Our Easter sermon at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Taylor, BC 2022. We see how Jesus arriving in Jerusalem did what Isaiah said the true King would do. He prepared a feast for all people. He destroyed the power of sin and death. He gave comfort to the weeping.

Isaiah 25:9 This is the King for whom we have waited, let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.

Last Sunday we celebrated the Triumphal Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. One way to understand Lent is as Jesus’s long journey from the north to the city of Jerusalem. Then at last he arrives on Palm Sunday and we remember how the crowds welcomed him, what kind of king he was who entered compared to the parades of Pilate or Herod. Jesus, the rightful king of Israel had arrived to his capital city. And when he came he did exactly what Isaiah said the Messiah would do when he came.

Isaiah the prophet’s ministry was one of preparation, God had let him know that the line of David, the kingdom of Israel as a people set apart geopolitically was coming to an end. So Isaiah proclaimed to the people how to be set apart in exile, he proclaimed judgment and he proclaimed hope. He spoke of what the Kingdom of David’s line was supposed to be and how the current kings had failed. He spoke of an anointed king to come who would fulfill God’s promise in Israel as a people. A king who was distinctly the proper Lord of Israel. We see how Jesus is that king.

Isaiah lists for us three things that this coming king, the expectant Messiah will do when he arrives in Jerusalem: First he will prepare a feast for us. Second he will destroy the shroud that covers all peoples and swallow up death in victory. Third he will wipe away the tears from all faces and the disgrace of his people.

On this mountain the Lord of hosts will prepare a feast for all peoples of rich foods and well-aged wines, of rich food filled with marrow, of well-aged wines strained and clear. – Is 25:6
On the night before Jesus died he laid a feast before the leaders he had raised up, the apostles. We call that feast the Eucharist. He told them to do this in remembrance of him. Jesus is as 1 Corinthians says the true Passover Lamb, and he has offered himself for our feast. This feast he told them would feed them with his body and with his blood and prepare their souls for eternal life and the resurrection on the last day. He commanded them to feed this to the sheep he would gather to himself. We celebrate it today as most Sundays.

He will destroy on this mountain the shroud that is cast over all peoples, the sheet that is spread over all nations: he will swallow up death forever. – Is 25:7

Scripture is quite clear that death is not the natural end of the soul. We live in days of tv shows and movies imagining the afterlife. Upload has people living for ever to be entertained and titillated as digital programs. The Good Place has people fulfilling their best selves, getting bored and erasing themselves from existence. AfterLife has Ricky Gervais in this life jealous of his wife for having died because she doesn’t have to suffer without him but he has to suffer without her. The death of the body is the judgment of God against the sin of Adam in all of our bodies. But it is not followed by nothing. On the last day all will be raised from the dead. And for many that day will be worse than nothing for the shroud of our sins lay on all of us.

“Why do you look for the living among the dead?” The angels question interrupts everything. “He is not here, he has risen!” In Christ the power of sin is overcome by his living a holy life in human flesh to the end. In Christ the judgment of death is overthrown in his resurrection from the dead. Do not leave this to the end friends, unite your souls and your lives with Christ, walk with him in life that you may rest with him in death and be raised into his kingdom – be with him in Paradise. Jesus came that in his church he may destroy the power of sin and destroy the power of death.

That’s what we pray, trusting in the promises of God, will happen in Thomas’s soul today. Baptism is an offering of Thomas’s life to Christ, we lift him up to Jesus, we bury him in the water that his soul may be united to Jesus in the tomb that he may be dead to this world but alive in Christ. In baptism we trust that we are born from above having a new citizenship such that we no longer belong to or in this world. We trust that Thomas being made worthy by Jesus’s righteousness to stand with him before the Father will be adopted as a son of God. We trust that he will have a new family of brothers and sisters that is the saints who have gone before, the church militant in this world, and the church Jesus will yet gather while this old world wastes away. Jesus has destroyed the shroud of sin and death by his death and resurrection.

Then the Lord will wipe away every tear from their faces and the disgrace of his people he will take away from the earth. Is. 25:8
This is precisely what Jesus did when he rose again, when he appeared to Mary Magdalene, and to those on the Emmaus Road, and to the Fishermen at breakfast, and to those in the Upper Room. Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted. Jesus comforted those who saw him die a despicable and gross death. Jesus rose again and restored Peter who denied him and Thomas who doubted his resurrection. Jesus comforts us still in this Earth by his spirit and takes away our disgrace from the earth. For in this world we will appear foolish, we will be despised and treated with contempt. We will seem foolish and like we are failing. Jesus asks, desperately, if he will still find faith when he returns(Luke 18:1-8). In one vision from Revelation there are two last bold witnesses who are mocked and despised by the world and put to death by spectacle and then there are no christians publicly known(Rev. 11:1-10). None. The world appears to triumph over the church. They celebrate by sending eachother gifts. This march we are on will appear by worldly standards, as Tolkien put it, as “a long defeat”. By heavenly standards it is an already achieved victory.

For on that last day Jesus will return again. The sea and the earth will give up their dead. Heaven and earth will flee away and there will be a new heaven and a new Earth. There we united with our king will have a satisfying joy. Nothing in this world will satisfy you fully, that’s because you were not made for this world. Come and get foretaste of heavenly food. Know that your Redeemer lives and have confident joy now, for he is Risen and so will you.

Isaiah 25:9 This is the King for whom we have waited, let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.