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He Is Not Here! He is Risen! Remember What He Told You!

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The Resurrection of Our Lord                                                  Trinity Lutheran Church

21 April 2019                                                                                                       Murdock, NE

 

+ Jesu Juva +

Luke 24:1-12

 

Incredible! Astonishing! What do you expect to see at the grave? The corpse. The dead body.

 

Instead, there is no body! No corpse. The tomb is empty! No doubt the jars of ointments and spices as well as the women’s chins hit the ground.

 

Astonishment turns to panic. Where are the guards? Wasn’t the tomb sealed? What has happened? Grave robbers? A cruel hoax? Has the body been moved to another grave? Who? Where? Why?

 

And then there’s more shock. Angels. Two of them. They appear. Stand right next to the women. With all the glory of heaven itself. This time the question comes from the angels. “Why do you look for the living among the dead?”

 

And then the angels preach. It’s what they do best. It’s their expertise. Sent by the Lord Himself they faithfully proclaim:   “He is not here! He is risen! Remember His words. Remember what Jesus Himself preached over and over again in Galilee that He, the Son of Man, must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified, and rise on the third day.”

 

The first Easter sermon. It preaches the fact. Jesus is risen! Bodily. Physically. Death could not hold Him! He is the first fruits of them that sleep. He is the Resurrection and the Life.

 

The women remembered. They believed. They trusted. They were the faith-ers. Hadn’t seen the resurrected Jesus yet, but they believed His word that the angels preached.

 

What do you do with such good salvific news? You pass it on. And the women do. Immediately they run back to the apostles and the rest. “He is risen! He is risen! He is risen!”

 

The apostles don’t believe. It sounded like nonsense. A bunch of hysterical nonsense.

 

But it wasn’t! It is the truth. The absolute and categorical truth. Over the next forty days Jesus appeared in His resurrected flesh to His disciples. To Mary Magdalene who mistook him for the gardener. On the road to Emmaus with two disciples. To Thomas who touched Jesus scarred hands and side. To Peter and the others in locked room. To seven while they were fishing. To over five hundred eyewitnesses at one time. To James and to all the apostles. To Paul on the road to Damascus. All of them saw the risen Lord Jesus with their own eyes. Some ate with Him. As I said some touched Him. All were willing to die as martyrs rather than deny Him.

 

I’ve been sent by the Lord Jesus to tell you the Easter truth. Remember His words of promise. His words are life. He is the life. Life that conquers death. Life that conquers sin. Life that opens the grave. Life that harrows hell. Jesus’ words are truth filled with the Spirit of Truth and Life.

 

Jesus repeatedly told the disciples that He would die and on the third day rise again. He gave them His Word. Then He died. And He rose on the third day. Just as He said He would! He speaks the truth!

 

He speaks the truth when He says: “I Am the Resurrection and the Life. Whoever believes in me, even though he dies, yet shall he live. And whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”

 

Jesus speaks the truth when He says: “This is the will of my Father, that every one who sees the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life and I will raise him up on the last day.”

 

And: “I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever.”

 

One more: “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and I will raise him up on the last day.”

 

Jesus who speaks these words is the One who died and who now lives. He is the Lamb who was slain but now reigns. He is the Suffering Servant who is glorified.

 

Trust what He says. Believe what He promises. His words are as certain and true as He is – the crucified and risen Savior. His resurrection testifies that His words are true and that they are to believed by all who would have eternal life and the resurrection from the dead.

 

Jesus has risen from the dead never to die again. Go ahead and be like the women. Tell others this salvational good news. People may dismiss it as nonsense. Tell it anyway. Invite others to meet Jesus for themselves in the water of holy baptism, in the absolution, in the Word preached and in the Lord’s Supper where He delivers the salvation He won for all on the cross.

 

In addition, when you are discouraged, when you have doubts, are fearful, in despair – REMEMBER HIS WORDS. Remember His promise that He is the Resurrection and the Life. Remember His Good Friday death FOR YOU. His empty tomb FOR YOU.

