Friday, April 03, 2015

Buried--but not still buried!

Our sermon last week was about Jesus being buried and what that means for us as God's children. I was reading in this morning in Acts 2 when the man who denied knowing Jesus three times stood in dependence on the Lord and spoke boldly for His name's sake. I love the way he compares Jesus' burial to David's burial (the king they respected the most). Take a look:
Acts 2:29-39 “Brethren, I may confidently say to you regarding the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. And so, because he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn to him with an oath to seat one of his descendants on his throne, he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that He was neither abandoned to Hades, nor did His flesh suffer decay. This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear. For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says: ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”’ Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.” Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.”
With David, all we have are memories... the things he has written... stories about him... etc. With Christ, He said that it is for our benefit that He died, was buried, and raised again to sit at the right hand of the Father, for if He didn't, the Holy Spirit would not have been sent to us (John 16:7)! The Holy Spirit is sent to guide us in all the truth (John 16:13). God made Jesus both Lord (Master, ruler, owner of everything, the one with all authority) and Christ (Messiah, the Anointed One, savior). What is David to us today? He is a man that died many many years ago, a man after God's own heart, but a man that made a mess of a lot of things during his life time. We have some of his words as encouragement to us as we try to live to please the Lord. But with Christ, we have the Holy Spirit with us! We have a living Savior! We have the hope of being resurrected someday (1 Cor. 15)!

It says that the people hearing this were pierced to the heart. I think we are often not pierced to the heart by His Words because we have hardened our hearts. But I think we would do well to understand why they were pierced to the heart and why we ought to be. It wasn't just them that crucified Jesus. It was us. Romans 5:8 says that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. The people listening asked an important question: "What shall we do?" We must ask the same question... whether we have a relationship Jesus or not, we must ask ourselves the same question. Peter says to these men and women that they ought to repent and be baptized, and receive the Holy Spirit. For me, having repented and having been baptized, this is the most important decision one can make. To repent and submit ourselves fully to Christ is to have hope of eternal life with Him. But every day is a day of repenting for me as a child of God. No, we don't become perfect all of a sudden... and no, my repenting doesn't earn me salvation. Jesus' death and resurrection paid the entire cost of my sin. My repenting is the appropriate response to Him for all He has done. I must turn from my sin and turn to Christ as my ruler.

As we celebrate Easter, may we remember that He was buried, just like David... but He didn't stay buried. Since He didn't stay buried, "what shall we do?"