Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Morning Prayer Reading 129


Stephen
Acts 6-7 (Selective Verses)

8 And Stephen, full of grace and power, was doing great wonders and signs among the people. 9 Then some of those who belonged to the synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called), and of the Cyrenians, and of the Alexandrians, and of those from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and disputed with Stephen. 10 But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking. 

And Stephen said, 51 “You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. 52 Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered, 53 you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it.”

The Stoning of Stephen

54 Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him. 55 But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” 57 But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together[b] at him. 58 Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Schnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use

Monday, April 29, 2019

Morning Prayer Reading 128


The Lame Beggar Healed
Acts 3:1-10


3 Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour.[a] 2 And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple. 3 Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. 4 And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” 5 And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. 6 But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” 7 And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. 8 And leaping up, he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. 9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 and recognized him as the one who sat at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, asking for alms. And they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

Footnotes:
Acts 3:1 That is, 3 p.m.

English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Schnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use


Sunday, April 28, 2019

Easter 3 Series C


Easter 3 Series C


Acts 9:1–22
Revelation 5:(1–7) 8–14 
John 21:1–14 (15–19)

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. 

The Good Shepherd Feeds His Lambs

Worthy is the Lamb who was slain” (Revelation 5:12), who by His cross has conquered sin and death. With His blood, He has “ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9). This same Lord Jesus visits people of all nations and calls them to Himself by the Gospel, even as He “was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead” (John 21:14). He restored Simon Peter to faith and life and commissioned him to feed His lambs and tend His sheep (John 21:15–17). Likewise, He revealed Himself to Saul of Tarsus and brought him to repentance, so that the persecutor of Jesus might carry and confess His name “before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel” (Acts 9:15–16).

Look at the extended verses for the Gospel...only time we'll get it...different definitions of "love" between Jesus and Peter...

Jesus Appears to Seven Disciples

John 21:1 –
Μετὰ ταῦτα ἐφανέρωσεν ἑαυτὸν πάλιν ὁ Ἰησοῦς τοῖς μαθηταῖς ἐπὶ τῆς θαλάσσης τῆς Τιβεριάδος• ἐφανέρωσεν δὲ οὕτως.
After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way.

After these things...what things...appearance in upper room? Easter, following Sunday, return to Galilee,  finally after two weeks they are doing what He told them to do returning to Galilee. (Mark  16:7) In Luke Jesus says stay in the city. (Luke 24:49) 

John 21:2 – 
ἦσαν ὁμοῦ Σίμων Πέτρος καὶ Θωμᾶς ὁ λεγόμενος Δίδυμος καὶ Ναθαναὴλ ὁ ἀπὸ Κανὰ τῆς Γαλιλαίας καὶ οἱ τοῦ Ζεβεδαίου καὶ ἄλλοι ἐκ τῶν μαθητῶν αὐτοῦ δύο.
Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathaniel of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together.

Only place where Nathaniel is mentioned as being from “Cana in Galilee.” See John 2 – could this be Jesus’ brother-in-law, brother, some sort of relative? 

John 21:3 – 
λέγει αὐτοῖς Σίμων Πέτρος• Ὑπάγω ἁλιεύειν• λέγουσιν αὐτῷ• Ἐρχόμεθα καὶ ἡμεῖς σὺν σοί. ἐξῆλθον καὶ ἐνέβησαν εἰς τὸ [b]πλοῖον, καὶ ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ νυκτὶ ἐπίασαν οὐδέν.
Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

I depart to fish the others went with him yet that night they caught not one thing. This is an "Disjunctive kai".  What's up with Peter? He still has equipment to fish. Do you love me more than "these things?"  Fishing without Jesus' word does not work.  Jesus finds Peter through his denial of his vocation. Picking up the nets he's being about what he was not. Peter caught nothing when he was first called. Fished in darkness - a symbol of unbelief? 

John 21:4 – 
Πρωΐας δὲ ἤδη γενομένης ἔστη Ἰησοῦς εἰς τὸν αἰγιαλόν• οὐ μέντοι ᾔδεισαν οἱ μαθηταὶ ὅτι Ἰησοῦς ἐστιν
Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.

As day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore, never the less the disciples didn't know him. 

John 21:5 – 
λέγει οὖν αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς• Παιδία, μή τι προσφάγιον ἔχετε; ἀπεκρίθησαν αὐτῷ• Οὔ.
Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish?” They answered him, “No.”

"You don't have any fish do you?" expecting a negative response...it's not working...they're fishing without His words "without me you can do nothing"

Jesus calls them Παιδία - "children"

John 21:6 – 
ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς• Βάλετε εἰς τὰ δεξιὰ μέρη τοῦ πλοίου τὸ δίκτυον, καὶ εὑρήσετε. ἔβαλον οὖν, καὶ οὐκέτι αὐτὸ ἑλκύσαι [f]ἴσχυον ἀπὸ τοῦ πλήθους τῶν ἰχθύων.
 He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish.

