Resurrection Sunday Morning Prayer (17 April 2022) Colossians 3:1–7
Last Sunday, we meditated about Jesus entering Jerusalem as the King and Saviour. On the Friday of the same week, the Passover Lamb was sacrificed on the cross for the remission of the whole world’s sin. We remember this day as Good Friday. On the night before He was crucified, that is the Thursday night, He celebrated Passover meal with His disciples. He made a new covenant through His precious blood. The covenant came into effect when Jesus was crucified on the cross. Remembering this covenant, we celebrate Holy Communion on Maundy Thursday evening. Jesus fulfilled many prophecies during this time.
In today’s Gospel portion, we read about what happened on the third day, that is the resurrection day. Every year, on the Resurrection Sunday, we meditate on this passage. Today, I would like to meditate based on our Epistle portion from Colossians. We have just completed another period of Lent. We meditated and self-reflected on the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross. We meditated on the purpose of the sacrifice. It is vital that Jesus’s sacrifice resonates in our lives every day. It is not only for Lent, it is for our entire lives. Lent should have brought a change or transformation within us. Apostle Paul talks about this in our Epistle reading from Colossians 3. Christ is preeminent – He should be the first and foremost in everything. Our lives should reflect that priority. How do we know Christ is the priority in our lives? Paul gave two important instructions in this passage. I would like to meditate on the two instructions: Seek those things which are above and Set your affection on things above.
These instructions from Apostle Paul are to a certain group of people. It is not for everyone. Colossians 3:1 says, “If ye then be risen with Christ”. So these instructions and teachings are only for those who are born again or those who have received salvation from LORD Jesus.
1) Seek those things which are above
In the first verse, Paul tells us, “seek those things which are above”. What are the things which are above? We have the answer in Jesus’ sermon on the mount, which is a very familiar passage to us. Matthew 6:33 says, “seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you”. Both Jesus and Apostle Paul are pointing us to seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness above everything else. Jesus Christ died for our sins and rose again. He triumphed over death which is eternal death and sin. With the expectation that we have also died for our sins or given up our sinful lives and risen again for righteousness, Paul is telling us “Seek those things that are above”. When we are a new creature in Christ, the old worldly things and ways should not mean anything to us. Because our priority should be on things above, Jesus said in Matthew 6:19-21 that we should be careful about our treasures. “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also”. Our focus should be to inherit eternal life in the kingdom of heaven. Our focus should not be on getting worldly things. Our focus should be living a life pleasing in the sight of our Lord. Our priority should not be to please other humans for worldly benefits. Our focus should be to live for eternity in heaven with Jesus Christ. Our focus should not be the life in the bottomless pit with no water. Only if we are raised with Christ, that is born again, we will be able to seek things which are above.
2) Set your affection on things above
In the second verse, Paul says “Set your affection on things above”. The NIV version says, “Set your mind on things above” (Colossians 3:2). Paul asks us to set our mind on, that is, think about the things that are above. Once we have sought and found things that are above, we are called to set our mind on those things. In verse 10 Paul says we “have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him”. However, we cannot put on the new man like putting on a garment. It involves a lot of work. Verses 5, 8 and 9 tell us what we need to do. “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:” “But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;”. In short, we are not to satisfy our lusts and on things that bring us temporary gratification. Instead, we are to focus on things that are pleasing in the sight of our Lord. We are to put off these worldly things that lead to second death and lead us to lose eternity in the kingdom of heaven. Our focus should be to meditate on the word of God day and night to understand our Lord’s will in our lives. Our focus should not be to spend our time to fulfil worldly goals. Our focus should be to get the characteristics of our Lord. Our focus should not be to have the characteristics of the world. Our focus should be to be more like Jesus. Our focus should not be to be more like the world. Only if we are raised with Christ, that is born again, we will be able to set our minds on things which are above.
Jesus showed His love for us when He hung on the cross with outstretched arms. An empty cross means Jesus died and was buried for our sins. The empty tomb witnesses His resurrection. We say the creed every Sunday. We acknowledge that Jesus came down from heaven and suffered and died for us. He was buried and He rose again on the third day. He ascended into heaven and sitteth on the right hand of Father Almighty. We believe He will come again. Are we ready to face Him? Have we buried the old man and put on the new man? Are we seeking things that are above? Are we setting our affection on things above? Are we endeavouring to live our lives as the new man? Are we living holy lives in line with the resurrected Jesus’s expectation and commandment? Jesus came to redeem the world in human form. But He lived a sinless life. He has called us to be holy. 1 Thessalonians 4:7 says, “God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness”. Jesus Christ shed His precious blood on Calvary to make us holy. Hebrews 12:14 says no man shall see the Lord without holiness. We are called to live a life separated from the ways of the world. If we are not living holy lives, we are crucifying Jesus again on the cross. Israelites shouted hosannah and proclaimed Jesus as the King and Messiah. But in four days, they asked Pilate to crucify Jesus. Are we doing the same every day in our lives?
If Jesus’s resurrection is to be meaningful in our lives, we are to leave the old man and put on the new man. We are to leave our old lives and embrace our new lives with Jesus. We must preach the gospel to others as Jesus commanded. We must live our lives being empowered by the Holy Spirit. While we live our lives in this earth, we must remember our citizenship is in heaven. All our days, we must prepare to live our eternal lives in heaven. I pray Christ’s resurrection has real meaning in our lives. I pray we prepare ourselves to inherit our eternal life in the kingdom of God. I pray “When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall” we “also appear with him in glory.” Amen!