Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
- Psalm 27:14
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Pastor's Blog

Resurrection Day 2010 April 4, 2010
"Vancouver, Vancouver, this is it!"

There are many short sentences that have been uttered through the years and we remember many of them. But without understanding the behind the scenes reasons for them being said, they do not have much meaning or significance to us. For those of you who do not know the background of the words, "Vancouver, Vancouver, this is it." there is no connection and therefore they most likely do not mean anything to you.

On Sunday morning May 18,1980, USFS geologist David Johnstone watched the bulging north flank of Mt. St Helens from a vantage point about six miles northwest of Mt. St. Helens, believing that he was safe from the imminet eruption of the Mt. It had been erupting steam and ash for months, and precautions had been taken to keep people from being near the mt.

But shortly after 8:32 a.m. on May 18, 1980, David Johnston shouted these famous words: " Vancouver, Vancouver, this is it.", as he watched the entire north face of the mountain begin to slide down into Spirit Lake. After that he was heard from no more as the powerful lateral blast from the Mt. carried him away and his body was never found. To those of us who lived in the area those words have impact and trigger our memories to the amazing signs of the power of God in an eruption of a volcano.

Are there any words that been spoken that should more impact than these which are recorded in Mark's Gospel which concern Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday?

ESV Mark 16:6 And he said to them, "Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him.

Today is Resurrection Sunday. We rejoice over the fact that the cross is empty, that the tomb is empty, and that He is risen!

That means that He LIVES! That is fact, not theory or conjecture. Because it is true, we believe it.

Usually on this day of rejoicing we hear the message of the resurrection of our Lord from the pastor of the congregation or from a guest speaker as we meditate upon Scriptures which speak of the events of this joyful day. This year we are going to switch things around a bit, as we will be asking the Sunday School to bring the message through the Word and through song.

So, in order to help us understand the significance of the words, "Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified, He has risen, he is not here. See the place where they laid him, I would like to give a little background to the events preceding these marvelous words of comfort, of sorrow, of joy and of hope. And I am going to do it in an unusual and onconventional way. I have an imagined conversation that occurred between two people who were living when these events occurred 2000 years ago. Their names are Julia, a 16 year old girl and her friend, Gaius, who is 17 years old. Let us pick up the dialogue that they had going between themselves.


Julia: Hey, Gaius, what do you think about Friday? That big crowd that went up to the place where they crucified the three men? How it was so dark from noon until three oclock.! And then the earthquake! I was so scared. What do you think?


Gaius: You bet, I was scared and am still scared. Some one told me this afternoon that they were up on the big hill outside of Jerusalem and they saw the man called Jesus on the cross hanging there between two robbers. They told me that in all His pain and torment, He looked out on the crowd and spoke words of forgiveness, that He forgave a robber before He died, that He handed over the care of His mother to his beloved Apostle John and that He did not lash out against anyone, but had His arms wide open ready to receive anyone who would come to Him. And they told me that the darkness and the earthquake seemed to be connected together with that man Jesus. That from 12:00 to 3:00 was dark. And that at 3:00 he willingly died and when He died, the earthquake shook everything, including me. What do you
think?

Julia: Really!! I saw the darkness and felt the earthquake, but how could they be connected?

Gaius: Did you also hear about when at 3:00 in the afternnoon the High Priest was getting ready to offer the spotless Lamb for sacrifice that as the earth shook the big thick curtain in the Temple in Jerusalem split right in front of his eyes.? Did you hear that it split from the top to the bottom as if ripped by an unseen hand?

Julia: What??What curtain?

Gaius: It was the one which separated the special place of sacrifice in the Temple from everyone but the High Priest. Only He could go in there once a year to offer the blood sacrifice which was an offfering for sin. It is no more, as now the way to God is opened up through this Jesus. I don't understand if fully, but there must be a connection between the death of Jesus and this curtain being tore from top to bottom.

Julia: What are you talking about? I don't have a clue what you are talking about?

Gaius: Don't you remember how people have been looking and waiting for the Messiah for a long time?
Don't you remember how Moses and the prophets spoke of the coming of the day of the Lord? How David spoke of the kingdom that will have no end? How Isaiah spoke of the One who has paid double for our sins? How Isaiah spoke of the one who would be despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men would hide their faces as they despised him and did not esteem him?