Throw the net on the right side of the boat...they were no longer able to draw or drag because of the fullness of fish. (See Luke 5, as cross reference) 

John 21:7 – 
λέγει οὖν ὁ μαθητὴς ἐκεῖνος ὃν ἠγάπα ὁ Ἰησοῦς τῷ Πέτρῳ• Ὁ κύριός ἐστιν. Σίμων οὖν Πέτρος, ἀκούσας ὅτι ὁ κύριός ἐστιν, τὸν ἐπενδύτην διεζώσατο, ἦν γὰρ γυμνός, καὶ ἔβαλεν ἑαυτὸν εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν
That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea.

The disciple whom Jesus loved said it is the Master...why did Peter put on clothes? Compare throw the net and Peter throws himself...Peter goes to Jesus with reckless abandon...the cloak represents his earthly belongings he grabs everything he has...

John 21:8 –
οἱ δὲ ἄλλοι μαθηταὶ τῷ πλοιαρίῳ ἦλθον, οὐ γὰρ ἦσαν μακρὰν ἀπὸ τῆς γῆς ἀλλὰ ὡς ἀπὸ πηχῶν διακοσίων, σύροντες τὸ δίκτυον τῶν ἰχθύων.
The other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards[a] off.

a. two hundred cubits; a cubit was about 18 inches or about 45 centimeters

John 21:9-
Ὡς οὖν ἀπέβησαν εἰς τὴν γῆν βλέπουσιν ἀνθρακιὰν κειμένην καὶ ὀψάριον ἐπικείμενον καὶ ἄρτον.
When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread.

John 21:10
λέγει αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς• Ἐνέγκατε ἀπὸ τῶν ὀψαρίων ὧν ἐπιάσατε νῦν
Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.”

John 21:11
ἀνέβη οὖν Σίμων Πέτρος καὶ εἵλκυσεν τὸ δίκτυον εἰς τὴν γῆν μεστὸν ἰχθύων μεγάλων ἑκατὸν πεντήκοντα τριῶν• καὶ τοσούτων ὄντων οὐκ ἐσχίσθη τὸ δίκτυον.
So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, 153 of them. And although there were so many, the net was not torn. 

John 21:12
λέγει αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς• Δεῦτε ἀριστήσατε. οὐδεὶς [i]δὲ ἐτόλμα τῶν μαθητῶν ἐξετάσαι αὐτόν• Σὺ τίς εἶ; εἰδότες ὅτι ὁ κύριός ἐστιν
Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord.

John 21:13
ἔρχεται ὁ Ἰησοῦς καὶ λαμβάνει τὸν ἄρτον καὶ δίδωσιν αὐτοῖς, καὶ τὸ ὀψάριον ὁμοίως.
Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish

John 21:14
τοῦτο ἤδη τρίτον ἐφανερώθη ὁ Ἰησοῦς τοῖς μαθηταῖς ἐγερθεὶς ἐκ νεκρῶν.
This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.


-The Greek New Testament: SBL Edition. Copyright © 2010 by Society of Biblical Literature and Logos Bible Software
-ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
-Schnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts, ‘The Resurrection of our Lord’© WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use
-LCMS Lectionary notes © 2018
-Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing

Time in the Word - Easter 3




Preparation for next week, the Third Sunday of Easter


The Good Shepherd Feeds His Lambs
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain (Rev. 5:12), who by His cross has conquered sin and death. With His blood, He has ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nations (Rev. 5:9). This same Lord Jesus visits people of all nations and calls them to Himself by the Gospel, even as He revealed Himself again to the disciples…after He was raised from the dead (John 21:1, 14). He restored Simon Peter to faith and life and commissioned him to feed His lambs and tend His sheep (John 21:15–17). Likewise, He revealed Himself to Saul of Tarsus and brought him to repentance, so that the persecutor of Jesus might carry and confess His name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel (Acts 9:15–16).


Collect for the Third Sunday of Easter: 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.
Prayer of praise and supplication: Lord God, creator of heaven and earth, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we praise You for the abundant mercy that You this day so richly have provided for us, blessing us not only with daily bread for our bodies but also with heavenly food for our souls. Grant that Your living and powerful Word may abide in our hearts, working mightily in us to Your glory and for our salvation. We commit ourselves to Your divine protection and fatherly care. Let Your holy angels be with us that the evil foe may have no power over us. Look in mercy on Your Church and deliver it from all danger and adversities. By Your Holy Spirit comfort and strengthen all who are in affliction or distress, and grant Your abiding peace to us all; through Jesus Christ, our Savior. Amen.


Time in the Word
29 April -4 May 2019
Preparation for next week, the Third Sunday of Easter

Monday, 29 April 2019Psalm 145:4–7, 9; antiphon, Psalm 145: 10This Song of Praise by King David leads off the last six psalms, all of them songs of praise. As redeemed children of the Lord, our greatest delight shall always be to give thanks to Him, to bless Him, to commend His mighty works to others, to declare His mighty acts, to meditate on His wondrous works, to speak of the might of His awesome deeds, to declare His greatness, and to sing aloud of His righteousness!

