John 20: Resurrection Sunday

  • Read John 20 here.
  • If you missed Sunday’s sermon  from John 20 (12 April), you can listen to it here.

I’ve occasionally considered the question, “which element of the Gospel story is the most important?”  Perhaps this is simply pondering futility since each is connected to, and dependent upon, the others.  But here are my thoughts anyway:

The Incarnation (Christmas): Although Christmas is such a large celebration I think that the message of God becoming human often gets lost in the food, gifts and tinsel.  The truth that God became human and lived among us is a vital teaching in understanding our relationship with God.  Jesus was much more than a holy man or wise teacher.

The Crucifixion (Good Friday): This is surely the most well recognised element of the Gospel story.  “What can wash away our sins?  Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”  Romans 6:3 tells us that we’re baptised into Jesus death.  Each time we participate in the Lord’s Supper we “remember his death”.  Heb. 9:22 says that “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.”  If Jesus did not die for us we could not be forgiven.

The Resurrection (Easter Sunday): I think that because we meet each Sunday and focus the Lord’s Supper on Jesus’ death, we overlook the significance of meeting on the Sunday.  The Sunday is the day Jesus rose from the dead, defeating death and Satan.  The resurrection gives us hope of an existence greater than our present circumstances.  It gives us confidence that we can have relationship with God.  Jesus’ incarnation and crucifixion would mean little if the resurrection had never occurred.  If God had died on the cross and that was the end of the story, then I agree with the apostle Paul, “our faith is futile… we are to be pitied more than all men.” (1 Cor. 15:17, 19)

Resurrection Sunday should be a significant day of celebration in our Christian walk.  It gives us hope.  How do you think about Resurrection Sunday?  Is it more meaningful to you than other Sundays?  Do you agree that we often under-emphasise the significance of meeting on the first day of the week?

Songs & Scripture:

Naturally this week I’m trying to create a list of Resurrection songs.  I’m sure I won’t think of all of them, so please help me out with your suggestions:

  • Low in the Grave He Lay
  • Christ the Lord is Risen Today
  • We Saw Thee Not
  • Because He Lives (first line is “God sent His Son…”)
  • He Lives (SFP, SOC)
  • Thomas’ Song (SFP)
  • Easter Song (SFP, best known for Keith Green’s recording on the 1977 album He Who Has Ears to Hear.)
  • Were You There? (a traditional spiritual – widely available)
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2 comments

  1. rob

    When I think about the ultimate sacrifice that our LORD and savior made, by coming to this earth to be put to death and to overcome that death on the 3rd day, I am and always be grateful for the chance at eternity that has been given thru Christs death and more importantly that he overcame that death by His resurrection.
    I am also grateful that I can follow the commands that are set forth so that I can worship in Spirit and Truth. That is why I do not put much stock into Easter as a special or Holy day as it is just another 1st day of the week and be should treated as so. It is another in the many Pagan holidays setup by the Catholics/ Catholic Church/ man made holiday and not the Lord. There are years where the pagan day Easter does not even fall in line with Passover (example 2008).
    I agree that because we follow the commands set forth in the New Testament with regards of coming together to “Break Bread” every 1st day of the week that there are times that I could take for granted or lose a little of the significance of partaking of the Lord’s Super or worshiping our God.
    The ‘Gospel Advocate’ in March did a series of articles on the how, what, when and where do we worship, the articles boiled down to Christians worship the way that we as we are commanded too, part of the conclusion of what is worship was:”When we leave the assembly we should never ask, ‘How did the song leader or the preacher do today?’ What we should ask is , ‘God, how did I do today? Did I honor you? Did I let you know that I love You above all people and all things? Did I please You today?” additionally, the articles went on to say that: “God is seeking true worshipers. Let us not be diverted from his Truth. If we are not worshiping according to God’s way, we need to change. If what we are doing in worship is what we have always done, then we need to be careful. Worship, no matter how long it has been practiced, that does not match God’s truth is vain worship. (Matthew 15:9). If our reasoning for continuing to worship our own way is that we do not see anything wrong with it, then God raises as warning flag. Worship without knowledge is ignorant worship (Acts 17:22-23). If we persist in our own form of worship because we like it, the we need to beware. Worship that makes sense to us, but does not come from God is worshiping in vain and not accepted by God (Colossians 2:20-23).”
    Pagan holidays are not accepted by God no matter how long that they have been practiced. Being raised in the Lord’s Church, I was raised not to celebrate pagan holidays as God would not accept it. That is why I do not put any emphasis on Easter or X-mas, as I need to worship in Spirit and Truth.

  2. ozziepete

    Thanks for dropping by Rob. Glad you found the post thought provoking.

    The question of the Easter/Passover date is an interesting one. The problem is that the Jews calculate Passover based on a lunar calendar while the western world uses a solar calendar.

    I did a little reading on this site (http://ancienthistory.about.com/cs/godsreligion/a/aa040200.htm) and was surprised to discover that the date of Easter was established at the same Council of Nicea that expressed the doctrine of the deity/humanity of Christ in a way that the western church has accepted ever since. It’s surprising to me to see those two issues on the same agenda, as the nature of Christ seems a far more important teaching than agreeing on a date for Passover.

    Although, as my sermon indicated, I personally find Easter/Passover a significant time of year in replaying the final week of Jesus’ life, we have to understand that the transition from a lunar calendar, to the Julian solar calendar, to the Gregorian solar calendar we use today have made fixing the exact date for Passover/Easter an approximation at best. However, unlike Christmas, which is a complete guess since the Bible gives no idea as to the date of Jesus birth, we do have a very good idea of when Jesus death and resurrection took place. We can narrow the date of the Passover down to within a few weeks each year (even with the calendar adjustments) and we know the exact days of the week/Passover festival that certain events took place.

    At the end of the day though, I’m glad God gave us a weekly celebration of Jesus death and resurrection in the Lord’s Supper.

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