The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist in Residence

Bethany Lutheran Worship on
Ustream


NT Greek Lessons - Thursdays, 7 PM.

Saved worship files and Greek lessons are at the live worship link.

email: greg.jackson.edlp@gmail.com,
which works as gregjacksonedlp@gmail.com too.

Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
Book of Concord Selections
Bente's Historical Introductions,
and Martin Chemnitz Press Books

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Jubilate - The Third Sunday after Easter, 2015. John 16:16-23.
In a Little While

The Empty Tomb, by Norma Boeckler



Jubilate, The Third Sunday of Easter, 2015


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson



Note - the hymn lyrics are linked on the hymn number, the tune on the hymn's name. See if that works without a hymnal.

The Hymn #  536                            Awake My Soul 
The Confession of Sins
The Absolution
The Introit p. 16
The Gloria Patri
The Kyrie p. 17
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 19
The Epistle and Gradual       
The Gospel              
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn # 
518                   If Thou But Suffer God To Guide Thee

A Little While - Divine Strength Needed


The Preface p. 24
The Sanctus p. 26
The Lord's Prayer p. 27
The Words of Institution
The Agnus Dei p. 28
The Nunc Dimittis p. 29
The Benediction p. 31
The Hymn #231                                   We Now Implore                     


THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER

Lord God, heavenly Father, who of Thy fatherly goodness dost suffer Thy children to come under Thy chastening rod here on earth, that we may be like unto Thine only-begotten Son in suffering and hereafter in glory: We beseech Thee, comfort us in temptations and afflictions by Thy Holy Spirit, that we may not fall into despair, but that we may continually trust in Thy Son's promise, that our trials will endure but a little while, and will then be followed by eternal joy; that we thus, in patient hope, may overcome all evil, and at last obtain eternal salvation, through the same, Thy Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

KJV 1 Peter 2:11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. 13 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; 14 Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. 15 For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: 16 As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. 17 Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king. 18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. 19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. 20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.

KJV John 16:16 A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father. 17 Then said some of his disciples among themselves, What is this that he saith unto us, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me: and, Because I go to the Father? 18 They said therefore, What is this that he saith, A little while? we cannot tell what he saith. 19 Now Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask him, and said unto them, Do ye enquire among yourselves of that I said, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me? 20 Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. 21 A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. 22 And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you. 23 And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.





A Little While - Divine Strength Needed

KJV John 16:16 A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father. 

The Gospel of John has a special emphasis on the sermons of Jesus. If you doubt this, look at the Gospels in the red letter edition and see how much of the Fourth Gospel is printed in red, especially these chapters toward the end. They are Jesus' farewell sermons.

The Gospel of John uses repetition for emphasis, recording Jesus' semons and showing their context. This book has been called the Gospel of Love, and the Gospel of Faith, but it is also the Doctrinal Gospel. Various issues are either addressed or put to rest by the sermons of Jesus.

Jesus says and His disciples say "a little while" so often that an language teacher is tempted to edit some of it out by using synonyms. But the seven times are used to teach us about everything being "a little while," as it is.

Luther talked about the Doubting Thomas story as he does here. Matters of faith, revealed to us, are so wonderful and terrible that the human mind cannot grasp them by reason alone. In fact, human reason and experience tempt us to reject what the Word of God reveals.

That is the basic fact of modern theology. Pietism led Protestants into a new era of rationalism, and modern theology is based upon a rationalistic philosophy that few want to confess. It is a group secret, so that anyone can use the words of faith without meaning anything those words convey in the Bible.

The central stumbling block, or death trigger (the original meaning of scandal) is the atoning death of Christ. Those who reject the Son of God dying for the sins of the world have no faith. They like the figure and they use the symbol of the cross to express whatever philosophy appeals to them. But the innocent Son of God dying for sins of mankind is too terrible for them to grasp. Some admit, "I cannot believe in a god who lets His Son die for the sins of others..." 

Here Jesus prepares His disciples for the terrible anxiety and fears they must face during His passion and death. It will be a horrible time, but only a little while. Any bad experience seems to stretch out into eternity but afterwards, we realize it was not a long time, but a short time.

