Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Aug 24 2019 - Jeremiah 33:2-22 – An unbreakable covenant

Today's reading speaks of God's judgment on Jerusalem; it will become "a desolate waste without people of animals" (v.10). Yet beyond judgment, the Lord will come to rescue his people. If they will only call out to him, he will answer them, "and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know" (v.3). The Lord will forgive their sin and restore them to their land. There will be the sounds of wedding celebrations in the streets, and in the temple God's people will again praise him singing:

Give thanks to the LORD Almighty,
    for the LORD is good;
    his love endures for ever. (v.11)

"The days are coming," when the Lord will fulfil the promises he made to his people:

In those days and at that time
    I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line;
    he will do what is just and right in the land.
In those days Judah will be saved
    and Jerusalem will live in safety.
This is the name by which he will be called:
    The LORD Our Righteous Saviour. (vv.15-16)

The covenant which the Lord made with David can no more be broken than day and night can fail to follow one another; God is in sovereign control of both (vv. 19-22).

The line of the Davidic kings will shortly be cut off as the nation and its kings are taken into exile. But, says the Lord, the day will come when a new king will arise from David's line. He will not be like any of the compromising and fallible kings that Israel and Judah have experienced thus far. He will be entirely faithful to God and will do what is just and right. He will bring safety and security to his people. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom.
The Lord Jesus alone fulfils these ancient promises. He is not only God's anointed king, his Messiah, he is also the one who offered himself as a full and final sacrifice for all our sins. He is now our Great High Priest in the heavens who ever lives to intercede for us and guarantee our salvation and security. He is the God's answer to our cry; we have called upon the name of the Lord and he has answered us and told us great and unsearchable things of which we were quite ignorant.

The apostle Paul quotes Isaiah 64 when he says:

it is written:

‘What no eye has seen,
    what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived’ –
    the things God has prepared for those who love him –

these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. (1 Corinthians 2:9-10)

In the Lord Jesus, God has shown us his undeserved mercy; he is our "Righteous Saviour". And in him God has revealed to us the unimaginable greatness of the blessings that are ours, and shall be ours – unsearchable things we did not know. These things he continues to reveal to our hearts by his Spirit at work within us: "We have received … the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us" (1 Cor. 2:12).

Gracious God, we stand in awe at all you have done for the salvation of the world in the Lord Jesus. By your Spirit at work within us, show us more of your amazing grace and surpassing glory. Help us then, by that same Spirit, to declare the glories of your salvation to all who have ears to hear.

Aug 24 2013 - 1 Corinthians 15:29-58 – Not in vain

We asked yesterday, why anyone would hope for an exhausted body to be raised from the dead? Why hope to return to the kind of life we gladly left behind?

Paul makes it clear that resurrection is not the same as resuscitation. The resurrected body is very different from the body that is left behind at death; it is like Christ’s risen body. “The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body” (1 Corinthians 15: 42-44). When Paul speaks here of a “spiritual body” he does not mean an immaterial body, any more than the resurrected body of Jesus was immaterial. Paul speaks of a body – a life – entirely and fully animated by the Spirit of God.

It is only when the graves have given up their dead  that “death will be swallowed up in victory”. Until that day, death still reigns over the bodies of those whom we have lost and who now “sleep in Jesus.” In that day, when all things are made new, our resurrection bodies shall share in the glory of the new creation.

As Tom Wright puts it in his wonderful book, The Way of the Lord, “At the end of his long argument [in 1 Corinthians 15], Paul does not conclude by saying 'so therefore we can be assured of life after death'. He says, rather, 'be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, since you know that, in the Lord, your labour is not in vain'.”

The resurrection of Jesus Christ not only shapes and guarantees our future, it also directs and empowers present action. We are to live towards resurrection. Through the labour of our minds and hands and voices we are to anticipate the age to come. We are to work to make ourselves now more of what we shall be then – we are to grow in likeness to Christ. We are to work to make the fellowship of God’s people now more as it shall be then – a colony of heaven on earth. We are to work to make society now more as it shall be then – a society marked by justice, peace and mutual blessing. We are to work to make the very fabric of creation now more as it shall be then – resurrection demands creation care. Resurrection brings hope to a groaning world and that hope takes the form of a foretaste of the age to come. What we do now counts for eternity. We do not simply dream dreams of what shall be, we seek to make the vision a reality – even though we know that it cannot be fully what it shall be until he appears.

I have mentioned before the wristband I wear bearing the single word “Risen.” It is a reminder to me that Christ is risen from the dead and that I share already in his resurrection life. It is a reminder to me to live that life in all that I think and say and do. I wear it to work. I wear it at home. I wear it to the gym and even in the shower. I wear it when watching TV or when talking to friends. I wear it while at the computer and when browsing the internet. I wear it at church. I wear it when gardening. I wear it when shopping. I wear it on holiday. I wear it in bed. Every part and aspect of my life is to be lived as one who is raised with Christ, who is to live the resurrection life and is to be an advocate for resurrection.

Risen Lord Jesus, help us to celebrate your resurrection by living resurrection lives. Strengthen us by your Spirit that we may labour to bring more of what shall be into the 'now' of our daily lives, knowing that in you our labour is not in vain.

Peter Misselbrook