130407 John 20:19-23

Text: John 20:19 – 23
Theme: Jesus Gives Us His Peace to Do His Work

How was your Easter celebration last weekend? Certainly it is my prayer that you had an enjoyable Easter day, with time spent with family. How was your week this past week? If you were on "Spring Break", maybe you had the chance to relax a little or do some traveling. How are you doing today, one week after Easter? Are you still filled with the same peace and joy that you had last Sunday? Or, have things happened this past week that Satan is trying to use to rob you of that peace and joy? As we read in the Gospel Lesson for this First Sunday after Easter, our risen Lord comes to us and offers you and me the peace that only he and his Word are able to provide. Our loving Lord gives you and me that peace not only to assure us that we are forgiven children of our Father in heaven, but also so that you and I are motivated and empowered to live lives of service in his name and to his glory. With hearts stilled filled with joy that the Savior's tomb is empty, as we continue to spread the Good News that, "He is risen! He is risen indeed!", the Lord of the Church gives us his peace to do his work. Listen now as I read a portion of the Gospel Lesson assigned for this Sunday. We read from John's Gospel, chapter 20, verses 19 – 23:

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you."

And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven."

This is the Word of the Lord.

Read more: 130407 John 20:19-23

130331 Easter Sunday

Text: I Corinthians 15:1-8
Theme: We Preach Christ Crucifeid...And Risen!

Have you ever seen a dead body? That's not all that unusual. In fact, if you have attended a funeral at St. Matthew's there is a good chance that you have seen one right up here. Now how many of you have ever seen a dead body come back to life? I don't see any hands, and to be honest, I didn't expect to see any hands...because that just doesn't happen.

Death is a fact of life. Christians, Jews, Muslims, atheists, everyone expects to die. And when you die you're dead. You can poke and prod a corpse. You can try mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. You can use shock paddles, but it won't do any good. Even the most advanced advances of modern medicine haven't figured out how to bring someone who has died back to life.

And so you would have a right to be skeptical if someone came up to you and made that kind of claim. You would have questions. You would need proof. You would really need to be convinced before you would believe something so unbelievable.

That was the position Paul found himself in when he wrote his first letter to the Christians in Corinth. Some of them were struggling with the resurrection of the dead. Some of them had even denied the resurrection of the dead. And Paul had a choice to make: "Do I give in or do I stand up? Do I change my message to make it more appealing to the logical Greek mind, or do I proclaim the gospel, as illogical and unbelievable as it might be?"

Read more: 130331 Easter Sunday

130328 Maundy Thursday

Text: I Corinthians 5:7
Theme: Names of Wondrous Love: The Lamb

If you have been worshiping at St. Matthew's the past six Wednesdays, there is a good chance that you will remember this year's Lenten theme: Names of Wondrous Love, six different names that describe who Jesus is and what Jesus has done for us.

One of those names, Immanuel, came from the pen of the prophet Isaiah (7:14) and means "God with us." Another name, "King," brings to mind Jesus' crown of thorns and the sign Pilate placed over his cross, "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews." Speaking of the cross, another name, "Christ Crucified," anticipates what will happen tomorrow, the day Christians call Good Friday.

But what about today? What name of wondrous love matches up with the events of Maundy Thursday? Since this was the night when Jesus went around the room and washed his disciples' feet perhaps "servant" would be a good choice. Or because Jesus prayed long and hard for himself and his disciples on this night "intercessor" might make sense.

But if you asked the men who were in the room with Jesus that evening, if you remember what it was that brought them together, if you take into account the special festival the Lord was celebrating with them and the special meal the Lord shared with them, my guess is that their choice would be unanimous.

There is one symbol name that brings together the Passover and the Lord's Supper. There is one divine name that weaves together the shedding of innocent blood with the perfect sacrifice for sin. The rich imagery associated with this name runs through the Old and New Testaments, and it assures disciples of every age of our Savior's wondrous love: the Lamb.

NAMES OF WONDROUS LOVE: THE LAMB

Read more: 130328 Maundy Thursday

130324 Luke 19:28-40

Text: Luke 19:28-40
Theme: Praise God For Palm Sunday!

What a day! Maybe you are wondering what I mean by that. For you, the day is just beginning. But in my homeland on the other side of the world, the sun is already setting over the Judean hillside. The day is almost over, and it is a day that I will never forget.

This Sunday began like many others. I woke up after the Sabbath with many things to do. I had to take care of some business in the village. I had to take care of my animals in the yard. And like many others, I had to make final preparations for the Passover now only a few days away.

At least I had it easier than many of my countrymen. Some God-fearing Jews had to travel long distances to reach Jerusalem in time for the Feast. I lived only a few miles away. And especially at this time of year it was common to see a steady stream of pilgrims passing by on their way to the Holy City.

But this particular day was different. There was an excitement in the air, something I could sense but not explain, something I could feel but not fully understand. Maybe it was because the crowds were larger than usual. Maybe it was because the buzz was louder than usual. I wasn't aware of it at the time, but my life was about to change forever.

What I am about to share with you is what that happened to me today, a day when the prophecies of the Old Testament came to life, a day when I saw the Messiah with my own eyes, a day that now shares its name with the branches the people were waving in the air. And at the end of the day I want you to share my joy. I want you to raise your voices with me and...

PRAISE GOD FOR PALM SUNDAY

Read more: 130324 Luke 19:28-40

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Compelled by the love of Christ, St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and School seek to reach out to our families, community and world, using Law and Gospel to make disciples, growing and nurturing them in their Christian faith and life.

 

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