Tuesday, 30April 2019Psalm 30Sunday’s psalm was composed by David when he dedicated the materials for the building of the Temple (1 Chronicles 22:1–6), and may have been used at subsequent dedications: at the dedication of Solomon’s Temple (2 Chronicles 7:4–10) and in 165 bc at the Jewish Feast of Dedication (Hanukkah; see 1 Maccabees 4:54–59; 2 Maccabees 10:1–9; John 10:22). The psalm is one of thanksgiving to God for preservation of physical life (vv. 1–5) and spiritual life (6–10). Finally, the last two verses give thanks to the Lord for His mercy forever.

Wednesday, 1 May 2019Acts 9:1–22—During Eastertide, all of our  first readings are taken from the book of the Acts of the Apostles, St Luke’s history of the Church during the Apostolic Age. Here, we have the account of the conversion of Saul, a learned Jew who zealously persecuted Christians. But, after being commissioned to be an apostle by the risen Christ, Paul, as he would henceforth be known, became an even more zealous ambassador for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. His encounter gave him the joy of a new life in the risen Lord.

Thursday, 2 May 2019Revelation 5:1–14—As all of our Eastertide first readings come from the book of Acts, so all of our epistle readings come from the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ to St John. In this portion of John’s vision, he wonders who is worthy to open the scroll containing the counsel of God, His plan of action. Only the Lamb, who was slain, but is alive, is worthy to do so.
In response, those surrounding the throne of God sing a song of high praise to the Lamb. The joy of the resurrection is carried out in the joy of praising the risen Christ in heaven.

Friday, 3 May 2019John 21:1–14—This is the third appearance of the risen Christ to His disciples. The setting is simple, normal—Jesus appears amidst the everyday occupations of a fisherman. He performs a miracle, in which they recognize Him as the Lord. Once again, Jesus shows that He is concerned for us in our everyday lives. Peter is so overjoyed when He recognizes Jesus, that he immediately swims to shore. The disciples eat breakfast with Jesus, the account once again proving the bodily resurrection of our Lord, as ghosts do not eat food. Truly there is joy for the disciples in meeting the risen Christ.

Saturday, 4 May 2019The Hymn of the Day, With High Delight, Let Us Unite (LSB #483), continues the theme of joy in Christ’s resurrection. The whole Church on earth, together with those already in heaven, as we saw in the epistle, joins together in singing joyous songs of high praise to the risen Lord Jesus Christ, our salvation.

Prayer of adoration, praise, and supplication: Almighty and eternal God, we adore You as the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus, and with the whole Church on earth and all the hosts of heaven we ascribe to You honor and blessing, thanksgiving and praise. Holy, holy, holy are You, Lord God Almighty; heaven and earth are full of Your glory. You created us in Your own image and redeemed us with the precious blood of Your Son. By Your Spirit You sanctified us and called us out of darkness into Your marvelous light.


Grant that we may with thankful hearts receive these great mercies and express our gratitude, not only with our lips but also in our lives as we give ourselves to Your service and walk before You in holiness and righteousness all our days. Deliver us from sin and error, from the frailties of the flesh, the allurements of this present age, and the temptations of the devil. Give us faith that works in love, hope that never disappoints, kindness that never fails, confidence in You that never wavers, patience that does not grow weary, and courage always to be ready to confess Christ, that we may live in Your mercy and die in Your peace; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

This Week’s Morning Prayer Readings
Read and review the following Bible stories for each day…
Monday, 29 April- Stephen-
Tuesday, 30 April-Conversion of Saul-
Wednesday,01 May – Chapel Day
Thursday, 02 May- Romans 3:21-26
Friday, 03 May- Romans 5:1-11
From the Catechism; Sacrament of the Altar; Psalm 23

Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006Concordia Publishing House
The icon on the cover shows Jesus as the Good Shepherd. In the upper corners, we see the stylized letters IC and XC, which are abbreviations for Jesus Christ in Greek. The Greek words on either side of the head of Christ say ΟΠΟΙΜΗΝΟΚΑΛΟΣ, meaning “The Good Shepherd.” Notice also the pierced hands of the Savior. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. 



Friday, April 26, 2019

Morning Prayer Reading 127

The Coming of the Holy Spirit
Acts 2 (Selective Verses)




The Coming of the Holy Spirit

2 When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested[a] on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

5 Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6 And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. 7 And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 

22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus,[c] delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it."

37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” 40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” 41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.

The Fellowship of the Believers
42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Schnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Morning Prayer Reading 126


The Ascension
Acts 1:1-11



The Promise of the Holy Spirit
1 In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, 2 until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. 3 He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.

4 And while staying[a] with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with[b] the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

The Ascension
6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” 9 And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.

Footnotes:
Acts 1:4 Or eating
Acts 1:5 Or in

English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Schnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Easter Tuesday


Tuesday of Easter – April 23, 2019 – Psalm 100:5

For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations

Psalm 100– The key verses is verse 3c “We are His people, and the sheep of His pasture.” In light of our lessons we rejoice that we have this new found association with the Savior, a connection caused by the Savior’s amazing grace and favor.

