Trinity Sunday – "Do You Believe In God?" – 5/22/16

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ibig--i-believe-in-god-77705146If I were to ask you this morning if you believe in God, I’m sure that you would all say, ‘yes.’ If there are any atheists in the congregation this morning, I apologize for lumping you in with the rest of us theists.

For all who said, ‘yes, I believe in God,’ I say, ‘that’s great. So does the devil. So do the Muslims, the Mormons, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Unitarians and the Jews.’ And so do your boyfriends and girlfriends and friends and neighbors and coworkers who are none of the above but who don’t hesitate to jump into religious discussions, because after all, they believe in God.

As the Psalmist says, “The fool says in his heart, ‘there is no god.” (Ps.14:1; 53:1) And no one wants to being a fool.

So, what I really should have asked you this morning is not, ‘do you believe in God,’ but, ‘what God do you believe in?’ And it’s at that point that all of the happy unity that we THINK WE SHARE with all BELIEVERS quickly becomes an argument about ‘who’s got the REAL god and why it really, really matters.

But then again, who’s to say? Maybe it really, really DOESN’T MATTER. Maybe all gods are basically the same, and all religions are basically the same, just different roads that all lead to the same place. Different strokes for different folks. For the sake of peace and harmony, let’s all ‘agree to disagree.’

That of course is a long way from saying what WE just said, “Whoever will be saved shall, above all else, hold the catholic faith. Which faith, except everyone keeps WHOLE AND UNDEFILED, without doubt he will perish eternally.” The “catholic faith” is then spelled out in great detail. “And the catholic faith is this, that we worship one God, in three persons and the three persons in one God, neither confusing the persons nor dividing the substance…” etc. etc. etc. And then we concluded by saying, “This is the catholic faith which, EXCEPT A MAN BELIEVE FAITHFULLY AND FIRMLY, HE CANNOT BE SAVED.” (Athanasian Creed). Continue reading

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Pentecost – "The Particular Work of the Holy Spirit" – Acts 2:1-21 – 5/15/16

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PentecostHolySpiritOf all of the great holidays on the church’s calendar, the Day of Pentecost may well be the most mysterious of them all:
On Christmas, we celebrate the birth of a baby. We know all about that. Happens all the time.
On Good Friday, we celebrate the death of that same baby now a man. Death is something that we’re very familiar with.
On Easter we celebrate the resurrection of that man from the dead. A bit more mysterious maybe but we see it all the time, particularly around this time of year as the flowers and grass and leaves that died in the winter come to life again in the spring.
On Ascension we celebrate the bodily ascension of our Lord out of sight. But we’ve gotten so used to flying by now.

But the day of Pentecost? What are we to make of that? The SOUND “like a might rushing wind” that’s all sound and no wind and comes from within the “house where they were sitting.” “Tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.” And a fisherman preaches and the crowds shouts, ‘SAVE US.’ And 3000 are drown and die while they’re still alive and are raised from the dead before they’re buried.

It’s all pretty mysterious. How do you explain it?

That was the question of those who were there. ‘And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, in good Lutheran style, “what does this mean?”

Some wanted to take the MYSTERY out of it by giving a perfectly rational explanation. “They are filled with new wine.” Ever notice how often we try to take the ‘mystery’ out of the ‘mystery.’ We’re always trying to EXPLAIN things and solve the MYSTERY. Because if it remains a MYSTERY, then we have to admit that it just might be bigger than we are, and we don’t like that. Explaining it gives us some sense of control over it.

Peter squashes their perfectly rational explanation by adding MYSTERY on top of MYSTERY. “This is what was uttered through the prophet Joel: And IN THE LAST DAYS it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh…”

Did you catch that? Joel said that “God said I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh… IN THE LAST DAYS.” So, the Day of Pentecost is the big kick off to the ‘LAST DAYS…’ When you see the SPIRIT POURED OUT ON ALL FLESH, God is wrapping up the work that He completed on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Continue reading

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Easter 7 – " Jesus Prays For The Church" – John 17:20-26 – 5/8/16

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The setting for our gospel reading this morning is, once again, the Upper Room. Just to give you an idea of the significance of what takes place in the Upper Room, we note that John devotes 5 full chapters of his gospel to it. That’s over a quarter of his gospel, devoted solely to the couple of hours that Jesus spent with His apostles in the Upper Room. And John doesn’t even spill any ink on the institution of the Lord’s Supper, knowing that Matthew, Mark and Luke have already covered that thoroughly enough.

