The theme for the Second Sunday of Easter is Resurrection Witnesses. Next Sunday is Examination Sunday. The catechumens will give witness to the faith which was given to them at their Baptism, and nourished by regular hearing of the Word of God in Church, in Sunday School, and in Catechism instruction.
The resurrection of our Lord is not some made-up fairy story, but a real event which was witnessed by many people. In the First Lesson, Peter testifies to the fact that he is an eyewitness of Christ’s resurrection. The Gospel is the account of the resurrection appearance by our Lord to Cleopas and his companion whilst travelling to Emmaus. And, in the epistle, St John, himself an eyewitness of the resurrected Christ, tells us that our lives ought to testify to our faith in our living Lord.
Monday, 20 April 2009—Psalm 30:1-5; Antiphon, Psalm 16:11b— In Psalm 30, David exuberantly worships the Lord, who has drawn him up, healed him, and brought up his soul from Sheol (the grave.) He calls upon all saints—including us—to sing praises to the Lord and give thanks to His holy Name, for we, too have been delivered from sin death, and the power of the devil by the atoning sacrifice of Jesus.
Tuesday, 21 April 2009—Psalm 4—This psalm of David is a cry for deliverance, with confidence that the Lord hears and answers prayer. Because Christ Jesus has delivered us from our mortal enemy—sin and its consequences—we can confidently say with David, In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.
Wednesday, 22 April 2009—Acts 3:11–21—The people in the temple were astonished when Peter healed the crippled beggar (Acts 3:1–10). Peter told them that it was God, not he, who had healed the man. He then related the details of Jesus’ death and resurrection—We are witnesses—and proclaimed the Gospel to them, urging them to repent and trust in Christ alone for the forgiveness of their sins.
Thursday, 23 April 2009—1 John 3:1–7—St. John contrasts those in the world, who do not know the Father because they have rejected the Son, with believers, who put their trust in Christ, and, thus, have been made the children of God.
Friday, 24 April 2009—Luke 24:36–49—The early Church Fathers had to deal with heretics called Docetists who denied the physical resurrection of Jesus, saying it was only a spiritual resurrection, and that His appearances were that of a phantasm, or else hallucinations by His followers. This heresy persists to this day: the Jehovah’s Witnesses deny the bodily resurrection of Christ. But Jesus dispels any sort of nonsensical ideas in Sunday’s Gospel. He appears in the flesh—Why do doubts rise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Handle me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have—and eats food. This eyewitness account also gives us the assurance of the physical resurrection of Jesus, and of all believers, as we confess in the Creed.
Saturday, 25 April 2009—With High Delight, Let Us Unite (LSB #483), is a song of jubilation and high praise to our risen Lord, who has vanquished death and the grave by His death: True God, He first From death has burst Forth into life, all subduing. His enemy Doth vanquished lie; His death has been death’s undoing. “And yours shall be Like victory O’er death and grave,” Saith He, who gave His life for us, life renewing.
Collect for Easter 3—O God, through the humiliation of Your Son You raised up the fallen world. Grant to Your faithful people, rescued from the peril of everlasting death, perpetual gladness and eternal joys; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, 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)
This week's Time in the Word was written by Pr. Jeffrey Keuning who serves the congregations of St. John, Dexter, IA and Zion in Casey, IA