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Easter Day

He is risen!  He is risen indeed!  Grace and peace to you from Him who is, and who was, and who is to come, Jesus Christ, our risen Lord!  Dear friends in Christ, what a glorious message Easter is!  Throughout lent we have been looking at different sacrificial lambs which all pointed to one perfect, final Lamb.  Then we saw how Jesus, the Lamb of God, was sacrificed on the altar of the cross, He died, He was buried in a tomb.  Death seemed to win, the devil thought he was victorious; it seemed we were stuck in our sins.  But then Easter Sunday morning the tomb burst forth, it was empty!  Jesus rose from the dead!  All was not lost, instead all was gained.  Sin, death, hell, and Satan were defeated once and for all!  The Lamb, Jesus won the victory!  It changed everything.  Alleluia!

Imagine for a moment being one of those first disciples, imagine being the disciple John.  What do think life was like after Jesus rose?  It changed everything for the apostle John.  He had an awesome message to proclaim to the world!  He saw the risen Savior, he saw in person Jesus’ hands and feet and side that bore the marks of death-defeated, near the end of John’s life God gave him a special treat, a vision of heaven, and it’s our treat today as well as God had it recorded in His Word.  This is what’s happening…

John has just been invited to see the throne room of God Himself.  What he sees is breath-taking.  Circled around the throne of God he saw 24 elders sitting on thrones and inside the circle of the 24 thrones he saw 4 living creatures and a rainbow.  Then he focused in on a scroll.  This scroll revealed the future; revealed events of the NT church.  But no one could open it; John started to cry; but then one of the elders said, “Look, the Root of David, the Lamb can open it.”  Then all who were there began to praise the Lamb: (read text)

What a glorious sight for John!  What a glorious sight for John’s readers!  What a glorious sight for you and me!  John first wrote this book to the Christians in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey).  He wrote it probably around the turn of the 1st century.  The Christians to whom John wrote were experiencing horrific persecutions for their faith.  Thankfully it’s hard for us to imagine living on pins and needles wondering if someone is going to kill you because of your faith.  Wondering who you can trust or who’s going to throw you in prison.  Wondering what will happen to your family if you are caught.  Wondering when everything you own in this world will be forced away from you because you’re a Christian.  Wow!  It sure didn’t seem like they were part of Jesus’ victory parade did it!

We face many struggles too, don’t we?  Thankfully we’re not running for our lives.  But what do we face day after day?  In church we have questions: will we get a pastor?  Will our church grow?  In our lives we have questions: What if I can’t make ends meet?  Will I always be stuck in this same old routine?  Will my relationships with family and friends fail?  And even in our hearts we have questions: does God still remember those shameful things I’ve done?  Will my past failures haunt me?  Will I stand firm until the end?  Troubling questions attacking us from without, scary questions haunting us from within, God help us!

And God has.  He invites you to look at what’s happening in His throne room!  There is someone who is worthy to open the scroll of the future.  It’s Jesus, the Lamb of God.  Why is He worthy?  Because He did the greatest thing ever: He was slain and with His blood He paid for the sins of the world!  Yes, He went to the cross, He was killed, slaughtered like a lamb, but with His blood He bought people!  God paid His blood, the precious blood of Christ, a Lamb without blemish or defect for humans!  Now since He rose from the dead He is able to open the scroll of the future.  Since Jesus rose from the dead HE holds the future in HIS hands.  Since He rose from the dead He leads you by the hand into the future!  Since He rose from the dead He’ll be with you forever and ever!

The Lord’s with me, how awesome is that?  But can He help me?  What if I’m faced with a tragedy I’m not able to handle?  Will he be able to help me?  What about when I’m about to close my eyes in death, what’s so special about having Jesus with me?  Who is Jesus?  Why do I want Jesus with me?

Why?  Listen again to what’s happening in heaven right now; Listen to the resounding chorus of thousands upon thousands upon thousands of angels sing!  Listen to the most breath-taking and awesome song ever sung!  “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise.”  Jesus is worthy.  Jesus is worthy because He lives.  Because Jesus didn’t stay dead but came back to life everything is His.  He has all power in heaven and on earth to do whatever He wants to do.  He has all might to destroy His enemies with a breath from His mouth.  He knows all things and He knows what is best to do in all circumstances.  He owns all things; everything in heaven and on earth belongs to Him.  He has rightly won all glory, praise, and honor.  HE is the final victor.  He proved it when He got out of the grave.  And He is the one who is on YOUR side.  He holds the future; you will win, because He won!

What amazing confidence we have as we go about our daily lives.  Jesus, the Lamb of God, now sits on the throne of heaven ruling all things with His power and might.  Wow!

But wait a minute.  Maybe today or tomorrow you’ll be going about your tasks when you pause and think.  It sure doesn’t seem like Jesus has won.  And it certainly doesn’t seem like I’m a victor.  What do we see in the world?  Murders and crime. War and death.  Cheating, stealing, and dishonesty.  In our own lives we’re constantly struggling against sin.  We’re struggling physically.  We’re struggling emotionally.  Then the devil will prod his little finger in our faces and say, “Look, you’ve lost!”

At that moment, with eyes of faith see what John saw.  Peak into the throne room of God.  Listen in on what’s going on in there.  Listen to the victory song of the Lamb.  Look at the Lamb who was slain, but rose and is sitting on His throne.  Listen to the resounding words, “To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, forever and ever!”  And join with that heavenly throng and say, “Amen!”

Behold the glory of Easter!  Jesus died.  Now He has risen and will never die again!  Your sin is gone!  Hell is conquered!  Your grave destroyed!  Because Jesus got out of His grave, because death could not keep its slimy grip on Jesus, because Jesus’ grave is empty, because Jesus burst forth from that tomb, because Jesus is alive forever and ever, there is no question, no doubt, no uncertainty: There IS a seat at that victory song of the Lamb in the throne room of God with YOUR name on it!  YOU’RE going to be there one day, because Jesus lives!  YOU’RE going to be there wearing the white robe of Christ’s righteousness singing praises to our eternal King, because Jesus is alive!  He’s risen!  He’s risen indeed!  Alleluia!  Amen!