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Grace, Mercy and Peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
He is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
He is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
He is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
When we look at our Gospel lesson for today we see that John provides us with three main topics or events. The first event is about Jesus appearing to the disciples, the second event is about the disciple Thomas and his unbelief, and lastly there is the purpose for the book of John. Now all three of these are rich in theology and to cover all of them thoroughly would take time that we simply do not have right now and would leave all us confused. So, while we will look closely at one of these topics, I encourage you all in your personal Bible study time to study the other two. With that said, I would like you to your attention to the first five verses of our Gospel lesson. Verses 19-23. For it is in in these verses that John tells us about the amazing event of Jesus appearing to the disciples. An event that should not only leave us in awe of our risen Lord and Savior, but also an event that provides us with one of, if not the most foundational confession we have, the Office of the Keys. But, I am getting ahead of myself, let’s take a step back and look at these verses in our Gospel lesson.
When we look at our Gospel lesson for today we see that John provides us with three main topics or events. The first event is about Jesus appearing to the disciples, the second event is about the disciple Thomas and his unbelief, and lastly there is the purpose for the book of John. Now all three of these are rich in theology and to cover all of them thoroughly would take time that we simply do not have right now and would leave all us confused. So, while we will look closely at one of these topics, I encourage you all in your personal Bible study time to study the other two. With that said, I would like you to your attention to the first five verses of our Gospel lesson. Verses 19-23. For it is in in these verses that John tells us about the amazing event of Jesus appearing to the disciples. An event that should not only leave us in awe of our risen Lord and Savior, but also an event that provides us with one of, if not the most foundational confession we have, the Office of the Keys. But, I am getting ahead of myself, let’s take a step back and look at these verses in our Gospel lesson.
When we look at our Gospel lesson for today we see that John provides us with three main topics or events. The first event is about Jesus appearing to the disciples, the second event is about the disciple Thomas and his unbelief, and lastly there is the purpose for the book of John. Now all three of these are rich in theology and to cover all of them thoroughly would take time that we simply do not have right now and would leave all us confused. So, while we will look closely at one of these topics, I encourage you all in your personal Bible study time to study the other two. With that said, I would like you to your attention to the first five verses of our Gospel lesson. Verses 19-23. For it is in in these verses that John tells us about the amazing event of Jesus appearing to the disciples. An event that should not only leave us in awe of our risen Lord and Savior, but also an event that provides us with one of, if not the most foundational confession we have, the Office of the Keys. But, I am getting ahead of myself, let’s take a step back and look at these verses in our Gospel lesson.
Now in these verses John shows us what happened on the evening of the first Easter. However, we must first remember the events we heard about in the readings last week. In the morning we were told that Mary Magdalene, Peter and another unnamed disciple went to Jesus tomb and found it empty. However, after finding it empty the disciples went home leaving Mary at the tomb by herself. Mary then sees someone she thinks is the gardener, but soon finds out it is actually Jesus and he tells her to go and tell the disciples that He will be ascending to God the Father soon. To which Mary happily obliges. After this we are not told by John what happens the rest of the day, but instead he picks up the narrative again in the evening. Only this time things are a little bit different. We enter the story in verse 19 and are told that the disciples have locked themselves in a room because they feared being persecuted by the authority figures of the Jews for being disciples of Jesus. Which, if you think about it makes sense. I mean 3 days earlier they witnessed Jesus, they’re Lord and Teacher being tried, beaten and then crucified on a cross. It would only make sense for those leaders to go after them next.
