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Easter Day - 2014


{At Morning Prayer, instead of the Psalm, O come, let us sing, &c. these Anthems shall be sung or said.}

CHRIST our passover is sacrificed for us : therefore let us keep the feast; Not with the old leaven, nor 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.
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.

The Collect.
ALMIGHTY God, who through thine only-begotten Son Jesus Christ hast 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 Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 25.1-9
Psalter: Psalm 2, 57, 111 | 113, 116, 117
Epistle Reading: Colossians 3.1-7
Gospel Reading: St. John 20.1-10

Toon: “( . . . ) LET US CELEBRATE WITH ALL JOY THE RESURRECTION OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST FROM THE DEAD not only on Easter Day but for the whole of Eastertide.

But let us be wholly clear that it is Resurrection not Resuscitation that we celebrate!

What happened to Jesus on Easter morning was not resuscitation. The human soul did not reunite with a revived body to form a resuscitated, revived Jesus. In no way whatsoever, could Resuscitation have ever been the proclamation of GOSPEL by God the Father to those with ears to hear of the victory of the Incarnate Son over sin, evil, darkness, death and demonic power.

Resuscitation could never have been the statement that a new covenant between God and man was in place, that the old Mosaic covenant was obsolete, and that there was atonement, redemption, salvation, reconciliation & forgiveness of sins available through the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. And neither could modern views of resurrection as "the spirit of Jesus surviving death" (with his body lost) be the statement of God's victory over darkness, evil, sin, death and Satan.

What happened on Easter morning was a miracle that was more, much more, than the resuscitation of the dead body of Jesus and its reuniting with his soul. The Miracle of Easter is that Jesus, the Incarnate Son of God, was raised from the dead into a new order of being and as a new form of humanity. His resurrection from the dead, while a continuance in personal identity, was at the same time a transformation of his human nature and body so that he became a resurrected, glorified, supernaturalized and immortalised Man (yet more than Man). His humanity, wholly transformed by the Spirit of God, contained and displayed the new order of being that is the kingdom of God. The Person of the Son of God now had not only his eternal divine nature with a human soul (as from Good Friday through Holy Saturday) but also a totally perfected, glorified, supernaturalized and immortalised human nature, body and soul.

Thus the cry, "Jesus is risen from the dead", is also the announcement that the new covenant between God and man is in place and is centred on the Mediator, Jesus. The new order and covenant reveals perfect human nature glorified through a perfect response to the Spirit of the Lord. It shows us the goal for which human nature was created by God, and to which it will be raised when the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus sets men free from the law of sin and of death. It shows both the crown of the purpose of God set forth in holy Scriptures and the crown of his purpose in the created world, wherein a new, dynamic, everlasting level & order of life succeeds to old levels that pass away. Jesus rose as the new Adam, the head and representative of a new humanity, the firstfruits of those who would follow him (see 1 Corinthians 15).

This explanation of the raising of Jesus as the Resurrected Lord of life and not as the resuscitated Rabbi makes it possible for us to see why Jesus did not appear to those who had handed him over to death (the Jewish Sanhedrin & the Roman Procurator and their helpers). By the laws of the new covenant and of the kingdom of heaven, the miracle of the Resurrection could only be made known to those who responded in penitence and faith to the new level of spiritual existence which it disclosed. It was not a portent that could be shown to anyone & everyone to press them or to scare them into belief! It was a miracle belonging to the realm of the kingdom of God and only those with eyes to see could see it.

The new Order of Being manifested and revealed in the risen Lord Jesus, the Messiah, needed a corresponding spiritual discernment to see its nature and reality, Thus Jesus appeared only to the disciples and to them on several occasions. In them he had sown the seed of faith and insight and they, as quickened by the Spirit of God, were able to begin to see him in his new identity, in his transformed and glorified manhood. That is they were able to receive the Revelation of his true identity as the Risen Lord and then worship him (as did Thomas) as "My Lord and my God".

To state all this is to agree with the Gospel records which make it absolutely clear that Jesus made no attempt whatsoever to appear to any others than his disciples.

However, to make this essential point about the revelation of a new order of being is not to discount historical evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus. There is historical testimony that points to the Resurrection of Jesus with overwhelming probability - for example (a) the disciples did not really expect the Resurrection; (b) the existence of the Church despite the great setback of Good Friday; (c) the claims of the disciples that Jesus actually appeared to them; (d) the empty tomb and (e) the absolutely new appreciation and understanding of the Scriptures by the apostles and disciples.

Ultimately, we must say that what it took on Easter Day and during the next 40 days first to SEE and then to receive Jesus as the Resurrected Lord, with his new covenant and kingdom, is ultimately what it takes now - a penitent, believing heart. "He who believes and is baptized shall be saved."”

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