April 26, 2011

Easter - The Resurrection Validated the Covenant of Jesus

Easter is the celebration of one of the most important events in human history. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ was God's cosmic yes to all the teachings of Jesus. Jesus taught that he was the long promised Messiah of Deuteronomy 18.18 and Isaiah 52 - 54. He proved his authenticity by healing miracles and prophesying His own death and resurrection. Jesus taught that God was making a new Covenant of forgiveness. This Covenant offered forgiveness of sins through repentance and faith in Jesus sacrificial death. It did not replace but did supersede the Old Testament Covenant of Moses.
This sounds too good to be true
It is hard for modern scientific people to believe in miracles. Many have sadly bought into the great lie of modern liberalism which has deconstructed the Bible and questioned everything supernatural. There are three reasons for believing the resurrection story is historically true. First of all the specific details about the linen bandages and napkin suggest an eyewitness account as opposed to a made up story. Secondly the non-heroic confusion and misinterpretation of the Disciples also suggest this is real life rather than fiction. But the biggest reason for belief is the changed lives of the people who were there. This small group of people who had known and seen the risen Jesus went on to change the world. They went fearlessly to horrible deaths with joy on their faces as they witnessed to the intervention of God in history.

April 20, 2011

Palm Sunday – Blessed is He That Comes In The Name Of Te Lord

(Homily Notes for Palm Sunday by Rev. John Gishler)

Palm Sunday is a special time for me as I was ordained a priest twenty years ago on Palm Sunday. I chose Palm Sunday because it is a celebration of Jesus love and faithfulness to God in a difficult time. Jesus is the model for how to get through a difficult time on faith. On Palm Sunday we celebrate God's faithfulness in being with and saving His people.
The Isaiah Reading reminds us that Jesus had to 'set his face like flint'The words jumpeded out at me as the choice all Christians must make in our time. We all risk opposition when we declare our faith or take a stand on issues. My parents opposed my call to ministry as an example of this. Weneed to remember that Jesus challenged the religious authorities of His time. Jesus also challenged and opposed Satan. Jesus went against his family which was much more serious in His time. Jesus was betrayed by His disciples. Nice guys don't get crucified. Jesus came in the name of the lordHe was like Isaiah in giving both warnings and good news. Jesus came in fulfillment of prophecy. Jesus spoke with a new authority. He warned people about spiritual pride. He warned people about mocking God. Jesus called for repentance and new faith. He gave hope of new spiritual life where forgiveness of sins and right relationship with God was possible. Gave new hope of eternal spiritual life.