Death….and resurrection. HALLELUJAH !

5 05 2011

DAY ONE HUNDRED AND SEVENTEEN : Joshua 11 v. 1 – 12 v. 24; Luke 24 v. 1 – 35; Psalm 51 v. 10 – 19

‘as numerous as the grains of sand on the seashore…..’

Northern Kings Defeated – There then follows a long period of fighting – ‘Joshua waged war against all these kings for a long time’. The king of Hazor – Jabin – gathers the kings of many cities and regions in the north, to wage war against Israel. They mass a large army, ‘as numerous as the sand on the seashore’.
Joshua is commanded, again, ‘Do not be afraid….I will hand all of them over to Israel, slain’.
Just an added touch in this chapter – the enemy’s horses are to be hamstrung, and their chariots burnt.
So, Hazor – the leading city of the north – is captured and destroyed. All the northern cities are captured (only Hazor is burned to destruction, though).

The point is made that only the Gibeonites had made a peace treaty with the Israelites – all the other kings and cities had waged war – God hardening their hearts so that ‘He might destroy them totally, exterminating them without mercy, as the Lord had commanded Moses.’

Once these kings and the northern territory is defeated, ‘then the land had rest from war.’

List of Defeated Kings – Chapter twelve is like a victory parade of all the kings and cities defeated by the Israelites, capturing the land as their promised inheritance. Kings Sihon and Og, east of the Jordan (whilst Moses was still alive), then thirty-one kings across the west, from the Valley of Lebanon to Mount Halak. All the lands of the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites.

I do wonder how long all this conquering took…before the land had its rest from war.

The Resurrection – Oh, what a glorious day !!
Early Sunday morning….the women preparing to treat the dead body of their Lord with spices.
The stone is rolled away…no body there…but, wait, two other bodies…angelic bodies…gleaming bright white.
The women bow their faces…afraid, in awe.
‘Why do you look for the living among the dead?
He is not here. He has risen.’
The angels remind them how Jesus had predicted all this…it slowly dawns on them…they do remember.
They (Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary (James’ mother) and others) go back to the Eleven (and others) and tell them their news.
It sounds such nonsense, that they are not believed.
Peter ‘got up’ and ran to the tomb – sees the tomb empty apart from the linen cloth – and he goes away wondering…..’what’s just happened?’

This Easter, I loved the sense of Peter ‘getting up’ to run and see for himself, no matter how non-sensical this news sounded. Peter wanted to seek it out for himself, to discover the truth, and so he ‘got up’.
On Easter Sunday morning I challenged those within the congregation who had not yet made their minds up, who had not yet fully discovered the truth (or is it all just nonsense), to ‘get up’ and find out for themselves the wonderful truth that Jesus is risen, He is alive forever. He has conquered death.

The Road to Emmaus – later that same day…
two other disciples, Cleopas and his friend, travelling to Emmaus, downhearted at all that had taken place in Jerusalem….leaving the scene…leaving the team! Wondering what the next chapter for them would be like.
They don’t realise that the stranger who draws alongside them is actually the risen Lord Jesus.
Firstly, although He knows full well what they are discussing, He asks them, and listens to ‘where they’re at’.
They are deflated, downcast, in mourning for this Jesus who was a powerful prophet – of great words and deeds – He had been crucified, ‘but we had hoped that He was the one who was going to redeem Israel’.
They are aware of the reports that Jesus is risen, and, although the news they’re hearing is amazing, no-one has yet seen Him.
This mysterious walking companion opens the scriptures to them (Moses and all the Prophets) having chastised them for their foolishness and slowness of heart !
When the two disciples arrive at their destination, Jesus acts as if He’s going further, so they insist that He joins them for the night – the blessings of hospitality –

not only might you be ‘entertaining angels’ by showing hospitality to strangers – you might be entertaining the risen Lord Jesus Himself !!

The mystery guest takes bread, gives thanks, breaks it and gives it to them (all of a sudden, it’s like He’s become the host at table) and the recognise Him immediately then. They must have gasped, their hearts lept for joy, and all of a sudden He was gone…disappeared!
‘Were not our hearts burning within us while He talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?’

ahhh, the heart-warming experience, the burning presence of God’s Spirit within a heart, inclining it further towards Him…

So, the two ‘get up’ and returned immediately to Jerusalem (they’d only just got there to their destination, and it was late, but they were compelled by the good news they’d witnessed, to get up and go, to tell the others…).

By this time, the news already in Jerusalem was that Simon had seen Jesus – He had appeared to him – so now the two tell how they recognised the risen Lord Jesus, ‘when he broke the bread’.

oh, how the sacrament of communion, breaking the bread, sharing the wine, is a permanent reminder, but also a present ‘means of grace’, experiencing the closeness of the risen Lord Jesus…and the presence of His Kingdom, here and now.

continuing the psalm which reflects the time when the prophet Nathan confronts David over his sinful adultery and murder with Bathsheba.

Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me….
restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit….
I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to You…
Save me…and my tongue will sing of Your righteousness.

O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare Your praise.’

Not sacrifice, or I would bring it
Not burnt offerings – You don’t delight in these things, but…

‘The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart You will not despise…’




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