Today’s Scrip-Bit 4 April 2021 Luke 24:5b

Luke 24:5b.     Why seek ye the living among the dead?
HAPPY  EASTER!

At last friends, that marvelous day of celebration which we’ve waited so long for, well it’s finally here! We’re talking about Resurrection Day! All praise and glory to our omnipotent and ever-LOVING God! Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ has risen from the dead this Easter morn! Glory be! He has conquered the evil Satan, and taken away from him, the keys to hell, death and the grave! Christ is now Master of all He surveys! Glory Hallelujah! The seed planted in His death on Good Friday has borne fruit this Easter Sunday! 

Consequently, these words from the Simple Series musical ‘Mercy Tree,’ featured on the album inspired by the message and mission of Billy Graham’s ‘My Hope,’ are ever so appropriate for us today to hear, read, understand and digest. So please listen up. ‘We have gathered here today to lift up the name of Jesus. We rejoice in His victory over sin and the cross. Our cries of ‘Hosanna! Save us now!’ have been answered. Our Redeemer has conquered death! And because we are certain of that fact, we have reason to celebrate!’ 

Oh my people, do we ever have reason to celebrate and lift up the name of Jesus. So let’s begin doing that by singing this most celebratory and true hymn, written by one of our foremost hymnologists, Charles Wesley (1707-1788) The hymn is titled ‘Christ the Lord is Risen Today.’ And it has been considered by many Christian hymnologists as being the most definitive church anthem for Easter. Each verse features a focus on the Resurrection of Jesus. Wow! 

So enough talk, let’s sing! In an up-tempo beat, with trumps and cymbals, harps and psalteries in full voice, let’s raise our sacrifices of praise in sweet harmony to high heaven, with sincere thanks and gratitude pouring out of our hearts, minds, bodies and souls! ‘Christ the Lord is ris’n today, Alleluia! Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia! Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia! Sing, ye heav’ns, and earth, reply, Alleluia! Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia! 

Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia! Once He died our souls to save, Alleluia! Where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia! LOVE’S redeeming work is done, Alleluia! Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia! Death in vain forbids His rise, Alleluia! Christ hath opened paradise, Alleluia! Soar we now where Christ hath led, Alleluia! Foll’wing our exalted Head, Alleluia! Made like Him, like Him we rise, Alleluia! 

Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia! Hail the Lord of earth and heaven, Alleluia! Praise to Thee by both be given, Alleluia! Thee we greet triumphant now, Alleluia! Hail the Resurrection, thou, Alleluia! King of glory, Soul of bliss, Alleluia! Everlasting life is this, Alleluia! Thee to know, Thy pow’r to prove, Alleluia! Thus to sing, and thus to LOVE, Alleluia!’ 

Oh friends, what awesome bliss this Easter morning has provided to us faithful believers in Christ Jesus. For as Bruh Paul preached to the Athenians on Mars Hill: ‘For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring (his children). (Acts 17:28) And isn’t that indeed the gospel truth my fellow saints in Christ!  He is our very lifeblood, without Him, we are nothing! With Him, we are everything! We lack for nothing! 

And our celebration wouldn’t be complete without some powerful words from the Good Book. Hear Luke tell the Resurrection Story. ‘Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they (a group of women) came unto the sepulchre (tomb), bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout (about this), behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: 

And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they (the men) said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, Saying, The Son of man must be delivered up into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. And they remembered his words, And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest. It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary, the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles. And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not.’ (Luke 24:1-11) 

Yes friends, it was difficult for Jesus followers to believe His resurrection, having seen His cruel demise three days earlier, even despite their remembering His words on the subject. They weren’t gullible religionists, but tough, skeptical, hardworking, down to earth folk, who did not find it easy to believe the rather implausible situation. But they eventually did believe when Jesus showed Himself to them, and consequently we too believe, though we haven’t seen Him in the flesh. But here is some interesting info from the scholars, re the Resurrection of Christ, that we all should certainly be aware of. 

‘The Resurrection of Christ included five accomplishments. (1) the physical renewing of His life; (2) the reunion of His body and His Spirit; (3) the subjugation of death under Him; (4) the attainment of His new position; and (5) His receiving of a transfigured body. Application: Because of the Resurrection, the Christian receives both eternal life (John 11:25) and spiritual power (Eph. 1:19-20). Christ’s resurrection also provides for the future resurrection of the believer (1 Cor. 15:20) and is the key to victory in the Christian life because of our union with Christ (Eph 2:6). (First Ref. Ps. 16:10; Primary Ref, 1 Cor. 15; cf. Acts 1:9).’ 

Oh precious people, without the resurrection of Jesus, our faith would be worthless! Let’s remember that nuh, and hold on to it with our very last breath, for it’s our golden key to heaven’s eternal sanctuary! And we’re going to end with these marvellous and ever so encouraging words from the website hymnary.org on our hymn today, and the whole resurrection business. (smile) ‘In every worship service, the words we say and the actions we participate in are somehow shaping us. 

Perhaps without even being aware of it, worship is doing something to us – it’s forming habits and language inside of us to both teach us why we are in relationship with God, and how to be in relationship with God. One practice that many liturgists and hymn authors have brought into worship is describing an event that happened in the past (usually a moment from the Gospel story) as if it were happening today, in order to instill in us the understanding that, just as God worked in the lives of people two thousand years ago, He is still working today. 

The hymn “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” is a perfect example of this. Right in the title is an indicator of the present tense: the word “is.” As we sing this song, we are first brought back two millennia as “witnesses” of the resurrection, and then we are also made aware that though the actual event of the resurrection happened once, it is in a sense an on-going event with ever-present effects. We are called today to live out of the resurrection, to follow our risen Lord in newness of life, and to ever lift our “alleluias” in praise.’ 

