Sisters and brothers, today we commemorate the day when Our Savor, Lord Jesus was in the tomb. The saddest day for Christians along with the Holy Friday. On this day people literally put God in the tomb. Jesus Christ, Our Lord was sacrificed. In the Old Testament scarifying was regular religious practice. But there is one story where God showed that He does not need human sacrifices (like pagans do). What he needs is a perfect sacrifice and this is why His perfect son, was sacrificed. Let’s read this story, Gn 22, 1-18:
Sometime later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”. “Here I am,” he replied. Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.” Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you. ”Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?” “Yes, my son?” Abraham replied. “The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together. When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied. “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.” Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram[a] caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.” The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring[b] all nations on earth will be blessed,[c] because you have obeyed me.”
What we learnt through this story is that God really doesn’t need our sacrifices. Remember that in the time when Abraham lived scarifying children was not a big scandal. Pagans were doing that as their rituals. But still God wants us to be obedient. It is true that we are saved by grace only but it doesn’t mean that now we should do nothing. Remember that we are salt to the World. We should obey God’s commandments especially the biggest 2 – to love God and to love people. Sometimes we may feel like Abraham that it is too demanding and too hard for us to do what God wants us to. Sometimes we may misunderstand God’s plans in our lives. But remember Is 55:8:
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,
declares the Lord.
Let us always trust God and feel calm because everything that is happening in our lives, it is here with some reason. We should be glorifying God always because he is always good. Is 54:10:
Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you.
Let’s see what Bible says about God’s commandments in Bar 32:4-4:
She is the book of the commandments of God, the law that endures forever. All who hold her fast will live, and those who forsake her will die. Turn, O Jacob, and take her; walk towards the shining of her light. Do not give your glory to another, or your advantages to an alien people. Happy are we, O Israel, for we know what is pleasing to God.
God promises life. And even though we know that on this day Jesus was in tomb, we also know that the next day he will be resurrected into eternal life. Abraham knew that being obedient brings life and he also believed that his son will live even though he was ready to sacrifice him. And as we all know, he really lived. Is there anyone of you that is not afraid of death? I guess we all are. But see what God says Ezekiel 18:28
Because they consider all the offenses they have committed and turn away from them, that person will surely live; they will not die.
Jesus died for us to show us that we will never die if we stick to God. He was buried on this day but the next day we will be celebrating his resurrection. Rom 6:5-11
Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with,[a] that we should no longer be slaves to sin – because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
This is how life functions to all of us. Sometimes we feel sad and lost. We have problems and stress but then God always brings the light, the resurrection as always there is the Sun after the rain. In the end of this sermon I would like to take a look at Jesus’ Resurrection and take a look at Mk 16:1-7
When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.”