Friday, March 30, 2007

Easter: “Connecting the Praises”

by Dr. Jim H. Savage.

I was just reflecting on the seasons, the seasons of life and the beauty of spring,
the beauty of God’s rhythm and of life. Then I was thinking about the rhythm of Jesus’ life. Let’s start by remembering the words of Psalm 8:3: “Imagine the heavens the work of thy fingers.” Now I want us to imagine more images in the life of Christ from birth until his death.
I want to connect the dots between Luke 2, and the story in Luke 19-20.

First, imagine a young shepherd out in the field keeping watch over his flock by night. The story says suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared unto them and the glory of the Lord shone round about them and they were sore afraid. And the angel said: ‘Fear not, behold I bring you, good tidings of great joy. For unto to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior which is Christ the Lord.

And this shall be a sign unto you. You shall find the babe wrapped swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.

Suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying ‘Glory 2 God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!’
When the angels were gone away from them they said: “Let us go straight to Bethlehem and see this thing which has come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.”
So they went with hast found Mary and Joseph & the babe lying in a manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them, and all who heard this were amazed at what the shepherds had told them.

Now imagine and remember this.

Those same fields are right outside of Jerusalem. I imagine in my mind those shepherds keeping this story alive and many would laugh at them & ask ‘Where is this Savior? After 33 years now, where is this king?’

Then one day the news comes to the field.

‘Hey guys, you have got to get to Jerusalem. You will not believe what happened today. Jesus of Nazareth came today: you know the one people have talked about…that great prophet & healer.
Crowds gathered w/Palms shouting crazy stuff. “What stuff?” ‘Glory to the King who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ‘Peace in heaven and glory in the highest heaven.’
‘Did you say; ‘Peace in heaven? Did you say; ‘Glory in the highest heaven?’
Is that what the people were saying as they were waving palm branches?
‘Hey do you remember what those angels said 33 yrs ago? Didn’t they say, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven?’ Didn’t they say ‘Peace on earth & good will to all men?’
Wow! ‘It’s the same message of the angels from 33 years ago.
‘It sounds like some people finally believe us.’
‘We were all there when it started.’ ‘I am not going to miss it when he becomes the King of Israel. Grab your staff & let’s go see this thing that has been made known to us.

Now remember with me that all Jews were converging for Passover. If those shepherds were alive, they would certainly come to see this Jesus of Nazareth.

They certainly would have wondered:
‘Could this be the same baby from 33 years ago?
Is it a coincidence that the message is the same 33 yrs later?
Glory to God in the highest, peace on Earth, good will toward men (and women).
Is it a coincidence that the message of the angels is now the message in the people in the streets of Jerusalem?

Could it be a coincidence that the message that came at birth comes again at Passover?

Why are they shouting; ‘Hosanna in the highest?’ Why are they shouting;
‘ Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord?’ Why r they shouting ‘Hosanna to the Son of David?’

Shouts like those are only for the Messiah!

God’s doing it at Passover: the only time the Jews came from all around to sacrifice the unblemished lamb; the lamb that takes away the sin of the world. Passover is the only time of year when Israel all got together to recognize God.

Passover is the only time Israel would actually live together for one week of Peace n this world.
God’s bringing the Messiah to Jerusalem at Passover.

How perfect is that?

Maybe today there is time for us to grab our very best lamb, & a Palm branch. I do not know about you, but in my mind I’m going to Jerusalem! The Messiah is coming & I would not miss it for the world!’ The Messiah’s at hand says the Gospel of Mark over and over.

The Messiah, who once was wrapped in swaddling clothes; now wrapped in Palm Branches---later wrapped in swaddling clothes again; but this time was lying in a tomb---a tomb that suddenly was empty---an empty tomb that changed the world! This was no ordinary empty tomb. This was an empty tomb that would change all of modern history. And now this History-Changing-Agent waits; waiting on us to Praise him, to worship him; to give him our hearts, to give him our very lives! The Passover Feast is waiting! Won’t you come to God’s table?

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