The cultural background to this verse is rich with meaning. When the Romans went off to fight their enemies, after winning the war, they would bind their vanquished foes together by the hands and march them single file back to Rome where they would have a huge celebration. Thousands of Romans would line the streets to watch this “public spectacle.” At the front of the parade would be the conquering General. Following him would be those soldiers who had acted heroically in battle. The rest of the army would follow. And then at the rear of the procession would be all those who had been conquered. As they would march past the crowds, the people would jeer at them, cast insults, and even throw things. You didn’t want to be the main attraction at one of these pubic spectacles!
Jesus has turned those who thought they were captors into captives, displaying them in His victory celebration. We don’t have to succumb to sin or fear Satan. Jesus is our banner and He has triumphed at the cross. 1 Corinthians 15:54-57: “Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Communion. One reason we are told to celebrate the Lord’s Supper is so we will never forget what Jesus has done for us. It’s a time to remember. I hope you’re planning to attend our special “Christ in the Passover” service on Good Friday. It will begin at 6:00 p.m. and we’ll conclude by celebrating communion.
Baptism. Another symbol that helps us remember is the ordinance of Baptism. As individuals are lowered into the water, they are symbolizing the death of Christ, and as they come up out of the water, they are proclaiming that Christ is alive. Our next service will be held on Sunday, May 1st. We already have 12 people signed up. Call the church office if you’re ready to take the plunge.
Let me ask you a question. Whose flag are you flying today? Are you rallied around Jehovah Nissi or are you flying the flag of “me?” I don’t know what you are going through or who your Amalek is, but God will give you the victory if you look to Him. But only if you will wave the white flag of surrender. Atlanta courthouse shooting suspect Brian Nichols finally surrendered after the woman he took hostage read the Bible to him and a chapter from the Purpose Driven Life book. He literally waved a white flag to indicate that he was ready to give up. Are you ready to surrender to the Savior right now?
When Jesus is lifted up, when His banner is over us, there can are no rivals to His throne. I received an email this week that shows the victory that Jesus has won over the hearts of people all around the world. (I removed the gentleman’s name for his protection but have left the grammar the way it is):
“hello brian bill
i am…from pakistan
i came to a website and read your sermon on the john 1:1
as i read it i feel some thing changing my heart and when i read what max lucado wrote about the cave i think in my life i was in that cave and your sermon was the voice and my life has changed i am amuslim when i make comparison with islamic teachings i found what you wrote the perfect and jesus the right way i want to believe in jesus