 

Jesus has died. But He has risen victoriously. He leads you through the valley of the shadow of death into the land of the living.

 

You have His Word on that! He gives you His promise. It’s true.

 

Happy Easter!

 

In the Name of Jesus .

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Your Salvation Is Finished!

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Good Friday                                              Trinity Lutheran Church

19 April 2019                                            Murdock, NE

 

+ Jesu Juva +

John 19:17-30

 

“‘It is finished.’ And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.”

 

What is finished? What has Jesus accomplished in His Good Friday death on the cross? I’m so glad you asked. I have the answer for you. And it is the salvational answer.

 

With the sermon “It is finished,” Jesus preaches that He has perfectly done what He came to do. He has finished His very good work of salvation for you with His death on the cross.

 

This is what it takes to save sinners. Only God saves. So, Son of God Jesus rolls up His sleeves and does what needs to be done to redeem sinners and fully atone for their sin.

 

On the cross Jesus bears in His body the world’s sin and all its hellish damnation. Even though He never sinned “the LORD laid on him the iniquity of us all,” (Is. 53:6). God “made Him who knew no sin to be sin,” (2 Cor. 5) and “made Him to be a curse,” (Gal. 3:13).

 

This is the utter agony of the cross. It’s more than the physical pain even though this was cruel and brutal. The deepest anguish that Jesus suffers on the cross is not the swollen tongue, eyes, mouth, broken teeth, lacerated back, pummeled body, the crown of thorns or nails piercing His hands and feet. The profoundest pain is expressed when Jesus cries out: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mt. 27) which is Psalm 22.

 

Was there ever grief like this? No. Jesus, God’s Son, is left alone with the world’s sin in order to answer for it all. He experiences God-forsakenness because He carries and answers for the sin of the world in His crucified body.

 

Do you understand what this means? It means that in your place Jesus takes the paycheck your sin has earned: death and damnation. All your sin and all the death and damnation it earned is His! It means that Jesus was treated as the sinner. It means that He was damned as the sinner. It means that all your sin and every bit of its condemnation no longer belong to you. Seriously!

 

Tell me. What sin of yours did Jesus not answer for? What sin of yours did Jesus exclude from His dying? Can you name any? Of course you can’t! When He preached, “It is finished,” He proclaimed, “All your sin I’ve died for! All your sin I’ve atoned for!”

 

“It is finished” then means that you are totally forgiven. Of everything! You are saved from death and hell. “It is finished” means that Jesus, all by Himself, did everything that needed to be done to redeem you and atone for all your sin.

 

“It is finished” means that He drank the cup that the Father set before Him. On the cross He drains the cup of suffering for all sin and all its hellacious consequences. On the cross He drinks the cup of God’s wrath against every sin and sinner dry.

 

Now wonder we call this day on which Jesus died “good.” It’s very good! For you! Your salvation is finished. It’s certain and sure. Jesus says so. Jesus promises.

 

In the Name of Jesus.

 

The Gift of the Lord’s Supper

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Maundy Thursday                                   Trinity Lutheran Church

18 April 2019                                            Murdock, NE

 

+ Jesu Juva +

Luke 22:7-20

 

How do you know what the Lord’s Supper is? Where do you go to find out?

 

You go to the Lord Jesus! Or to be more precise you listen to what He says. Hear His words. Let Him have the say so. Let Him say what the Sacrament is and what He gives in it.

 

What does He say? What does He give? Listen. With the bread in His hands He categorically declares what He gives: “This is my body which is given for you.”

 

Together with the bread He gives His body. Which body? The body conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary? The body that brutally suffered and dreadfully died on the cross? The body that victoriously rose from the dead on the Third Day? The body that sits at the Father’s right hand ruling over the universe? Yes! That body! It’s the only body He has!

