Sunday, April 12, 2015

Easter 2 Quasimodo Geniti

John 20:19-31Quasimodo Geniti – April 12, 2015
Jesus Comes through Closed Doors
The resurrection of Jesus from the dead and his ascension into heaven are really essentially the same event.  When Jesus had conquered sin, death, and the depths of hell, there were no longer any enemies to undo.  Nothing kept him from standing at the right hand of his Father in resplendent glory.  Entrance to heaven was open — for him – and to all of us who by faith place our confidence in him.  So here we do see one more enemy, don’t we?  We see one more obstacle that bars sinful flesh and blood from entering the presence of the holy God in his heavenly courts.  We see unbelief.  Or rather, because we don’t see, we struggle with unbelief.   
The devil still roams – not to stop Christ from accomplishing our salvation – that is too late – his head is crushed, his doom is certain.  But between now and the final judgment, he continues to do what he can to keep us from enjoying the salvation that Jesus won.  He seeks to block and destroy faith that receives and embraces this salvation.  The devil deceives with false doctrine and false promises of pleasure.  And the world is under his persuasion.  Now, God loves the world.  The devil hates the world because he hates God.  So it pleases the devil to torture the world with his lies and then use the very world for whom Christ died to tempt and persecute those who love God.  He is wicked.  There is nothing more wicked that the spiritual forces that compel poor sinners to reject the salvation that God has won for them.  And yet we see in ourselves exactly what this wickedness is handcrafted to appeal to.  It is designed by Satan to appeal to you. 

Friday, April 3, 2015

Good Friday

Hebrews4:14–5:7 - Good Friday - April 3, 2015
Our High Priest
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.
What is a priest?  As my members may know, I often like to stress the importance of knowing Old Testament history, because if we don’t know it, we miss out on the context of much of the New Testament.  The fact that it is called the New Testament alone should itself compel us to become at least a little acquainted with the Old.  Now this is not to say that we need to become Jews in order to be true Christians.  God forbid!  The Law of Moses has been fulfilled and all the ceremonies that God commanded him to teach the people have been abrogated.  But why? 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Maundy Thursday

John13:1-15 - Maundy Thursday - April 2, 2015
Who Receives Christ Worthily?
Let us pray:
Lamb of God, pure and holy, who on the cross didst suffer,
Ever patient and lowly, Thyself to scorn didst offer.
All sins Thou borest for us, else had despair reigned o’er us:
Have mercy on us, O Jesus!  Amen. 
These words were written by Nikolaus Decius in 1531 at the height of the Lutheran Reformation.  It was a hymnic version of the Agnus Dei, which for generations had been sung exclusively in Latin.  Agnus Dei simply means Lamb of God, as in, O Thou Lamb of God, that takest away the sin of the world, have mercy upon us.  Decius wrote this hymn in order to bring this prayer into the language of the people.  But even as much as the people needed these words in their own language, they needed to understand what these words really meant – what the words actually teach us.  And this hymn kind of spells it out for us.  That’s the purpose of a hymn – to preach a sermon of sorts: