There was a shroud that covered over every single person, but it has been destroyed by God. What does that have to do with Easter?
This sermon was recorded live at Greensburg Church of the Nazarene in Greensburg, KY on April 4, 2021, Easter Sunday.
*not a word for word transcript, but the sermon manuscript*
PART SEVEN: SHROUD TO COVER
6 On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine—the best of meats and the finest of wines. 7 On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; 8 he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all face; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth.” The Lord has spoken. 9 In that day they will say, “Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the Lord, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation. (NIV)
This is the Word of God, for the people of God, thanks be to God.
This Lenten season, we have been working our way through the Old Testament, looking at God’s words that tell us “never again.” These are the words being fulfilled in all the familiar passion scenes found in the gospels. Our passage today is a message of hope for a people who were facing hardship and death, not so much different than our day. But what do these words have to do with Easter?
IN THE TEXT
***(v6) ON THIS MOUNTAIN OF VICTORY***
“The Lord Almighty will prepare a feast.” A feast is almost always in celebration of something. When you or a loved one gets a job promotion, the kid gets straight A’s on their report card, or any other life milestone, as people we eat in celebration. In the ancient world, whenever a mighty battle was won, there was a feast to celebrate the victory. God is preparing a feast on His mountain to celebrate His victory.
At this table of celebration there is plenty of food. The best cuts of meat, and the finest beverages. No expense spared. God is not throwing a party for only Him; He is throwing this shindig for everyone. All are invited.
***(v7-8) ON THIS MOUNTAIN THERE IS REMOVAL***
Why is God throwing this victory celebration? It has to do with an article of clothing called a shroud. A shroud is an article of clothing worn by those destined for execution. The shroud is placed over the person’s head as they are led to the place that their life will be taken, a punishment for the crime they have committed. Verse 7 tells us that a shroud covers all peoples, every single nation.
Our passage does not tell us that everyone is stuck wearing the shroud for all time. These verses are about God’s victory celebration. God is celebrating because death that is a shroud covers over every single person and nation He has removed and destroyed. All the tears are wiped from eyes because the shroud is the reason for them in the first place, and God has obliterated it forever.
***(v9) ON THIS MOUNTAIN IS HOPE***
Death is the shroud that cover all people. God is inviting everyone to His place for a victory celebration because He has destroyed death once and for all. Isaiah is writing to his fellow countrymen, rejoicing because God has saved them. This salvation is from the greatest enemy humanity has ever and will ever face, death.
FROM THE TEXT
What does all this have to do with Easter? People die every day. Isaiah wrote about God swallowing up death forever, yet Isaiah himself died. This makes no sense because the shroud does still exist, and keeps us from seeing the truth.
Death is the shroud that keeps us from seeing. We have been wearing the shroud for so long that it has become part of us, to the point we do not even notice anymore. It looms over our entire existence, but we do not notice how we try to avoid it. Nor do we realize the choices we make that contribute to its power over us. Death is the consequence of sin, and we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
Sin leads to death; death separates us from God and those we love. Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden, and in effort to save themselves from destruction, they turned on each other. Sin does the same thing in our lives. When we lie, cheat, and all those things we know are against God it also impacts those people in our lives we love. Death’s shroud traps us in the cycle of sorrow.
BEYOND THE TEXT
But the passage today told us of a time when God prepares a feast inviting all to come celebrate His victory over death. A moment when God once and for all destroys the shroud that covers over everyone. When is that time? And what does it have to do with Easter? Everything.
That time is now! God’s victory over death is now! Jesus, the Son of God, came and died on a cross so every single one of us here today is forgiven of our sin. But what about people dying now? Remember, the Easter story is that Jesus died on Friday but one Sunday rose again! The tomb is empty! And just like our Lord died and rose again, so will we if repent and believe in Him!
Salvation through Jesus Christ is the invitation to God’s victory feast up on His mountain. God is celebrating Jesus’s laying death in his grave. Accepting His invitation is assurance that we will gather at the table, along with all our loved ones who come to know Him too. Never again is there shroud to cover over your life, it is but a stepping stone to everlasting life.
Season 1 Episode 33, "Most important question." The text for the message is from Mark 8:27-30, part 1 of a series called The Son of Man. The question we are trying to answer is "What is the most important question?"