Sunday, April 24, 2022

John.20.30-31; Second Sunday after Easter; April 24, 2022;

Life in Christ Lutheran Church, Grand Marais, MN;
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (John 20:30–31, ESV)

Grace and peace to you from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
"That is a good question. But I don't have an answer for you because the Bible doesn't say anything about that."
I've said that often. Maybe even to you. Usually, I get a response that goes something like, "why didn't God put that in there?" Well, here's the answer. John says the things he put in his book, the Gospel of John, are there
"so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name."

And what John says here actually applies to all the Bible, everything that is necessary for you to have faith, and have that faith grow is
in there. Folks today would say something like “There’s and app for that.”
"These things are written…" Even though there were many other things that could have been written, these are written so that you may believe. There is enough here for your faith. There is enough here for you to believe. These short two verses of the conclusion of John's Gospel, sum up the gospel and the Word of God in a very simple and concise way. They tell you what the Word is all about. It's about Jesus and all that he said and did for you for the forgiveness of your sins, so that you may believe. It's no accident that John says these things right after the account of Jesus resurrection and his appearance to the disciples in the upper room on the first Easter Sunday. Jesus says, "Peace be with you." And then he sends the disciples out to bring that peace, the forgiveness of sins that he brings through his cross and resurrection, to the whole world. "As the father has sent me, even so I am sending you." It is through faith in Jesus Christ that we receive this forgiveness.
You see, this is a very important understanding of how God works. Roman Catholics believe that it takes the Pope to tell us what Scripture means and what it's about. Other Christians believe that you figure out what Scripture means and what it's about by how it makes you feel. You hear this in the question that people often ask, "What does this text mean to you?" You know, it doesn’t make any difference what the text means to you. What makes a difference is what God means to say. It makes a difference what St. John, and the other writers of Scripture, meant (led by the Holy Spirit, of course) when they wrote the text. John tells you exactly what Scripture means and what it's about. It's about having faith in Jesus Christ who lived and died and rose again for you. It's about having faith in Jesus so that you may have life in his name. It is
Scripture that is enough for faith. The Psalm says,
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105, ESV)

You see, faith always has an object. The object of the Christian faith is Jesus Christ. We believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God.
And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell. The third day He rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty. From thence He will come to judge the living and the dead. (Luther’s Small Catechism)

The Bible, and all its parts, is about this very thing. Although there are many other things that we can learn from the Bible about how to live our lives, that is not the primary purpose. John didn't write these things so that you can transform your society. John didn't write these things so that you could find your purpose in life. John didn't write these things so that you could be a financial wizard. He said these things are written so that you may believe in Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the Savior of the World. So, our faith is centered on Jesus Christ and all that he has said and done. If we look to Popes or feelings to tell us what the Scriptures are about our faith has its object in Popes or even in ourselves. Popes have often been wrong. And your feelings are unreliable and change like the wind. It is the Word of God that is reliable and never changes. It says exactly what it means. And it says exactly what it means to you when you search the Scriptures for Jesus Christ. Jesus said this to his enemies. They didn't like the things he said and did even though they were very well-versed in Scripture. He corrected them,
You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me,” (John 5:39, ESV)

Here Jesus was talking about the Old Testament. The Scribes and Pharisees knew it very well. They searched it looking for ways to save themselves. They had rules upon rules to make it doable. What they missed was that Jesus Christ had come to save them. They put him on the cross. But he willingly went there for their sins. And they continued to look in the Scriptures for other things than him. They rejected Jesus because they depended on their own ideas about what Scripture meant and why it was written.
It's easy to put ourselves in the driver’s seat. In fact, it's the oldest temptation in the world. In the garden of Eden, Satan drove this point home. He asked Adam and Eve, "Did God actually say?" (Genesis 3:1) He was asking the question, "What does this text mean to you?" It sounds so good to our sinful human nature, to hear that what Scripture is about is our purpose in life. It sounds so good to our sinful human nature that the Bible is about us. If the Bible is about us that makes us God. And this is where we want to be. This is the most basic nature of our sinfulness. Just like our forefather and mother, Adam, and Eve, we want to "be like God, knowing good and evil."
This is why we need to be reminded over and over again that Jesus is the object of our faith. The Bible is about what he has done for us. This is what our preaching is all about. St. Paul says it in first Corinthians,
For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” (1 Corinthians 1:21–25, ESV)