John records what Jesus said. It’s all teaching and final instruction. Until we come to the 17th chapter. Still set in the Upper Room, John begins this chapter by telling us that the teaching and final instructions are done. He writes, “When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said…”

Before leaving the Upper Room to go the garden of Gethsemane for His eternally scheduled appointment with Judas and the soldiers and the High Priest, and Governor and the cross and the tomb, HE PRAYS. We call this pray that Jesus prays His ‘HIGH PRIESTLY PRAYER.’ Here we see our HIGH PRIEST praying to God the Father.

First, He prays briefly for Himself. “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son that he Son may glorify you…” (17:1)

And then He prays for “THEM.” And the “THEM” includes His apostles who are in the Upper Room with Him. Continue reading

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Ascension – "The Ascension of Our Lord" – Luke 24:50-52 – 5/5/16

There is much about this Christian faith that is entirely unreasonable. Christians are asked to believe certain things that are hard to believe. For examples, virgins do not conceive and have babies. Crucified men who have had a spear plunged into their heart don’t rise from the dead as fit as a fiddle three days later. And human beings don’t fly without the aid of wings or propellers or jet engines.

The unbeliever laughs. And who can blame them really? But every Sunday and at lots of other times, you and I say, “I believe it.” “I believe in Jesus Christ… born of the virgin Mary… He rose again according to the Scriptures… and ascended into heaven…and comes again to judge…”

What kind of mind hears stuff like this and says, “I believe it?” It is the mind that the Scriptures call the “renewed mind.” The unbeliever calls it a crazy mind. But we say, “Thanks be to God that He has renewed my mind so that I may believe the unbelievable and find real hope in such incredible claims.”

Martin Luther says, “The more reason dwells on [the ascension], the more it seems that it is not true. For human reason cannot grasp it; that a man of flesh and blood has gone up into heaven and become a Lord over all creatures and has equal power with God. Many barely believe such things of God not to mention a human being. Therefore, in matters of faith, which treat the divine nature and will and our salvation, close your eyes and ears and all your senses and only hear and diligently pay attention to what and how the Scriptures speak of it.”

In other words, it’s perfectly okay to relax and believe the unbelievable about Jesus Christ simply because “the bible tells me so.” Don’t worry if this sounds childish or even naïve. Jesus has so completely turned the wisdom of this age on its head, that it is the little child who sets the standard for us all to emulate. Continue reading

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St. Philip and St. James – Apostles – "Show Us The Father" – John 14:8-14 – 5/1/16

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Today, we ‘honor’ two of the apostles of Jesus Christ. Well, maybe ‘honor’ isn’t quite the right word. You ‘honor’ someone for something ‘honorable’ that they have done, like we ‘honor’ those who have served in the military or we ‘honor’ someone for inventing something or discovering something or doing something that made this world a better place to live.

But it’s hard to think about the apostles of Jesus Christ like that – at least before the day of Pentecost. Jesus doesn’t choose them to be His disciples because they possessed some particular skill or gift that would be beneficial to His ministry.

In fact, if anything, the gospels seem to go out of their way to present the apostles as men who are particularly inept and unqualified for discipleship. These 12 men show a propensity for asking bad questions, saying the wrong things and demonstrating acts of cowardice and even betrayal for financial gain.

If they are due any ‘honor’ at all, it is simply that Jesus Christ called them by the gospel and invited them to be His disciple and follow Him. “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide…” (John 15:16)

At His ascension into heaven, (which we will celebrate this Thursday evening at 7:00pm), Jesus will commission these 12 men minus Judas to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Mat.28:19-20). That’s quite a burden of responsibility that He places on them. Them who have shown little to no evidence that they are able to do what He is sending them to do.

