Being Sunday People in a Saturday World
John 19:31-42: Read it all:
“Then the Jews, because it was the day of preparation, so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. So the soldiers came, and broke the legs of the first man and of the other who was crucified with Him; but coming to Jesus, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you also may believe. For these things came to pass to fulfill the Scripture, “Not a bone of Him shall be broken.” And again another Scripture says, “They shall look on Him whom they pierced.” After these things Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but a secret one for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate granted permission. So he came and took away His body. Nicodemus, who had first come to Him by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds weight. So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen wrappings with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. Therefore because of the Jewish day of preparation, since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there. ” (John 19:31–42, NASB95)
What we find here is an incomplete story. We find Jesus on the Cross. He's dead.
And the Pharisees want to get rid of Him the rest of the way. Why?
They want their Saturday back. They don't want the interruption.
They need their habits, their regular activities....
People use Saturdays for all sorts of things. Some use Saturday to catch up on work from the week. Some use it for home maintenance. Some use it to catch up on homework, others for rest, and others use it to party and celebrate.
Yet when we take a look through Ecclesiastes, we see some things:
Ecclesiastes 1:17 reminds us that spending all our effort on knowledge is futile---
Ecclesiastes 2:10 reminds us that the pleasures are futile
Ecclesiastes 2:23 shows us the labor is futile.
This is the world we live in: there are all these things that we chase after. We live our lives for Saturday.
Even many of us within the church chase these things. We spend our time working hard for the Saturday things of this world.
Yet that chasing leaves us with Saturday feelings----a feeling of inadequacy, a feeling of coming up short.
A feeling of dread and frustration.
This is what Saturday really feels like.
We long for it to be so much more. But, in the end, Saturday doesn't last.
The good news is this----the good news is what happens on Sunday.
When we turn to Sunday, we find a better day:
“But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men suddenly stood near them in dazzling clothing; and as the women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living One among the dead? “He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.” And they remembered His words, and returned from the tomb and reported all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. ” (Luke 24:1–9, NASB95)
We no longer have to seek life among the dead
We no longer have to find our lives among the dead habits of before----
All of those things which were vanity, they become our service to the Lord God, to His Glory->
"whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. ” (1 Corinthians 10:31, NASB95)
That is our great joy this Easter and every Easter----that we no longer strive for vanity and futility, but that by the power of the Cross and the glory of the Resurrection, we live, every day, in glorious Sundays.
The wrath of God and the judgment of the day of the Lord cannot be a trifling matter. How emphatically are we told in Scripture, that it is "a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." Upon such a subject we cannot afford to trifle.
Besides, the mystery of Calvary indicates to us that sin must deserve at God's hand a terrible penalty. Did Jesus suffer so bitterly to save men, and will not the unsaved endure bitterness indeed? Must the eternal and holy Son of God, upon whom sin was only an imputed thing—must he bleed and die, and offer up his life, with his soul exceedingly heavy even unto death—and is the world to come a thing about which men can afford to sport or idly dream?---CHSpurgeon
While the Cross is central to our faith as Christians, the Resurrection is actually the hinge pin of our faith
“and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. ” (1 Corinthians 15:14, NASB95)
What difference does it make for us to serve a Risen Savior? Why would our faith be different than if he were just a man?
If we served a man, we should count his death as our example, and so would seek death in service to him. The greatest we could do would be to emulate him: die at the hands of the wicked, opening not our mouths....
Yet we are commanded to be living sacrifices: Romans 12:1-2 “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. ” (Romans 12:1–2, NASB95)
If we served a man, we would constrained to follow laws to please God---“Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin. ” (Romans 7:25, NASB95)
Rather, we are free to live in Him: ““I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. “I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.” ” (Galatians 2:20–21, NASB95)
If we served a mere man, we would be trapped in the sin we have earned: Romans 6:23
Yet the free gift has been bought, paid for, and given. It is finished---John 19:30
So we must: (Not options: "It is our duty and our privilege to exhaust our lives for Jesus. We are not to be living specimens of men in fine preservation, but living sacrifices, whose lot is to be consumed." CHSpurgeon
Become, ourselves, the children of God -> John 1:12 “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, ” (John 1:12, NASB95)
Take our cross and follow Him -> Matthew 10:37-39: ““He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. “He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it. ” (Matthew 10:37–39, NASB95)
Go through our lives making disciples ->“And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” ” (Matthew 28:18–20, NASB95)
His work to provide grace is finished, though His Spirit still draws, His Word still speaks. The remainder is this: how will you reply?