Sunday Scrutinization: The Resurrection Is Our Receipt
Well, here we are, Easter Sunday. No, no wait. It is Resurrection Sunday. Um… hold on, actually it is the Feast of First Fruits. Actually, however you say it today is a great day of celebration, a day of remembrance that changed the world. I was privileged early on in my Christian life to have a Sunday School teacher who had a love and appreciation for our Jewish heritage. We went through a book called “The Feasts of Israel” and discussed the symbolism of what Christ would fulfill back then and in the future. Being raised Catholic the connections were never examined. To me, the Old Testament was just a series of stories and told of a God who was scary. The God of the New Testament was much more kindly. I’m glad my perceptions were so quickly challenged and that I received those teachings regarding the Feasts.
Leviticus chapter 23 verse 2 is God speaking and He says to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘These are my appointed festivals, the appointed festivals of the Lord, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies.” Now if we come from the idea that our freedom gives us freedom from the law, fine, fine. You can debate all you’d like regarding whether or not we follow all the law, God has given us great blessing through and because of the law. And in the Feasts, God shows us His character of celebration, of revelation, of worship. Last week, we celebrated Passover with our church family. It was the first time our family has done such. I won’t go over all the points, I will just say it was a remarkable time of seeing God’s glory at work in history. I think for us, this will be a new family tradition, whether it is with our church family or within our immediate one. With the Feasts God also shows order through chaos. Our pastor in saying this reminds me of how Jesus had all the people on the hill sit down in rows and groups before the food was distributed. He brings order out of chaos. He brings peace from strife.
God gave them the command for celebration at the time when they were headed for the promised land; a time of plenty. The Feasts were to remind them of where they came from, who they were, that they served a God that provided, and in giving offerings they remembered who is that great provider. In the desert everyday was a reminder of a God who provides, getting quail and “what is it?” (manna). They would work hard for their food and they would gain an attitude of self-preservation. God knew of this. The Israelites failed in keeping the Feasts as they were intended. The people were not even to use the harvest until the offering of first fruits was made.
Jesus fulfilled the Feast of First Fruits, being resurrected on the feast day, not allowing He to be touched until His offering was brought before God. John 20:17 says, “Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”” All God did through the enacting of the feasts is symbolic of what He has done, what He did in fulfillment of New Testament doctrine, and what He still is going to accomplish.
In all this, the resurrection is of utmost importance. For if it did not happen, our faith would be in vain (1 Corinthians 15:17-19). Yet it was accomplished our faith is hope and our sins are forgiven, and we are justified! (Romans 4:25) Being justified means our identity, or more importantly, our status has been changed. We become immovable because of the resurrection. Our hope comes from completely understanding this. We should know this so well that even our sins should not bother us, or not bury us. I condemn myself so well, but in this is where I forget I have been justified.
Our pastor told a story of how he purchased some tennis balls and exited out of the maintenance doors. He has done this before and always anticipates that someone will challenge his apparent thievery. This time somebody did. Well, he whipped out his receipt for presentation and was set free from condemnation. This is what Christ has done for us: He is our receipt that reminds ourselves that we have a new identity. Satan and his minions will challenge us at all points of guilt and sin, but we have been made new, we are a new creation and Jesus is now what is seen when the Father sees us. There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ. We have the receipt of purchase in Him, and that is worth celebrating.
It is hard on holidays to be away from family, to smile and laugh and share what is going on in our lives, how our children are getting on so well together, that we are part of the perfect union or blood and spirit. But we have found a home here, of sorts. Many go to spend time with their extended family on days like this, perhaps it is not all roses and laughter as I imagine it to be. The fact is, that I am turning those things in my mind and giving them to Him. I wish it were so, but am satisfied at who I am, where I am. I’ve said before that I sense a time of transition a’coming, and it may be farther mentally and geographically than I have ever imagined. This first move may be the first of many, but I am prepared for more. As was said today, since there are First Fruits, we can expect many more. I have been bought with a very high price, I am not my own. That He would use me as He wants me, and me to be content with it all because his grace is sufficient, is my utmost attitudinal priority. May I hold the receipt close to my heart.
Posted on April 20, 2014, in Sunday Scrutinization and tagged Easter, Feasts of Israel, First Fruits, Justification, Justified, New Identity, Order out of chaos, Passover, Resurrection, Sunday Scrutinizations. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.