His Blessed Appearance

It is good to give thanks to the LORD,
     to sing praises to Your name, O Most High;
to declare Your steadfast love in the morning,
     and Your faithfulness by night,
to the music of the lute and the harp,
     to the melody of the lyre.
For You, O LORD, have made me glad by Your work;
     at the works of Your hands I sing for joy.                     (Psalm 92:1-4 ESV)

It is good to give thanks to the LORD . . . so pens the psalmist . . . to make music with gladness and sing with joy at the works of His hands.

And is there any more magnificent work than the work we remember and celebrate this weekend? I think not! So let’s give thanks . . . let’s be glad and make music . . . let’s sing with joy to God Most High.

Reading in 1Corinthians this morning, I was captivated by the reminder of His blessed appearance.

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then He appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared also to me.   (1Corinthians 15:3-8 ESV)

Tonight, our fellowship of believers will gather to reflect on His death and the power of what was accomplished through His work on the cross. It will be somewhat somber as we remember that our Good Friday was His day of great shame and pain. He who knew no sin, became sin for us. He who knew intimate Triune fellowship with the Father and the Spirit would be forsaken of God for us. He who is the Beginning and Sustainer of all things would cry, “It is Finished!” . . . for us.  And we will reflect . . . and we will remember Him as we take of the bread and of the cup. But under-girding our remembrance will be the knowledge that Sunday’s coming!

I anticipate that on Sunday we will “sing and shout!” That we will proclaim, “He arose, hallelujah Christ arose!” . . . that we will affirm that because He lives as conqueror over sin and death, that we too are “more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Rom. 8:37). And we will sing for joy at His works . . . evidenced by an empty tomb. We will celebrate the stone rolled away . . . we will gasp in fresh amazement at the empty grave clothes . . . and we will rejoice that “He is not here, for He has risen” (Matt. 28:6).

But I’m reminded that we will do all this because He appeared to men. The power of the cross has no power at all lest we meet Him who suffered on the cross. The sure hope of the empty tomb is not sure at all without encountering Him who was in the grave three days and then rose victorious. Oh, that He should appear to men . . . that He should appear to me . . . what amazing grace!

To be sure, I have not seen Him (yet) as did Cephas . . . nor observed Him as did the five hundred. I have not physically been one-on-one with the risen Christ as was James . . . nor was I blinded by Him as He stood before me on the road to Damascus as was Paul. Yet, He has appeared to me.

Introduced first to me through the Scriptures . . . shadowed in the believers who testified to me of the Light of the world . . . and then revealed to my heart and soul by the blessed Spirit of God. At first my blind eyes saw but faint images of the risen Christ . . . but as seeds of faith took root, the active agency of the Spirit of God opened my eyes, by faith, to know His appearance. O’ what a blessed appearance!

Saint, let us rejoice this weekend. He who died to redeem the lost is alive! He is risen! And, in His wonderful grace, He has appeared!

To Him be all glory . . . now and forevermore . . . amen!

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