Jentezen Franklin - Easter Message
I want to welcome all of you to a very special Easter with our family and I'm praying you have a special Easter with your family. I think of a scripture that comes, I got my family like you part of them here we will join Courtney and Tyler. We never passed this way before. Put the Ark of the Covenant out in front of you so you know which way to go. And truly as a nation, we've never passed this way before, in my lifetime, I've never had an Easter in my living room with my family only. I'm used to packed buildings, multiple services. And here we are, there you are just the family.
We have never been here before. This is a whole new world. And yet we know the Lord is not called by, you know, just in a fetal position beside the throne about a virus. He is still in control, and he said: if you have the presence of God leading you through times you've never been through and places you've never been through before you gonna be all right. We are glad to have our family, I have Lucca and Leo, and all the kids are here, and Ben - it's great to have you and Caroline and Carissa and Connor. And then we got we have Courtney joining us with Taylor and Amelia and Elliott. How are you doing? What's going on Courtney? That is awesome. So, we are going to try something. This is live right now Easter Sunday. We were trying to get Amelia and Ellie Bean to sing a song. Do you have a song? "Jesus, Jesus, you make the darkness tremble, Jesus, Jesus, you silence fear". Good job!
I just wanted to take a minute because I can't shake it, I'm not going to speak long, but I do believe that what I am going to share with you is so important. I was astonished this week, when I've reread Psalms 22. Out of the all Old Testament, there is no other testament, in my opinion, the greatest chapter in all the Bible in the Old Testament is Psalms 22. Every other time we see Calvary, we see Calvary from the ground up. We are looking up at Jesus on the cross. But when you read Psalms 22, it literally is David who takes a look at Calvary from the cross looking down. He crawls into the psyche and into the eyes of Messiah. I want you to listen to these astounding prophecies, because they are so incredible, so accurate. It ought to make you do two thing when you read this. It ought to make you love the word and its accuracy in prophecy, because it was written 1500 years before Calvary.
Think about what I'm about to say. The Jewish culture knew nothing about crucifixion over a thousand years before the Roman Empire took over the Jewish nation of Israel and introduced to them punishment through crucifixion. David, a thousand year before, have never anyone die on the cross, listen to the prophecy of Calvary. He starts with verse 1 of Psalms 22 with the very words of Jesus 1500 years later he quoted while hanging on the cross. "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me"? Then you go from not only those words, "My God", then verse two he describes spiritual darkness covering the earth when he says "It is a night season". He is prophesying, "I'm seeing Messiah die". He says, "I see darkness covering the earth at noontime". It was day time then it was dark.
That is the prophecy, when Jesus died the whole world was filled with darkness. The City of Jerusalem was covered in darkness they could not see one another at 3 o'clock in the afternoon. Listen to what he says in the sixth verse. "I have become a reproach to the people". He quotes the people around the cross saying these words, listen to the accuracy of this prophecy verse seven. "He trusted in him to let him deliver himself". Matthew at the crucifix was saying. "You saved others, save yourself". All this written 1500 years. The verse that moves me verse 12. "The bulls of Bay Sean surrounded me and left a gap in me". He did not know how to describe it. David is seeing something prophetically. He sees a gaping wounds in the Messiah. "The only way I can describe it like a bull wrestling someone with his horns stabbing him in the sides". We know, that was the spear of the Roman soldier.
Listen to more accuracy in verse 14. I'm poured out like water. The Bible said when he stabbed Jesus in the side the Roman soldier poured forth water and blood. He is drowning in his own fluid. "My heart is like wax melded within me". I read a book one time about a doctor who told, when they would be crucified they would literally drown in their own fluid. He said, "My bones are pulled out of joint". All of this may be, this is touching verse 15. "My splint is dried up. My tongue clings to my jaw". What is he describing? The blistering thirst. Jesus said on the cross "I thirst. I thirst". And they put a bitter sponge of vinegar pressed it to his mouth to drink. Here is the description 1500 years before, "My tongue clings to my jaw, I'm dried up. I thirst. I thirst". And then he said, "Wild dogs have surrounded me".