But it is neither the skill nor the character of these men that Jesus is counting on. He will send the Holy Spirit to them. And on the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit “will guide them into all truth” and send them out to preach and teach and baptize, AND HERE WE ARE TODAY, “members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.” (Eph. 2:19-20).

So, today we honor 2 of the 12 simply for the fact that Jesus choose them and taught them and the Holy Spirit sent them. Continue reading

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Easter 5 – "Enduring Our 'Little Whiles'" – John 16:16-22

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The scene is the Upper Room on the night when He would be betrayed. The timer that God set before the creation of the world was ticking down to its final hours. It was time for the Son of God to atone for the sin of the world and reconcile all things to the Father by giving His life as a ransom for many.

“A little while, and you will see me no longer and again a little while, and you will see me.” ‘So some of his disciples said to one another, ‘What is this that he says to us, ‘A little while and you will not see me, and again a little while, and you will see me,; and ‘because I am going to the Father’? So they were saying, ‘What does he mean by ‘a little while?” We do not know what he is talking about.”

There will come a day when they will go, “Oh yea. Now I get it.” And all the confusion and all the doubt and all the “we don’t know what he is talking about,” explodes in wonder and awe and joy. But until then, they must endure their ‘little while.’

From the Upper Room they will go to the Garden of Gethsemane. While Jesus sweats drops of blood in prayer, they will sleep. High Priests and soldiers led by Judas will invade the Garden and bind Him and take Him into their custody and – they will see Him no longer. But their ‘no longer’ will last only ‘a little while.’ Three days.

Wouldn’t it be nice if all of our trials and troubles and pain and suffering was over and done with in under 72 hours? It begins on Friday night. It’s all over by daybreak Sunday morning.

If only we knew how long “a little while” lasts – we could endure it, we could manage it. No matter how bad it might be, if you know how long it’s going to last we can be patient and wait. But patience and waiting is hard when you don’t know how long “a little while” lasts.

The Psalmist cries out to God, “HOW LONG, O Lord! Will you forget me forever? HOW LONG will you hide your face from me? HOW LONG must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? HOW LONG will my enemy be exalted over me?” (Psalm 13:1-2). It is as though if only he knew HOW LONG, then he could wait patiently and endure it faithfully.

All of us are faced with our own “little whiles” throughout our life. Luther writes, “Here on earth, Christians experience an ever-recurring alternation of ‘a little while and again a little while.’ Now it is dark night; soon it is day again. Therefore the lamenting does not have to last forever, even though it seems and feels that way when we are in it.”

behind_the_mask_iii_by_dinemizThere has been a movement afoot in the church for quite some time that has tried to deny these ‘little whiles’ of pain and suffering and despair that we believers experience from time to time. It’s movement that has been around at least since the days of Job. It says something to the effect that if you were a ‘real believer’ and if you had ‘real faith,’ then you wouldn’t experience these ‘little whiles’ of suffering and grief and depression. Continue reading

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Easter 4 – "Who Are These?" – Revelation 7:9-17 – 4/17/16

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Rags_To_RobesOne of the elders has a question for us this morning. “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” He’s pointing to a multitude of people who are gathered around the throne of God and the Lamb. They’re “crying out with a loud voice,’ Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne and to the Lamb!”

“Who are these?” It’s hard to tell if John should know THESE or not. Some questions are not meant for us to actually answer but only to help us to realize what questions we actually should be asking.

This is not a scene that John has ever seen. And neither have we. This is the one, holy, Christian church as we’ve never seen it.