Psalms 93; 95-99 proclaim, “the Lord reigns.”  Psalm 100 is the thankful doxology named Jubilate, which is Latin for “O be joyful.” The phrase “his steadfast love endures forever” epitomizes the Lord’s cared for His people. 

Praise God. His mercy endures forever, and His faithfulness to all generations. “The Lord is God” and “The Lord is Good.” Let the whole earth sing and be glad.

Break in sunder, O Lord, we beseech Thee, the chains of our sins; that, taking upon us Thy light yoke and easy burden, we may serve Thee, with fear and reverence, all the days of our life; through Jesus Christ our Lord,[1]

Almighty God, through Your only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, You overcame death and opened to us the grate of everlasting life. We humbly pray that we may live before You in righteousness and purity forever; [2]



[1]© 2005 Lutheran Liturgical Prayer Brotherhood
[2] Collect for Easter Sunrise, Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

Morning Prayer Reading 125

Jesus Sends His Disciples
Matthew 28:16-20




The Great Commission
16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[b] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.

Footnotes:
Matthew 28:19 Or into

English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Schnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use

Monday, April 22, 2019

Easter Monday




Monday of Easter – April 22, 2019 – Psalm 23:6

Surely  goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell  in the house of the Lord forever.

God does not give His blessings once.  His goodness and mercy continue. These blessings we experience in this life but also in the life that is to come.


Remember, the Lord is the source of every good thing. But don’t think that this means God’s children are going to have it easy. He will provide what we need for our faith to live and grow, in spite of our straying, sinning, and doubting. Consider Joseph whose brother’s beat him, heaved him into a pit and sold him into slavery. When he was being mistreated  he went through intolerable suffering. But the Lord kept him alive. The Lord saw him make it to Egypt. If those things had not happened, Joseph would not have been in a position to help his brothers later and it would have in all likelihood been the end of the Children of Israel. But God had promised that would not be. We might experience terrible situations that we feel we just can’t endure. Through all our earthly trials and affliction, our trust must remain in the Lord.

Just as the Lord directed the path of Joseph and David so He continues to order and direct your steps. In this Easter season we rejoice and affirm forgiveness life and salvation. Treasure these gifts despite any hardship you might currently have to endure.

We rejoice in Thee, O Lord everlasting, with gladness and exultation, beseeching Thee, that while the gates of our hearts are thrown open in Thy praise, they may also be flung wide to receive Thy mercy and truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with Thee and the Holy Ghost, One God, world without end. Amen.[1]

Lord Jesus, by Your Spirit, You give us faith to cast out all fear of confessing the true faith; for we are helpless to save ourselves, and we must trust in You and You along for our salvation. Keep us faithful to the end, that You will not be ashamed of us when You come in Your glory with Your Father and the holy angels; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.[2]



[1]© 2005 Lutheran Liturgical Prayer Brotherhood
[2] Collect for Easter Monday, Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Groundbreaking for a new Parish Hall


God has brought us to this time and place. As we break ground today, we take the first step in the actual construction of a new building for the worship of God, for fellowship, prayer and the study of His Word. He has led us, heard our prayers, blessed our gifts, guided our plans and will provide needed wisdom to complete this new facility.

RESPONSIVE CALL TO WORSHIP

Pastor: Except the Lord build the House, they labor in vain that builds it.

People: For every house is built by some man; but He that builds all things is God.

Pastor: Consecrate your whole substance this day to the Lord.

People: We express our trust in the living God, the Savior of the world and we gather here to         celebrate His love, mercy and goodness to us.

Pastor: In the Name of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

People: We gather to break this ground and commit ourselves to the building of a House of the Lord for His worship, praise, prayer, fellowship and the study of His Word.

Pastor: In the name of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, I invite you now to rededicate yourself to the Lord Jesus Christ, to recognize that means a strong commitment to the Church, which He has purchased with His own blood, and to commit your entire being to the fulfillment of our new building that will serve as a witness of His power and His love to all who pass this way.

People: We praise God for our blessings and desire to share our means accordingly to assure an effective and meaningful ministry for this Church.

PRAYER OF DEDICATION

Lord, may this be a place where sinners find their Savior and the prodigal is welcomed by you, a generous and compassionate Father. May this be a place your saints, young and old, are encouraged in the gospel, equipped for service, sanctified in the truth, and joyously assured of the eternal redemption Jesus has earned for us. Where the wounded receive comfort for their souls, the weary are revived, the despairing are filled with hope, the depressed filled with joy, and the sick are healed;where the thirsty find satisfaction and the hungry are filled up.May this be a place where your word is honored; where friendships are established and deepened and many sins are covered by love.

We pray that You will deepen within each of us a sense of gratitude for the many sacrifices made for us by those who have gone before us, and thereby find this parish a house of peace, a safe haven and a harbor of hope. May we continue to see, by faith, the needs of those around us and the needs of those who shall come after us, and do all that is possible to show to them our witness in word and deed of the riches of life with Christ. In Jesus name we pray.

