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Psalm 118:1-2; 4-24 1
1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. 2

Let Israel say: “His love endures forever.” 4 Let those who fear the LORD say: “His love endures forever.” 5 In my anguish I cried to the LORD, and he answered by setting me free. 6 The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? 7 The LORD is with me; he is my helper. I will look in triumph on my enemies. 8 It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man. 9 It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes. 10 All the nations surrounded me, but in the name of the LORD I cut them off. 11 They surrounded me on every side, but in the name of the LORD I cut them off. 12 They swarmed around me like bees, but they died out as quickly as burning thorns; in the name of the LORD I cut them off. 13 I was pushed back and about to fall, but the LORD helped me. 14 The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. 15 Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous: “The LORD’S right hand has done mighty things! 16 The LORD’S right hand is lifted high; the LORD’S right hand has done mighty things!” 17 I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the LORD has done. 18 The LORD has chastened me severely, but he has not given me over to death. 19 Open for me the gates of righteousness; I will enter and give thanks to the LORD. 20 This is the gate of the LORD through which the righteous may enter. 21 I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation. 22 The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; 23 the LORD has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. 24This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

clip_img115Background 2

1 [Psalm 118] A thanksgiving liturgy accompanying a victory procession of the king and the people into the temple precincts. After an invocation in the form of a litany (Psalm 118:1-4), the psalmist (very likely speaking in the name of the community) describes how the people confidently implored God’s help (Psalm 118:5-9) when hostile peoples threatened its life (Psalm 118:10-14); vividly God’s rescue is recounted (Psalm 118:15-18). Then follows a dialogue at the temple gates between the priests and the psalmist as the latter enters to offer the thanksgiving sacrifice (Psalm 118:19-25). Finally, the priests impart their blessing (Psalm 118:26-27), and the psalmist sings in gratitude (Psalm 118:28-29).

Biblical Truths and Theology 3

After invoking others to unite in praise, the writer celebrates God’s protecting and delivering care towards him, and then represents himself and the people of God as entering the sanctuary and uniting in solemn praise, with prayer for a continued blessing. Whether composed by David on his accession to power, or by some later writer in memory of the restoration from Babylon, its tone is joyful and trusting, and, in describing the fortune and destiny of the Jewish Church and its visible head, it is typically prophetical of the Christian Church and her greater and invisible Head.

1-4. The trine repetitions are emphatic

  • Let … say—Oh! that Israel may say.
  • now. After “now say” supply “give thanks.”
  • that his mercy—or, “for His mercy.”

5. distress—literally, “straits,” to which “large place” corresponds, as in Ps 4:1; 31:8.

6, 7.  Men are helpless to hurt him, if God be with him (Ps 56:9), and, if enemies, they will be vanquished (Ps 54:7).

8, 9.  Even the most powerful men are less to be trusted than God.

10-12. Though as numerous and irritating as bees [Ps 118:12], by God’s help his enemies would be destroyed.

12.  as the fire of thorns—suddenly.

in the name,—by the power (Ps 20:5; 24:8).

13-16. The enemy is triumphantly addressed as if present.

15. rejoicing and salvation—the latter as cause of the former.

16. right hand … is exalted—His power greatly exerted.

17, 18. He would live, because confident his life would be for God’s glory.

19-21. Whether an actual or figurative entrance into God’s house be meant, the purpose of solemn praise is intimated, in which only the righteous would or could engage.

22, 23. These words are applied by Christ (Mt 21:42) to Himself, as the foundation of the Church (compare Ac 4:11; Eph 2:20; 1Pe 2:4, 7). It may here denote God’s wondrous exaltation to power and influence of him whom the rulers of the nation despised. Whether (see on Ps 118:1) David or Zerubbabel (compare Hag 2:2; Zec 4:7-10) be primarily meant, there is here typically represented God’s more wonderful doings in exalting Christ, crucified as an impostor, to be the Prince and Savior and Head of His Church.

24. This is the day—or period distinguished by God’s favor of all others.

Items for Discussion

  • What does it mean to you to take refuge in the Lord?
  • Where are the places in our world one can take refuge in?
  • What is the difference then in believing in God and taking refuge in God? We have much of the world claiming to be believers. Do they take refuge in God?

 

John 20:1-18
1 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. 2 So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” 3 So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7 as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. 8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. 9 (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) 10 Then the disciples went back to their homes, 11 but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. 13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. 15 “Woman,” he said, “why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.

Background

The Gospel of John is one of four gospels in the Holy Bible and is the fourth book in chronological order presented in the New Testament. The Gospel of John is a unique perspective of the life of Jesus Christ. It varies from the other three gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke (also known as the synoptic gospels), by focusing more on spiritual themes rather than historical events. The author of this gospel was the disciple John, one of the twelve disciples that followed Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry. The author identifies himself in the last chapter of the gospel: “This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true.” (John 21:24). John was also known as “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (see John 13:23, 19:26, and 21:7.). Perhaps this explains the uniqueness of John’s record of the life of Jesus. The book is filled with first hand accounts of experiences with Jesus Christ that occurred during Christ’s 33 years of life on earth. Scholars generally accept that the Gospel of John was written between 50 and 85 A.D.

Bible Truths and Theology 4

3. Peter went out – Of the city.

6. Peter seeth the linen clothes lie – and the napkin folded up – The angels who ministered to him when he rose, undoubtedly folded up the napkin and linen clothes.

8. He saw – That the body was not there, and believed – That they had taken it away as Mary said.

9. For as yet – They had no thought of his rising again.

10. They went home – Not seeing what they could do farther.

11. But Mary stood – With more constancy. Mark xvi, 9.

16. Jesus saith to her, Mary – With his usual voice and accent.

17. Touch me not – Or rather, Do not cling to me (for she held him by the feet,) Matt. xxviii, 9. Detain me not now. You will have other opportunities of conversing with me. For I am not ascended to my Father – I have not yet left the world. But go immediately to my brethren – Thus does he intimate in the strongest manner the forgiveness of their fault, even without ever mentioning it. These exquisite touches, which every where abound in the evangelical writings, show how perfectly Christ knew our frame. I ascend – He anticipates it in his thoughts, and so speaks of it as a thing already present. To my Father and your Father, to my God and your God – This uncommon expression shows that the only- begotten Son has all kind of fellowship with God. And a fellowship with God the Father, some way resembling his own, he bestows upon his brethren. Yet he does not say, Our God: for no creature can be raised to an equality with him: but my God and your God: intimating that the Father is his in a singular and incommunicable manner; and ours through him, in such a kind as a creature is capable of.

Items for Discussion

  • The apostle John dedicates almost two thirds of his Gospel to the last week of Christ’s life. Why do you think this last week was so important for us to know about?
  • What about this last week impacts you the most? What is it that you remember and think about most on Easter?
  • We are a world infatuated with “firsts.” Why do you think that Jesus chose to reveal himself to Mary, a woman instead of one of his apostles?
  • Could the Christian faith survive if Christ had not risen?
  • A Christian has forgiveness, faith and hope. Can the world survive without these three things?

Discussion Challenges

  • On the day of Christ’s resurrection, what are the most important things we should focus on?
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