Sermon First Sunday after Easter, 23 April 2017 Anno Domini (Sermon from 8 years past)
St Andrews Anglican Orthodox Church
19 In that day shall there be an altar to the LORD in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border thereof to the LORD. 20 And it shall be for a sign and for a witness unto the LORD of hosts in the land of Egypt: for they shall cry unto the LORD because of the oppressors, and he shall send them a saviour, and a great one, and he shall deliver them. Isaiah 19:19-20
When the Great Pyramid at Giza was under construction, huge and weighty stones were cut to fit each level perfectly. The stones were brought to the site by being rolled on other stones that were cut out in the shape of logs. Each stone was of a uniform shape and size. But there was one stone that the builders wondered about. It was shaped strangely and unlike the others. The stone-cutters must have made a mistake, or drank too much wine when cutting this stone. It had been deposited at the very base of the pyramid and the laborers had to work AROUND this stone. It kept getting in the way.
When the Great Pyramid was complete, a stone was needed as the capstone. It was only then that the builders discovered the purpose of the stone that kept getting in the way, but too late to get it to the top of the pyramid as all had been completed except the capstone. Jesus Christ is like that Capstone which the builders rejected.
The Great Pyramid at Giza is precisely on the border of Upper and Lower Egypt. If you construct a circle using the fertile Crescent where the Nile empties into the Mediterranean, the center point for the radius will also be the Great Pyramid. It is a sign for us in the latter days –
On the reverse side of the one dollar bill can be found the Great Seal of the United States. On the left side is the backside of the Seal which displays the Great Pyramid without its capstone as it appears today, but above is the missing Capstone which the builders initially rejected.
And the king commanded, and they brought great stones, costly stones, and hewed stones, to lay the foundation of the house. . . . And the house, when it was in building, was built of stone made ready before it was brought thither: so that there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house, while it was in building.” (1 Kings 5:17; 6:7)
The building of Solomon’s temple was one of the most remarkable construction operations in history. Much of the temple’s legendary beauty was attributed to the great stones–beautiful and costly stones, quarried from beds of white limestone–which were used in its construction.
Probably the most remarkable feature of its building was the fact that each stone was carefully cut and dimensioned while still in the quarry, so that the temple itself could be erected in silence, with each stone fitting perfectly in place as it came to the temple site. The temple, as the structure where God would meet with His people, was considered too sacred to permit the noise of construction during its erection
Please read with me from Luke 20:17-19
17 And he beheld them, and said, What is this then that is written, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner? 18 Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. 19 And the chief priests and the scribes the same hour sought to lay hands on him; and they feared the people: for they perceived that he had spoken this parable against them
“|Ye| are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:20-22).
Each believer is like one of the beautiful temple stones, so costly that the price was the shed blood of Christ Himself. Taken out of the great pit of sin by the Holy Spirit, each person, one by one, is being placed quietly in the great spiritual temple. “Ye also, as lively |i.e., living| stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5). HMM
Look first at this passage on the morning of the Empty Tomb in the Garden:
6 Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, 7 And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. 8 Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed. 9 For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went away again unto their own home.
John 20:7 Observe, too, the further witness of the folded grave-clothes. John from outside had not seen the napkin, lying carefully rolled up apart from the other cloths. It was probably laid in a part of the tomb invisible from without.
But the careful disposal of these came to him, when he saw them, with a great flash of illumination. There had been no hurried removal. Here had been no hostile hands, or there would not have been this
deliberation; nor friendly hands, or there would not have been such dishonour to the sacred dead as to carry away the body nude. What did it mean?
Could He Himself have done for Himself what He had bade them do for Lazarus? Could He have laid aside the garments of the grave as needing them no more? ‘They have taken away’ — what if it were not ‘they’ but He?
No trace of hurry or struggle was there. He did ‘not go out with haste, nor go by flight,’ but calmly, deliberately, in the majesty of His lordship over death, He rose from His slumber and left order in the land of confusion.
Observe, too, the birth of the Apostle’s faith. John connects it with the sight of the folded garments. ‘Believed’ here must mean more than recognition of the fact that the grave was empty. The next clause seems to imply that it means belief in the resurrection.
Christ appears to two disciples on the way to Emmaus
. Luke 24 –
13 And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. 14 And they talked together of all these things which had happened. 15 And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. 16 But their eyes were holden that they should not know him. 17 And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad? 18 And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days? 19 And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: 20 And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. 21 But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done. 22 Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre; 23 And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive. 24 And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not. 25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: 26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? 27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. 28 And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further. 29 But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them. 30 And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. 31 And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.
In our Communion, we eat the Common Bread together and our eyes are given a glimpse of the glorious fellowship we enjoy in Christ.
We also drink from that same cup of sacrifice and hardship.
In conclusion, let us look at the words of Christ in counseling us to be strong and upright in our faith:
Luke 9: 23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. 24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. 25 For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? 26 For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels
Are you ashamed of being a Christian? Do your friends all think you are ‘cool.?’
Are you willing to make small compromise to please friends?
Examine your souls and repent!