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Easter Sunday Dawn / Sunrise – Series B

Text: Isaiah 12:1-6

Title:  The LORD Has Done Glorious Things!”

Date: Sunday, April 1, 2018

Pastor Steve Bocklage

Today, we are going to be reminded that we cannot, and we dare not ever, underestimate the power of Jesus’ resurrection. No matter how often we celebrate Easter…no matter how often we hear that death has been swallowed up in victory…it should never be enough. We need to hear that message over and over again to remind us, as Isaiah says, that there is reason to rejoice. There is reason to celebrate…not just this Sunday but also every Sunday…not just every Sunday, but every day of our lives. This reason to celebrate and rejoice is especially important in our day and age because of the doom and gloom that is around us. Every day you and I hear that we are on the edge of disaster, economic ruin, wars, and terrors. People sometimes grow depressed and are filled with despair. They just don’t know what the future holds.
         Today, we celebrate the fact that the future is certain…that indeed Christ is risen! The Lord Jesus Christ has come back to life so that no matter what happens between now and eternity…you and I have heaven as our home. Heaven is the place where Jesus has gone ahead to prepare a place for each and every one of His believers. No wonder Isaiah is so filled with joy in our sermon text from chapter 12.

When you turn back and look at chapter 11 in Isaiah, you find that the prophet tells God’s people that from the family of Jesse, a branch will spring up from that root. Now, of course, from Jesse’s line comes David…and from David’s line comes the Savior. Isaiah describes how the children of Israel are going to be delivered and how the world is going to be delivered from its enemies. Then he says as chapter 12 begins: "In that day you will say: ’I will praise you, O LORD.’" The children of Israel would find reason to praise the Lord. Isaiah states that reason for rejoicing: "Although you were angry with me, your anger has turned away and you have comforted me."

Understand that Isaiah lived only a few generations after the children of Israel came out of Egypt and wandered in the wilderness for forty years. The Israelites had to endure God’s wrath and punishment because of their rebellious, wicked, and sinful nature. But God forgave their sins. He wasn’t angry with them forever. They would have reason to rejoice because the Lord has done glorious things. "Surely God is my salvation;” declares Isaiah, “I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation." (v. 2) "With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation." (v. 3) Time and again, when the children of Israel grumble and complain, they endure God’s punishment. Time and again the Lord God forgives them and delivers them. When they come to the Promised Land…after God had protected them for forty years…He drives out their enemies. The Lord delivers them…reminding us that He also delivers you and me in Christ’s death and resurrection.
         Indeed, our Lord has done glorious things by His resurrection from the dead. From the Book of Revelation, we read these words as John is given the vision of what is in heaven: "For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes." (Rev. 7:17) God says to you today, as does Isaiah, that the Lord has become your salvation. After all, you cannot save yourself. The fact is…you and I don’t deserve to be saved. But God in His goodness, grace, love, and mercy…sent His beloved Son to take our place. Christ was torturously crucified…laid in the tomb supplied by Joseph of Arimathea, so that Jesus might taste death for you and me. Then He rose again from the dead so that you and I will rise again. St. Paul declares in Romans 8 that "The Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you." (Rom. 8:11) You have a mortal body that someday will put on immortality. When your mortal body perishes, you will have an imperishable body as God’s gift to you when Christ returns.
         Our Lord has done glorious things. He has become your salvation, and knows each one of your needs and provides for them. He becomes, as Isaiah says, our strength, our song, our joy, and our reason…actually our only real reason for living. In John 10, Jesus speaks about Himself as the Good Shepherd and He makes this point when He says: "I have come that [you] may have life, and have it to the full." (Jn. 10:10b) The Lord gives you life to the full…a full life in heaven when the Jesus returns.
         God also says that the simple true story of Christ’s resurrection needs to be made known to all the world, as difficult as that might be to do. (cf. v. 5) A recent poll done at the end of February asked people if they believed in a physical resurrection. Sadly, among the 1,007 people that they asked, 36% said, "Yes." So, about a third of the people believed that there is life after death. Even sadder is that only a little over 50% of Christians believe there is a physical resurrection. This poll is very, very, eye opening. Christ’s resurrection and our own physical resurrection is something that we have grown up with…something that is a basic foundation of the Christian church because it’s in God’s Word of absolute truth. Yet, many people are not certain on this Easter Sunday that Christ came back to life or if they are going to be in heaven.

That’s why St. Paul affirms: "We know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence." (2 Cor. 4:13b-14) Paul says you and I know this fact. This resurrection fact is guaranteed by God in His Word and by the glorious things He has done. Let us not forget how glorious the resurrection of Jesus from the dead is…that He overcame sin, death, and Satan for us by coming back to life.

So, "Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you." (v. 6) The Lord has given you the gift of eternal life. The Lord has become your salvation, so that with joy and thanksgiving and a song of praise, you can let this resurrection truth be known to all the world.   Alleluia!  Christ is risen!  He is risen indeed!  Alleluia!

Let’s shout all of it out together…ready? Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed! Alleluia! AMEN

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