14 April 2012

You Shall Not Die, But Live

Your Savior, Christ Jesus, has risen from the dead. He who bore your sins in His Body on the Cross, who was crucified for your transgressions, He has been raised for your justification. As He is alive and lives forevermore, so shall you not die but live. You are baptized into His death; believe also that you share His Resurrection and His Life.

Throughout this week, again and again, you have heard the testimony of those who saw Him crucified and risen. Dear Mary Magdalene has spoken, declaring what she saw and heard. So, too, those first disciples of Emmaus, who were catechized by Him on the way, and who recognized Him in the Breaking of the Bread.

The Holy Apostles, Peter and John, in the Name of Jesus and at His divine command, have testified to His Cross and Resurrection. Even the angels and archangels and all the host of heaven have declared that the Lamb, once slain, is living.

Therefore, do not weep and mourn as though there were no hope. And do not harden your heart by refusing to believe what you have heard.

The Cross and Resurrection of Christ Jesus have made all the difference in the world, both for you and for your neighbor. How, then, shall you demonstrate that difference, the redemption of Christ Jesus, in your life and conversation?

His Resurrection has set you free to be patient and generous with those who frustrate you. To exercise compassion and charity for those who need you. To forgive those who sin against you.

Children, confess His Resurrection by honoring your parents, by serving and obeying them, by loving them and cherishing them with thanksgiving to Christ. Parents, care for your children, and discipline them, in the peace and hope of the Resurrection of Christ Jesus.

As He was patient with those first disciples of Emmaus; as He was all mercy and compassion for Mary Magdalene; as He dealt with His Apostles, with Peter and Thomas and Saul of Tarsus, so does He deal with you in love. Believe it, and live, and so love one another.

His Words of love to you are not empty promises. His Holy Baptism is not powerless. He has not died and risen for nothing or in vain. And He has not come to condemn you, but to save you and to give you life.

Indeed, your life and salvation are already achieved and accomplished, whole and complete, in Him. And here He meets you at His Table to lay that life and salvation upon your heart, to press it into your hand, and even to feed you with it, that is, with Himself.

Seven times, or seventy, or seventy times seven, with grace, mercy and peace, He lays His hand upon you and removes all your doubts and fears. He forgives you all your sins. He casts out all your demons. He heals all your diseases of both body and soul; if not in your body now, then hereafter in the resurrection of your body.

There is no poison in the cup that Jesus gives you, but free and full salvation for you. As He lives, and death no longer has mastery over Him, so shall you not die but live forever.

In the Name + of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.


Melrose said...

Thank you. It's been a long time since I found my way over to this blog but I'm glad I did tonight. I'm in the trenches with 4 little boys and it was nice to read this since I may not hear the whole sermon tomorrow :). By the way, we have a funny connection: two years ago your sister saved my life after I gave birth out in Nebraska at home and almost died from complications. She was the doctor on call that night :). My husband was wearing his collar and she discovered your son in law was classmates with my husband then told us who she was. What a small Lutheran world :).

Rev. Rick Stuckwisch said...

Thank you, and God bless you, Melrose, for your comments. It is indeed a small Lutheran world. I love my sister dearly, and I am so very proud of her; and now I have yet another reason to praise God for the gifts that He has given to her.

The Lord be with you, your husband and your family. No doubt, those four little boys are going to grow up into fine young men, who will serve their neighbor and the Lord's Church in ways we can't even yet imagine. Thank you for being a faithful Mom.

Melrose said...

She was so very kind to me that night when I showed up in the hospital. I was so scared and she was so calm and encouraging. And when I had my fourth at home everything went so well and my midwife commented that thanks to the expert who did my surgery I will be able to continue to have more kids, God willing. Thank you and your wife for the example you set for those of us in the beginning of the journey.

Rev. Rick Stuckwisch said...

Yeah, that sounds like my dear sister. She's always been amazing. So talented in so many ways, but so gracious and gentle and kind, too.

God bless you and your family.