 

He has more to say. It has to do with the cup of wine. “This cup is the new testament in My blood which is shed for you.”   Together with the wine He gives His blood. That’s the very blood that flowed through His arteries and pumped by His heart. It’s the very blood that reddened the cross and the ground below as it flowed profusely out of His body.

 

Bread. Wine. Body. Blood. Not a symbol. But for real. He really gives with the bread His body and with the wine His blood. Just as He says. His words do and give what they say.

 

What are you supposed to do with the bread/Body, wine/blood? Ignore them? Sit and stare at them? Offer them to God the Father as an atoning sacrifice for the sins of the living and the dead? Parade the body through the streets in an ornate fancy glass case so that you can bow down and worship it? No. No. And triple no!

 

Jesus says to EAT His body and to DRINK His blood with the bread and wine. And you do that with your mouth. In Matthew and Mark both record these words of Jesus as so does St. Paul: “Take, eat … Drink from it” (Mt. 26:26-27; Mk 14:22-23; 1 Cor. 11:24-25).

 

Body. Blood. Bread. Wine. Eat and drink them as He says.

 

Note too another very important point from the Lord’s words. The Lord’s Supper is all GIFT from the Lord to you. Listen again. “This is my body which is GIVEN FOR YOU… my blood WHICH IS SHED FOR YOU.” Gifts are always given with the words: FOR YOU. A birthday gift. An anniversary gift. A graduation or confirmation gift. “Here, this is FOR YOU.” For you talk is gift talk. He gives His body and His blood FOR YOU as His gift to you.

 

Let’s push this gift talk for all of its gospel worth. On what night does Jesus institute the Sacrament? The night on which He was betrayed! Or the very day before He goes to His death on the cross. Ok. So what do people draw up in preparation for their death? Yes, that’s right, their last will and TESTAMENT!

 

That’s precisely what the Lord’s Supper is! On the night in which He was betrayed Jesus drew up His last will and testament! In the Words of Institution of the Lord’s Supper you are named as His heirs and He gives you the inheritance of His Good Friday salvific atoning death on the cross in the Sacrament of the Altar. He bequeaths to you His body and His blood with the bread and wine that WON, ACHIEVED AND ACCOMPLISHED your salvation.

 

And this brings me to my final point. Keep the distinction straight. Keep the proper distinction between salvation’s achievement and salvation’s bestowal.

 

Good Friday is the day Jesus wins, achieves and accomplished salvation or the forgiveness of sins. That’s the only sacrifice that does that! His Good Friday sacrifice is the only sacrifice that atones for sin and sinners.

 

The Lord’s Supper is how Jesus Himself gives us the very forgiveness and salvation that He won on the cross. Listen to His words from Matthew 26 about the Lord’s Supper: “given … and shed for you for the remission of sins.”

 

Again note the distinction. Jesus does not win, achieve or accomplish the forgiveness of sins in the Lord’s Supper. He did that on the cross. In the Lord’s Supper Jesus bestows or donates the very forgiveness He won on the cross as He gives His body and blood to eat and drink with the bread and wine.

 

All this from His words. He does what He says with His words. He gives what He says with His words. He is faithful and true. You are forgiven. You are saved. Accomplished on the cross. Delivered in the Lord’s Supper.

 

A blessed Maundy Thursday as you beneficially eat and drink tonight trusting what Jesus says and gives – FOR YOU.

 

In the Name of Jesus.

The Humility of Jesus FOR YOU!

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Palm Sunday / Sunday of the Passion            Trinity Lutheran Church

14 April 2019                                                      Murdock, NE

 

+ Jesu Juva +

Philippians 2:5-11

Confirmation of Alex Beno, Landin Beno, Emily Drake, Morgan Gray, Abrahm Jones, Justin Mills, Nolan Stroy

 

This is one of the most incredible passages in the Bible. Jesus, the divine Second Person of the Holy Trinity humbles Himself. To save you from our idolatrous self-centeredness and arrogance that leads to eternal damnation. “He emptied Himself.” Laid down His royal robes, His royal signet ring. Rolled up His sleeves and came down from His heavenly throne.

