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Easter is a participatory sport

Well, I’m giving the Easter sermon at church this Sunday, and this is what I'm planning to open with (please pray for me):

Old man Peter was about to pass away, and he was concerned that the truth about Jesus Christ would always be remembered. This was the man, of course, who denied Jesus during those frenetic hours leading up to the crucifixion. But in the years since the resurrection, Peter gradually came to see that the word of the prophets about Jesus the Messiah had been made more certain -- so much so that he was looking forward to another arising:

Because of the word made more certain, says Peter, we can be a light in a still dark world – until the morning star arises in our hearts.

What does the rising of the morning star mean, Peter? Where did a fisherman like you get this kind of poetry? I think it was just to help his old friend Peter out that Jesus in glory dispatched an angel to say, in his last recorded utterance in the Bible, “I am the root and the offspring of David, the bright morning star ...”

Peter understood it: Yes Jesus rose from the dead to begin things. But that only proves he will return again, as the morning star, to end things. In the interim, his followers are to affirm the power of his resurrection again and again through time, so that the words of the prophets in each generation are made more certain.

As we commemorate Jesus’ resurrection, let’s not only celebrate it as a historical event. Because the resurrection is a historical event, the call is upon us to participate in it, to follow through with living in the power of resurrection life today, and in doing so to make the words of the prophets more certain.

Celebrating Easter is not observational; it is participatory. And this is what Peter meant when he said that we are to be participants in his divine nature.


1 Peter 1.3 … In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

2 Peter 1.4 … he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature

2 Peter 1.15 And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things.

2 Peter 1.19 And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.

Revelation 22.16 I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.


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