Now in these verses John shows us what happened on the evening of the first Easter. However, we must first remember the events we heard about in the readings last week. In the morning we were told that Mary Magdalene, Peter and another unnamed disciple went to Jesus tomb and found it empty. However, after finding it empty the disciples went home leaving Mary at the tomb by herself. Mary then sees someone she thinks is the gardener, but soon finds out it is actually Jesus and he tells her to go and tell the disciples that He will be ascending to God the Father soon. To which Mary happily obliges. After this we are not told by John what happens the rest of the day, but instead he picks up the narrative again in the evening. Only this time things are a little bit different. We enter the story in verse 19 and are told that the disciples have locked themselves in a room because they feared being persecuted by the authority figures of the Jews for being disciples of Jesus. Which, if you think about it makes sense. I mean 3 days earlier they witnessed Jesus, they’re Lord and Teacher being tried, beaten and then crucified on a cross. It would only make sense for those leaders to go after them next.
Now in these verses John shows us what happened on the evening of the first Easter. However, we must first remember the events we heard about in the readings last week. In the morning we were told that Mary Magdalene, Peter and another unnamed disciple went to Jesus tomb and found it empty. However, after finding it empty the disciples went home leaving Mary at the tomb by herself. Mary then sees someone she thinks is the gardener, but soon finds out it is actually Jesus and he tells her to go and tell the disciples that He will be ascending to God the Father soon. To which Mary happily obliges. After this we are not told by John what happens the rest of the day, but instead he picks up the narrative again in the evening. Only this time things are a little bit different. We enter the story in verse 19 and are told that the disciples have locked themselves in a room because they feared being persecuted by the authority figures of the Jews for being disciples of Jesus. Which, if you think about it makes sense. I mean 3 days earlier they witnessed Jesus, they’re Lord and Teacher being tried, beaten and then crucified on a cross. It would only make sense for those leaders to go after them next.
But despite their fears and the locked door, Jesus appears to the disciples in the middle of the room and changes the entire feel of the narrative. He says to them “Peace be with you.” Now this is not “Peace be with you” in the sense of calming their fears. No, this phrase “Peace be with you” is a reference back to and when Jesus promised both peace and the Holy Spirit to the disciples. This peace is a pronouncement of blessing and forgiveness upon the disciples. One that tells them that the eschatological peace promised throughout the Old Testament has now been made accessible to them through Him. He then shows the disciples the wounds on His hands and his side. He does this to show them both that it is really Him, standing amidst them in the flesh and to show them the source of the peace that He brings to them. For it is as the prophet Isaiah says in , “with His wounds we are healed.” Only then does the atmosphere in the room change. Only then do we see the disciples fear replaced with gladness. And Jesus continues by again saying to the disciples, “Peace be with you.” Only this time He commissions the disciples to participate in the mission of God. Granting them the gift of the Holy Spirit to sustain them in that mission. A mission to proclaim the victory of Christ and the forgiveness of sins to all people.
But despite their fears and the locked door, Jesus appears to the disciples in the middle of the room and changes the entire feel of the narrative. He says to them “Peace be with you.” Now this is not “Peace be with you” in the sense of calming their fears. No, this phrase “Peace be with you” is a reference back to and when Jesus promised both peace and the Holy Spirit to the disciples. This peace is a pronouncement of blessing and forgiveness upon the disciples. One that tells them that the eschatological peace promised throughout the Old Testament has now been made accessible to them through Him. He then shows the disciples the wounds on His hands and his side. He does this to show them both that it is really Him, standing amidst them in the flesh and to show them the source of the peace that He brings to them. For it is as the prophet Isaiah says in , “with His wounds we are healed.” Only then does the atmosphere in the room change. Only then do we see the disciples fear replaced with gladness. And Jesus continues by again saying to the disciples, “Peace be with you.” Only this time He commissions the disciples to participate in the mission of God. Granting them the gift of the Holy Spirit to sustain them in that mission. A mission to proclaim the victory of Christ and the forgiveness of sins to all people.
