These continue to be unusual and difficult days throughout our world. So I want to encourage you in the truth, truth that remains constant and unaffected by any event. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. We rest in him, our Sovereign Lord. The early church celebrated Easter not just one day, but rejoiced in the risen Lord over the following fifty days through Ascension to Pentecost. In keeping with that tradition, we’ll continue with the daily devotionals through Eastertide all the way to Pentecost June 5th!
The purpose of these daily encounters with Scripture remains the same: 1) They can provide a daily opportunity to encounter the Lord speaking through his written Word. 2) They can give us a better grasp of the whole unity of the Bible as one grand story and increase our knowledge of this Library of Books. 3) They can help get us into the daily pattern of reading Scripture. 4) They can give us a daily encounter with vocal music of substance to inspire our faith. 5) And the concluding prayers can introduce us to some of the saints of the past and “sinners” from the present! I can think of no better way to start the day. As always I appreciate your helping to pass the word along. As always, subscribing is free at: sharpdevotional.com
He is risen! He is risen indeed!
© Daniel Sharp 2022
Monday, April 18
Reader: “Let us celebrate the festival”
Response: “with the new bread of sincerity and truth.”
Scripture: I Corinthians 5:6b-8
Don’t you realize that this sin is like a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old “yeast” by removing this wicked person from among you. Then you will be like a fresh batch of dough made without yeast, which is what you really are. Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed for us. So let us celebrate the festival, not with the old bread of wickedness and evil, but with the new bread of sincerity and truth.
Can you imagine being one of the early disciples and trying to process what had just happened this day after the resurrection? A few more than a dozen people had actually seen the risen Lord at this point. I’m sure they were pinching themselves and telling each other that Jesus was real. They had just seen Jesus do the miracle of miracles! This one was bigger than Lazarus’ coming back to life! They knew Jesus had been killed. They saw his mortal wounds. I’m guessing the spectacular nature of the physical resurrection was foremost in their minds. Understanding the ramifications would come later.
Some twenty years later we have Paul’s second letter to the church at Corinth (his first letter has apparently been lost). The concern here is there are people in the church who are living in unrepentant sin and the church was tolerating it. Paul refers to the First Testament image of “yeast in the dough.” While this church is multi-ethnic, there is a substantial Jewish element in the congregation. They will understand the yeast (sin) and dough illustration.
You’ll recall the Jews were to rid their houses of yeast prior to Passover and to bake bread without yeast as part of the Passover celebration. Yeast was frequently viewed as sin infiltrating the community. Yeastless Passover bread was viewed as being pure, i.e. without the presence of sin permeating the body of Christ. Paul then makes the specific reference to the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ the Passover Lamb of God. The wonder of the physical resurrection in the early days has moved on to the point of Paul’s helping the people grasp the implications of the sacrificial act of Jesus, namely sins are forgiven once and for all and holy living is possible and expected. Paul’s direct words― don’t let sin creep into the community of faith.
Such is the message for us and for our churches these days. Like the city of Corinth,
our personal lives and our churches are pressed by the various cultures around us to include “the yeast of social and political acceptability and of unbridled tolerance and acceptance of every viewpoint.” In contrast, Paul challenges the people of Corinth and us as well to celebrate the truth of the gospel with sincere and loving hearts to a very confused and “yeast-filled” world around us.
Music: “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today” Chris Rupp
Prayer:Almighty Father, who hast given thine only Son to die for our sins and to rise again for our justification; grant us so to put away the leaven of malice and wickedness, that we may always serve thee in pureness of living and truth; through the merits of the same thy Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen. ―from the Book of Common Prayer (BCP)