Easter Sunday • Isaiah 25:6–9 • April 8, 2012
By Richard H. Warneck
Easter on the Mountain of the Lord
Easter! Begins at graveside. Mary and Mary Magdalene and Joanna to a burial plot. Heavy hearts, heavy steps. We know—death, burial—we have been there.
Easter truth—verse 6
Fearful thought on the way— the truth is we all die. Steve Jobs to biographer, Walter Isaacson—life/death—like a light switch—snap on, snap off. The end, nothing, forever. Is this how it is?
Did the women Easter morning meet mortality? Go with them! What did they… see…hear… discover… believe? They saw an open sepulcher; they heard a divine word from God’s angel: “He whom you seek once dead, He is not here!” Then a grand discovery, He is not dead. Christ is risen! And they could only believe! That fearful truth is trumped by one greater truth; Christ lives, and, “…because [he] lives, we shall live also!” (Jn 14:19).
Break out the champagne! Easter, festal day! Isaiah provides imagery. Yahweh present on his mountain, Zion, figure for the church. Yahweh prepares a feast—choice food (fat things, meat scored with fat and marrow) and drink (wine off the lees, the dregs) strong, clear wine, well-aged, refined. Figurative for God’s spiritual blessings—Easter specials, Christ is risen, the cross and his death for sins vindicated, victory over death, resurrection and life everlasting—all pro nobis, for us, and a feast for all peoples.
Easter joy—verse 7
Not idle, Yahweh acts in Zion! Eschatological. In that day, Yahweh shall lift, remove a veil, a covering over all peoples—either a veil covering a face, sad, mourning the world’s condition; or is it a “veil” upon the heart, the sin, spiritual blindness? “The veil which keeps their hearts from God” (Gesenius). Hearts fixated on idols, the people diminished Yahweh from mighty Creator, to a god fancied to suit themselves—then a world, existence, their own. (See Is 2:8, 17b–18.)
Our sin? Moderns dethrone God, fashion culture, world without God. “We’ll have God or not have God! Our decision!” The creator, no! We opt for Darwinism. Marriage—God-ordained sanctuary for sexuality, no! We normalize fornication, profligacy. Honesty and fairness? No, greed wins our day. David Horowitz—one time zestful leftist radical, 1960s—writes about consciousness of original sin—all born flawed with a capacity for evil lodged within, many with a will to evil, violence.
Can anything, anyone, change this? God can, and God does. Yahweh could chastise, judge severely (Is 3:13; 9:17b, 21b). Instead, he does…Easter—God’s gracious doing through Christ! Once crucified and dead—bearing away all our sins in his body on the cross (1 Pt 2:24) he lifts that heavy, thick veil and pulls it away by leverage—the forgiveness of our sins. He is risen, guarantor—the veil, sin-covering, attending evils, removed, gone. What relief, joy!
Easter victory—verse 8
Great Easter things in the Lord’s mountain! Veil and reproach lifted, Yahweh will swallow up death forever! (cf. 1 Cor 15:54) In that day—death conquered, death no more—forever! Hard to believe death has a terminus until Easter, until the last enemy goes down by the victory and finality of the Lord’s resurrection! (1 Cor 15:26).
Christian funerals—often a pall, a covering placed over the casket. Reminds first of death. Look again! Embroidered atop and into that pall a huge cross! Striking! Comforting! The Scriptures—“…that through death he might destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil . . .” (Heb 2:14–15). Bondage to death? No more! Christ is risen! Death has no dominion! (Rom 6:9).
Death and effects abolished! Isaiah: “God will wipe away tears from all faces!” Until that day, sorrow—but mingled with grief, sweet tears, in hope of resurrection, happening already out of our baptism into the Lord’s dying and rising and victory, the Lord who takes us to be where he is—no tears or dying or sorrow (cf. Rv 21:3–4).
Easter hope—verse 9
In that great day! Doxology! Joy in his salvation! Waiting now, we hope! Grounded in the Lord’s rising (1 Pt 1:3–9)—our present hope, quiet steady confidence in the risen Lord who has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel (1 Tim 1:10); then clear focus, blessed absorption in God, the God he is, the God of our salvation!
Easter! What a day! Morning journey to a graveside, the Lord’s tomb, empty! And he? Risen, alive! Death and sorrow, sin and reproach, tears—no more! Truth and joy and victory and hope—forever! Christ is risen!