Knowing this helps. Jesus' words comfort us in advance so that we realize we are repeating His own experience in a very small way and likewise the experience of His disciples. The little whiles are the death and burial of Jesus, followed by His resurrection appearances and Ascension.

I. What Moved Christ to Deliver This Sermon of Comfort

1. Here in this Gospel we see how the Lord comforts and imparts courage to his children whom he is about to leave behind him, when they would come in fear and distress on account of his death or of their backsliding. We also notice what induced the evangelist John to use so many words that he indeed repeats one expression four times, which according to our thinking he might have expressed in fewer words. There is first of all presented to us here the nature of the true Christian in the example of the dear apostles. In the second place, how the suffering and the resurrection of Christ are to become effective in us.

17 Then said some of his disciples among themselves, What is this that he saith unto us, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me: and, Because I go to the Father? 18 They said therefore, What is this that he saith, A little while? we cannot tell what he saith.

The disciples were so anxious and unaware at this time that they could not comprehend the complete meaning of Jesus' comforting words. When we read John's account we are far more aware of their state of minds at this time.

Anyone who has been anxious and fearful can understand. If we are lost or have lost a very important item, our state of minds makes us even more impervious to any suggestion or advice. We hear without listening, and we see without perceiving.

When we were little, more than one of us heard a father or mother say, "If it were any closer you would be sitting on it."

When it is a time of emotional distress, this is even more dominant - during a dangerous illness or right after an accident, before and after the death of a loved one.

During this time Jesus no longer walked openly among the people, because of the increasing threat to His life. Thomas resisted going near Jerusalem and conceded, "We can die there together." 

Jesus was warning them He would suffer and die. The disciples knew a vast change was taking place.

2. We also see that Christ announces to his disciples, how sorrowful they should be because he would leave them, but they are still so simpleminded and ignorant, and also so sorrowful on account of his recent conversation at the Last Supper, that they did not understand at all what he said unto them; yea, the nature of that which Christ presents to them is too great and incomprehensible for them. And it was also necessary that they should first become sorrowful before they could rejoice, even as Christ himself was an example to us that without the cross we could not enter into glory. Hence he says in Luke 24, 26 to the two, with whom he journeyed to Emmaus: "Behooved it not the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into his glory?" If therefore the dear disciples were to have joy, they must first of all pass through great sorrow. But this joy came to them through the Lord Jesus; for it is decreed in the Gospel, that without Christ there is no joy; and on the other hand, where Christ is, there is no sorrow, as is plainly stated in the text. Hence when Christ was taken from them, they were in great sorrow.

19 Now Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask him, and said unto them, Do ye enquire among yourselves of that I said, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me?

Our feeble minds say this is too much, to say the same thing over and over, but it is the turning point of human history. The readers already knew the account from Matthew, Mark, and Luke, but this explains the meaning of the Passion account and offers a great parable for all believers suffering.

Notice that I wrote - for all believers suffering. This point is where so many wolf preachers want to expound upon the power of positive thinking, goal setting, planning, and the glorious history of the Packers, Notre Dame, or fill in the blank. But that is a complete departure, since this lesson speaks to profound human suffering, which often led to  torture and death. And the Gospel bore fruit in this suffering, because the martyrs were filled with faith in Christ and His promise of "a little while."

For unbelievers, suffering is meaningless unless it gets them what they want. Runners suffer to win a race. Businessmen suffer to build an empire, etc. But suffering for God's purpose cannot be understood by the unaided human mind. Only faith can cling to that truth, and clinging is often the right word.

We do not rest our confidence in ourselves but upon the unbreakable Word of God.

20 Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. 21 A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world.

The parable of childbirth is a vivid story that illustrates the lesson taught here.

16. This is spoken to all Christians, for every Christian must have temptations, trials, anxieties, adversities, sorrows, come what may. Therefore he mentions here no sorrow nor trial, he simply says they shall weep, lament, and be sorrowful, for the Christian has many persecutions. Some are suffering loss of goods; others there are whose character is suffering ignominy and scorn; some are drowned, others are burned; some are beheaded; one perishes in this manner, and another in that; it is therefore the lot of the Christian constantly to suffer misfortune, persecution, trials and adversity. This is the rod or fox tail with which they are punished. They dare not look for anything better as long as they are here. This is the court color by which the Christian is recognized, and if anyone wants to be a Christian, he dare not be ashamed of his court color or livery.

