If you read my previous post you will know that I don’t like to refer to the celebration of the events of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection as Easter. I much prefer speaking of it as the New Passover — because I think it more appropriately describes the reality of what happened at that time, coinciding as it did with the annual celebration of the Jewish Passover. Today we remember the fact of Jesus’ glorious resurrection from the dead.
It seemed appropriate that my reading this morning was from Psalm 74. This Psalm describes the state of the city of Jerusalem after it had been desecrated by the Babylonians in 567 bc. It must have been a horrible experience for those who were there and had known of the glory of this City and its temple. The writer of this Psalm is overwhelmed by the awful reality of what had happened to God’s magnificent sanctuary. Worse still, he feels rather hopeless about the prospect of change for good even though he prays and knows that the God he worships is capable of overcoming the Enemy completely — based on His reputation of all He has done in the past and in creation.
Remember your covenant promises, he writes, for the land is full of darkness and violence! Don’t let the downtrodden be constantly disgraced! …Arise, O God, and defend your cause (Vs. 20 – 22).
This prayer describes not only a desire for change among God’s people in that time, but the longing of all of God’s people throughout world history for the restoration of God’s kingdom and rule. God’s beautiful creation has been desecrated by the Enemy of our souls and we wait patiently for the resurrection demonstrated and promised in Jesus Christ. The resurrection of Jesus is our reference for the promise that things will not always be as they are today. We live in a land that is full of darkness and violence. A grey pall exists over the face of the whole earth. Despite the evidences of God’s goodness and grace in the world the signs of death are everywhere.
But the Good News is that it won’t always be that way. For we remember a day when the One who died for our sins on the cross burst forth from the grave and drove back the soldiers who were standing guard so that they fell on their backs and became as dead men before the triumphant Christ. So it was, and so it shall be at the end of time! But so it can also be for us in the midst of the darkness of our times. The beauty of living the Christian life is that the same power that raised Christ from the dead is ours to experience now (Ephesians 1:19, 20). As we walk about amidst the ruins of our “city,” God gives us strength to share His Gospel grace in many different ways and gives us hope that a day of final triumph is inevitable.
Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning! (Psalm 30:5).