People: Amen

Pastor: In the Name of Christ, we go forth to break ground.

People: In the name of the Lord.  AMEN.

Easter 2 Series C


Easter 2 Series C 

Acts 5:12–20 (21–32)
Revelation 1:4–18
John 20:19–31

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. 

That You May Believe and Have Life in His Name

On the Lord’s Day, St. John the Apostle was given a revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God, the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last. He is the Living One, “the firstborn of the dead” (Revelation 1:5). He died for all people, and behold, He is alive forevermore! Therefore, He has “the keys of Death and Hades” (Revelation 1:18). For His death atoned for sin and conquered death, and in His resurrection He opened the kingdom of heaven to us. The “sharp two-edged sword” of His mouth (Revelation 1:16) calls you to “believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,” that by such faith “you may have life in His name” (John 20:31). To that end, He sends His ministers of the Word, as the Father sent Him, “to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins” (Acts 5:31).

The Jesus that John beheld on Patmos and that Thomas saw in the upper room is the same Jesus that you behold in Word and Sacrament. You see Him, not with your eyes, but with your ears. You don’t hear a voice like a trumpet but you hear Jesus in the preaching of a man...and strangely enough Jesus sounds like a farm kid from Minnesota who puts too much emphasis on long vowels. You hear Jesus because it’s not my word that I preach but His. It is His Word that I was sent here to preach. It wasn’t the words of my predecessors in this pulpit that they preached, but the Word of God that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

John 20:19–31
Jesus appears to the disciples and to Thomas

John 20:19 – 
Οὔσης οὖν ὀψίας τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἐκείνῃ τῇ μιᾷ σαββάτων, καὶ τῶν θυρῶν κεκλεισμένων ὅπου ἦσαν οἱ μαθηταὶ διὰ τὸν φόβον τῶν Ἰουδαίων, ἦλθεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς καὶ ἔστη εἰς τὸ μέσον, καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς• Εἰρήνη ὑμῖν.
being evening on the first day of the week, for fear of the Jews the doors were shut, Jesus stood before them and said peace to you all.  

Calvin said Jesus climbed through a window. Still deny the real presence.

John 20:20 – 
καὶ τοῦτο εἰπὼν ἔδειξεν τὰς χεῖρας καὶ τὴν πλευρὰν αὐτοῖς. ἐχάρησαν οὖν οἱ μαθηταὶ ἰδόντες τὸν κύριον.
after saying this he showed them his hands and his side. 

πλευρὰν - Where we get pleurisy. Only John records blood coming from Jesus' side...19:34 Luke will say hands and feet.

John 20:21 – 
εἶπεν οὖν αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς πάλιν• Εἰρήνη ὑμῖν• καθὼς ἀπέσταλκέν με ὁ πατήρ, κἀγὼ πέμπω ὑμᾶς.
Jesus said again, (because of his hand and side) "peace to you" as the Father sent me I send you.  

Establishment of the apostolic ministry.  Why the two verbs for send? 

ἀπέσταλκέν - sent with authority, the authority of Christ.

John 20:22 – 
καὶ τοῦτο εἰπὼν ἐνεφύσησεν καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς• Λάβετε πνεῦμα ἅγιον
saying this, He breathed and said to them receive the Holy Spirit. Whomever sins you forgive they are forgiven whomever sins you retain they are retained. 

Spirit is called the breath of God, see Ps. 33 and Ez. The breath is the speaking, spirit conveyed through the Word. "Now the keys belong to me" says Jesus.

John 20:24 – 
Θωμᾶς δὲ εἷς ἐκ τῶν δώδεκα, ὁ λεγόμενος Δίδυμος, οὐκ ἦν μετ’ αὐτῶν ὅτε [g]ἦλθεν Ἰησοῦς.
but Thomas one of the twelve was not with them when Jesus came. 

Why called the twin? Because he had a twin? But we are there too.  Thomas is Eeyore, "let us go with Him and die with Him" 

John 20:25 – 
ἔλεγον οὖν αὐτῷ οἱ ἄλλοι μαθηταί• Ἑωράκαμεν τὸν κύριον. ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς• Ἐὰν μὴ ἴδω ἐν ταῖς χερσὶν αὐτοῦ τὸν τύπον τῶν ἥλων καὶ βάλω τὸν δάκτυλόν μου εἰς τὸν τύπον τῶν ἥλων καὶ βάλω [h]μου τὴν χεῖρα εἰς τὴν πλευρὰν αὐτοῦ, οὐ μὴ πιστεύσω.
"by no means will I believe. Absolutely not!"  The other disciples said, we have beheld the Lord. 

John 20:26 – 
Καὶ μεθ’ ἡμέρας ὀκτὼ πάλιν ἦσαν ἔσω οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ καὶ Θωμᾶς μετ’ αὐτῶν. ἔρχεται ὁ Ἰησοῦς τῶν θυρῶν κεκλεισμένων, καὶ ἔστη εἰς τὸ μέσον καὶ εἶπεν• Εἰρήνη ὑμῖν.
After eight days (inclusive) He rises and appears on the eighth day...his disciples were again gathered Thomas was with them and door was shut and still being shut...

