Sunday, April 24, 2016

Easter 5

John 16:5-15 - Cantate - April 24, 2016
Speaking from God
Dear saints in Christ, grace, mercy and peace to you from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen

The Gospel lesson I just read from the lectern is from the New King James Version of the Bible.  In this translation, we read that the Spirit of Truth does “not speak on his own authority.”  The English Standard Bible says the same thing – “on his own authority.”  The New International Version says, “He will not speak on his own,” and omits the word authority.  That’s actually closer to the original Greek in which the Holy Spirit first inspired these words (the word authority isn’t there).  The King James Version comes closest, “He shall not speak of (that is, from) himself.”  That’s exactly what St. John records.  The Holy Spirit does “not speak from himself.”  Now, what does this mean?  And what does this have to do with authority? 

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Easter 4

John 16:16-23 - Jubilate - April 17, 2016
While We Wait

Lord, how long will the wicked,
How long will the wicked triumph? (Psalm 94:3)
If we listened to our Gospel lesson this morning, we know the answer already.  Not long.  Our loving Savior tells us that it is just a little while until our sorrow will turn to eternal joy, which no one can take from us.  As we will sing in our closing hymn,
O little flock, fear not the Foe
Who madly seeks your overthrow;
Dread not his rage and power.
What though your courage sometimes faints,
His seeming triumph o’er God’s saints
Lasts but a little hour.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Easter 2

John20:19-31 - Quasimodogeniti - April 3, 2016
He Is Not Here — He Is Here
Jesus was crucified for all to see.  For us, his death is depicted in the preaching of the gospel, as St. Paul writes to the Galatians, “before [your] eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified” (Galatians 3:1).  He who knew no sin of his own became a sin offering for us by bearing the blame of our sin in himself (2 Corinthians 5:21).  By his bitter death, he satisfied the wrath of God against the sin of all men (Isaiah 53:11).  On the cross we behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29).  The Bible tells us to “[look] unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).  This is what we see.  This is where God’s word directs our faith.  God urges us to behold him who sits at the right hand of the Father where he exercises all authority in heaven and on earth.  Yes, but so that we might behold him there, so that we might know that he intercedes for us there as our Mediator, we are first urged to behold him by faith in the image of his crucifixion.