April 23, 2000
Introduction: The one thing most people want is happiness. Our expressions at Easter indicate that Easter is supposed to be a happy time: “Easter joy”; or “Happy Easter”. It is a time of rejoicing not because of our happy circumstances but because of what God has done for us in the Resurrection. True Christians are happy regardless of the hardships, handicaps and misfortunes they may be experiencing. Their joy is based on God’s victory, which they can share.
Easter is happy because…
1. It is a feast--v. 6 Isaiah tells us: "And in this mountain shall the Lord of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined."
There is nothing sectarian about God. "All peoples" are to get the benefit of God's conquest of evil, including death. This must have been a shocking and revolutionary message for the nation of Israel. Israel's enemies are among "all peoples"! And yet, "all peoples" are brought to the Lord. "ALL PEOPLES" receive the blessings of God!
By these words we see all sorts of people benefiting from God's gracious act. God is concerned with the salvation of all people. "God so loved the world…that He gave His only begotten Son." God desires all people to live forever with Him. God wishes all people to repent and come to Him. He does not desire the loss of one single soul.
In the Old Testament a feast is symbolic of the conclusion of God's salvation. It's a celebration at the conclusion of a job well done. God has conquered all evil powers, including death. Now comes the victory dinner. After a difficult or heavy job is done people like to celebrate a little. Easter is God's celebration!
It is God who provides and prepares for this celebration. Believers in Christ are God's invited guests. You are here this morning because God has invited you. You are here today because this is the feast of victory of our God. In the Holy Communion God comes to us offering His gifts of salvation.
In that meal especially you and I celebrate His victory over death in the resurrection of His own Son. This is why we celebrate communion on Easter and on Sunday, which is the weekday in which Jesus rose from the dead. We celebrate with a feast, which has been prepared and furnished by God.
2. It is a victory--v. 7 Isaiah continues: "And He will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the Vail that is spread over all nations."
We are victorious because Christ is victorious. God's promise to defeat death has been fulfilled. God promised the covering that was cast over all people and the Vail that is spread over all the nations. Death is what is common to each of us - for it is the result of sin. In overcoming sin for us Jesus has also overcome death! Death no longer can rob us of that joy that Jesus has planned for us. Death has lost its sting! Death has lost its punch! Death is no match for God! Thanks be to Jesus who has overcome death for us!
3. It is salvation--v. 9 Isaiah concludes: "And it shall be in that day Lo, this is our God: we have waited for Him and He will save us; this is the LORD: we have waited for Him, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation."
A Christian's happiness does not depend on his/her well being in this world. A person can be oppressed, persecuted, and defeated but can still be happy. How is this so? Because of Jesus and because of Easter. The reason is the source of one's joy. Our joy finds its focus in Christ. Because we are Easter people we can rejoice because God has defeated our worst enemy, He has defeated death!
Conclusion: God has provided a banquet for each of us. You are invited and the fare is only the best. Come to the banquet. He is the host. You are His guest! Come -for all things are now ready! Amen.