This is exactly why I have pointed so many times to this cross of Jesus with his body on it (properly called a crucifix). It shows us that Jesus Christ crucified is the object of our faith and all Scripture.
But don't think for a moment that what I mean is that there is nothing else to be heard in Scripture. God clearly lays out his demands on how we are to live. God clearly lays out truth and error, sin, and righteousness. And he expects us to keep his law perfectly. And so it is in the Bible that we see over and over again how we fall well short of being able to save ourselves, or please God in any way (without faith).
When the Romans crucified people, a symbol of what they had done was right there with them, it was the charge against them. A thief would have a bag of coins. An insurrectionist would have a dagger. Jesus had a titulus (in Latin it means title, or charge). “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews”. On the cross, our transgressions were laid before Jesus, at titulus, of sorts. Jesus is punished as the greatest sinner of all. David said in Psalm 51,
For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.” (Psalm 51:3–4, ESV)

At the beginning of the Psalm was a titulus of sorts,
“.. when Nathan the Prophet went to him after he had gone into Bathsheba.”

God laid out David’s sins before him and he had no excuse. He had fallen into sin, again. The beauty of David is that when he sinned, he turned to God for forgiveness. When God says David was a man after God’s own heart, this is what he meant. David didn’t have the cross, but he had the promise of it. His faith was in Jesus. His Savior from sin.
This is what John means when he says,
These things are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name."

He wrote his Gospel (as did all the authors of Scripture), so that you could look at a Crucifix and see Jesus as your sinner. The one who died for your sin. The one who bore the pain of death for you. The one who suffered hell for you.
that by believing you may have life in his name.

The peace of God that passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Psa.118.14-24; Festival of the Resurrection of Our Lord