John 20:27 – 
εἶτα λέγει τῷ Θωμᾷ• Φέρε τὸν δάκτυλόν σου ὧδε καὶ ἴδε τὰς χεῖράς μου, καὶ φέρε τὴν χεῖρά σου καὶ βάλε εἰς τὴν πλευράν μου, καὶ μὴ γίνου ἄπιστος ἀλλὰ πιστός.
"see right before you" do not be faithless but faithful...do not be unbelieving but believing... 

We touch the nails and thrust every time the word is preached and the sacraments administrated.  We receive in the Sacrament the whole Christ. 

John 20:28 – 
ἀπεκρίθη Θωμᾶς καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ• Ὁ κύριός μου καὶ ὁ θεός μου.
the Lord of me...the God of me...

Augustine quote. "Thomas saw and touched a man and confessed a God Whom he did not see or touch." 

John 20:29 – 
λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς• Ὅτι ἑώρακάς με πεπίστευκας; μακάριοι οἱ μὴ ἰδόντες καὶ πιστεύσαντες.
because you have seen me you believe blessed are those who believe w/o seeing. 

John 20:30-32 – 
Πολλὰ μὲν οὖν καὶ ἄλλα σημεῖα ἐποίησεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἐνώπιον τῶν μαθητῶν, ἃ οὐκ ἔστιν γεγραμμένα ἐν τῷ βιβλίῳ τούτῳ• 31 ταῦτα δὲ γέγραπται ἵνα πιστεύητε ὅτι Ἰησοῦς ἐστιν ὁ χριστὸς ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ, καὶ ἵνα πιστεύοντες ζωὴν ἔχητε ἐν τῷ ὀνόματι αὐτοῦ.

much many other signs on the other hand these are  written...foundational confession - Jesus is the Christ the Son of God. 

These are what got Jesus crucified...You are the Christ...you are the son of God.  This is not blind faith. There is a promise to apologetics but a limit. It tears down only it does not build up. Even the demons believe and shutter. Saving faith come by faith...

-The Greek New Testament: SBL Edition. Copyright © 2010 by Society of Biblical Literature and Logos Bible Software
-ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
-Schnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts, ‘The Resurrection of our Lord’© WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use
-LCMS Lectionary notes © 2018
-Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing

Easter Sunday




Easter Sunday – April 21, 2019 – Psalm 118:1

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!

Luther would comment that this particular Psalm was his favorite. “I will call it my own!” (AE 14:45) It was sung at the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem  v.26; John 12:13 and when He referred it to his death and resurrection see vv.22-23 Matthew 21:42-44)
From the Catechism we are reminded:
What does God require of us?
   We should call upon His name in every trouble, pray, praise, and give thanks.

Who is God?
   He is good, kind, desiring our welfare.

What do we owe our heavenly Father for all His goodness?
   It is our duty to “thank and praise, serve and obey Him. 

There is now new life in Christ. Today we celebrate life. Today we celebrate victory. Today we celebrate forgiveness and freedom. Today is the day we remember all of God’s promises. They are “yes” and “amen” in Jesus. Because He lives we shall live also!
Almighty God the Father, through Your only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, You have overcome death and opened the gate of everlasting life to us. Grant that we, who celebrate with joy the day of our Lord’s resurrection, may be raised from the death of sin by Your life-giving Spirit; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.[1]


[1] Collect for Easter, Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

Time in the Word - Easter 2


Preparation for next week, the Second Sunday of Easter

 Collects for the Feast of the Resurrection of Our LordAlmighty God, through Your only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, You overcame death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life. We humbly pray that we may live before You in righteousness and purity forever; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Almighty God the Father, through Your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ You have overcome death and opened the gate of everlasting life to us. Grant that we, who celebrate with joy the day of our Lord’s resurrection, may be raised from the death of sin by Your life-giving Spirit; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

O God, in the paschal feast You restore all creation. Continue to send Your heavenly gifts upon Your people that they may walk in perfect freedom and receive eternal life; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

Collect for Easter 2Almighty 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.

Almighty God, by the glorious resurrection of Your Son, Jesus Christ, You destroyed death and brought life and immortality to light. Grant that we who have been raised with Him may abide in His presence and rejoice in the hope of eternal glory; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

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.

