Easter : Holy Communion

 Col. 3:1-4                                                            John: 20.1-10

O God, who for our redemption dist give thine only-begotten
 Son to the death of the Cross, and by his glorious
resurrection hast delivered us from the power of
our enemy; Grant us so to die daily from sin, that we may
evermore live with him in the joy of his resurrection;
through the same thy Son Christ our Lord. 
                                                Amen.

   “ The Gate of Everlasting Life”

The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.
2 Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.
3 Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre.
4 So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre.
5 And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in.
6 Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie,
7 And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.
8 Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed.
9 For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.
10 Then the disciples went away again unto their own home.

   On that first Easter morning all the foreshadowing prophecies were fulfilled about the coming Messiah, who had now conquered Death.   These prophecies that pertained to the Living Sacrifice, the Lamb of God, who would be slain for the sins of the world, had been fulfilled. And yet he would not see corruption, he would not molder in the grave. He would rise again, as he even said, after three days. 
The story of Jonah, a foreshadow of Christ death, burial and resurrection, three days in the belly of the great fish, comes back from what would have been certain death. The difference of course, Christ did die.      
 The evidence was the blood and water that flowed from his side when the soldier pierced his side with the spear. Again, an indication of death, the heart being stopped, the blood separated from the serum. A sure sign that the body had expired. Christ had not fainted. He did not swoon as some have later posited. He was dead. And yet from this death he arose. He was and is victorious over death. He overcame it and so will we who are his believers. Each and every       Sunday is a celebration of this triumph; in a sense, a mini-Easter, to remind us of the great sacrifice on the Cross. In the early church it was this Sunday, Easter, that new converts were baptized into the church. It was this that the great promise of life over death was clearly taught. 
  As the disciples went back to their homes that Easter morning they were most likely amazed, confused, maybe even scared. They did not know what to do next. 
    We will see over the next 40 days, with Christ Jesus revealing himself to his followers and some 500 others a clear message will be forth coming. Christ filled in the details that the disciples had forgotten about his first Advent. He will explain what was to come. And most importantly there will be this witness to his resurrected body, a fact that will cause people to willing die when they are forced to make a choice between the risen Christ and a pagan god/government or any other adversary.
  
 Let us reflect on the passage from Paul’s letter to the church at Colossi.      

If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

 If we turn our eyes upon Jesus, if we meditate, read, search the Word of God, the Bible for the meaning of this wonderful Day, then the things of earth will grow strangely dim. Let us be dead to the cares and worries of this life, let us be hid in Christ. Because Christ is our life and in him shall we appear in glory. 
What a wonderful promise found in these four verses. Here Paul comforts and encourages those believers at Colossi, that God is on His throne, that Jesus Christ is at His side and all things here on earth have no value.  We must look up, for our redemption draweth nigh.
CHRIST our Passover is sacrificed for us : therefore let us keep the feast, 
Not with the old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness : but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 1 Cor. v. 7.
CHRIST being raised from the dead dieth no more : death hath no more dominion over him.
For in that he died, he died unto sin once : but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. 
Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin : but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Rom. vi. 9.
CHRIST is risen from the dead : and become the first fruits of them that slept.
For since by man came death : by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
For as in Adam all die : even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 1 Cor. xv. 20.


Let us pray:  

  Almighty God, who through thine only-begotten Son Jesus Christ has overcome death, and opened unto us the gate of everlasting life; We humbly beseech thee that, as by thy special grace preventing us thou dost put into our minds good desires, so by thy continual help we may bring the same to good effect; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost ever, one God, world without end.     Amen

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost
   As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
 
                                      HE IS RISEN !           HE IS RISEN INDEED ! 

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