Julia: How do you ever connect what happened yesterday with what the Scriptures say? All I know is that every year I come here to confess my sins and through the sacrifices in the Temple I know that for the next year I can live with out the guilt. How can this ever change from the way we have always done it?

Gaius:: Well, Julia, it is like I am looking through a glass darkly, but I think I see a connection. Don't you see it? Don't you see at all that He is the one we have been waiting for? Don't you even see a little that this could be the One who will be the final sacrifice for sin and that He will carry away our sin for good?

Julia: Not at all.. For example, remember last Sunday when we were all gathered in the City for the Passover celebration, and we heard that the Messiah was coming? Remember how we waited for Him to come in His power and might riding on a big white horse? But what did we see? Tell me!!

Gaius: We saw an ordinary man come riding into the city on a donkey.

Julia: So there you are! Tell me, Julia, how can someone on a donkey be one who saves us from all the oppression and domination of thegovernment?

Gaius: That is where you are wrong. You were like many of the people there that day, for you were looking for someone to change your circumstances and you missed seeing the humble and serving heart
of this man Jesus. This is the same man that had lived the same way that He died: "With His arms wide open." He came to deliver us from our sins, not our government and its oppression. He came to bring newness of life in that He came to dwell in us through the power of the Holy Spirit so that out of our innermost being would flow river of living water. He came to bless us with the forgiveness of our sins so that we could bring the message of His Gospel to others in order that they might be set free from the bondage of sin.

Julia: What???? Now I am really confused! How could a man riding on donkey have anything to do with delivering me from my sin? Are you saying that I am a sinner?

Gaius: Yes, that is what the Bible says, not me.: Don't you remember your Bible lesson in which Isaiah wrote: Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. Don't you see that this is who Isaiah was talking about in that Jesus is as the sheep that he was talking about?

Julia: Now you are getting preachy at me. And besides, what do these verses have to do with a man riding into the City on a donkey, preaching for 3 years about loving one another, serving one another, laying down our lives for one another, constantly battling with the higher ups in the church and in the end being taken up to the big hill and crucified with two common criminals? He is dead and gone and your big theory is out the window!

Gaius: Don't dismiss things so quickly. These things He did and I agree with you that He is dead." Yes, He is in the grave. But if you are honest with yourself, you will have to admit that He said that He was going to
rise again.!"

Julia: Yes, I recall that but find it hard to believe that it could happen. Look it is already Saturday night and where is He? Everything is quiet, too quiet.. I know that today is the Sabbath and so everyone is resting today, but where is He? I think you are going to be disappointed when your hopes are dashed in your Messiah.

Gaius: No, again you forget that He said, " I will rise again on the third day from the dead." It is only the second day. Today is only Saturday, but Sunday's a coming!

Julia: I admit that you have me thinking. I am starting to see a connection between the sacifices that the High Priest offers once a year and this Jesus. I think that I am beginning to understand what I have been hearing some people say about how John the Baptist called this Jesus the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!"

Gaius: Now you are getting it, Julia: Now do you see why the curtain ripped open when the Messiah, how about if we call Him Jesus, died at three o'clock? Do you see why the earthquake rumbled? He truly is the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world, and that includes yours and mine.

Julia: Yeah, I heard how even the Centurion who was guarding the area around the cross after seeing the happenings there said: "truly this was the Son of God."

Gaius: Don't you see how much God loves you and I, in that He made a way for us to be brought back into fellowship with Him? Don't you see how He Himself laid our sins upon His only Son in order to pay the ransom so that we might be freed from our debt of sin? That we would be saved instead of lost?
This is what God has been telling us through the years from the Old Testament Scriptures. God is saying from the cross, "my beloved creation, my beloved creation, this is it", for my grace is shown unto your from the cross. For my greatest glory is in showing you mercy, rather than judgment, showing you grace instead of condemnation, for I delight in showing mercy.

Julia: Yes, I think I see I am beginning to put the dots together so to speak. But. one more question, if he paid for our sins, why is it necessary that He arise from the dead? What does it mean for my life?

