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Acts 13:26-33


Brothers, sons of the family of Abraham, and those among you who fear God, to us has been sent the message of this salvation. For those who live in Jerusalem and their rulers, because they did not recognize him nor understand the utterances of the prophets, which are read every Sabbath, fulfilled them by condemning him. And though they found in him no guilt worthy of death, they asked Pilate to have him executed. And when they had carried out all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb. But God raised him from the dead, and for many days he appeared to those who had come up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are now his witnesses to the people. And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus, as also it is written in the second Psalm,  'You are my Son, today I have begotten you.' (ESV)


Eighth Day

Easter Tuesday

7 April 2015

"When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him." (Mk 16:1). Caught as they were by history, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary thought they still need to perform the funeral rites of their tradition upon Him who died. The Sabbath rest was over and they were launched into the last day (albeit unknowingly), what the church has now come to call the 'eighth day.' The last day, the first day of the week is the day after the seventh day. Jesus is crucified on the sixth day, before the Sabbath. He is laid in the tomb before sundown and before the Sabbath of the Passover began, the seventh day. He fulfills His promise by resting in His tomb and thus giving ultimate rest to the sons and daughters of Eve: "On the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation" (Gn 2:2-3). Christ rested from all his work He had done in re-creating the world by His suffering and death. He hallowed again the true Sabbath, by resting in His tomb, that our rest might be a participation in His life. Now He comes forth on the day after the seventh day: the unending eighth day, the day of the baptismal font (traditionally 8-sided). The day of unending rest.


History began when Adam became liable to death. History ended when the new Adam, Christ our Lord came forth triumphant over death. Now we no longer count the dead. Now we only know Christ the life of all the living. We have come forth from the New Testament's circumcision of the heart from the font on the eighth day. Christ rested in His tomb on the Sabbath. He rose again on the day that follows the Sabbath, which is the eighth day. After it no other day is counted. We now live in the presence of Him who lives in the eternal "Now;" for whom there is neither yesterday, nor tomorrow. Today, is the day of our salvation. It is the eighth day. No other day exists. This is what the writer to the Hebrews is talking about when he says: "God appoints a certain day, 'Today,' saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted, 'Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.' For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on. So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God's rest has also rested from his works as God did from his" (Heb 4:7-10).


Christ's death, rest, and new life bring a decisive end to history and along with that end, comes an end to the law itself. We enter the Sabbath rest to rest from all our works, as God rested from His. So Jesus, the God who creates heaven and earth and grants the provisional seventh day rest of the former testament, when He comes into the world says, "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (Mt 11:28-30). There never was any other way to find rest than to have it given by Christ. The rest to which He pointed in Genesis now takes its full meaning at Easter. The law had worked its worst upon Him: it was justice itself, with all of its wrathful authority against sin that worked death in the One who could not die. Though His arms were pinned by the cross in the embrace of death, He took the law by the throat; He looked it in the face and did it to death with Him. If the law is dead and is left among the grave clothes of His tomb, then the law with its requirements no longer applies to us. It is the detritus of the sepulcher. We are free. Free with Christ.


Martin Luther


"Christ rested in the sepulcher on the Sabbath, that is, during the entire seventh day. However, He rose again on the day following the Sabbath, which is the eighth day and the beginning of a new week, nor is there counted any other day after it. For through His death Christ brought to a close the weeks of time and on the eighth day entered into another kind of life, in which days are no longer counted but there is one eternal day without the alternations of night.


"This has been thought out wisely, learnedly, and piously, namely, that the eighth day is the eternal day. For the rising Christ is no longer subject to days, months, weeks, or any number of days. He is in a new and eternal life, by which the beginning of this life is perceived and reckoned, however there is no end. The number seven in holy Scripture means a revelation of time. Since we have come to the seventh day the number must be repeated afresh...


"The eighth day includes the resurrection to life eternal."


Martin Luther, Lectures on Genesis, 17.11
Collect for Easter Tuesday

Almighty God, through the resurrection of Your Son You have secured peace for our troubled consciences. Grant us this peace evermore that trusting in the merit of Your Son we may come at last to the perfect peace of heaven; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.


For all those who live as though still under the shadow of death, that the gospel of the new life in Christ would be proclaimed to them


For the family of Kay Threet, who is mourning the death of her father, Bedford Forrest Moore, Jr., that she and her family would mourn as those who have hope in the resurrection of the flesh and the life of the world to come


For all those putting the final touches on the Wittenberg Latin School as it comes to its completion, that they might be kept safe and bring the project into its new use as a place where the gospel may be proclaimed in the home of Martin Luther 

Art: GRÜNEWALD, Matthias Resurrection (1515)

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