Part of the Holy Week series, preached at a Easter Sunday service
On Easter Sunday, the church proclaims, "O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his steadfast love endures forever!" (Psalm 118:1). Jesus Christ is risen! And in Christ, we too shall rise.
God's steadfast love endures forever! The words of Psalm 118 have long been used to herald Easter. “This is the LORD’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.” "This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!" (118:24). In its ancient Jewish context, Psalm 118 was most likely an entrance liturgy to the Temple, used at the festival of Passover. It proclaimed God's deliverance from Egypt and, later on, from the Exile. The Psalm was a liturgical script, complete with speaking parts for leaders and congregation. One can hear the jubilant call and response in 118:2-4: "Let Israel say, 'His steadfast love endures forever.' Let the house of Aaron say, 'His steadfast love endures forever.' Let those who fear the LORD say, 'His steadfast love endures forever.'"
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1O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: because his mercy endureth for ever. 2Let Israel now say, that his mercy endureth for ever. (KJV)
14The LORD is my strength and song, and is become my salvation. 15The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tabernacles of the righteous: the right hand of the LORD doeth valiantly. 16The right hand of the LORD is exalted: the right hand of the LORD doeth valiantly. 17I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD. 18The LORD hath chastened me sore: but he hath not given me over unto death. 19Open to me the gates of righteousness: I will go into them, and I will praise the LORD: 20This gate of the LORD, into which the righteous shall enter. 21I will praise thee: for thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation. 22The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. 23This is the LORD's doing; it is marvellous in our eyes. 24This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. (KJV)
1The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre. 2Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him. 3Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre. 4So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre. 5And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in. 6Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, 7And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. 8Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed. 9For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead. 10Then the disciples went away again unto their own home. 11But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, 12And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. 13And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him. 14And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. 15Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. 16Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. 17Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. 18Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her. (KJV)