Gaius: Good question and an important one. The simple answer is, that because He arises from the dead it means that He lives!! And we know He will rise again because He said He would do so. But Julia, remember a couple of things as you ponder the truth of the resurrection. There was some talk about the government going to great lengths to keep his body in the tomb by putting a stone over the opening. Also I heard that the government talked the soldiers into spreading a story that the disciples had come in the night and stole the body of Jesus while they slept. I wonder how they knew that the disciples came to steal Jesus' body if they were sleeping? . The fact is that He will arise and that will mean that He is alive forever. One thing more, Julia, of all the great men over the ages purported to be "Messiah" who have been laid in tombs, there has been only One whose remains have never been found, Jesus the Christ.

Julia: Okay, I will wait.....

Sunday School part of the message:

He is Risen

Ariel Salo

Do you believe that Christ is risen?

Bill Peterson
As recorded in Mark 16:1-10 
Very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came to the sepulchre at sun rise.   When they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: and entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, wearing a long white garment; and they were frightened.  He said to them, “Be not frightened: you seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: see the place where they laid him.  
Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene.  And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept.

Kelsie Sterner
As recorded in Luke 24:13-34 
That same day, two of them went to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about 7 miles.  They talked together of all these things which had happened.  While they discussed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them.  But they did not know him.  He said unto them, “What type of discussion are you having with each other, as you walk, and are sad?”  The one man, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, “Are you a stranger to Jerusalem, and have not heard the things which have happened there these past days?”  Jesus said unto them, “What things?” And they told him, of the things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people.

Misty Aho
Yes, and certain women with our group surprised us, they went early to the sepulchre; and when they did not find his body, they came back, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive.  Some men who were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it to be true as the women had said.  Then He said unto them, “O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:  And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.  When they drew close to the village, where they went: he made as though he would have gone further.  But they stopped him, saying, Abide with us. And he stayed with them.  As he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them.  Their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.  
 
Emma T
The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon.

Thomas Keskey
As recorded in Luke 24:35-43 
And as they spoke, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and said, Peace be unto you.  But they were terrified, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.  And he said unto them, “Why are you troubled?  Behold my hands and my feet, that it is me: touch me, and see; for a spirit has not flesh and bones, as I have. Do you have any food?”  They gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and honeycomb.  He took it, and did eat before them.

Katie Sterner
As recorded in John 20:24-39 
 But Thomas, was not with them when Jesus came.  The other disciples said unto him, “We have seen the LORD”. But he said unto them, except I shall see the nail prints in his hands, and put my finger into the print, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.  And after eight days again his disciples, and Thomas were together: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.  Then he said to Thomas, touch my hands; and thrust your hand into my side: and be not faithless, but believe.  And Thomas answered and said unto him, My LORD and my God.  Jesus said unto him, Thomas, because you have seen me, you have believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.  



Christ’s Returning

Samantha Severnak

Do you believe that Christ is coming again?

Katie Sterner
As recorded in Luke 21:25-28 
 And there shall be signs in the sun, the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations; Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.  And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.  And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draws nigh.

Josh Severnak
As recorded in Matthew 24:23-35 
Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.  For there shall arise false Christ’s, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; in-so-much that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. For as the lightning comes out of the east, and shines even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.  Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, the moon shall not give her light, the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:  then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and all the tribes of the earth shall mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.  He shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet. When you see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.  Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.


The Great Commission

Paige Aho
If you believe these things than Christ says to do this…

Vanessa Aho
As recorded in Luke 24:44-49 
Jesus said, “These are the words which I spoke unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.”  Then he opened their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them, “It is written, and it was necessary for Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:  that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

Marla Peterson
As recorded in Matthew 28:16-20 
And Jesus came and spoke unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.  Go, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  Teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you: I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Kayla Fischer
As recorded in Mark 16:15
Jesus said unto them, Go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.  

Rachel Aho
As recorded by Luke in Acts 1:6-9 
When they were come together, they asked him, saying, Lord, will you at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?  And he said to them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father has put in his own power.  

Isaac Salo
But you shall receive power, after the Holy Ghost has come upon you: and you shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.  And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.

May the grace of our risen Lord Jesus Christ rest with you today.

Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 04 Apr 2010 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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Help is on the way Isaiah 40.1.11
- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala


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