Isaiah 25:1-9 Easter Day
April 16, 2017
St Paul’s Anglican Church
“The Day of Victory”
The Isaiah passage this morning may be summed up in a single word… VICTORY! The overcoming of a deadly enemy… VICTORY! Mastery in a life-and-death struggle against all odds and challenges – VICTORY!
What comes to your mind when you hear this word “Victory?”
• Commemorative pylons in ancient Egypt celebrating military triumphs?
• The Arch of Constantine built to celebrate his victory at Milvian Bridge?
• Peter Tchaikovsky’s stirring music in his Festival Overture of 1812?
Wherever there has been conflict in this world, the concept of VICTORY has been inescapable. And the more intense the conflict, the more precious it is!
It was General Douglas MacArthur, who in his stentorian voice – addressing a Joint Meeting of Congress, recorded for all posterity a clear truth:
“In war there is no substitute for victory.”
It was Winston Churchill, in May, 1940 (the eve of World War II) in his first words as Prime Minister to the House of Commons, who earnestly implored:
“Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory there is no survival.”
Ever since the Fall of our first parents in the Garden of Eden, conflict has been a part of life.
Do you remember the words of the LORD God to the world’s first “son” – Cain? “Sin lieth at the door…” Sin is always at the door, always waiting, always nearby… to defeat… to destroy its victims in a thousand ways.
Our Lord’s detractors did their best to destroy Him when He came to show mankind the way! They did their worst to Him! They tortured and humiliated and killed him – employing the most gruesome method at their disposal.
Yet He gained the victory when His Father raised Him from the tomb on the third day! He is Risen. He is risen, indeed. Alleluia! Amen!
The scope of His victory was much greater than just His Resurrection – as phenomenal as that was! It includes much more! It includes His world… restoring it to its intended purpose.
For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. His victory was cosmic in scope!
It includes His Church… I will build my Church; He said, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
It includes His Kingdom! Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven!
The conflicts of our day which touch us are very real! But God in Christ is the Victor. He, we are promised through Isaiah, will destroy the veil of death that has been draped all too long over the nations of this earth.
The Resurrection of Jesus Christ was the great turning point of history! It will forever stand as the shift in the tide of this world’s basic conflict.
The Resurrection of our Lord from the grave was the fatal blow to the head of the serpent foretold in the opening pages of the Bible (proto evangelium).
And you and I are called to victorious service under this Resurrection banner of our risen Lord… if God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not His own Son but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?
The Scriptures are very clear: …whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith (I John 5:4).
St. Paul encourages us with the words: But thanks [be] to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (I Corinthians 15:57).
Several years ago, the late author of the adventuresome, high drama “Redwall Series” — Mr. Brian Jacques (from Liverpool, England) — was in Arizona (where we lived at the time) promoting his then-newest book, The Long Patrol. He addressed those present before autographing personal copies of his cherished books.
He stated something very significant I will never forget: All my characters are either good or bad. I do not allow schizophrenia. There is no in-between. There can be no in-between because of the gravity of the conflict. The good always win. The bad always lose. If this were not so, you would not be here… you would still be a vassal of the Crown.
This Easter, let us rejoice in Jesus Christ, our Victor! He overcame the worst this world threw at Him! And in Him we also win! Let us rejoice in His forgiveness… His healing… His cleansing… His Call to service… and in the victorious multifaceted work of the Gospel He has entrusted to you and me.
We serve a mighty Victor! He will most assuredly destroy the veil that is spread over all nations.
And He will swallow up death in His Victory. As has been pointed out – that which swallows all men, women, children, and young people… will itself be swallowed – by Christ’s Victory over death!
He is risen, he is risen!
Tell it out with joyful voice:
He hath burst his three days’ prison;
Let the whole wide earth rejoice:
Death is conquer’d, man is free,
Christ hath won the victory! World without end… Amen!