Thursday after the Second Sunday of the Resurrection of Our Lord
April 11, 2013
He is Risen!
This coming Sunday is the Third Sunday of the Resurrection of Our Lord (Easter 3), April 14. We will be celebrating the Lord’s Supper, using the third setting of the Divine Service, beginning on page 184 of the hymnal. Our assigned lessons are: Acts 9:1-22, Revelation 5:1-14, and John 21:1-19. The sermon is titled “The Jesus Difference.” The text is Acts 9:20-21. As we are still in the Easter Season, our hymns will continue to be mostly Easter ones. Our opening hymn will be “All the Earth with Joy Is Sounding” (LSB 462). The sermon hymn will be “He Is Arisen! Glorious Word” (LSB 488). Our closing hymn will be “Jesus Christ Is Risen Today” (LSB 457). Our distribution hymns will be “I Know that My Redeemer Lives” (LSB 461), “Our Paschal Lamb, That Sets Us Free” (LSB 473), and “Lord Jesus Christ, You Have Prepared” (LSB 622).
In our prayers we will continue to remember those trapped in slavery today, those who have been misled by our cultures advocacy of abortion and sexual immorality and sister congregations in the SED (this Sunday: St. James, Southern Pines, NC; Holy Trinity, Statesville, NC; Salem & St Paul, Taylorsville, NC; Calvary, Charleston, SC). We also continue to remember believers around the world. This Sunday the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia (ELCL) and their Archbishop, Rev. Janis Vanags, our missionary in Russia, Rev. Alan Ludwig, and the persecuted believers in Iran, especially the imprisoned Pastor, Vahik Abrahamian. New to our Sunday morning prayers will be the African Immigrant Mission of North America. This is a group of believers our Southeastern District is helping out and we are being asked to remember them in our prayers. There are more Lutherans in Africa than the USA. Many have fled their country due to persecution, and have come to our country. Why are they seeking out the LC-MS? Look at the post I put up earlier today to see what kind of welcome the “other large Lutheran” body has given these faithful believers.
Our closing hymn is sung by the Lutheran Warbler
Preview of Lessons
In short, this is the story of the conversion of the great persecutor of the Apostolic Church, Saul, who becomes the great Apostle to the Gentiles, Paul. Aside from here, the story of Paul’s conversion is also found in Acts 22 and 26. In 22 and 26, the story is part of Paul’s defense while he is on trial. The fact that Luke chose to record the event so fully three times indicates how important Paul was in the Gentile Church.
Saul/Paul is on his way to Damascus to continue the persecution of Christians there. They had scattered from Jerusalem after the stoning of Stephen (Acts 8:1). On the way, Jesus appears to Paul in a blinding light, announcing that the persecution of the Church is the same thing as persecuting Jesus himself. This is something we should remember today as the Church comes under attack from all sides. Saul/Paul was an extremely well educated man (Philippians 3:4-5; Acts 22:3; 26:24) in the Jewish Faith. When Jesus appeared to him, blinded him, and then Paul was received into the home of a Christian and a Christian pastor came to him in a errand of mercy, restoring Paul’s sight, Saul/Paul was compelled to reevaluate his understanding of Scripture. With help from Ananias, his new pastor, Saul/Paul quickly put the pieces together, understanding the Old Testament in light of Jesus. This is another important point. Today many try to understand the Old Testament apart from Jesus. This is a critical mistake! (Luke 24:25-27; 2 Timothy 3:15) Paul is quickly baptized and puts his great education to use by arguing in the synagogue in favor of Christ and his Body. How long this period lasted, the text does not tell us. We know that, if we were to read beyond the assigned lesson, opposition arose and Saul/Paul had to escape. This would be the first of many escapes in his career, fulfilling the words of Jesus, “I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.”
The book of Revelation has suffered greatly under the hands of hack “interpreters.” This is because the book is written in highly symbolic language, which is used to import all kinds of non-biblical ideas. Rule One in understanding this book: If you can’t prove the idea from other CLEAR Scripture passages, then the understanding is wrong! At the end of Luke’s Gospel, and again at the beginning of his book of Acts, Luke records the Ascension of our Lord. His account is from the point-of-view of those standing on the ground. Here in Revelation, we see what the earthly witnesses could not. In other words, we have here Jesus’ reception into heaven. The eternal, divine, incarnate God, resumes the full exercise of his power and authority. Notice how the praise in heaven is centered on the redemptive work of Christ. Would that we would feel such a thrill every time we think of and talk about the work of our redemption! Notice the angsts when the word of God is sealed and it seems like it will not be opened. Notice that the key to unlocking scripture is Jesus and his atoning work. All of heaven recognizes the greatness of Christ. By grace, we do also.
This reading is about a post-resurrection appearance of Jesus. So it takes place after Easter and before Ascension Day (40 days after Easter). There is a shorter and a longer option with the shorter option ending at verse 14. While doing something else this week, I found a video by Pastor Jonathan Fisk about verses 1 – 14. He apparently does one of these a week, focused on the Gospel lesson, and publishing it on his blog on Tuesday. I’m just going to post his video, and I hope you find it a blessing. One note, in reference to Revelation he says the sea symbolizes “chaos.” Those who remember my Revelation study will remember I disagree with that common interpretation. I see it as either a reference to trials/tribulations, especially in the OT, or baptism, especially in the NT. If you substitute “baptism” for “chaos” in Fisk’s comments, you will see it makes a wonderful comment about being buried in baptism with Christ and raised to new life in our Lord. The end part of our reading, which Fisk omits, deals with the re-commissioning of Peter and the information that his death would glorify God. The final words, “Follow me,” echo across time and are for all believers. Now, the Fisk video.
The Good Shepherd Feeds His Lambs (Summary from LC-MS)
“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain” (Rev. 5:12), who by His cross has conquered sin and death. With His blood, He has “ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Rev. 5:9). This same Lord Jesus visits people of all nations and calls them to Himself by the Gospel, even as He “was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead” (John 21:14). He restored Simon Peter to faith and life and commissioned him to feed His lambs and tend His sheep (John 21:15–17). Likewise, He revealed Himself to Saul of Tarsus and brought him to repentance, so that the persecutor of Jesus might carry and confess His name “before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel” (Acts 9:15–16).
- Remember, our HEALTH FAIR is this Saturday, April 13. Drop by between 1:00 and 4:00 pm. You will be glad you did. Oh, and bring a friend.
- If you see this in time, the Women’s Bible Fellowship is meeting tonight (Thursday), at church. The gathering starts at 6:30.
- The Board of Evangelism will meet Sunday, after worship, for lunch and planning.
- Just a quick peek ahead to Monday of next week; our Greek club will meet at Panera’s Bread Company at 8:30 am for translating and breakfast.
Well, I pray we will see you Sunday.
Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert