She who is forgiven much, loves much, and eagerly receives the Gospel of Christ Jesus. For she has known a hellish, demonic life, but the Lord Jesus set her free. He rescued her from Satan, sin and death. He became her strength and her new song, because He is her great Salvation.
That is why she also has mourned, when He was crucified and truly dead and buried, and why she is the first to see and believe and rejoice in His Resurrection. For His death was for her sins, and His Resurrection is her brand new life everlasting.
She has already known this mercy of Christ and His victory over sin, death, the devil and hell, in His forgiveness, His casting out of her demons, His gracious healing of body and soul.
Therefore, she is early raised from her misery, pain and fear, to the joy and gladness of the Lord’s Resurrection.
She is not a pastor, but she is a Christian, a member of the Church, which is the Bride of Christ; and she is known as “the apostle to the Apostles,” because Jesus sends her to report the news of His Resurrection to them.
Brothers and sisters, this good news is also reported to you, because it is for you.
Do not doubt that it is true. Do not harden your heart or refuse to believe it.
I know that you do not doubt or deny the historical facts of the Cross and Resurrection, but do not question that these facts are for you, and are your salvation.
That is where the contest is fought. That is where the devil and his demons attack. They would lead you into false belief, despair, and other great shame and vice. First of all by enticing you to sin, sometimes in gross and obvious way, but often as not in ways that more slippery, subtle and sophisticated, but no less deadly and damnable. Then, when they have led you astray, they assault and accuse you, to drag you down and drive you into the ground, into the grave.
Now, then, the art of being a Christian is to shut your eyes and ears to those “facts,” which seem to all the world to be so true, and to recognize Jesus, not by sight, but by faith in His Word of the Gospel, in the waters of Holy Baptism, and in the Breaking of the Bread, as you recline at the Table with Him.
He joins you on the way, and joins Himself to you, by the speaking and confession of His Word; but His form and appearance are transfigured by the Cross: to be ugly and unrecognizable to the world, but beautiful and marvelous before God the Father.
He comes not to argue or debate with you, not to cajole or coerce, but to cast out your demons by the preaching of repentance for the forgiveness of your sins; by the catechesis of His Word, which not only exposes your sins, but forgives them by His grace. And in mercy, He reclines at the table with you, here, and He makes Himself known to you in this Holy Communion by giving you His Body and His Blood.
Take this to heart, dearly beloved; cling to it and trust it:
He causes His Gospel to be preached to all of creation, by those very men who had refused to believe it at first.
He causes His Gospel to be preached to all of creation, because all of creation has been redeemed by His death and by His blood, and sanctified by His bodily resurrection from the dead. All things are recreated and made new in Him.
You are not excluded. You are not beyond or outside of His Gospel.
Whatever your sin, whatever your loss, whatever your sadness, sickness, pain or death, this Gospel is preached to you, because it is for you. It is yours.
If you are an infant in the womb, a baby at your mother’s breast, a toddler still in diapers, a rowdy little boy or a moody little girl; if you are a teenager, an adult, an old woman or a yong man; if you are the chief of sinners on earth, a vile miserable outlaw, or a loser, a liar, a failure, or a joke — Christ has died for you, and He is risen for you. He forgives you all your sins and gives you His life.
Neither sin nor death can harm you; the devil and hell cannot have you.
See, here, there is no poison in this Cup the Lord pours out for you, but His Blood of the New Testament, the Medicine of Immortality. Here He lays His hands on you in love, and from all that ails you, He delivers you and heals you and makes you brand new.
In the Name + of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
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