 

Don’t misunderstand. Jesus didn’t cease to be God. He empties Himself of all the glory and majesty that was His as God’s Son. He buried His divinity deeply in our humanity. The Lord of all became the Servant of all. “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many.”  

 

Imagine a king taking off his crown. Stepping off his throne. And then becoming the lowest of servants in his kingdom!

 

Similarly, picture Warren Buffet giving up his office with a view, his personal secretary, the VIP parking spot, the mega salary with all its perks and benefits. And then putting on a janitor’s jumpsuit to sweep the floors and scrub the toilets!

 

Visualize Jeff Bezos, the wealthiest man in America, stepping down from Amazon to become a ditch digger or a sewer worker.

 

Envision all three of those scenarios and you still don’t even come close to the self-emptying and humiliation of Jesus, the Son of God, when He stepped down from His heavenly throne and got stapled gruesomely on the cross to SAVE YOU!

 

Jesus traded His divine throne for the Virgin’s womb, a manger crib, a borrowed jackass, a cross and a tomb! He took on our humanity, our flesh and blood. He became bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh. The Most High Lord of all became the carpenter from Nazareth. The preacher from Galilee. The Man of Sorrows. The Suffering Servant.

 

“Being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient … even death on a cross.”  

 

He does this FOR YOU! Jesus took up your death sentence because of your sin and He served it Himself! The Law says: “The wages of sin is death,” and “the soul that sins will die.” Governor Pilate knew Jesus was innocent. He declared Jesus not guilty three times. In fact, Jesus was innocent far beyond the scope of Rome’s justice. He was sinless! Yet Barabbas, the terrorist/murderer goes free and Son of God Jesus gets hung on a cross as THE SINNER between two criminals. “He who knew no sin was made to be sin” (2 Cor. 5)! “Made to be a curse” (Gal. 3:13)!

 

Brothers and sisters, this is how far God goes to save you. This is how wide His embrace. The Second Person of the Trinity, God the Son, comes down from the bliss of heaven to make His dwelling among you. He rides to His own death on a borrowed donkey. He willingly submits to total injustice, to mockery, to beating. He permits Himself to be crucified, all the while praying even for those that drove the spikes into His bludgeoned body. This is the depth of God’s love. His commitment. His passion. To make you His own. To free you from sin and death.

 

Isn’t this humbling to be loved by Jesus like this? To be loved to death by Jesus? To be died for by God’s own Son? It sure is! Christ’s death FOR YOU on the cross bows your head. It bends you knee. It is the end of all ego-tripping, boasting, bragging and self-justifying. The hymn of Isaac Watts gets it right: “Forbid it Lord, that I should boast, save in the death of Christ my God.”

 

The death of Jesus on the Good Friday cross is the great leveler. It levels the great and the small. The rich and the poor. The powerful and the powerless. The wise and the foolish. The famous and the infamous. All are loved by God in this one act of humble obedience unto death – death on the cross.

 

All are baptized into Jesus’ death in the very same way. The infant, the teenager, the adult or senior citizen. All are given God’s divine and saving Name. With the absolution and the sermon all are forgiven with the same words. All that commune eat and drink the same crucified, risen and ascended Body and Blood with the bread and wine. All that commune are joined together into one Body, members of God’s family, His church. All have the same Jesus put into them and all are put into Him! All confess the same Lord Jesus Christ. All have the same share in His perfect obedience, His humility, His death, His life, His glory!

 

Jesus, God’s Son, emptied Himself so that you are filled with His glory. He humbled Himself so that you are exalted, lifted up. He become obedient to death on the cross so that you IN HIM overcome death and have life now and forever. He reached down in humility. All the way down to make you His own. To bring you into communion with the Father and the Holy Spirit. And in His humility He brings you into communion with each other.

 

Have this mind among you that is yours in Christ Jesus.

 

In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

Second Commandment The Proper Use of God’s Name Part Three

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