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Minds That Understand the Scriptures

April 19, 2015

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Third Sunday of Easter                           Trinity Lutheran Church

19 April 2015                                             Murdock, NE

+ Jesu Juva +

St. Luke 24:36-49

 

My goodness! Once again Jesus just shows up. Unexpectedly. Suddenly. He has a habit of doing that. He’s smack dab in the middle of this congregation of eleven and other hangers on. And why shouldn’t He? After all, He alone is the Holy and Righteous One put to death as the sinner in exchange for Barabbas the insurrectionist and murderer. Crucified, buried, and left for dead. But He is the Prince of Life – raised on the third day by God’s great power! Just as all the prophets said.

 

Reports and stories abound. Jesus had risen from the dead! He wasn’t in the tomb. The grave clothes were there but not Jesus.

 

Now the crucified but risen Jesus appears. That’s enough to startle you, right? Scare the bejeebers right out of you, right? Even after He greets you with, “Peace be with you.”

 

Is this really Jesus? He sure talks like Him. But your eyes might deceive you! It could be an apparition! A specter! A ghost! Yeah, that’s the ticket. The only reasonable explanation. Who you gonna call? Peter, call Ghostbusters ASAP!

 

No need for that. Jesus interrupts. Jesus speaks up. Good thing. “Friends, what’s the matter? Why are you so troubled? Bothered? Distressed? Why all the doubts? Uncertainties? Worries? I’m not a ghost. Peter, take a deep breath and take a seat. Please. I insist. Now, take a good hard look at my hands. And while you’re at it check out my feet. What do you see? Yes, my gory Good Friday wounds. They’re very real. Go ahead, it’s all right to touch me. My crucified and risen body is for real! It’s the same body that suffered bitterly and died on the cross just FOR YOU.”

 

“What’s that gentlemen? Still having a hard time believing that it’s me even in your joy and wonder? All right. Got anything to eat around here? What’s in the pantry? Anything? Peter, what’s that? I see that you have boiled fish leftover from Friday. That’ll do. A little salty but really quite tasty.”

 

Leave it to Jesus to do all the talking and give all the directions from “Peace be with you,” “look at my hands and feet it’s me,” to “what’s there to eat.” After all, His cup of tea is to bring his little struggling congregation from troubles and doubts to repentance-for-the-forgiveness-of-sins-faith in Him.

 

So, Prince of Life Jesus just keeps on talking. One more fly by about what the Bible’s all about. Yes, that’s right! I said what the Bible is all about. Do you know what the Bible is all about? Well, do you? Do you have a mind that understands the Scriptures? Well, do you? Before you answer that, you’d better let Jesus have His say first. Wouldn’t you agree? All right. Let’s listen to Him. He’s still talking.

 

“Time and time again I told all of you what would happen while I was with you. Everything that is written about me in Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, all the prophets and yes even the Psalms must be fulfilled. And they are fulfilled! Fulfilled when I suffered, died and rose from the dead.”

 

Did you catch that? The heart and center of the Bible is Jesus. And not just any Jesus that you would make up for yourself. The Scriptures preach Jesus as the Christ promised from the Old Testament and who fulfills all the Old Testament promises when He does His Good Friday and Easter Sunday salvation of sinners job. In other words the Bible’s all about this: Jesus is the Christ. And He’s Christ FOR YOU and for all sinners as He suffered, died and rose from the grave. The Bible teaches that Jesus saves sinners. And you qualify! The Bible teaches that Jesus shed His blood on the cross for your salvation. Your sins are totally forgiven because He rose from the dead.

 

Do you believe that your sins are forgiven for Jesus’ sake? Forgiven because Jesus did His Good Friday and Easter Morning? Do you? You do? That’s wonderful! Magnificent! Then you have a mind that totally understands the Scriptures. A mind that understands the Bible says: “I’m a sinner. How true! But Jesus has forgiven me. He shed His divine blood for all my sin.”

 

Yes, brothers and sisters. Let’s get it straight once and for all. The Bible is bullish about one thing. The Bible is all about the proclamation of full forgiveness for sinners for Jesus’ sake. Raising dead sinners to new life through the preaching of repentance for the forgiveness of sins in Christ’s name. Where there is forgiveness of sins in the Name of Jesus there is life and salvation.

 

The Bible is “a book of divine promises in which God promises, offers, and gives all his possession and benefits in Christ . . . When you open the book containing the gospels and read or hear how Christ comes here and there, or how someone is brought to him, you should therein perceive the sermon or the gospel through which he is coming to you, or you are being brought to him. For the preaching of the gospel is nothing else than Christ coming to us, or we being brought to him.”[1]

 

No wonder the Epistle for today says: “And you know that Jesus appeared in order to take away sins and in Him there is no sin. No one who abides in Jesus sins.”

 

No one who abides in Jesus sins! That’s right! From God’s point of view! God refuses to hold your sins against you. He does not count them against you. God refuses to see you as a sinner. Why? Because Jesus took all you sin in His body on the cross and buried all your sin in the black hole of His death. Never to be seen again. God remembers them no more.

 

So when God looks at you whom does He see? He sees a sinner for whom His Son bled and died. Covered in the blood of Jesus you are cleansed. Pure. Holy. Righteous in God’s eyes.

 

You are FORGIVEN FOR JESUS’ SAKE!

 

Now that’s a repented mind that finally understands the Scriptures!

 

In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

     [1]Dr. Martin Luther, 1521 “Brief Instruction On What To Look For and Expect In The Gospels,” AE 35:120-121 = WA101/1:13.

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