure that you belong to Christ. Put your faith in Him (John 3:18,36).
‘The Lord is my Strength and my Song. He is my Saviour’(Psalm 118:14).
Knowing that Jesus Christ is our Saviour gives us a song to sing: ‘Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine… This is my story, this is my song, praising my Saviour all the day long’. Knowing that Jesus Christ is our Saviour, we sing His song with strength, committing ourselves to His service, earnestly seeking to win others for Him: ‘We’ve a story to tell to the nations, that shall turn their hearts to the right … We’ve a song to be sung to the nations, that shall lift their hearts to the Lord…We’ve a message to give to the nations, that the Lord, who reigneth above, hath sent us His Son to save us… We’ve a Saviour to show to the nations…’(Mission Praise, 59,744). Don’t keep your Saviour to yourself. Share Him with others. Win others for Him.
Christ’s resurrection – believe the fact , live in iits power, rejoice in its hope.
We learn of Christ’s resurrection: the fact – ‘Christ has been raised from the dead’ – and the meaning – ‘the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep’ (1 Corinthians 15:20). We look back to His resurrection. We ‘remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead’ (2 Timothy 2:8). We look forward to our own resurrection. We will be ‘raised’ – ‘imperishable… in glory… in power… a spiritual body’ (1 Corin42-44). Looking back to His resurrection and looking forward to our own resurrection, we are to live, here and now, in ‘the power of His resurrection’ (Philippians 3:10). We believe the fact of the resurrection. We live in the power of the resurrection. We rejoice in the hope of the resurrection. With ‘resurrection’ faith in the ‘resurrection’ God, let us live the ‘resurrection’ life as a ‘resurrection’ people!
Changed by the power of the risen Christ
Christ is ‘the Lord’ (John 20:2,18,20,25). Christ is ‘my Lord’ (John 20:13,28). Faith becomes real when Jesus comes to us. Jesus comes to Mary, the disciples and Thomas. Mary, the disciples and Thomas are changed by the power of the risen Christ. In love, He comes to them, and they are changed. (a) Mary was ‘weeping’ (John 20:13,15). Jesus came to her, and she became a confident believer – ‘I have seen the Lord!’ (John 20:18). (b) The disciples were filled with ‘fear’. Jesus came to them. He gave them His ‘peace’ and ‘joy’ (19-20). (c) Thomas found faith hard to come by (25). Jesus came to him, and he believed – ‘My Lord and my God!’ (John 20:28). Through the Gospel, we find faith: ‘These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His Name’ (John 20:31).
Jesus has risen from the dead. Jesus is the Son of God.
Jesus was ‘delivered into the hands of sinful men’. Jesus was ‘crucified’. This was not, for Him, the end. He rose from the dead (Luke 24:7). At the Cross, ‘the centurion’ described Jesus as ‘a righteous man’ (Luke 23:47). In the resurrection, God declared Him to be much more than a righteous man – He is ‘the Son of God’ (Romans 1:4). Don’t be like those who do ‘not believe’, those who consider Christ’s resurrection to be ‘an idle tale’ (Luke 24:11). Something has ‘happened’, something very wonderful – Jesus has risen from the dead:… ‘believe… be saved’ (Luke 24:12; Romans 10:9). 24:1-12)