The theme for the Second Sunday of Easter is The Power of Faith in Christ. By faith, we receive the forgiveness of sins which Christ won for us on the cross at Calvary. Like Thomas, we have not had a face to face encounter with Jesus, but we believe by the gift of faith bestowed upon us at our Baptism, and nurtured and sustained by hearing the Word of God regularly and receiving the true body and blood of our risen and ascended Lord in the Supper which He instituted. We also have the sure and certain testimony of eyewitnesses, such as St. John in the epistle reading, that Christ is risen from the dead.
This same faith causes us to desire to live our lives in Christ-like obedience to our Father in heaven. Like those in the early Church in the reading from Acts, we care for one another in the Church, whether it be those in our own congregation, or victims of natural disasters, or the less fortunate, such as those served by Bethesda Home, and Lutheran School for the Deaf.
Tuesday, 14 April 2009—Psalm 148—In Sunday’s psalm, the psalmist calls upon all of creation—those on the earth, those under the sea, and those in the heavens—to join in a chorus of praise to the Lord. Animate and inanimate, all of creation proclaims the glory of the Lord.
Wednesday, 15 April 2009—Acts 4:32–35—St. Luke gives us a snapshot of the early Church in Jerusalem. Reflecting the love that Christ has for us, they loved each other by taking care of one another. Two thousand years later, we can reflect that same love of Jesus for us by caring for one another.
Thursday, 16 April 2009—1 John 1:1—2:2—St. John, in his epistle, testifies to the fact of Christ’s resurrection by recounting how he has seen the resurrected Savior, how he has heard him, and how he has touched Him. We need have no doubt that Christ is risen from the dead, and therefore, has forgiven all our sins.
Friday, 17 April 2009—John 20:19–31—There are two appearances by the risen Christ in Sunday’s Gospel, each bringing us a great deal of comfort. In the first, Jesus establishes the Office of the Holy Ministry, and assures us that, in the words of the catechism, ‘when the called ministers of Christ deal with us by His divine command, in particular when they…absolve those who repent of their sins and want to do better, this is just as valid and certain, even in heaven, as if Christ, our dear Lord, dealt with us Himself.’ In the second appearance, our Lord appears to Thomas. Thomas wanted the certainty of seeing his risen Lord in the flesh, as the others had. When he beholds the wounds in the One who was crucified on our behalf, his faith is sure, and he confesses, ‘My Lord and My God!’ Thomas’s assurance is ours also. We need never doubt that our Lord is truly risen from the dead, ‘the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.’ (1 Cor. 15:20)
Saturday, 18 April 2009—The Hymn of the Day, All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name (LSB #549), is a hymn of praise, similar in content to the psalm, calling upon all people to praise the name of Jesus, God incarnate, who suffered, died, and rose for the salvation of all. Those on earth, those who have passed into glory, and all the angels raise the strain of praise to our Lord forever and ever.
Collect for Easter 2— Almighty God, grant that we who have celebrated the Lord’s resurrection may by Your grace confess in our life and conversation that Jesus is Lord and God; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Illustration from a woodcut by Baron Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld, 1794-1872, a distinguished German artist known especially for his book, Das Buch der Bücher in Bilden (The Book of Books in Pictures).
Pr. Jeff Keuning from Dexter, IA wrote this week's Time in the Word