The only church we’ve acquainted with is the one that argues amongst itself over position and power and “who is the greatest in the kingdom.” The only picture of the church that we’re familiar with is one that hardly gathers around the throne or stands before the Lamb and if 30% of the flock is present we call it a good day. Continue reading

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Easter 3 – Mission Sunday – Rev. Ted Na Thalang

We devoted this Sunday to our annual Mission Sunday. Our special guest was Rev. Ted NaThalang – Director of Southeast Asia – The Lutheran Heritage Foundation. He preached a beautiful sermon based on Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch – Acts 8:26-38

"Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is a desert place. 27 And he rose and went. And there was an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship 28 and was returning, seated in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah. 29And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot.” 30 So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” 31 And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. 32 Now the passage of the Scripture that he was reading was this:
"Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter
and like a lamb before its shearer is silent,
so he opens not his mouth.
33 In his humiliation justice was denied him.
Who can describe his generation?
For his life is taken away from the earth.”
34 And the eunuch said to Philip, “About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus. 36 And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?” 38 And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him.

1604_LCR MISSION SUNDAY 4-10_040

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Easter 2 – "Like Newborn Infants" – John 20:19-30 – 4/3/16

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Hospital Nursery
Each of the six Sundays’ that follow Easter Sunday have been given a name that sets the tone for the Church’s worship on that particular Sunday. Names like, “Misericordias Domini,” (mercy of the Lord); “Jubilate” (rejoice); “Cantate” (sing); “Rogate” (pray); and “Exaudi”(listen).
Today, the 1st Sunday after Easter, has what most be the most delightful name – it’s“Quasimodogeniti Sunday” It means “like newborn infants.”

The name comes from 1 Peter 2:2, which was the antiphon verse that we heard in the Introit this morning. “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up to salvation, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.”

The historical connections to this 1st Sunday after Easter are pretty rich. In the Early Church, the Catechumens were baptized on Easter Eve. Easter Eve marks the END OF THE OLD and the BEGINNING OF THE NEW. The OLD AGE of sin and death have come to their LAST DAY and the NEW AGE of forgiveness and life begin anew as Christ is raised from the dead.

So, the Catechumens were baptized on Easter Eve as they, quite literally, move from the OLD to the NEW as they are taken into Jesus Christ Himself. As the baptized come out of the water, they were given a WHITE ROBE to wear which reminded them that they no longer wore the FILTHY RAGS that stunk of their sin. All that had been washed away and they were not to wear them any longer. The WHITE ROBE reminded them that they were now CLOTHED IN THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF CHRIST.

They would wear that robe for a week – 7 days. And then on the 8th day, the day stands outside of time itself, they would take the robe off and put on their street clothes again. But as they did so, the Bishop would admonish them with the words of St. Peter, “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up to salvation, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.” Continue reading

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Easter – "They Were Perplexed" – Luke 24:1-9 – 3/27/16

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We begin where we left off on Good Friday. Luke zooms in on the cross and focuses our attention on the One hanging from it. “’Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.’ And He breathed His last.”

Easter GospelLuke then widens the view and we see a Roman centurion who is also there. He’s the one in charge of carrying out this execution. He reacts very STRANGELY to His death by “praising God” and making an even stranger confession, “Certainly, this man was innocent.”

And then the lens widens ever farther and we see “all the crowds that had assembled for this spectacle…” Seems that people were as sick then as they are now and they enjoyed watching other men suffer and die in this most painful and tortuous way. And then Luke shows us that even they, who were simply spectators, “returned home beating their breasts.”

And then the lens widens even farther and we see “all of His acquaintances…standing at a distance, watching these things.” Not for the spectacle, but as friends and loved ones gathered around the bedside of a dying brother and dear friend.

And there were also “the women who had followed him from Galilee.” These were the ‘deaconesses’ doing their diaconal mercy work for Jesus and His disciples long before there was a uniform or badge to wear for it… standing at a distance, watching these things, no doubt already thinking about the funeral arrangements that will need to be made.

After a brief time lapse, not sure how long, but certainly no more than a couple of hours, Luke has the camera focused on the cross again. A man named Joseph is taking the body down and wrapping it in a linen burial cloth and taking it to a tomb he had purchased for himself. Luke gives us what seems like a trivial little detail about this tomb. “…where no one had ever yet been laid.” It was, if you will, a VIRGIN TOMB.

