A Preview Of Easter Joy1
As a preview of Easter joy I here present the Old Testament lesson for Easter from the Prophet Isaiah with commentary to follow.
17 “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth,
and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind..
18 But be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create;
for behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy, and her people to be a gladness.
19 I will rejoice in Jersalem and be glad in my people;
no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping and the cry of distress.
20 No more shall there be in it an infant who lives but a few days,
or an old man who does not fill out his days,
for the young man shall die a hundred years old,
and the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed.
21 They shall build houses and inhabit them;
they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
22 They shall not build and another inhabit;
they shall not plant and another eat;
for like the days of a tree shall be the days of my people be,
and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.
23 they shall not labor in vain or bear children for calamity,
for they shall be the offspring of the blessed of the LORD,
and their descendants with them.
24 Before they call I will answer;
while they are yet speaking I will hear.
25 They wolf and the lamb shall graze together;
the lion shall eat straw like the ox,
and dust shall be the serpent’s food.
they shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain,”
says the LORD.
By the Lord's resurrection from the dead God has, indeed, created a new heaven and earth. The old was infected by sin, and marked by death and every misery. But the New, beginning with Christ, is sinless and thus marked by every joy and gladness.
Isaiah gets very specific in what the New Creation, Heaven, will look like. There will be no more tears or cries of distress. Children will no longer die in infancy, nor will they meet with calamity. No one will labor in vain but enjoy the fruits of his labor (and there will be joyous labor there.)
If someone were to die at 100 years old in this New Creation (though there is no death there) he would be considered to have died young; even a criminal, one normally destined to die young (though there is no more crime there) would be considered to die young at 100.
Dangerous animals will now be tame, the carnivorous lion will be a herbivore; but the Serpent, the Old Evil Foe, the agent behind all of our misery who has visited untold damage on us, is destined to eat dust forever!
In this New Creation God will meet all our needs of body, mind and soul; he will anticipate our every need and answer even before we call.
While the fullness of those promises lies in the future (a not too distant future for those of us who are no longer young); we have a foretaste of them now as the church gathers at the earthly throne of God - the Christian altar - to receive the "medicine of immortality"; and to depart from there in peace.
As we live through the Good Fridays still ahead let us lodge the anchor of our hope in Easter. The liturgical one we celebrate each year (each Sunday in reality) and the never-ending Easter of heaven.
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