He is Risen! Luke 24:1-12

Dearly beloved, He is risen!      Yes, He is risen indeed!!

Easter is God’s Amen and Humanity’s Hallelujah!

As the grieving women approached the tomb where their beloved Friend and Teacher was laid after dying on the cross and as the day begin to dawn, their hearts were heavy with resignation at the loss of Jesus. For they came expecting to see death.  But to their surprise they were met with something different than they had been expecting: The stone was rolled away from the sepulchre, and going in, they did not see Jesus' body in the tomb. As they looked, totally at a loss of what to think, they saw two men in shining garments standing by them. Naturally fear gripped them, they bowed their faces to the earth, and then heard the angels speak to them:

"Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen.  Remember how he told you, while he was still alive in Galilee, saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again."  As they listened, they remembered the words of Jesus. They left the tomb, rushed to tell the eleven and others what they had seen and heard at the tomb.

 

The apostles, even though being taught by Jesus for 3+ years, considered that which they heard from the women as nonsense and did not believe what they had been told. Peter, not one to hang back and wait for things to become clear, ran to the tomb, stooping to look into the tomb, saw the linen clothes of Jesus lying by themselves, and left the tomb, marveling at what had come to pass...........

 

A few years ago during VBS a ten year old boy demonstrated to me and to the others who were with me of what it means to believe the Scriptures concerning the death and resurrection of Jesus.  I had simulated the death of Jesus on the cross in one room and in another I had a simulation of the tomb where He was laid after His death on Good Friday. As I took a number of youngsters into the room where the tomb was,  they looked into the tomb (as Apostle Peter did) and did not see Jesus's body in the tomb. So I asked a question of them all as to where Jesus's body was, and very quickly the ten year old burst out. "He is alive again, you can't keep God dead!" Amen to that statement!!!

 

Luke 24:6-7 He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise."

 

Because He Lives, You Live!!!!!

 

Blessed resurrection day to you all!

 

Pastor Orval Wirkkala

 

Palm Sunday John 12.12-19

 

John  12:12 On the next day much people that were come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem,

 13 Took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord.

 14 And Jesus, when he had found a young ass, sat thereon; as it is written,

 15 Fear not, daughter of Sion: behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass's colt.

 

Today, Sunday, is the beginning of Holy Week, a day which is referred to as Palm Sunday due to the worshippers of Jesus waving palm branches as He entered into His City for the last time riding on a donkey. The city was exploding with those who were attending the annual Passover feast and celebration so that when word went out that their king was coming, people flocked out to welcome Him. They shouted the word Hosanna, which means "come and save us." Finally the long awaited Messiah had come to save them and as the praises were shouted in honor of their King, Jesus rode through and  by the crowd on His way to the events of the next week. Yes, indeed, He had come save them, but it would be in a manner that would cause most to question the nature of His kingdom.

Why did our King come into Jerusalem on a donkey?

Zechariah 9:9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.

In the ancient Middle Eastern world, leaders rode horses if they rode to war, but donkeys if they came in peace. First Kings 1:33 mentions Solomon riding a donkey on the day he was recognized as the new king of Israel. Other instances of leaders riding donkeys are Judges 5:10; 10:4; 12:14; and 2 Samuel 16:2.

KJV 1 Kings 1:33 The king also said unto them, Take with you the servants of your lord, and cause Solomon my son to ride upon mine own mule, and bring him down to Gihon:

ESV Judges 5:10 "Tell of it, you who ride on white donkeys, you who sit on rich carpets and you who walk by the way.

ESV Judges 10:4 And he had thirty sons who rode on thirty donkeys, and they had thirty cities, called Havvoth-jair to this day, which are in the land of Gilead.

ESV Judges 12:14 He had forty sons and thirty grandsons, who rode on seventy donkeys, and he judged Israel eight years.

ESV 2 Samuel 16:2 And the king said to Ziba, "Why have you brought these?" Ziba answered, "The donkeys are for the king's household to ride on, the bread and summer fruit for the young men to eat, and the wine for those who faint in the wilderness to drink."


The mention of a donkey in Zechariah 9:9-10 fits the description of a king who would be “righteous and having salvation, gentle.” Rather than riding to conquer, this king would enter in peace.

Grand Opening of God’s Mission for the World through Christ, the Prince of Peace.

From our text we know that many went out to see Jesus, having heard that He had raised Lazarus from the dead. Those who shouted Hosanna that day were not only shouting praises to His name, but they were also calling upon Him to save them.  It is unclear as to if they knew what was going to happen the later in the week, but with what knowledge they had, they praised God for the good works that He had done, With the faith that they had, they shouted loudly and joyously to their God as He rode by on the donkey.

