Lord this is the day! The day in which all the hopes of the saints from ages past were waiting for, the first fruits of resurrection life coming to pass. And yet this was the moment that people at that time didn’t see coming: that the crucified Messiah, who suffered and died in such a horrible manner, would rise in glorious triumph by the power of the Spirit over all His enemies: Satan, death, sin and hell. This is the moment, the great day in which Your glory burst forth to show in no uncertain terms, that You have won the victory, defeated death, defeated the work of Satan that began in the garden ages ago; that You in fact did conquer our sin, absorbing in Yourself our due penalty, taking it with You to the grave; It is Finished! This is the day that You did indeed crush Satan’s head along with all his works; and this is the moment that all of Your promises of resurrection life and new creation began. Lord because of our union with You by faith, we see in Your resurrection, our resurrection. Because we’re united to You, everything that is true of You is ours, and in this moment in particular we are raised with You both now and will be raised in fullness and completion on the Last Day. Your resurrection life is also our power over sin at the present time, in the already and the not yet in which we live. Through Your resurrection is also our justification, just as Your glory and righteousness and justice was vindicated and You were displayed to be the righteous King over all. Lord we worship You not just as a crucified King, but also as the great conquering, victorious, warrior, Savior, King who will rule the nations with an iron scepter at His second coming, who we will get to spend eternity with and even get to share in Your glory forever! You have risen indeed King Jesus!
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Lord Your glory is so obviously displayed and reflected in the power exhibited within creation. The floods lift up their roaring, the sea cries out Your name, the hills bear prosperity for all of us to enjoy, the lightning lights up the world so as to put on display your infinite power and knowledge. Yet Lord, your glory is displayed in its highest and surest regard in Your intentional pursuit and giving of Yourself to weakness resulting in unfathomable suffering. At the cross we see displayed what it took for you to make us Your own, what it took for our sins to be abolished, along with its due penalty: it took the God of the universe becoming nothing, taking the form of a bondservant, being nailed to a cross along with the record of debt that stood against us and bearing the curse due to us because of our lawlessness. Lord what kind of love is this that would move You to take regard of those who have betrayed your glory? And yet that is Your heart, to make rebels Your own children, to make us Your children. You were willing to be cut off from the land of the living that we might be brought in to paradise, to be cursed that we might be blessed, to be stripped of all that we might be clothed in your pure robe of righteousness. Lord help our unbelief. Heal our pride and our self-inflation by looking to that cross. Help our frail state and weakness, and would you shine forth in it to give us Your strength, the very strength of the Spirit that raised Christ from the dead. Would You give to us the gift of humbly walking in the reality of what we already are: Your justified, accepted, rejoiced-over children, and find our ultimate identity in this over the identities the world presses in and would have for us. Lord may we find our ultimate hope and joy and rejoicing in Your rejoicing over us.
Father you are a God who delights in revealing the beauty of your salvation to those who least deserve it. You are a God who delights in making Your name known and shining your face on those who have long been laid low in darkness. And as we’ll read in Jonah today Lord, you are a God who delights in relenting from disaster for those who call upon your name and turn from their sin to embrace You as their God and savior. In a myriad of ways Lord, all of us have lives that if you hadn’t intervened by Your Holy Spirit would have ended in disaster, both now and for eternity. But because of your steadfast love and faithfulness, and the kindness of Your heart toward us, you have set our feet upon a rock, and given us rest when we were weary and wandering in darkness. Father would we drink deeply of this grace that is poured out for us from your table of delights, and would we come to expect that in whatever good or difficulty comes to us from your hand, that we would know You are indeed for us and not against us.
Father in Your wisdom and knowledge You formed us and shaped us into Your image and likeness, to reflect Your glory within the world. You knit us together in our mother’s wombs and we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Yet Lord, we consider this Sunday the plight of so many unborn, made in Your image, whose lives have been brought to end. Would you reverse this in our society, starting within our hearts Lord, to bring about compassion and life for the most helpless among us. And as a part this same compassion Lord would You also work in and through Your church to come alongside mothers in desperate situations, to provide care for them in such a way that they don’t even see this as an option.
O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens and when we gaze upon them, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what are we Lord that you are mindful of us? What are we that you care for us enough to condescend to us? You the King of kings becoming a Servant of servants?
“…with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.” | Daniel 7:13-14
Father, through Your Son, we have an advocate, a permanent high priest and King who sympathizes with our weaknesses and frailty and suffering; who Himself was made like us in every respect, experienced everything as we do, yet without sin. This great high priest Jesus stands for us at this moment, in His perfect righteousness in our place, and clothes us in His glory and splendor, having lived a perfect life, suffering the penalty of our death, and rising from the grave. Would You work a greater knowledge, a greater rest and love in Him and how He is the only One who covers all of our infirmities, who washes us from the crimson stain of sin, who provides a feast for our souls in the midst of our desert exile wandering.
Father, by Your unfathomable great love, You have counted our sins to Christ and counted His righteousness to us, and covered us as with a royal robe. You have marked us out in our baptism, set us apart, and given us a new name, a new identity. Lord too often in spite of what you have already accomplished in us and for us, we live as if we were still in the far country as a prodigal yet to return, pursuing that which only perishes and not searching out the treasures already given to us in Christ through the gospel. However Lord, may we also like the prodigal return back to You, empty handed, knowing You will richly clothe us yet again, washing us, and reminding us of the standing we have with You. We are not our own. You have bought us at an incredibly great price. Father, would you work a continual repentance into our hearts in our relationship with you and also into our lives with one another? Would we lay ourselves down in Your service, rooted in this unfathomable love and grace You’ve shown us, and would You work in us to extend that same selflessness in our relationships with our family members as well as our church body, and toward those outside our fellowship.
Father, in the beginning through Your Son, You spoke into the void of darkness and created all that exists. Jesus You are the radiance of the glory of the Father and the exact imprint of His nature. In You is life, and that life is the light of men. Just like Your creative act, Your light shines into the darkness of this world, and the darkness has not overcome You, because You overcame sin and the forces of evil and darkness at the cross. And not only that but even now, as Your people who live in this world that is stained with sin and its curse, Lord You shine the light of Your Spirit into our circumstances of suffering and pain. Lord in our weakness, in our hurt, in our longing, this is where You will meet us in great ways and are near, when we’re at our most vulnerable, anxious, fearful, and hurting. Lord would we rest in You and press into You as our fortress, shield and protector.
Lord out of our distress, we called to You, and You answered us and set us free from from the tyranny of Satan, our own sin, and ultimately death through the death and resurrection of Jesus. You Lord are on our side, and like a warrior of light, You fight on behalf of Your people who have long been laid low in darkness. You are our strength and song and are Yourself our salvation. Open to us Lord Your gates of righteousness that we may enter through them and give thanks to You. You have made Your light to shine upon us by Your grace alone, not because of our value or worth or works, but because of the value of Your Son, Your love first displayed and shown to us through Him. Captivate our hearts once again, saturate us with the reality that we stand on the righteousness of Christ counted to us through His work in the gospel and would You work in us to live out of the reality that we’ve been united to You in Your resurrection life.