Psa.118.14-24; Festival of the Resurrection of Our Lord; April 17, 2022;
Life in Christ Lutheran Church, Grand Marias, MN; 14The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. 15Glad songs of salvation are in the tents of the righteous: “The right hand of the Lord does valiantly, 16the right hand of the Lord exalts, the right hand of the Lord does valiantly!” 17I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the Lord. 18The Lord has disciplined me severely, but he has not given me over to death. 19Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the Lord. 20This is the gate of the Lord; the righteous shall enter through it. 21I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation. 22The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. 23This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. 24This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:14-24 (ESV)
(outline by Michael J. Redeker)
Grace and peace to you from Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
That’s nice to hear. It’s a celebration, today. Just take a quick look at the worship folder and you can tell that. “The Festival of the Resurrection…” You know what a festival is… We have lots of them and we really enjoy them. Not all that long ago we had the “Festival of the Super Bowl.” Who doesn’t like tailgating? Food and fun. Lot’s of folks like that day who don’t even like football. At times like that we like to pull out all the stops, gather friends and family around us, enjoy their company, eat, have fun, etc. What celebrations do you have coming up this year? Wouldn’t it be nice if we could take all that energy, all those great times, all those good feelings, and wrap it up in a package we could just open whenever we wanted? Wouldn’t it be great to open that package when things weren’t so great? When illness comes and troubles us. When a family member dies? When we fail at work, or even lose our job?
Really that’s what Psalm 118, it’s the victory celebration bottled up in a nice little package we can refer to any time we like. It’s a little Festival package, full of victory and rejoicing. That’s probably why it has been used during the Festival of the Resurrection from way back. In fact, I read that it was Martin Luther’s favorite psalm. If we look at it, it’s easy to understand why. There’s victory all they way through it. God’s love endures forever. God remains faithful and has delivered His people from trouble and death. He has shown his great love and won the decisive victory. This Psalm shows us the victory that comes after God has handled our struggles. And it recounts God’s victory over our troubles in the past. The psalmist is sure of God’s victory in the future because of how God has been victorious in the past. “The right hand of the Lord does valiantly.” It says. The right hand is the symbol of strength. Here the Psalmist is saying that the Lord has overcome by his great strength. And just so you don’t miss what he’s saying it’s repeated 3 times. “The right hand of the Lord does valiantly. The right hand of the Lord exalts. The right hand of the Lord does valiantly.” The Lord is my strength and my song.
God has won the victory. And what is the result of that victory?
“I shall not die, but I shall live and recount the deeds of the Lord.”
When it seemed that death was coming, its threat was taken away. It was taken away by the power of God. The psalmist has seen what God has done and that is where he puts his trust. He has taken refuge in God rather than men. The Lord has been working all along. The psalmist confesses that, and says in effect, “won’t it be nicer and easier when the struggle is over, and the victory is clear?” That’s how it is for us today as well. The victory is sure in Jesus. We just sang one of my favorite hymns. “Jesus lives the victory’s won.” Jesus lives! The victory’s won! Death no longer can appall me; Jesus lives! Death’s reign is done! From the grave will Christ recall me. Brighter scenes will then commence; This shall be my confidence.
Ah, but aren’t we tempted to forget that the victory has been won already? Aren’t we tempted and teased by the world when we put our trust in Jesus? When people see us gathered around a casket and still, we sing songs of rejoicing. Don’t they accuse us of being silly? Or confused? Aren’t we ridiculed every day in the media for what we believe? When we see our own death coming, when illness brings our mortality front and center in our lives? Aren’t we told to trust in everything but Jesus? And aren’t we tempted to do just that: “Believe in the doctors. Believe in the medicine. Believe the science. Believe in pyramid power.” And yet God came through just as he promised. Jesus Christ died but he also rose again. Our faith is an Easter faith, a resurrection faith. It is the middle of our struggles that it is most difficult to remember God’s faithfulness. It is when we are hurting, when we are lonely, when we feel threatened that is when Satan especially challenges our resurrection faith. But God uses those times, especially to draw us to himself. Those are the times when we realize that if the victory is sure at all it must be God’s victory. Because we can’t triumph against the most serious threats and struggles in our lives.
And the victory of Jesus Christ is a sure thing. It was not by accident. The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone.
Jesus spoke of himself in that way. The victory was assured from the beginning. I just watched the move “The Passion of the Christ” by Mel Gibson on Friday. In it, at the very beginning, Jesus crushes the head of the serpent with his heal, as if to say, I’ve already won. It’s already over with, the victory is sure. Today is a victory day, because of Jesus. This is the day the Lord has made.