The camera lens now widens just enough to reveal the fact that there are others who are also there. It’s “the women who had come with him from Galilee…” They “followed and saw the tomb and how his body was laid.” The location of the tomb, the position of the body, the way it was wrapped in that linen cloth.

“And then they returned…” Luke doesn’t tell us WHERE they returned to. It’s a slow fade out as they disappear over the horizon.

Where ever it was that they returned to, it couldn’t have been too far, because before the sun is completely set on that Good Friday and no more work can be done, they have already “prepared spices and ointments” to pack around His dead body which was the reverent and deaconess thing to do.

And now the screen is totally dark. And Luke tells us, “on the Sabbath, they rested according to the commandment.” And you’re free to picture that however you will. But I for one can only picture it as lying there with minds racing from one scene to the next, eyes wide open, so filled with tears that sleep was out of the question.

If they derived any comfort or consolation from their faith, it was that they believed in the resurrection from the dead. You heard me. Belief in the resurrection from the dead was a vital ‘article’ of the Jewish faith. The party of the Sadducees didn’t believe it, but the party of the Pharisees and Scribes, who represented the vast majority of Jews, surely did. They believed in a resurrection of the dead ‘ON THE LAST DAY’ when the Messiah would comes. He will raise the faithful from their graves and bring them into His NEW CREATION.

And if you listen carefully, you can hear the faithful find their comfort and consolation in their suffering and grief and suffering in exactly this article of faith.

One of oldest books in the Old Testament is Job. In his great suffering and pain, Job declares “I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God.” (Job 19:24-25). Job believed in the resurrection of the dead on the last day.

The prophet Isaiah preached to the people of Israel saying, “the Lord of hosts… will swallow up death forever…” (Is.25:7) Isaiah preached the resurrection of the dead.

The prophet Daniel writes about the end of time when “many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” (Dan.12:2). Daniel believed in the resurrection of the dead.

And then of course, there’s that memorable scene from John’s gospel when Jesus comes to the tomb of His friend Lazarus who has died, and tries to comfort Lazarus’ grieving sister, Martha. “Your brother will rise again.” And how does Martha reply?
 ‘Resurrection from the dead? I’ve never heard of such a thing.’ No.
 ‘Resurrection from the dead? Don’t expect me to believe in that MYTH that was invented to comfort people who need to believe in something, even if it is just a myth?’ No.
 ‘Rise again? No Jesus, when you’re dead you’re dead. That’s all there is.’ No.

Martha says, ‘I know that he will rise again – in the resurrection on the last day.’ Martha believed in the resurrection from the dead on the last day when the Messiah comes.

But the revolutionary thing is what Jesus says next. “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, (that’s the resurrection FROM the dead) and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.” (that’s the resurrection TO eternal life.)

And then He asks Martha the critical question, “Do you believe this?” And Martha said, “Yes Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the son of God, who is coming into the world.” (John 11:24-27) How close to the truth dear Martha was.

So, sure the women believed in the resurrection of the dead when the Messiah comes on the last day – as did the disciples. But what they weren’t expecting or prepared for was that the last day HAD COME. And now a NEW DAY has dawned that is both the 1st day of the week and the 8th day that begins a whole NEW TIME that is BEYOND TIME.

This Jesus, whom everyone said was a ‘prophet,’ is more than a prophet. His is the Christ, the Messiah, in whom THE PROMISE OF THE RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD HAS BEEN CARRIED OUT, and in whom the NEW CREATION has begun. A NEW CREATION that for a while, exists simultaneous with the OLD. It is PRESENT but still FUTURE. It is NOW but NOT YET. And it is all wrapped up in Jesus Christ.

St. Paul declares, “If anyone is IN CHRIST, he is a NEW CREATION. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Cor. 5:17)

If you’re old enough to remember the old T.V.’s, remember how when you shut it off that little, white dot got smaller and smaller until it was finally gone. As Luke tells it, no sooner does that little dot of light disappears than the screen comes back to life and it’s “the first day of the week, at EARLY DAWN.” Only the smallest dot of light coming over the most distant horizon and the woman are already up and out the door, making their way back to the tomb “TAKING THE SPICES THEY HAD PREPARED.”

