Saturday, April 07, 2012
On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined. And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken. It will be said on that day, "Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation." (Isaiah 25:6–9 ESV)
The consequences of the cross are outlined in all their glory here in Isaiah. Rich food, the fatty marrow, aged wine refined to perfection. A well set wedding spread second to none, without any tears or anxieties, just pure joy and celebration.
This is the joy that was set before Jesus, leading him to endure the cross, despising the shame, and is now seated in glory at the right hand of God the Father (Hebrews 12:3)
The curtain in the temple, the separation between God and man, has been torn in two. All who are baptised into Jesus in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, have now had the oppression of eternal death removed.
On that first Good Friday, when Jesus hung on the cross dying, darkness shrouded the land for three hours, and then at three pm the curtain in the temple ripped from top to bottom. Jesus had given up his spirit and died, at that precise moment the exchange occurred. Jesus entered the temple not with the blood of lambs but with his own precious blood, gaining us access to the Father as if we ourselves were Jesus at his right hand.
Then buried in the tomb, Jesus kept the Sabbath like no other. He was still and he knew God, bringing glory to him, by bearing the truth of the gospel, even in hell before Satan and his legions. The devil now stands condemned, where he thought he had victory yet again by a tree, he was in fact beaten on the tree. A tree that looked so deathly was in fact the tree of life.
This is the master stroke of God. By being still in the grave, having been crucified, the greatest battle was won. Now Satan is eternally dying having been beaten by the death of Jesus Christ, the stillness of God. We can now remember this Sabbath as the most holy of Sabbath's, the Sabbath to fulfil all Sabbaths.
So now the curtain no longer needs to remain. The veil that once protected people from God's glory has been removed. Knowledge of good and evil has been surpassed by the eternal tree of life. All have access to God, and the Holy Spirit shows God's word to be true when all hear it.
So too the veil is being removed from us to reveal Christ within. The darkness of sin that once had its hold over us, now has no hold over those who trust in the tree of life. Now there is no question over how much good is "good enough" and as we come to know more and more our evil, as the veil is removed, closer and closer we can draw near to our Father, knowing we have been sprinkled clean from a guilty conscience.
All we might do is thank God and join him in this banquet to which we have been invited. To sit at his feet and enjoy the cleansing he gives to us all. God has given the food, God has poured the wine, God has place the marrow of Christ's fullness in each of us. The body and blood of the Lamb has swallowed up all death, all reproach, and all your tears. You are now blameless so bind yourself to the Lord.
The invitation says, "Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28 ESV) This rest is eternal rest, from death, in God's presence. Allow the Holy Spirit to dress you in the wedding robes of Christ's righteousness having had your clothes of sin and death removed.
All we're called to do is trust and wait on him. We here in Isaiah, "Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation."
And this waiting for him simply involves allowing ourselves to be bound to him. Tied to him, to his death, and his resurrection! And then waiting in the sure hope and knowledge that he is our God who has given us life in Christ, through baptism, though the cross, on the mountain of the Lord's salvation.
Like Lazarus Jesus will be standing at your tomb and he will call you out by name, unbind you, and set you free, because you are bound to him and his resurrection and his life.
Jesus says to you, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?"
Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling! Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy, and I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God. (Psalm 43:3–4 ESV) Amen.