The events of next week would openly show all of what would be the nature of His rule and kingship: He did not come to conquer and to subdue His enemies, but rather He came to submit Himself to the rulers and authorities in ordered to be subdued by them. In so doing, He died for all so that through His death life came to all.

16 These things understood not his disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things unto him.

The disciples did not yet understand of the prophecies which were being fulfilled, but later after the coming of the Holy Spirit, their understanding was opened as they remembered the events of Palm Sunday.

 17 The people therefore that was with him when he called Lazarus out of his grave, and raised him from the dead, bare record.

 18 For this cause the people also met him, for that they heard that he had done this miracle.

The people who had been at the raising of Lazarus from the dead gave testimony to that miracle, and so many hearing of  Jesus raising one from the dead, came to meet Jesus as He entered the Holy City.

19 The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? behold, the world is gone after him.

The disciples did not link the Old Testament prophecies to Jesus’s Messiahship until after the Holy Spirit came, the people who had heard of the raising of Lazarus from the dead by Jesus went out of curiosity, and the Pharisees were threatened by the growing popularity of Jesus with the people.

In Matthew’s Gospel, it is written:

16:13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?

 14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.

 15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?

 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

 17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

 

Our second scripture reading spoke to us of His atoning sacrifice of death on the cross….

 

 Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:

 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

 May the Holy Spirit open our eyes, our mind and our heart so that we may see, that we may understand and that we may rejoice believing that Jesus came to give us life out of His death.

Grace be upon you this day!

Pastor Orval Wirkkala

 

 

The Aroma of Love

 

Dear friend in Christ.

 As we journey with our Lord towards the cross, it is good to remember that which Apostle Peter wrote at the end of his last epistle: 2 Peter 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever.

 It certainly is our desire to grow in grace and in the knowledge of Him as we read, listen to, pray over, meditate and have fellowship with others upon the work of God for our salvation through Jesus the Christ. As we look into the life of Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, we are given insight into her life and of how she through hearing Jesus and watching Him do His ministry came to understand that in order to become the Giver of Life, He had to experience His death.

 She sat at His feet hearing HIm speak,(Luke 10:38-42) she struggled with His lack of action in preventing their brother Lazarus from dying, not yet understanding that He had a greater purpose in mind through the death of Lazarus. She wept bitterly at her brother's tomb, saw Jesus weeping at the death of Lazarus and then after four days heard Jesus speak the words of life to Lazarus: "Lazarus, come out!" (John 11:1-46)

 KJV John 12:1-8

 What joy must have reigned in the house where the dinner was prepared in honor of Jesus, where Lazarus, who had been dead, now sat alive and well amongst the guests. They must have been pinching themselves as they remembered how shortly before the stench of death had been around the tomb of their dear brother Lazarus, but now the aroma of life filled the room as they sat together for table food and fellowship. Out of worship, honor and praise to Jesus, Mary then took a very expensive ointment, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair, and the house was filled with the aroma of the ointment.

 Some of those sitting at the table wondered for what purpose she did that, for it was a whole year's wages of ointment that she had poured upon the One she loved and worshipped. Not only Judas was opposed to such waste, but in the accounts of Matthew (26:6-13) and of Mark (14-3-9) even the disciples did not understand what she was doing. But Jesus in all three accounts clearly explains why Mary did what she did for Him.

 John 12:7 Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this.

 Did Mary understand the significance of her act beyond her worship of Jesus? Did she at this point understand that He would die even as Lazarus had died, and would rise again and through His death and resurrection, He would bring life to the world? Not just physical life, but eternal and forever life!  We don’t know for sure, but we do know that her act of kindness born out of love would be remembered and spoken of in the coming ages wherever the Gospel is preached, as Jesus said it would be.

 KJV Matthew 26:13 Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her. 

 It will be remembered because that which has been done for the world is done out of the great kindness of our Father’s heart, for where can there be found any greater message of love and kindness than this message: Jesus Christ has taken your sin upon Himself, your sin debt has been paid in full by Him, so believe in that what God has done for you in Christ Jesus! Believe all your sin(s) forgiven!

 One more thought on this text comes from a memory of a number of years ago, and it has left a lasting impression upon me.  We heard in our text of how when the ointment was upon the feet of Jesus, the room was filled with the fragrance of the ointment.  That is not hard to imagine in a physical sense, but let us consider the spiritual implications of the filling of the room with the aroma of the ointment. And I will do it by remembering an occurrence  of the past.

 A young man and his family were visiting, and as they got up to leave he made a comment that went something like this: “How good it is when we have visited and had fellowship in the Lord with one another,  that after  we leave the aroma of Christ in the minds and hearts of those who have been together . How good it is that Christ and His forgiving kindness towards us is left in our minds and hearts, and that as a result love for God and  others smolders in our minds and in our hearts.

 

 May we grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever.

 Pastor Orval Wirkkala