April 2, 2013
Scripture and Commentary, Wednesday through Saturday of the Week after Easter Sunday
Morning - Ps. 97, 99, Micah 7:7-20, 1 Timothy 6:11-19
Evening - Ps 148, Isaiah 26:12-19, John 19-23
Instead of a commentary on John 20, tonight we have a quote from "An Homily of the Resurrection of our Saviour Jesus Christ," one of a number of sermons appointed to be read in English churches after the Reformation. Having appointed sermons to be read may seem strange today, but in a time when many English clergy were still emerging from Catholicism and were not accustomed to preaching, The Homilies assured that Biblical sermons would be heard by the people every Sunday. The sermon on the resurrection of Christ was to be read on Easter Sunday. After telling of the many physical appearances of Christ, the homily says:
"Ye see, good Christian people, how necessary this article of our faith [the physical resurrection of Christ] is, seeing it was proved of Christ himself, by such evident reasons and tokens by so long time and space. Now therefore, as our Saviour was diligent, for our comfort and instruction, to declare it, so let us be as ready in our belief, to receive it, to our comfort and instruction. As he died not for himself, no more did he rise again for himself. He was dead, saith St. Paul, for our sins, and rose again for our justification. O most comfortable word, evermore to be borne in remembrance! He died, saith he, to put away sin; he rose again to endow us with righteousness His death took away sin, and maladiction; his death was the ransom of them both; his death destroyed death... his death destroyed hell, with all the damnation thereof. Thus is death swallowed up by Christ's victory; thus is hell spoiled forever."
Morning - Ps149, 150, Ezekiel 37:1-14, Philippians 3:7
Evening - Ps. 147, Isaiah 52:1-10, John 20:24
Tonight we read again from the Homily for Easter Sunday, which exhorts us to rejoice. Christ's resurrection proves that death and hell have been conquered for those who are in Christ. Thus, the sting of death is gone and the power of hell is dead, for:
"If death could not keep Christ under his power, but that he rose again, it is manifest that [death's] power was overcome. If death be conquered, then it must follow that sin, wherefore death was appointed as the wages, must be also destroyed. If death and sin be vanquished away, then is the devil's tyranny vanquished, which had the power of death, and was the author and brewer of sin and ruler of hell. If Christ had the victory of them all, by the power of his death, and openly proved it, by his most victorious and valiant resurrection... and it is true, that Christ died for our sins and rose again for our justification; why may not we, that be his members by true faith, rejoice, and boldly say with the Prophet Osee [Hosea], and the Apostle Paul, Where is thy dart, O death? Where is thy victory, O hell? Thanks be unto God... which hath given us the victory, by our Lord Christ Jesus."
Morning - Ps. 124, 125, 126, Is. 65:17, Rev. 1:4-18
Evening - Ps. 110, 114, Zephaniah 3:14, John 21:1-14
The leaders of the Church during and immediately after the time of the Apostles are often referred to as the Church Fathers, for they had the responsibility of doing, and transmitting to posterity, the faith and practice they received from the Apostles. Ignatius (ca. 25-108) was bishop of Antioch and an early martyr. Justin Martyr (ca.100-165), as his name suggests, also paid the ultimate price for following Christ. Tertullian (ca. 160-225) was a noted defender of the faith against internal heresy and external attack. Chrysostom (ca. 347-407) was bishop of Constantinople until his faithful preaching angered the emperor's wife and caused his exile and death. He is also the author of the prayer which closes the Anglican services of Morning and Evening Prayer. Some of their statements about the resurrection of Christ are given in the following paragraphs.
"I know and believe that even after His Resurrection He was in the flesh," Ignatius.
"At His Crucifixion even they that were acquainted with Him all denied and forsook Him; but afterwards, when He rose from the dead, He taught them to read the prophecies, in which all these things were foretold to happen," Justin Martyr.
"Believing the Resurrection of Christ, we believe also our own for whom He died and rose again," Tertullian.
"If Christ did not rise again, the whole reason of the Dispensation is overthrown," John Chrysostom.
Morning - Ps. 145, Is. 25:1-9, Rev. 7:9
Evening - Ps. 18:1-20, Jeremiah 31:10-14, John 21:15
Commentary, John 21:15-25
We close the final chapter of John's Gospel with the concluding remarks of Bishop Ryle's commentary on the same.
"I have now set before thee thy Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ, that very Son of God, who was begotten by the Father by an eternal and ineffable generation, cosubstantial and coequal with the Father in all things; - but in these last times, according to the prophetical oracles, was incarnate for us, suffered, died, rose again from the dead, and was made King and Lord of all things. - This is He who is appointed and given to us by God the Father, as the fulness of all grace and truth, as the Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world, as the ladder and door of Heaven, as the serpent lifted up to render the poison of sin harmless, as the water which refreshes the thirsty, as the bread of life, as the light of the world, as the redeemer of God's children, as the shepherd and door of the sheep, as the resurrection and the life, as the corn of wheat which springs up into much fruit, as the conqueror of the prince of this world, as the way, the truth, and the life, as the true vine, and finally, as the redemption, salvation, satisfaction, and righteousness of all the faithful in all the world through all the ages. Let us therefore pray God the Father, that, being taught by His Gospel, we may know Him that is true, and believe in Him in whom alone is salvation; and that believing, we may feel God living in us in this world, and in the world to come may enjoy His eternal and most blessed fellowship. Amen and Amen."