26 April 2014

Remember the Word that He Speaks to You

The Resurrection of our Lord should not come as such a shocking surprise to His disciples, but it does.  Even His enemies remembered what He had said, that He would rise again on the third day.  But His own disciples either don’t remember, or they simply don’t believe it.  When confronted with the empty tomb and the news of the Resurrection, they are dumbfounded, perplexed, amazed, frightened, confused, and incredulous.

As sad and disappointed as the disciples were, it appears they would have been more comfortable and content with a dead body in the ground than with the Living One who has risen from the dead.

So what is your excuse?  Why do you look for the Living One as though He were still dead and buried?  Why do you not believe the Gospel?  For the fact is, that all your efforts to find happiness and satisfaction, to find or make a life for yourself in your own ambitious plans and enterprising schemes, are simply your own version of scouring the graveyard and dredging the tombs.

You’ll actually get nothing and nowhere apart from the forgiveness of your sins; for your sins will kill you dead forever.  But forgiveness comes only from the crucified and risen Lord Jesus.

You’ll not get forgiveness and life from your family and friends; not from your job, nor from your hobbies; neither from your achievements and success and popularity in the world.  No matter where you go or what you do, you’ll not find Jesus apart from His Word of the Gospel; and you’ll not find life apart from Jesus.

So, then: Remember His Word to you.

Remember, not so much with your mind and nostalgic emotions, but with your ears.  Remember the Word of Jesus by listening, by hearing it preached to you.  For He remembers you by preaching His Gospel, His forgiveness of all your sins; and you remember Him by hearing.

And faith comes by such hearing of His Word.

Do not despise such preaching of the Gospel.  Do not regard it as nonsense.  Do not suppose that the Word of Jesus is empty and unable to meet your every need.  So long as you maintain that obstinate unbelief, you’ll remain confused and frightened, entombed in a kind of living death.

But the Living One does not leave you in dismay.  He has not forgotten you, nor does He fail to help you.  He has come to you in the midst of death, and He raises you up to life with Himself.

It is for this that He suffered and was crucified, that is, to atone for your sins.  And, having done so, He has risen victorious; so that you, also, are raised up alive through His forgiveness.

That is how He remembers you: with His forgiveness of your sins, with His Gospel of Life in place of death.  He remembers you with Holy Absolution.  He remembers the significance of your Holy Baptism, that you have thus been crucified, dead, and buried with Him, in order to rise and live.

He remembers you with His holy Body and His precious Blood, with which He feeds and nurtures you in body and soul.  Such nonsense, it seems; and yet, it is the Truth.  Here is the Body of the Lord Jesus, the Living One among the dead, that you may have life.

Again, and again, remember His Word to you:  Take, eat; this is My Body.  Drink this Cup, it is the New Testament in My Blood.  For you.  For the forgiveness of all your sins.

Eat and drink. Arise, and Live!

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

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