The theme for the Second Sunday of Easter is Faith in the Risen Christ. The First reading, from St. Luke’s history of the Apostolic Church, the Book of Acts, tells about St. Peter, the one who, out of fear, had denied Christ (Matt 26:69–75) and been restored (John 15:19). Here, Peter performs miracles in the name of Jesus and testifies boldly before the Jewish council. He has moved from fear to faith. The second reading speaks of the revelation of Jesus Christ that was given to the holy Evangelist and Apostle John. Though Christians were being persecuted, and John himself was living in exile on Patmos, the vision of Christ, the One who died, but is alive forevermore, brings reassurance that the victory over death and Hades is complete. John has moved from tribulation to faith. The Gospel is the familiar account of “doubting Thomas,” who, when he saw the risen Christ, was moved to confess, “My Lord and my God.” Thomas has moved from doubt to faith.
Time in the Word
22- 27 April 2019
Preparation for next week, the Second Sunday of Easter

Monday, 22 April 2019Psalm 105:1–5, 8; antiphon, 1 Peter 2:2–3—The second Sunday of Easter is sometimes called Quasimodogeniti, Latin for the first words of the Introit, ‘Like newborn infants.’ Just as a baby eagerly suckles at its mother’s breast, so we, who have been given new life in Christ by His death and resurrection, also do eagerly desire the pure spiritual milk provided by our Lord for our nourishment and good growth. This He gives us through the preaching of His Word and the most blessed Sacrament of the Altar.

Tuesday, 23 April 2019Psalm 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, 24 April 2019Acts 5:12–32—Jesus remained a threat to the Jewish authorities, even after He had ascended to heaven. Here, the apostle Peter is jailed for performing miracles in the name of Jesus. After he is miraculously freed by an angel of God, he is summoned before the Jewish council. Peter, filled with strength that comes only from God, boldly asserts, “We must obey God rather than men.”

Thursday, 25 April 2019Revelation 1:4–18—St. John, the only one of the Twelve still alive at the time of his revelation, sees a glorious vision from the Lord Jesus. The revelation, recorded for our sakes, gives great comfort to Christians of all times, whether they are living in a time of severe persecution or not. Jesus is the Victor! Just look at all this short section has to say about Jesus: He is the One who was and is and is to come, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, the Ruler over all, the Alpha and Omega. Having conquered death, He holds the keys to Death and Hades; these can trouble us no longer, we who are in Christ. His called ministers exercise these keys to forgive our sins, as the Gospel shows.

Friday, 26 April 2019John 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 first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep.’ (1 Cor 15:20)

Saturday, 27 April 2019—The Hymn of the Day, O Sons and Daughters of the King (LSB #470), recounts the story of Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances and particularly His encounter with Thomas. His words to Thomas are meant for us, also: ‘How blest are they who have not seen And yet whose faith has constant been, For they eternal life shall win. Alleluia!’

This Week’s Morning Prayer Readings

Read and review the following Bible stories for each day…

Monday, 22 April- Monday will be Make up Day from inclement we've received this year. The reading will be announced that day at school
Tuesday, 23 April- The Ascension Acts 1:1-11
Wednesday, 24 April– Chapel Day
Thursday, 25 April- Pentecost –Acts 2 [selective verses]
Friday, 26 April-A Lame beggar healed –Acts 3:1-10

From the Catechism; The Office of the Keys

Sources 
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006Concordia Publishing House
Image of Christ appearing to St. Thomas found here: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/c/cc/Caravaggio_incredulity.jpg
Luther’s Seal © Ed Rajas Higher Things


Saturday, April 20, 2019

Easter Festival



Easter 2019
Luke 24:1-11

Stat Crux Dum Volvitur Orbis” –“The cross of Christ stands while the world spins.” Even when steeples are falling.  

The iconic Notre Dame Cathedral. Its construction began in the 12th century. Was completed in the 13th century. A treasure of French Gothic architecture. One of the most famous symbols of Paris. Attracting 12 million visitors yearly. 850 years of history. Was reduced to a smoldering shell. In just a few short hours this past Monday. 

And on this day. Easter Sunday 2019. Especially within the context of events. Which shape our time. We must remember. Once again. The word, which we use for “church”. Is a translation of the Greek word ecclesia. (Εκκλησία) Meaning “a calling out.” It never refers to a building. Or a meeting place. But always to a people. The ones “called out” of this world by God. Calling them into His service.

The message of Easter. Is a third person confession of faith. “Christ is risen, He is risen indeed!” As well as a first person testimony. “I have seen the Lord” And this is the message those “called out” are to proclaim. It is all you need to hear. 

The story of Easter starts with the obvious. Jesus is dead. And His followers assume that he remained dead. The women come to the tomb. Because that is where they saw the body of Jesus was placed after his crucifixion (23:55-56). 

They bring the spices along to anoint the body of Jesus. To show proper respect for the dead. The discovery of the empty tomb does not lead to an easy change of perspective. It brings confusion. Not clarity. Bodies that are dead presumably remain dead. The best one can do is to treat them with respect.

They arrived at the tomb to hallow his memory. With praise for his legacy. Much as the women imagined themselves. Called to honor his dead body. With spices and ointments. 
The women receive a word that runs counter to what they know to be true. "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen." (24:5). 

The women encounter the resurrection through this message. They are told that Jesus has risen. But they do not see the risen Jesus himself. 

What they have is a word. A message. And this is precisely where our situation is like that of the women on the first Easter. We are all given a message of resurrection. This flies in the face of what we know to be true.

The only logical response to such a message is unbelief. Experience teaches that death wins. The Easter message says that Jesus lives. The women bring the message of resurrection to the others. And they respond as thinking people regularly respond. They thought that the message was "an idle tale, and they did not believe them" (24:11).

