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4-12-20 Easter Sunday 2

April 12, 2020
Alleluia! Christ is risen! “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Ps. 118:24). For Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep (1 Cor. 15:20). Death is swallowed up in victory (1 Cor. 15:54). Jesus has engulfed the funeral pall that was woven over all nations (Is. 25:7) and has prepared for us a feast of everlasting joy.…

4-12-20 Easter Sunday

April 12, 2020
Alleluia. Christ is risen. The disciples should have been more surprised at Jesus’ death than at his resurrection. Jesus had raised the dead in front of their eyes - in fact he raised Lazarus just a week before his crucifixion. The disciples had confessed already, and they meant it, that Jesus was Lord, that he had the words of eternal life. They heard Jesus say, I and the Father are one. They saw Him prove…

4-10-20 Good Friday

April 10, 2020
For a moment on Good Friday it looked like corrupted man would destroy the God who created him. For a moment there was such a tempest of hatred and screaming and wild fury, it looked like no one could resist it. It looked like Jesus was swept along against his will, running some hellish gauntlet through false accusations and spitting and blows and mockery and flogging and finally being forced onto a cross. The evil…

4-9-20 Maundy Thursday

April 9, 2020
On the night Jesus gave us the Lord’s Supper, the devil entered Judas Iscariot and Judas left to betray Jesus. That same night the devil oppressed all the disciples. Peter denied his Lord. All the disciples ran away from Him. The shepherd was struck. The sheep scattered. Now Jesus explicitly blames this on the devil. The devil always uses times of tension and pain to divide the flock, to scatter Christians, to make us think…

4-5-20 Palm Sunday

April 5, 2020
What’s striking about Jesus is his unwavering certainty. The people didn’t just marvel at his miracles, they marveled that He taught like no one else, He spoke with complete conviction. This is what we hear at the end of Jesus’ sermon on the Mount, that “the crowds were astonished at His teaching, because he taught as one with authority, and not as the scribes.” Jesus doesn’t teach with maybes. He doesn’t tell you to search…

3-29-20 Judica

March 29, 2020
This Sunday begins Passiontide, that is, the last two weeks of Lent. The hostility that Jesus faces in today’s reading stands in stark contrast to the feeding of the five thousand from last Sunday. Jesus now prepares to be crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. The world should be preparing to celebrate the anniversary of its redemption: the Friday when Christ shed his blood to rescue us from our sins, the Sunday…

3-22-20 Laetare

March 22, 2020
Right now we’re in a time of testing. There’s no denying that. Our schools have closed, our restaurants have closed, our economy is in shambles, some of you are losing your jobs, your investments have seen historic losses, and instead of coming to church you’re listening to church on the internet. But the church will never close. That’s the test we’re undergoing right now. Do we believe what we confess in the good times? The…

3-15-20 Oculi

March 15, 2020
The baptisms of the ancient Church usually included the exorcism of the devil. Before baptizing the pastor would say, “Begone evil spirit and make way for the Holy Spirit.” That’s actually how my daughter Martha was baptized, and it wouldn’t be a bad thing to bring it back into our churches. It’s how the Lutheran Church did it in Reformation times too. Now as we just heard with little Augustyn’s baptism, we’ve kept the questions,…

3-8-20 Reminiscere

March 8, 2020
At one point Martin Luther got so upset that nobody was coming to church that he just up and left Wittenberg, refused to preach, until his wife and his prince begged him and finally convinced him to come back. He was fed up. And he had every reason to be. Here the people could finally come and hear their forgiveness before God Almighty, with no strings attached, pure mercy from God Himself because of the…

3-1-20 Invocavit

March 1, 2020
It’s very clear from the first temptation of Eve and then again from the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness, and then once again by the temptations we face, it’s very clear that the devil is nothing if not consistent. There’s an old Latin saying, fas est ab hoste doceri, it’s a good thing to be taught by the enemy. When the Bible teaches us how our enemy acts, how he tempts, we’re not just…
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