It was no accident. The day of victory was in God’s heart from the beginning, when human beings pushed themselves away from him and toward death. Before the sun rose today, and yesterday, last year, and even the thousands of years of sun rises, God’s set his plan in motion. And the outcome was assured. He sent his son, Jesus Christ, God and man together in one person, to win the victory. To live life perfectly on God’s terms. To make the law right for everyone. And more importantly he died to remove the barrier of sin that keeps human beings away from God. And most importantly he rose again from death, striking at the heart of sin’s result. The wages of sin is death, but Jesus Christ gives us life again as a gift. That makes sin’s punishment empty. Sin and death and the grave hold no power over those who have received the gift of faith in Jesus Christ. That first Easter when Jesus walked out of the tomb alive again was the Great Victory Day.
Now I ask you this: Is that Victory Day only a one-day event? A week? A year? The victory day that the Lord has made is an eternal day. God’s victory celebration is one that will go on forever and ever. When little children are playing and having fun, they don’t want to stop for anything. “Mom, I don’t want to go to bed, I want to play.” In God’s victorious day, the living doesn’t ever end. And in God’s heart is you and me. We are the reason for his wonderful and sure plan of victory. Because his plan for you and me is that we too shall be a part of that forever celebration.
It’s easy, really, to understand how people only celebrate Easter for one day, even though we don’t agree. For non-Christians it’s only about Easter egg hunts, and candy, and a visit to the dentist in the near future. For them it’s only about the promise of spring and green grass around the corner, or little baby ducks following their mother down the road. For those who have no faith in the Victory of Jesus, that is all there is. But why is it that for so many Christians; Easter is just a one-day event? How many Christians are not even aware that the Easter season stretches over a forty-day period that can be seen as one big long celebration day in the life of the church? How many Christians forget that God indeed brings his eternal celebration, his victory day to us every week? Through Jesus that’s what happens here when we gather to hear his word and eat and drink his victory meal, that “foretaste of the Feast to come.” “This is the Feast of Victory for our God.” And it doesn’t end when the Easter service is over. It doesn’t end after any Sunday worship service is over either. It continues every day of our new lives. Our lives given to us in Baptism. P: Do you not know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? C: We were therefore buried with him, through baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may have new life. P: If we have been united with Him in His death, C: We will certainly be united with Him in His resurrection. P: Christ is risen! C: He is risen indeed! Hallelujah!
That verse isn’t just for you to remember on Easter day, or when we will march a casket in this church. That is the victory chant for you for every day of your life. Because of Jesus, we live in the victory of the Resurrection forever. It is a celebration that will go on and on and on and on.
So, what’s at the heart of the celebration? It’s Jesus. Early on that first Easter Sunday, the men and women who had followed Jesus didn’t think they had much to celebrate. Their whole world had come crashing to a bloody and painful and fearful end. Jesus was crucified, dead and buried. Early in the morning, even before the sun had come up, Mary Magdalene went to be with Jesus’ at his tomb. But when she got there the tomb was open, the stone had been rolled away, and Jesus’ body was gone. In panic she ran to tell Peter. “They’ve taken the Lord’s body away!” She must have been worried that the men who had killed Jesus were adding insult to injury. Peter and John ran to the tomb to see it for themselves. And they saw that it was empty, except for the burial cloths they left with questions in their minds. Mary remained there crying. When she looked again into the tomb, she saw men in bright white sitting where Jesus had been. “Women,” they said to her. “Why are you weeping?” “They’ve taken away my Lord, and I don’t know where they have laid him.” She answered. And then from behind her another voice spoke. “Woman,” it said, “Why are you weeping, whom are you seeking?” She thought it was the Gardner, and answered, “If you know anything about my Lord’s body please tell me where it is.” But it was Jesus. He was alive and standing right there beside her. “Mary.” He said. And suddenly she knew who he was. “Teacher!” she shouted and reached out to grab hold of him. “Not yet, don’t hold on to me now. Go tell the rest that you have seen me.” And she ran as fast as she could, “I have seen the Lord! He is risen.” He is risen indeed. Alleluia!
As dead as he was, and his death is a sure thing. He is just as alive. His resurrection is a sure thing too. Death held him as it will hold you and me. Your death may be painful, or painless. It may be quick or slow. You may see your death coming or you may be taken by surprise. It doesn’t matter. Just as Jesus rose, you too will rise. And the promise isn’t just that you will rise it’s that Hell isn’t a part of the picture. Satan works every day to drag people with him into that abyss. But Jesus has made him release his grip on you and me. Death is Satan’s tool. It’s the threat of death and hell that he holds over you and me. But through baptism into the death and resurrection of Jesus, that threat is no threat at all. When we say, “He is risen!” He is risen indeed. Alleluia! We are talking about ourselves as well. We are talking about the promise of God that we are risen with Christ.
Today is a victory day. In fact, it is the Victory day. In the words of the Psalm This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. 24This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed! Alleluia! Amen.
The peace of God that passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Sunday, April 10, 2022

