22 April 2017

Faith and Life in the Gospel of the Resurrection

Your Savior, Christ Jesus, has risen from the dead.  The One who bore your sins in His own Body on the Cross, who was crucified for your transgressions and buried in the dust of the earth, He has been raised for your justification.  As He is alive and lives forever, 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 first week of Easter, 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 when she went to the tomb that Sunday morning.  Likewise, those first disciples of Emmaus, who were catechized by Jesus on the way, and who recognized Him in the Breaking of the Bread.

The Holy Apostles, St. Peter and St. 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 who was slain is living, that He reigns forever, and that He is worthy of all blessing, honor, glory, and praise on account of His great salvation.

Therefore, beloved of the Lord, disciple of Jesus, 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 concerning Him.

The Cross and Resurrection of the incarnate Son of God, Christ Jesus, have made all the difference in the world, both for you and for your neighbor and for all of creation.  How, then, shall you demonstrate that difference, the redemption of the Lord your God, 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.

If you are a child, confess the Resurrection by honoring your parents, by serving and obeying them, by loving and cherishing them to the glory of God in Christ Jesus.  And if you are a parent, care for your children, and discipline them, in the peace and hope of His Resurrection from the dead.

As the Lord was patient with those first disciples of Emmaus; as He was all mercy and compassion for Mary Magdalene; and as He dealt with His Apostles, with Peter and Thomas and Saul of Tarsus — so does He now also 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 for your sins, but to save you from death and the devil, to call you to repentance and to faith, and to give you life with Himself, with His Father and the Holy Spirit, forever and ever, by His forgiveness of all your sins.

Indeed, your life and your salvation are already achieved and accomplished; for they are whole and complete in the Body of Christ.  Here, then, 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 He removes all of your doubts and fears with His Peace.  He forgives you all of your many sins.  He casts out all of your demons.  He heals all of your diseases in both body and soul — if not in your body here on earth, then hereafter in the resurrection of your body at the last.

Be sure of this: 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.

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