But despite their fears and the locked door, Jesus appears to the disciples in the middle of the room and changes the entire feel of the narrative. He says to them “Peace be with you.” Now this is not “Peace be with you” in the sense of calming their fears. No, this phrase “Peace be with you” is a reference back to and when Jesus promised both peace and the Holy Spirit to the disciples. This peace is a pronouncement of blessing and forgiveness upon the disciples. One that tells them that the eschatological peace promised throughout the Old Testament has now been made accessible to them through Him. He then shows the disciples the wounds on His hands and his side. He does this to show them both that it is really Him, standing amidst them in the flesh and to show them the source of the peace that He brings to them. For it is as the prophet Isaiah says in , “with His wounds we are healed.” Only then does the atmosphere in the room change. Only then do we see the disciples fear replaced with gladness. And Jesus continues by again saying to the disciples, “Peace be with you.” Only this time He commissions the disciples to participate in the mission of God. Granting them the gift of the Holy Spirit to sustain them in that mission. A mission to proclaim the victory of Christ and the forgiveness of sins to all people.
But what about us? Don’t we find ourselves in similar situations like the disciples found themselves in that first Easter evening? We may not be hiding from the Jewish leaders of our day, but we are hiding. We hide from our family and friends. We hide from our co-workers and neighbors. We hide just like the disciples did, for fear of being persecuted for our beliefs. Sure we may not be killed for being a Christian, but we might be judged and talked bad about. We live in such a way that we want people to like us, so much so that maybe we are not willing to give up our beliefs, but we are certainly willing to not talk about them. We figure that if we just don’t talk about it then we can still be friends and you can believe what you believe and I’ll believe what I believe. No harm, no foul, right? But is that what being a Christian is really all about? Is that what we are called to by Christ in this passage? Are we really called to carry out our daily lives in fear of what others may think of us and instead to only worry about my personal relationship with Christ? I know that I am forgiven and Christ died for my sins and that’s all that matters. Or is being a Christian about something more than just your personal relationship with Christ?
But what about us? Don’t we find ourselves in similar situations like the disciples found themselves in that first Easter evening? We may not be hiding from the Jewish leaders of our day, but we are hiding. We hide from our family and friends. We hide from our co-workers and neighbors. We hide just like the disciples did, for fear of being persecuted for our beliefs. Sure we may not be killed for being a Christian, but we might be judged and talked bad about. We live in such a way that we want people to like us, so much so that maybe we are not willing to give up our beliefs, but we are certainly willing to not talk about them. We figure that if we just don’t talk about it then we can still be friends and you can believe what you believe and I’ll believe what I believe. No harm, no foul, right? But is that what being a Christian is really all about? Is that what we are called to by Christ in this passage? Are we really called to carry out our daily lives in fear of what others may think of us and instead to only worry about my personal relationship with Christ? I know that I am forgiven and Christ died for my sins and that’s all that matters. Or is being a Christian about something more than just your personal relationship with Christ?
But what about us? Don’t we find ourselves in similar situations like the disciples found themselves in that first Easter evening? We may not be hiding from the Jewish leaders of our day, but we are hiding. We hide from our family and friends. We hide from our co-workers and neighbors. We hide just like the disciples did, for fear of being persecuted for our beliefs. Sure we may not be killed for being a Christian, but we might be judged and talked bad about. We live in such a way that we want people to like us, so much so that maybe we are not willing to give up our beliefs, but we are certainly willing to not talk about them. We figure that if we just don’t talk about it then we can still be friends and you can believe what you believe and I’ll believe what I believe. No harm, no foul, right? But is that what being a Christian is really all about? Is that what we are called to by Christ in this passage? Are we really called to carry out our daily lives in fear of what others may think of us and instead to only worry about my personal relationship with Christ? I know that I am forgiven and Christ died for my sins and that’s all that matters. Or is being a Christian about something more than just your personal relationship with Christ?