Unbelief does not mean that people believe nothing. Rather. It means that they believe something else. People say, "I don't believe it!" Because there is something else. That they believe more strongly. 

Yet here is where the Easter message begins its work. By challenging our convictions. Experience teaches that death wins. And that even the strongest succumb to it. Experience teaches that life is what you make it. So get what you can while you can. Because it will be over soon enough. And the Easter message asks, "Really? How can you be so sure?" Yes! Death is real. But it is not final.  Because of Easter. Life gets the last word.

What changed their minds? Those who once regarded the Resurrection as an idle tale. Would eventually have a powerful experience of the Risen Christ. 

Somehow, Peter – perhaps because of his experience on the mount of Transfiguration. Or his sleepy time in the Garden. Did not dismiss the report of the women. Instead of snickering. He went running. And he found what he probably already knew to be true. The tomb was empty. 

You who gather for worship on Easter Sunday. Follow in the footsteps of Peter.  You have heard the rumor that Jesus is alive. And you have come to hear again for yourselves: “Christ is risen” and “We have seen the Lord!”  What if it is true? What if death is real. But not final? What if Jesus is not merely past. But present?  

In the midst of change. We cling to that which is permanent. Dead is real. But it is not final. In Jesus, life gets the last word. The message is clear. We have seen the Lord. Christ is risen. He is risen indeed! Hallelujah.

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Image: CNN 
Text-week: Commentary on Luke 24:1-12 by Craig R. Koester Working Preacher © March 2013

Easter Sunrise



Easter Sunrise
21 April, 2019
1 Corinthians 15:1-11
A Personal Easter Experience

Almighty God the Father, through Your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ You have overcome death and opened the gate of everlasting life to us. Grant that we, who celebrate with joy the Lord’s resurrection, may be raise from the death of sin by Your life-giving Spirit; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever. Amen

Easter can be only a matter of history – of what happened to others. It can tell us of various appearances of the risen Christ to people of the past. Paul brings Easter up-to-date, involving his own personal experience. Today we can add a far longer list of resurrection appearances to people through twenty centuries, but can we with Paul say, “He appeared to me also?” As far as Paul is concerned, Easter never happened until you personally have an encounter with the risen Lord. If Easter is to be real to you…

1. You first need a contemporary experience, not only historical. – For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance : that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Vv. 3-7

A. Paul has no problem explaining the historical context of the Easter story. In fact, he insists on it. He tells the story of the resurrection just like every single generation has heard it and still needs to hear it. “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”

1. He reminds us that what he is passing on to us is the most important aspect of our Christian faith. Christianity stands or falls on the teaching of the resurrection. The heart of our faith is found in this one small yet powerful sentence, Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.

a. That Jesus died, was buried and rose again is the teaching that makes us uniquely Christian. Without this teaching, there is no Christian faith. This is the message you have come to hear Sunday after Sunday. It’s the message that makes us Easter people - Jesus died, was buried and rose again.

b. And this Easter story happened just as it was suppose to happen. Paul tells us this all happened “according to the Scriptures.” What was predicted by the prophets of old happened in time and space in the town of Jerusalem around the year 30 AD. What had been promised came true. It happened just as the prophecy was predicted.

2. In addition to the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, there are also His appearances to countless persons over a forty-day period. He appeared to Peter, to the twelve, to more than five hundred believers at the same time, to James, and to all of the apostles.

B. There are countless sightings; there are many eye-witnesses, which give convincing proof of the resurrection. He appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. These eye-witnesses give validity to the resurrection.

St. Paul gives us a list of those who were eye-witnesses, who met Jesus face to face after the resurrection. These eye-witnesses give credibility to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Paul is saying, “You Corinthians, you want proof? Here are the names. Here are the people involved. Have a conversation. Check out their story. Talk to them. They have all seen Jesus alive from the dead! It’s not made up as some have said. They have seen Jesus with their own eyes.”

Transition: The resurrection happened in time and space. But it needs to be personally experienced by you today.

2. You too need to encounter the living Christ. “And last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.” V.8

A. Paul will speak personally of his encounter with the risen Lord Jesus. Not only was he an eye-witness to the resurrection of Jesus Christ but his life was forever changed after that meeting. He was changed - from a man hell-bent on arresting and persecuting Christians to becoming the chief spokesperson for the Jesus movement. He was changed - from following rules, regulations, traditions and ceremonies to a man who would later write, “It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.” Romans 9:15

B. You too have connected with the Lord Christ. Ours is not a religion in which we work our way up to God by pre-determined steps. It’s the difference between Do and Done. And what a difference it is! The Faith is not purpose-driven its Spirit given. It’s a life lived with the living Lord Jesus. It is His life, which has changed you as He orders your days, guides each step and directs your life.
Reject not until you have examined the evidence. By His bodily resurrection and His appearance to countless eye-witnesses, we can say boldly and confidently this day, “He is Risen! He is Risen indeed!”

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