17. Why does God do this and permit his own to be persecuted and hounded? In order to suppress and subdue the free will, so that it may not seek an expedient in their works; but rather become a fool in God's works and learn thereby to trust and depend upon God alone.

Childbirth is a life or death struggle at the time. No one really knows what will develop, so it is a time of great anxiety and stress. In a recent Duggar birth, labor lasted three days. The young parents are very grateful to God for their baby, but it was a trying time for them.

Parents wait for news from the battlefront. Breadwinners hear about layoffs. The economy shifts so radically that the former times have been swept away in a Genesis Flood of changes, none of them calming or reassuring.

We do not know what the future holds, but we do know Who holds the future. This was stated in an American poem by James Russell Lowell. The first part is both dark and true -

Truth forever on the scaffold, Wrong forever on the throne,—

But the next phrase conveys the author's faith - 

Yet that scaffold sways the future, and, behind the dim unknown, 
Standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch above his own.
Doubtless we have this lesson and this repeated phrase, so that believers could say to one another, "Yes, this is difficult, but this is just a little while."

As the Psalmist says, "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." Psalm 30.

Instead of wondering about the anguish of the moment, we always need to trust in the wisdom of God Who holds the future and only gives the cross for spiritual purpose. 



Reformation 500th
When Protestants celebrate or duck the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017, they have many memories to challenge them. The suffering of that age meant the Gospel emerged from the Middle Ages as pure and bright as it had ever been, because people gave their lives for it.

Many of us are descended from slaves. My father's French Protestant ancestors were put on slave ships (galley's, rowing) by the Roman Catholics and slaughtered like sheep on St. Bartholomew's Day. The King of England bankrupted another ancestor, sending his family to America. Their pain gave a new life, freedom, and the Gospel to my family.

Likewise, the turmoil among the Lutherans produced the Book of Concord, the finest Biblical commentary we can find today. The Book of Concord was published 50 years after the Augsburg Confession, which itself was so dangerous that Luther had to stay away from the gathering. Many wanted him dead and no one mourned the death of a heretic.

Now the Lutheran leaders gladly bow their knees to Liz Eaton, head of ELCA, and Mark Jeske, board member of Thrivent. No longer can they say, like Peter, "Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk." (Acts 3:6) Theyare crippled in their understanding, blinded by greed, and bent on revenge against anyone who guesses the truth about them.

22 And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you. 23 And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.

This is Gospel lesson of joy, that acknowledges the pain and yet emphasizes the gladness following. Many parents say, "That was a tough day, but it was worth it.' No one can tell how much happiness and love a child gives until that day arrives. Some of the love is there, and it is profound, before the birth. But after the baby opens his eyes, smiles, coos, burps, and smiles, the love really blossoms.

Those who avoid the cross by making a pact with their Father Below also miss the joy so easily poured out upon believers.  That joy comes in a wide variety of forms, but it always begins with the Savior and His love for us, His Promises, His Redemption of our sin-filled world.

29. Here we rightly understand now what the words of Christ signify, "I go to the Father." Before this no one understood them, not even the disciples. But this is the road: I must die, he saith, and ye must also die. Peter vowed boastfully; for according to the old Adam he wanted to die with the Lord, and we all think we want to die with Christ, as all the other disciples said that they would enter into death with Christ. Mt 26,35. But all this must perish in us. You must come to the moment of trial, when Christ does not stand by you and does not die with you, when you cannot help yourself, just like the woman in travail. When this takes place, then you come to the Father. That is, you are filled with his power, and be makes a new man of you, who thereafter is not afraid, whose character is already here a heavenly character, as St. Paul calls it in Phil 3, 20; and this has its beginning here, by faith. Then you become courageous and brave, and can say as the prophet in the Psalm, "I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people," and "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil." Why all this? Because you have come to the Father. Who can now overthrow God's omnipotence? No one. Aye, then no one can do anything to you or cause you any harm.