Luke tells us nothing of their journey or the conversation along the way as some of the other gospelers do. No time for any of that. Luke just wants to get there. “And they FOUND the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did NOT FIND the body of the Lord Jesus.” It’s what they DID NOT FIND that will prove to be THE GREATEST DISCOVERY IN THE WORLD.

But they’re still not ready to celebrate. Luke writes, “they were PERPLEXED.” It’s a fascinating word in the Greek. “aporeo.” It comes from the word, “poreo” which is a common word in the New Testament that means, “to set out,” “to depart,” “to go,” like when you “set out” on a journey or go somewhere. When you put that little ‘a’ in front of it, it makes it negative. “aporeo” – they couldn’t MAKE THE JOURNEY in their minds TO GO FROM what they are seeing to UNDERSTANDING what they are seeing. They were at a complete loss. “They were PERPLEXED.”

And maybe you know exactly what that word means. Maybe you have been PERPLEXED too – totally unable to process the events that have happened, at an utter loss as to how to SET OUT or MORE FORWARD with your life. I think we have all been there at one time or another.

But if there is one thing in this world that you should NOT BE PERPLEXED about, IT’S WHY THIS TOMB IS EMPTY. You can be PERPLEXED about a lot of things – but not this.

But there are some things that we are not able to understand on our own. The mystery is too deep. The wonder is too high. We have no EXPERIENCE to relate this to. And that’s where angels tend to show up, just as they did to Mary and Joseph and the Shepherds.

And that’s what happens here at the tomb. “And behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel.” But in almost every place where angels show up, their first words are, “Fear not!” “Do not be afraid.” But they don’t say that here. And so Luke writes, the women “were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground.” Now these poor women were PERPLEXED and FRIGHTENED.

And the way Luke describes it, it’s almost as though the two angels are PERPLEXED as to why these women are PERPLEXED. “WHY DO YOU SEEK THE LIVING AMONG THE DEAD? HE IS NOT HERE, BUT HAS RISEN.” CHRIST IS RISEN! “He is risen indeed – alleluia.”

And then these angels give these women the remedy for their PERPLEXITY – and yours too. REMEMBER.

“Remember what He told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be CRUCIFIED AND ON THE THIRD DAY – ARISE.”

It’s His resurrection from the dead that confirms that His Word is true and worthy of our trust and our obedience. Easter is the Father’s stamp of approval on all that His Son has said and done.

The Father has sent His beloved Son into the world through a VIRGIN WOMB to bear the sin of the world in His body and atone for it completely. And then He raised His crucified Son from a VIRGIN TOMB, that the whole world may know that “WITH HIM HE IS WELL PLEASED” and through Him, a new day has dawned and the NEW CREATION has begun.

Luke writes, “AND THEY REMEMBERED HIS WORDS…” And in remembering His Words, they go from ‘UTTER LOSS’ to ‘WONDERFUL DISCOVERY,’ from ‘FEAR AND FACES TO THE GROUND’ to RELIEF AND JOY, ready to go; ready to set out on a journey. “And returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest.”

It’s the same for us – only better really. We too need to REMEMBER HIS WORDS. “I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” REMEMBERING “that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death… in order that just as Christ was RAISED FROM THE DEAD, we too may walk in newness of life.” (Rom. 6:3-4)

But it’s not angels that come to us to remind us of what He said. It is the crucified and risen Lord Jesus Christ Himself who comes to us in person. “Take, eat – this is my body. Take and drink – this is my blood. Do this in REMEMBRANCE OF ME.”

And as we eat His body and drink His blood, REMEMBERING His words we too go from ‘UTTER LOSS’ to life in the NEW CREATION – that is so good, that “the former things will not be remembered or come to mind.”

‘Christ is risen.’ “He is risen indeed. Alleluia”.

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