One of my favorite Easter hymns begins with the words, “Low in the grave He lay — Jesus my Savior!”
Two thousand years ago on Good Friday, Jesus was in the grave “Waiting the coming day — Jesus my Lord!”
Praise God, on Easter Sunday we can sing with the hymn writer, “Up from the grave He arose, With a mighty triumph o’er His foes.”
As we meditate on the cross and resurrection of Jesus, the message of Revelation takes on a special meaning.
To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (Revelation 1.5-6).
Freedom from the Guilt of Sin
When we consider it, we can easily recognize that sin has a destructive nature. It harms our relationships, induces feelings of guilt and shame, and can cause physical and emotional harm.
Our loving heavenly Father desires that humans do not live in bondage to the power of sin. He has provided a way to forgive our guilt and set us free from the power of sin.
Rudy Ross’ emphasis on the sacrificial system impresses me. The priest would place his hands on the head of the animal being sacrificed for the sins of the people, essentially declaring, “I should be experiencing what is happening to this animal.”
Isaiah prophesied the time when God’s Servant would suffer for our sins.
Surely he has borne our infirmities
and carried our diseases,
yet we accounted him stricken,
struck down by God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions,
crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the punishment that made us whole,
and by his bruises we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have all turned to our own way,
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53.4-6)
Worship is a major theme of Revelation. As we contemplate God’s gift of love today, let’s give him the worship he is due.
Freedom from the Power of Sin
The man who said, “God and I have a deal. He likes to forgive and I like to sin,” had it wrong.
Not only does God want to forgive our sins, but he also wants to free us from the destructive power of sin.
Paul wrote convincingly about the power of sin in Romans 7. He despaired of his failure to be victorious over sin with these words, “Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” (Romans 7.24).
I remember the first time I Romans 7 and said, “Paul understands me. I have the same problem.”
Thankfully, through the sacrifice of Jesus, we are not destined to remain enslaved to sin. It is God’s gracious provision that liberates us from its hold.
Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death (Romans 7.25, 8.1-2).
God’s boundless love for humanity is demonstrated through the sacrificial acts of the crucifixion and resurrection, as well as the gift of the Holy Spirit, which liberates us from the clutches of sin.
Accepting this remarkable gift of God’s love is our responsibility.
A Kingdom of Priests
From the beginning of their existence, Jewish people have been servants of God. It was through Moses that God proclaimed the Hebrews’ association with Him.
“Now, therefore, if you obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession out of all the peoples.
“Indeed, the whole earth is mine, but you shall be for me a priestly kingdom and a holy nation.’ (Exodus 19.5-6).
John wrote in Revelation that followers of Jesus are “a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father” (verse 6).
Whether we realize it or not, disciples of Jesus belong to and serve in God’s kingdom.
As priests, we stand between God and other people. We reach out to God for the sake of other humans.
Paul pictures our role with others, “So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ: be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5.20).
By God’s love and grace, we are forgiven, set free, members of his kingdom, and servants to his cause.
We have the privilege and responsibility to fulfill the calling that Christ has given us.
Rudy Ross and I discuss this passage from the Book of Revelation in today’s YouTube video. It can be found on the Bob Spradling channel.