So mih bredrin, as we joyfully celebrate Christ’s resurrection, let’s take that wonderful advice and go out today, and every day hence, sincerely following Christ and keeping our voices lifted up to Him, in much deserved praise. That’s our bounden duty as Christians! Much LOVE!

…because He lives…we too shall live…  

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 5 April 2015 Matthew 28:6 ‏

Matthew 28:6.    He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.                                         

 HAPPY  EASTER ! 

Oh Friends, it’s Easter Sunday… and the promise has come! Yes my people, the promise has come! It certainly didn’t tarry long; for Jesus Christ is risen…He is risen… Jesus Christ is risen indeed my faithful brethren!

And all God’s children burst out in joyful song: ‘He is risen, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Christ is risen! Let the whole world sing, Christ is risen, Christ is risen from the grave! He is risen, He is risen! Oh Christ is risen from the grave! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Let the whole world sing, Christ is risen from the grave!’

Oh what a joyful day in Christendom my people, for Christ’s resurrection means that He has conquered, He has mightily defeated once and for all time hell, death and the grave! He has put Lucifer and all his evil cohorts to flight, has them running for their very lives! Oh what a wonderful Lord and Saviour is our Jesus! He sacrificed His sinless life for us unworthy humans…Glory to God!

That means a whole lot of wonderful things are now open and readily available to us. We’re talking about blessings like atonement, reconciliation, grace, mercy, compassion, forgiveness, LOVING-kindness, eternal life, wisdom and understanding – or as the Rasta breddren say, ‘overstanding.’ For how can it be good if it’s under eh? Hn, hn! It has to be over to be better than average.

Yes Friends, however you want to put it, this Easter Sunday morn is a most beautiful, exciting, wonderful and promising time in the life of mankind! Even the Father is flashing a big happy smile, because He now has His BELOVED Son back, and a whole new set of adoptees because of it. Wow! The world is now a much better place!

Oh my people, let’s certainly enjoy the time, but please don’t get too carried away, because Lucifer and his wicked minions are still around, hungry and looking for any available soft spot to invade our spiritual lives. So during this weekend’s celebrations, let’s once more invoke Granny’s words of wisdom: ‘Sonny boy, please, please remember that drunk or sober, to mind yuh business!’

Oh Friends, I’m not trying to cramp your style, or restrict your celebrations, but it’s just that when we get to celebrating, especially such a joyful occasion as Jesus’ resurrection, we tend to go overboard, and that’s when Lucifer is going to trip us up and make us fall. And we definitely don’t want that at any time at all. So please be careful, do observe a modicum of circumspection in your celebrations. (smile)

Now let’s hear what the Good Book has to say about this joyous, most auspicious occasion. I’m going to try and combine the gospels so that they read sequentially. And as the scholars note: ‘All four Gospels essentially agree in reporting the facts of the Resurrection. The variety of details in each account supplement rather than contradict one another.’  

Sometime during the early morning hours of the Resurrection day things got moving, as Matthew tells us:  ‘And behold there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door (of Jesus’ tomb), and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment (clothing) white like snow. And for fear of him, the keepers (guards) did shake, and became as dead men.’ (Matt.28:2-4)

The scholars inform us that ‘The earthquake and the angel who rolled away the stone, did not come to let Jesus out of the tomb, but to reveal that it was empty and that He was already gone.’

Now Mark joins the story:  ‘And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary, the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came upon the sepulchre (tomb) at the rising of the sun. And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? And when they looked they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great (large). (Mark16:1-4)

‘And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come see the place where the Lord lay.’ (Matt.28:5-6) ‘But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee, as he said unto you. And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed:’ (Mark 16:7-8)

‘And they returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest… And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not.’ (Luke 24:9,11) But ‘Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple (whom Jesus LOVED), and came to the sepulchre (were going to the tomb). So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre.

And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in. Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, And the napkin (face cloth) that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together (folded) in a place by itself. Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and he believed. For as yet they knew not (understood) the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead. Then the disciples went away again unto their own home.’ (John 20:3-10)

The scholars explain: 20:8-9. Believed. For as yet they knew not: They believed Jesus was alive, not yet knowing the details of His resurrection.’

‘But Mary stood without  at (outside of) the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept , she stooped down , and looked  into the sepulchre. (This was Mary’s second visit) and seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.

And when she had thus said, she turned herself back (around), and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus saith unto her, woman, why weepest thou? Whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence (carried him away), tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.

Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself and said unto him, Rabboni, which is to say Master (Teacher). Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not: for I am not yet ascended unto my Father, and your Father, and to my God, and your God. Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things to her.’ (John 20:11-18) 

The scholars explain: 20:17. Touch me not is a present imperative, forbidding the continuation of an action already begun. “Stop clinging to me” is a helpful paraphrase. Compare with verse 27, where one week later, we are told He encouraged Thomas to touch Him. I am not yet ascended: “Do not worry, I am not leaving immediately.”

Oh Friends, I know that that was not perfect, but I do hope that it gives you some continuity in your reading of Jesus’ Resurrection.  Now get thee out to church and celebrate, worship, and praise our wonderful God and Saviour, for the great gifts of salvation and eternal life that came our way on this special day. Enjoy yourselves with your friends and family too, but remember don’t overdo it. Happy Easter! Much LOVE!

…the greatest words ever spoken…He is risen…Jesus Christ is risen indeed…