The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist in Residence

Bethany Lutheran Worship on
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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 12, 2015

Quasidmodogeniti, The First Sunday after Easter, 2015.
John 20:19-31. Doubting Thomas

Caravaggio - The Incredulity of Saint Thomas

Quasimodogeniti, The First Sunday after Easter, 2015
  
Pastor Gregory L. Jackson




The Hymn #192                                Awake My Soul with Gladness - Gerhardt
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 #
208                Ye Sons and Daughters      
       

The Two Natures in Christ


The Communion Hymn # 200         I Know that My Redeemer      
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 #
187                               Christ Is Arisen            

First Sunday After Easter

Lord God, heavenly Father, we thank Thee, that of Thine ineffable grace, for the sake of Thy Son, Thou hast given us the holy gospel, and hast instituted the holy sacraments, that through the same we may have comfort and forgiveness of sin: We beseech Thee, grant us Thy Holy Spirit, that we may heartily believe Thy word; and through the holy sacraments day by day establish our faith, until we at last obtain salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

KJV 1 John 5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? 6 This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. 7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. 8 And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. 9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. 10 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.

KJV John 20:19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. 20 And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. 21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: 23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.

24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. 26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. 27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. 28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. 29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. 30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: 31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.



The Two Natures in Christ

The three great heresies in the Christian Faither are attacks against the divinity of Christ, against His humanity, and against justification by faith. This Gospel lesson addresses all three. One hymn, "Ye Sons and Daughters of the King," is dedicated to telling the story of this lesson.

KJV John 20:19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. 

Christian worship began to be on Sundays because Jesus rose from the dead on Sunday. This verse shows how the disciples were so impressed with the human nature in Christ that they only saw His torture and crucifixion. They were terrified of the religious opposition, which almost always more bitter than government opposition. The doors were locked because of this fear.  Nevertheless, Jesus appeared before them.

Those who have trouble with the Two Natures in Christ, like Calvin, have Jesus finding a secret entrance to this room, or being there in hiding before the door was locked. That is the temptation of rationalism, to find a human reason for divine activity. 

Jesus' divine nature was never limited by His human nature. Crowds who wanted to grab or stone Him could not. Likewise, the grave could not contain Him.

3. "Yea, Father, yea, most willingly
I'll bear what Thou commandest;
My will conforms to Thy decree,
I do what Thou demandest."
O wondrous Love, what hast Thou done!
The Father offers up His Son!
The Son, content, descendeth!
O Love, how strong Thou art to save!
Thou beddest Him within the grave
Whose word the mountains rendeth.

TLH, 142.

Jesus first Word to them was "Peace." That word is overused and abused today, but it was His pronouncement upon them, a word in the New Testament that is always associated with forgiveness and salvations.

20 And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. 

To show He was not a vision, not a ghost, Jesus displayed His hands and His side. That must have been an odd moment in their lives, because of those gathered there, in hiding, only John had been at the cross. He could verify the wounds. The others must have felt guilty because they had scattered, as the Old Testament predicted, "I will strike the Shepherd and the sheep will be scattered."

But His presence caused the disciples to be glad. Their darkened understanding was beginning to come alive, and Jesus built this up, as He does with us. Faith bears the fruit of joy, which is evident here. Because of their faith in Him, they were glad to see Him alive.

2. Faith, as we have often said, is of the nature, that every one appropriates to himself the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, of which we have already said enough; namely, that it is not sufficient simply to believe Christ rose from the dead, for this produces neither peace nor joy, neither power nor authority; but you must believe that he rose for your sake, for your benefit, and was not glorified for his own sake; but that he might help you and all who believe in him, and that through his resurrection sin, death and hell are vanquished and the victory given to you.

3. This is signified by Christ entering through closed doors, and standing in the midst of his disciples. For this standing denotes nothing else than that he is standing in our hearts; there he is in the midst of us, so that he is ours, as he stands there and they have him among them. And when he thus stands within our hearts, we at once hear his loving voice saying to the troubled consciences: Peace, there is no danger; your sins are forgiven and blotted out, and they shall harm you no more.

21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: 23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.

In spite of their flaws and weaknesses, Jesus had a great message for them. He pronounced peace on them again. He came through closed doors, which is how He comes to people through the Word. Babies are not looking for something when they received baptism and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

When an adult first believes, his heart is opened by the Word, not by persuasion and human reason. People look for miracles, and yet conversion by the Word is the greatest of all miracles.

Luther observed, against the Enthusiasts, that Jesus did not displace the furniture. He does not enter our lives by causing chaos and confusion. Some false teachers try to emphasize their power by making their converts do extreme things, causing confusion and dismay if they do or if they refuse.

22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: 23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.

The Office of the Keys is neglected because of the confusion today about the Law and the Gospel, about absolving sins and retaining them. It does no good for someone if he continues to sin and he is told he is always forgiven, past, present, and future. That only hardens him about the nature of sin 

24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. 

There was a growing body of believers who had seen the risen Christ, but Thomas had not. Because of this, he refused to believe without physical proof, and actual touching. His demand was so great that Jesus gave him the proof, which was both a great and terrible event. He was urged to touch the wounds and likely he did. He had more proof than anyone that Jesus died and rose again. But that was also a reminder that he denied this until he had the proof.

26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. 27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. 28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.

The eight days would be today, since the Jews counted each day, so a week later was 8 days later. Jesus appeared again and offered them peace again. Although people have often said Thomas did not touch the wounds, that would contradict Jesus' own command.

Thomas not only saw the human nature of Christ, the actual wounds, and touched them, but recognized in faith that He was and will always be God Incarnate. Luther noted in the Emmaus sermon that many things belonging to God's revelation are startling, powerful, and almost too much for us to bear. But that is the nature of God compared to our weak nature. 

What makes us glad to know the risen Christ is realizing He is just what He promises in John's Gospel - the human face of God. He taught only what the Father taught, did only what the Father commanded.

What is God like? Jesus is the answer about God's nature, will, love, and mercy. There is no separation in those qualities, but a difference in Persons. This is too much for coarse and greedy blokes, so it is hidden from them.