Let us pray: Dear Lord Christ, today is glorious! Today we have come to celebrate Your victory over death—a victory You won for us! And since the ultimate weapon of Satan is death and our fear of it, death need not overwhelm us anymore! Lord, today we happily walk, nay, run, alongside Your white horse of victory. Today we run to heaven where, because of You, we will have no pain, suffering, mourning, or tears. O how blessed we are in You! Amen
GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM CHRIST OUR RISEN AND VICTORIOUS LORD!
TEXT: Revelation 19: 11-16
The Lord is risen! He is risen, indeed!
Victory! The word rolls sweetly off the tongue! And well it should considering what it took to achieve it. The world’s greatest warrior, God’s Son, won us an everlasting victory on Good Friday and confirmed it on Easter.
On Good Friday, His heart stopped. His brain waves went flat. His body hung limp. With the words: “It is finished” He voluntarily gave up His life. But how can He be victorious if He’s dead?
By now we’ve all seen the rows of body bags on the news. We’ve seen the refrigerator trucks parked outside hospitals. My Friday “Wall Street Journal” had a front page picture of a large open pit where they stacked full coffins together for burial in New York’s potter’s field. None of those images conveyed victory. Yet, appearances can be deceiving.
“I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war.” In John’s vision, this rider is not a statue. He’s not carved from marble or bronze. He is alive, powerful, and actively at war with the whole host of heaven following Him. It’s Jesus! He is no longer captive. He’s not humiliated by soldiers. He is no longer beaten and whipped and His head is not bowed. And His body is not confined to a grave. The words of Paul ring out: “Christ has indeed been raised from the dead!” And that’s what today is all about.
Victory! Death has been conquered. Jesus had certainly died—just like those lifeless bodies in those pine boxes stacked in NY’s potter’s field. And after death, the Roman soldier’s stabbed a spear into His heart to make sure. Then the grave was sealed tight. When St. John later wrote: “The blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanses us from all sin” Christ’s words: “It is finished” became our reality. Yet one last enemy must still be vanquished. “The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” And that’s where the empty tomb comes in. It shows that He is more powerful than death. He claimed His victory over that last enemy by His resurrection. The Lord is risen! He is risen, indeed!
Scripture lists over a dozen different appearances of the risen Lord. In one of them we’re told “He appeared to 500 people!” Christ’s victory over death is not a fairy tale. There were countless witnesses of the risen Christ. These witnesses all testified to the truth, many dying rather than renouncing it. And this truth is especially important today as the nation and the world is gripped by fear over death. People are coming to grips with the fact that death is inescapable. You may spend trillions to put it off, but there is only one cure, one antidote, and that Antidote is our resurrected Lord. Our Lord Who said: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though they die.” Yes, for them, “The trumpets will sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible!…the mortal will be clothed with immortality.”
The Apostle Paul’s words there bring us back to the Lord riding that white horse. For our Victor has the power to do exactly as He promised.
Our living Hero has all authority on the day of judgment. “His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name if the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down nations. ‘He will rule them with an iron scepter.’ He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: King of Kings and Lord of Lords.”
God wants this image of a Victorious Lord etched in our minds. He portrays our Victor with a sharp sword and an iron scepter as He carries out the fury of the Father. Notice His robe is “dipped in blood.” Not His own blood shed on the cross, but resulting from treading the winepress of God’s fury over Satan and human sin. As God says in Isaiah 63:3: “I trampled them in my anger and trod them down in my wrath; their blood spattered my garments, and I stained all my clothing.”
Why this anger and judgement? Christ shed His innocent blood to wash away the sins of the world and demonstrate His power over death. He dirtied Himself with our bloody guilt and thereby transferred to us His white robe of rightness with God. This is a heavenly picture of all that. Here in this imagery of Revelation we have Easter and judgement day holding hands…with only an instant between them! Moreover, it also shows us that those following that Rider are safe forever! Why? Because the Lord is risen! He is risen, indeed!
All those on earth who refuse to honor the Victor will be judged according to their arrogance. All those who humbly bow their knee and accept His victory through faith will become heirs of His grace. That means we will rise from the dead, don our new white linen robe of rightness with God, mount our white horse and joyfully sing our “hosannas” to our Victorious Lord Christ! All because the fear of death is vanquished and lightness of being reigns supreme. Yes, in heaven that old order of things has been obliterated by Christ’s Easter victory! So, let us, the forces of Light, once more proclaim our victory song: “The Lord is risen! He is risen, indeed!” Amen
THE PEACE OF GOD….
Pastor Thomas H. Fox