"It was my back is tore up my side is tore up", and then unbelievable verse 16. Psalm 22 verse 16, "They pierced my hands and my feet". Again, no one in the time that was written had ever, they didn't have internet, they didn't have some way of communicating with the rest of the world, there was no such thing as death by a cross in Jewish Israel, in that culture. But David saw it with such description of Calvary, he saw the Messiah, he said "They pierced my hands and my feet and hence", even more, verse 18, "They divided my garments. And cast lots. Gambled for my clothing". And you go to the book of Matthew, while Jesus is hanging on the cross, they stripped him naked and shamed and Roman soldiers were casting, rolling the dice trying to win the garments of Messiah.
It is dark and it is death and it is down, down, down, I'm almost finished. The story starts changing. Because in the same chapter is not only the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ, but then everything shifts, he closes out the dark side with saying verse 21, "Save me from the lion's mouth". Well, we know that Satan is the lion. He is ripping him to pieces and he is dying. Then it says this, "You have answered me". Everything changes. Everything is down, down, down, and then right in the middle of the chapter verse 22, "I will declare your name among my brethren in the midst of assembly I will praise you". Now it is going up, up, up like death and crucifixion is down, down, down the story starts shifting.
Psalm 22, "He inhabits the praises of his people". That is in the middle of this. He says this, "My praise shall be in the great assembly", there is coming a day they will praise God in church and the Kingdom of God and the great assembly over what has happened here in this dark place called the crucifixion.
He says "My praise shall bring you the great assembly. We will remember and all the ends of the world will remember this and turn to the Lords". It says this, "And all the families of the nation shall worship before you". And here we are, as families, not perfect families, messed up families, dysfunctional families, broken families, needy families. And Jesus died for us. He said, "I'm doing it because there will come a day, when I'm going to get the attention of the world and I'm going to get the attention in people's houses of the family". Listen to what he says. "The families of the nation shall worship, shall worship before you". And it ends with this. "They will come and declare his righteousness to the people. That he has done this". Calvary and Christianity is not do, do, do. It ends with it is done. It is finished. He rose from the dead. He rose for you and your family.
So we are going to have communion. Sean, thank you for being with us, thank you Silas for being with us. We will have communion in our homes and with our families. This is a generational meal. Feel free to bring your children in for it. Feel free to let your babies, because he said, "When a generation comes that was not here and they ask you what does this meal mean"? He said "You teach your children about this meal because it is a generational meal". I want to conclude with this: the Passover meal you had the lamb on the table the people ate. That is not the virus, that is a move. You had the lamb on the table, but you go to the book of Matthew, and the Passover meal was lamb, bread, and the fruit of the vine, wine or juice.
Listen to this, but the communion, all four Gospels only say there is bread and wine. It does not say, it does not say there was lamb. Why? Because the lamb was sitting at the table. The lamb is on the table. He is sitting at the table which means you cannot have this meal and the lamb not show up. If you do it in faith. You cannot have this meal in faith with your family and the lamb not come. Listen carefully to your house, to your address, to your home. Did you know the first communion ever served was not served in a church? Jesus said in Matthew 26 to his disciples follow a man that will have a pitcher of water on his head he will go to a house two story an upper room tell him I need to use his house. There Jesus took the breads and bread and wine not in a church but in a house.
He said, "This bread represents my body that is broken for you". Just like you heard from Psalms 22. He did it for you and your family. Take, eat this do in remembrance of me until I come again. Take the bread. Thank you, Lord. Thank you, Lord. And then he said, we are having to improvise we are using sweet tea, but in my heart, God knows my heart. This is the wine of the new covenant. He said "Take, drink this represents my blood that is shed for the new covenant. Take, drink this do in remembrance of me until I come". You do that right there in your home. Take, drink, apply the blood on your household.
Thank you, Lord. Lord, we do apply the blood of Jesus on the door post between us and our family and God and we do apply the blood as we were told to do in the Old Testament on the side post applying protection from the outside world, protection from the plague, virus, death. May the blood of Jesus be on your house. He is going to sing in a moment. We will come back and pray. But there are many of you who don't know. You can't just go through this, this quarantine, and return to life as normal. But God's will for you is to turn to Jesus, not return to normal, not return to emptiness, not return to things that don't matter and won't last eternity, but turn to Jesus. Turn to him with all of your heart. Turn to him with all of your family. Turn to him and if you need prayer, pray this prayer right there in your home. Everybody, say this out loud.
Lord, Jesus, I remember today what you did for me at Calvary, I remember what you did for me when they buried you in the tomb. I remember what you did for me when you rose again. Thank you for eternal life. Thank you for forgiveness. Thank you for you love me, you forgive me, I praise you for this, in Jesus' mighty name.