Earlier in the sermon I made reference to the Office of the Keys. The Office of the Keys according to the Small Catechism, “is that special authority which Christ has given to His church on earth to forgive the sins of repentant sinners, but to withhold forgiveness from the unrepentant as long as they do not repent.” If you’d open your hymnals with me to page 151 or any of the confession and absolution portions of the divine services. I want to show you what makes this passage so crucial and foundational to our faith. If you look at the bottom of the page on the left hand side. You see the words of absolution that the pastor says to you after we confess our sins. They read, “Almighty God in His mercy has given His Son to die for you and for His sake forgives you all your sins. As a called and ordained servant of Christ, and by His authority, I therefore forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Then right after those words you see in brackets. That’s because it is this passage that is used as the basis for the pronouncement of absolution or the forgiveness of sins in the church. These verses are the foundation for the carrying out of the Office of the Keys. Pastor Mat stands right there and says these words, but it is not Him, but God, through the saving work of His son Jesus Christ that forgives you your sins. But while it is the duty of the pastor as the one chosen by the congregation to proclaim the forgiveness of sins through Christ to the congregation. It is the duty of every Christian, like it was the duty of the disciples, to proclaim the victory of Christ and the forgiveness of sins to the world every day in all of our vocations. For just as the disciples were commissioned by Christ and given the Holy Spirit to sustain them in their mission. So to were you commissioned by Christ, when you were given the Holy Spirit through the waters of Holy Baptism. It was in your baptism that you were made a child of God. You were entered into the saving work of Christ and made a missionary for Christ. You were forgiven your sins, rescued from sin, death and the power of the devil and given eternal life in the name of Christ Jesus. Not by your own power, but by the power of the wounds of Christ. And it is your privilege and your duty as a child of God to share this message with others out in the world. For the forgiveness of sins is the Gospel message. The forgiveness of sins is the most unique aspect of Christianity. Nowhere else in the world, no religion, no group, nor anything else, can you go to and hear from your Lord and Savior that all the sins that you have committed, all the bad things you have done in your life, all of them have been paid for by my wounds on the cross. That everything I have done, I have done for you. You are forgiven and you have the gift of eternal life in heaven with me. If that is not a message worth sharing, then I don’t know what is. But sharing this message doesn’t come without it’s struggles. Even the disciples were persecuted for sharing the Gospel. But always remember that anytime you share the Gospel, it is not you but Spirit of Christ, the Holy Spirit, working in and through you so that all may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing they may have life in His name. Amen.
Earlier in the sermon I made reference to the Office of the Keys. If you’d open your hymnal with me to page 151 or any of the confession and absolution portions of the divine services. I want to show you what makes this passage so crucial and foundational to our faith.
Earlier in the sermon I made reference to the Office of the Keys. The Office of the Keys according to the Small Catechism, “is that special authority which Christ has given to His church on earth to forgive the sins of repentant sinners, but to withhold forgiveness from the unrepentant as long as they do not repent.” If you’d open your hymnals with me to page 151 or any of the confession and absolution portions of the divine services. I want to show you what makes this passage so crucial and foundational to our faith. If you look at the bottom of the page on the left hand side. You see the words of absolution that the pastor says to you after we confess our sins. They read, “Almighty God in His mercy has given His Son to die for you and for His sake forgives you all your sins. As a called and ordained servant of Christ, and by His authority, I therefore forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Then right after those words you see in brackets. That’s because that is the passage that is used as the basis for the pronouncement of absolution or the forgiveness of sins in the church. But while it is the duty of the pastor as the one chosen by the congregation to proclaim the forgiveness of Christ to the congregation. It is the duty of every Christian, like it was the duty of the disciples, to proclaim forgiveness to the world every day in all of our vocations. For just as the disciples were commissioned by Christ and given the Holy Spirit to sustain them in their mission. So to were you commissioned by Christ, when you were given the Holy Spirit through the waters of Holy Baptism. It was your baptism that you were made a child of God, you were entered into the saving work of Christ. You were forgiven your sins, rescued from sin, death and the power of the devil and given eternal life in the name of Christ Jesus. Those wounds that Christ suffered on the cross on Good Friday, that bring peace to the world, those wounds were for you.
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