THE DEATH AND RESURRECTION OF JESUS
The Steadfast Love of the LORD Post #1
“Blessed be the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken his steadfast love and his faithfulness toward my master.” Genesis 24:27
While I was a pastor in Huntsville, Alabama, I invited our favorite singer-musician Mr. James Ward to help with the music at our summer youth camp, Camp Agape. This happened sometime in the late 70’s, early 80’s. For five days Jim gave himself with his musical gifts to our young people at camp. His teaching was an amazing spectacle, beautifully enabling all of us to celebrate together “The Steadfast Love of the Lord.”
Jim captivated those kids with his remarkable skills. He played the piano with both hands, his left foot on the peddle. Then, while singing lustily he was standing up and dancing on his right foot. His performance in front of those kids was a formidable display of enthusiasm and athleticism mixed with exquisite musical talent. Those kids were charmed out of their sox, they sang their hearts out. I am confident that many of them still remember with delight their week under Jim Ward’s able and exciting leadership. Always pointing to His Savior, Jim led us heart and soul in celebration of our Lord’s saving love for us all.
We have to ask, “What in the world enabled Jim Ward to be such an inspired teacher of Christian music?!” You might be scratching your head about that question, but I am convinced that I know the answer. It is very simple. The Holy Spirit had filled Jim’s heart with the wonderful reality of the DEATH AND RESURRECTION OF JESUS!
The redeeming work of Jesus dying on the cross and then rising bodily from the grave were not just religious stories that Jim heard from his parents and pastor. They were wonderful realities, historical events that towered over his life filling him with joy and compelling him to express that joy with compelling energy and love. In his teaching of gospel music Jim’s whole life became a vibrant interpretation of our Lord’s death and resurrection. He has been teaching the daylights out of us ever since!
KEY TO THIS BLOG SERIES: In the first blog post of this series I am signalizing this magnificent Biblical phrase: The steadfast love of the Lord. This phrase is used for the first time in the Bible in the 24th chapter of Genesis. In this chapter we see Abraham’s servant Eleazar using this phrase 4 times. Each time Eleazar uses the phrase he is asking God to show His steadfast love to Abraham in the simple matter of finding a wife for Isaac, Abraham’s son. In later passages you will see it used for many loving acts of our great Trinitarian God.
I want you to take special note of this phrase. It will remain important in this entire series. The ESV version of the Bible is the version that translates these words with this beautiful expression: The steadfast love of the Lord. It is used 117 times in the Psalms alone and occurs in many other important scripture passages throughout the Old Testament. We are well advised to see it as a major theme of the Old Testament and of the whole Bible. We should see this beautiful phrase as a prophecy of wonderful things to come, even of the gospel itself.
Though this phrase is not used in the New Testament, we should see the reality of “the steadfast love of the Lord” in the most familiar text in the Bible. That has to be John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have ever lasting life.”Yes, we shouldsee John 3:16 as fulfillment of prophecy inherent in the phrase “the steadfast love of the Lord.” This magnificent phrase, so often used in the Old Testament, comes to its supreme fulfilment in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ our Savior.
Though Jesus does not explain the details of this important fact to Nicodemus, the Savior was fully aware that his own DEATH AND RESURRECTION, wasthe only thing that could transform Nicodemus, sweep him into the Kingdom of God, and give him hope for eternal life. This two-fold event, the Savior’s DEATH AND RESURRECTION is God’s most glorious display of The Steadfast Love of the Lord. In the simple words of John 3:16, Nicodemus was hearing this from the lips of our dear Savior Himself. This was wonderful good news for Nicodemus and for all of us poor sinners.
This will be the theme of this series of blog-posts. I will summarize. The Steadfast love of the Lord has been beautifully and powerfully demonstrated to us needy sinners through the DEATH AND RESURRECION of our LORD Jesus Christ. He, our LORD Jesus Christ, is at work in history today saving us sinners from our sin and enabling us to live God glorifying lives in this present world, all this through the DEATH AND RESURRECTION of our LORD Jesus Christ.
There is so much to unpack in that summary statement. In these blog-posts, I will begin with an illustration or two or three, such as I just gave you in my JAMES WARD story. I will go on from there with a brief study of just how the first disciples and apostles were impressed with the death and resurrection of Jesus and how they responded. I will be watching for your responses and responding if need be. Then, I will continue with deeper examinations of texts and doctrines which help us all understand the beauty, the wonder and the infinite love of God set before us so powerfully in our Savior’s acts of redemption.
Along the way I will give some attention to the failures and causes of failure in the church today. These have real importance and significance for us, BUT, my main point will remain our praise to God for His Steadfast Love, and thanksgiving to Him for the saving power of the DEATH AND RESURRECTION of our LORD Jesus Christ.
Please join me in this thoughtful, prayerful effort to minister to each other and bless our world through this blog and its various posts.
–Pastor Paul Alexander