Lessons for Easter Sunday, April 20, 2014

Christ Is Risen!  He Is Risen Indeed! The Resurrection of Our Lord

God’s Word for This Week

Jonah 2:2-9

He said: “In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me. From the depths of the grave I called for help, and you listened to my cry. You hurled me into the deep, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me. I said, ‘I have been banished from your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple.’ The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head. To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you brought my life up from the pit, O Lord my God. “When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, Lord, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple. “Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs. But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. Salvation comes from the Lord.”

Here are a few questions to consider from this lesson that explore our Lord, “risen to free us.” (Some more exploration and possible answers to the questions can be found at the end of the post.)

Was this the prayer Jonah prayed while in the belly of the fish, or are these thoughts that came to him later?

What was the real depth of Jonah's misery (verse. 4)?

Why could we describe Jonah's prayer as a prayer of thanks more so than a prayer of confidence?

 

Colossians 3:1-4

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Here is a question to consider from this lesson that explores our Lord, “risen to free us.” (Some more exploration and possible answers to the question can be found at the end of the post.)

What does Paul mean when he says, "You died"?  And how is it that our life is now "hidden with Christ in God"?

Matthew 28:1-10

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.

There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

Here are a few questions to consider from this lesson that explore our Lord, “risen to free us.” (Some more exploration and possible answers to the questions can be found at the end of the post.)

Why did the angel roll back the stone from the tomb?

How might the angel's words, "He is not here; he has risen, just as he said," have made the women feel ashamed?

Why were Jesus' words "my brothers" so comforting to the disciples?

 

ANSWERS

Jonah 2:2-9

Was this the prayer Jonah prayed while in the belly of the fish, or are these thoughts that came to him later?

Certainly Jonah wrote the prayer's final form at a later date. The flow of thought, however, is consistent with the thoughts of one who has just had a very close brush with death.  Jonah recounts his hopeless situation and immediately follows that up with his amazing rescue.

What was the real depth of Jonah's misery (verse. 4)?

Jonah was lying on the ocean floor, entangled by seaweed, covered by the swirling sands of the deep.  But that paled in comparison as Jonah felt the seaweed of his terrible sins strangling him, dragging him from the gracious presence of his Lord.  Isn't it ironic that earlier Jonah had tried to flee from his Lord?

Why could we describe Jonah's prayer as a prayer of thanks more so than a prayer of confidence?

When the fish swallowed Jonah he wasn't moving from one danger to another.  The fish was a part of the solution.  Jonah's time in the fish was similar to the time Jesus spent in the grave (Matthew 12:39-40).  When Jesus died, his mission was complete.  The grave was not a punishment, but a place to await the Father's exaltation.  So it was for Jonah in the belly of the fish.

Colossians 3:1-4

What does Paul mean when he says, "You died"?  And how is it that our life is now "hidden with Christ in God"?

We died when our sinful connection to this earth was put to death on the cross.  Our life is now in Christ.  That life is hidden to the world that doesn't understand the power of the cross.  We now live each day in eager anticipation of Christ's return in glory.

Matthew 28:1-10

Why did the angel roll back the stone from the tomb?

Certainly not to let Jesus out.  It was to prove to the world that Christ had risen.

How might the angel's words, "He is not here; he has risen, just as he said," have made the women feel ashamed?

Why were they bringing burial spices for their risen Savior?  Hadn't Jesus told them on several occasions that he would rise on the third day?  It's actually sad to note that crowds weren't gathered there that morning to see the risen Savior.

Why were Jesus' words "my brothers" so comforting to the disciples?

The women walked to the tomb, arms full of spices and hearts full of disappointment. They had come to a place of disappointment, broken promises, and fear. All they had hoped to do was anoint the body of a dead man. A dead Jesus does no good for anyone—not for the women, not for the disciples, not for us. But when the angel spoke, the tomb became a place of victory, a place of promises fulfilled, a place of joy. Do not be afraid! The angel spoke two amazing words, “was” and “is.” Yes, he was crucified, but no, he is not here in the grave. He is very much alive, just as he said. That fact fundamentally changes our relationship with God forever. You can see in it the words of Jesus to the women, “Go and tell my brothers.” Jesus had good reason to remind those men of their desertion. Jesus had good reason to remind them that they were nothing but servants. Instead, he took this moment to call them “my brothers” for the very first time. The living Son of God had made full payment for sin so that he could call us brothers. Mankind is redeemed; death is defeated; fear is conquered. And Christ looks upon us forgiven sinners and calls us his brothers. This is the day the Lord has made!