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Bible Study Guide for Sunday, April 4, 2021

March 28, 2021
  • Isaiah 25:6-9
  • Mark 15:42-16:8
  • Psalm 118:1-2, 14-17, 21-24

He is Risen! The Good News enacted! In our Collect we will pray “Grant that we, who celebrate with joy the day of the Lord’s resurrection, may be raised from the death of sin by your life-giving Spirit.” Our Isaiah reading and Psalm are all about thanksgiving and celebration – including food and wine of the highest quality. These readings from the Hebrew Bible are telling us how to celebrate – and we all love to do that (even to including rich food with lots of marrow!). Isaiah ends with the clear declaration: “This is the Lord for whom we have waited” which is echoed beautifully in the King James ending of Psalm 118: “This is the day the Lord has made, let us be glad and rejoice in it.” We should fully celebrate the Easter event. We may also pray that our celebration can be repeated as we are released from the Pandemic later this year.

But the Collect reminds us precisely why Easter is so important. It’s not just a nice story about Jesus returning to be with his disciples. Rather it is the promise to all of us, today, that we can be free from the “death of sin” by following Jesus. If we understand that sin is a separation from God, then the importance of Easter morning becomes clear: Jesus is a Savior for his time and ours.

Our reading from Mark is typical of that Gospel, somewhat restrained, concise and yet containing specific details about the events at the close of Passover and the following morning. Mark is clearly defending against contemporary sceptics who may have doubted the resurrection. I find Mark’s description convincing, unadorned with details found in Matthew and Luke, but entirely believable – the surprise, the mystery of the rolled-away stone, the promise of re-uniting in Galilee. Surely the women were blown away and were filled with confusion and fear as Mark tells the story. We in our rational post-renaissance world may find it hard to accept something this mysterious. But with faith we can move beyond the confusion and fear of the empty tomb and be awed by the power of God’s love.

  • The Collect’s phrase “death of sin” is subtly different from other verses such as “death shall be no more” (Rev. 21:4), “wages of sin is death” (Rom 6:23) and “swallow up death forever” (Is. 25:8). Which of these phrases resonate with you?
  • Easter Day in 2021 falls just over a year since we entered a pandemic enforced lock-down of much of our lives. Will you celebrate more cautiously as we inch toward eventual release?

Author: Chuck Medler


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