Malankara World

Weekly Devotional

Resurrection and First Fruits

by Fr. Dr. Derrence Ross Dmitri Th D, New Zealand

Saturday 23 April 2011 (15 Paremoude;15 Baramoda)

Christ is Risen!Hristos Voskrese! Hristos Inviat!Hristos Aneste!
Surrexit Christo vere! Le Christ est Resurrecte! Cristo hay Resurreccion!
Cristo est Ressurreciao!

By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name. (Heb.13:15)

CONSIDER THIS:

Christ is Risen, Truly, He is risen indeed! Jesus said to her, 'Mary' she turned to Him and said "Raboni"! (John 20:9)

Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again after Three Days according to the Scriptures. ( 1 Cor.15:3-4)

The eyes of God are on the righteous and His ears are open to their prayers, but the face of God is away from all evil doers. (Clementos of Alexandria)

Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. (1 Cor.5:7)

But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the Chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. (Isa.53:5)

Do not make My Father's house a house of merchandise! (John 2:16)

REFLECTION:

The hour has sounded for joyful chants: Alleluia. Let us praise God with our life, with our voice, with our heart, and with our deeds.

Heavenly Father, help us to give You constant praise in our hearts. At the same time, let this attitude bear fruit in our lives - producing Christian deeds. (St. Augustine)

HOMILY:

First Fruits:

But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept. (1 Cor.15:20)

This occurred on the Day after the Passover, that same day as the Start of the Feast of Unleavened Bread Nisan 15. The third appointed Feast (see Lev.23:9-11) was delayed until the People of Israel took possession of the Promised Land. They began the Harvest on the Day after Passover as the Passover was a day in which no work of any kind was to be done as it was a Sabbath of the Lord and an High Day.

They gave to the Priests a portion of all their increase as the Tribe of Levi who supplied the Priests were not got given any land and were supported by the offerings of the people. The intent behind the ritual; was not mere tithes and offerings (see Duet:25:1-10). It was a remembrance in how God redeemed them out of slavery. They were to confess before witnesses that the fruits of their labour were a grace gift from God.

There is a reason to see a Messianic significance to the Third Appointed Feast. The New Testament refers to the Resurrected Jesus as the firstfruits of those who will be resurrected at the Last Trump (see 1 Cor.5:20&23). In this light it is important to see how the Resurrection of Jesus links Him to the historic Feast of Firstfruits. This He kept during His lifetime.

Jesus Rose from the dead not on just any day. The reality as it played out was not coincidentally on the Seventh Day of the week ; rather the Messiah rose according to God's intentional design in order to fulfill the Holy Torah. He rose on the Lord's Day being the Weekly Shabat. His Resurrection was a promise of the life and everlasting freedom that would come to all who believed in Him. Remember that in Bible time that the 1st.Day starts after Sunset on the Saturday, so when you read Matt.28:1 you see that they went to the Tomb just after the close of the Sabbath. If you go with the Fri-Sun Scenario, there is now ay that you can fit 72 hours into a day and a half, Our Lord said that He would spend Three Day and Three nights in the heart of the earth, like Jonah spent in the belly of the fish. Scripture tells us that we are to remember His Death and not His Rising as this is man's idea not Gods. We remember Our Lord's Death every time we Celebrate the Lord's Supper, whether it be Daily, Weekly, Quarterly or Yearly.

Like Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Firstfruits is ripe with Messianic overtones. Each rich with insight and principles for our faith. The next important Feast is Pentecost (Shavuot) which falls 50 days after the Feast of Firstfruits. The Biblical History of the Apostles tells us that between Pesach and Shavuot, were spent in fellowship with and being taught by the Resurrected Messiah. But He left them with a promise that a unique Comforter and Counsellor would come.

Ancient Israel spent the period between Pesach and Shavuot in a time of Self Examination and expectancy of one who would come bearing great news. Many Christians alas pay scant attention to this period of waiting between Pascha and Pentecost. If it was spent like Ancient Israel in a time of quiet Soul-searching and renewal, you might experience an unexpected Blessing.

Those who believe in Jesus can gratefully see Him as the Resurrected Firstfruit of the eternal harvest that God has promised to those who trust Him. To Thee be Glory and Praise; now and ever unto Ages of Ages. AMEN!

Today's Readings:

Evening: Isa.55:2-13; 1 Cor 5:7-13; Gospel Matt. 27:62-66.
Morning: Jer. 13:15-22; Gospel Matt. 16:24-28.
Liturgy: 1 Cor. 15:1-23; 1 Peter 1:1-9; Acts 3:12-21;
Psalm 3:3&5;Psalm 82:8; Psalm 68:1; Gospels Matt. 28:1-20;Luke 24:1-12.
Afternoon: Isa. 45:15-20; Jer. 31:31-34; Gospel John 5:21-30.

Copyright DR

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