John 12:20-33; Palm Sunday; April 10, 2020;

John 12:20-33; Palm Sunday; April 10, 2020;
Life in Christ Lutheran Church, Grand Marais, MN;
Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him. “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not mine. Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die. (John 12:20-33, ESV)
Grace and peace to you from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
You know, the whole world is looking for something spiritual. I have heard that the fastest growing religion in the world right now is Islam. It’s growing in Africa, South American, Canada, and yes even in the United States. It is a part of the human psyche to want spiritual things to be a part of life.
People especially look for God, as a higher power, in times of trouble. There have been surges of people going to church in times of trouble. Think about times of trouble in our country. Times when we see people crying out to God for help and understanding. People want God to be a part of their lives. They want God around when stuff isn’t going well. But the question could well be asked “What God?”
The term god that is used in the public square is very generic and it is meant to be that way. Sometimes you might even hear it said like this; “Let us each pray to god, using whatever name we know him by.” The truth is there is no generic god. There is only one true God. He is the one we should seek. He is the one we should pray to. He is the God who comes to us in Jesus Christ.
Our Gospel today finds some “Greeks” looking for Jesus. These guys were, presumably, people who believed in the God of the Jews. They were in Jerusalem for the Passover; they saw that Jesus was there and wanted to know more about him. “We want to see Jesus.” They asked Philip. Of course, they didn’t just want to look his direction, they didn’t just want to stand beside the road and watch him walk by. They wanted to look him over and see what made him so different. They wanted to talk to him. They wanted to get a chance to get to know him. They wanted to see what everyone else saw when they saw Jesus. Here was a man who brought a crowed with him as he marched into the city in a parade of palms looking to everyone like the next King of the Jews. Here was a man who had the guts to go into the temple and clear out the moneychangers and their overpriced sacrifices. He was a man who had raised a three-day-dead-man to life again. He was a man who drew crowds with him everywhere he went. He was a focus of public attention and they wanted to know what every one else saw when they looked at him. They wanted to see what they would see when they looked at Jesus. These curious men came to Andrew and Philip to take them to see Jesus.
Philip and Andrew were not new to bringing people to Jesus. Andrew brought his brother Peter. And Philip brought Nathaniel. “Come and see, we have found the Christ!” they said to their brothers. “Come and look at what we have found. Come see him for yourself.” And now they brought these Greeks to Jesus, “These Greeks, these gentiles, want to see you Jesus. Is it ok?” They asked.
What do you think those Greeks saw when they looked at Jesus? It would probably be easy to describe Jesus, that is what he looked like. How many pictures have you seen? How many pictures do we have all around here? Unkempt hair, smiling face, beard… Halo around his head? Eyes that burn into your soul? Smiling, crying, frowning, and laughing? When these men came to Jesus, did they see what they though they’d see? Was Jesus what they expected?
Maybe I should ask the question of you, I think it’s a legitimate question to ask Christian people: What do you see when you look at Jesus?
Think about today, Palm Sunday. The Jews that followed Jesus to Jerusalem shouting “Hosanna!” saw a powerful king. They must have been overjoyed when he flushed the corruption out of the temple. It was a very powerful and king like thing to do. That’s exactly what they wanted; someone who would get them out from under the thumb of the Romans; someone powerful to take their biggest problems to and let him take care of them. When they looked at Jesus, they saw someone who was going to make everything better. He did, just not in the way the expected.
Do you see Jesus that way? Is that the first thing you think of when you see Jesus? My God is an awesome God! I think we all do at times. “If I just have faith in Jesus everything will be alright.”
Susan stood beside here father’s bed. He had been wracked with pain for 3 months. “It’ll be ok dad. We just must have faith and Jesus will heal you.” She is all smiles and confidant. When Susan sees Jesus, she sees healing for her failing father. That’s the awesomeness of God in her life. Her faith is about Jesus making her father right again.
Ray was successful. Business was great and despite the failing economy he was still doing well. He was often asked about the secret to his success. It wasn’t a secret as far as he was concerned. He just followed the principals found in the Bible. If he did that, Jesus would make sure he was successful.
“Lord,” cried Amy. “Give us the victory over these evil people who only want to cause us pain and suffering. Show your glory in their defeat! You promise that we will be victorious over sin. Make it so now.” As she prayed the crowd around her murmured their approval. They were sure Jesus would show his power and defeat their enemies.
I wonder if that’s what the Greeks who came to Jesus saw? Jesus powerful. King Jesus. Jesus making a glorious stand against everything that was wrong in the world. I think Jesus wants them to see something different.
“The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”
Jesus isn’t talking about throwing out the Roman Legions. He’s not talking about healing every disease, he’s not talking about establishing a glorious earthly kingdom based in Jerusalem. He is talking about death and suffering. He’s talking about having a troubled heart. He says following him isn’t about being healed and successful. It’s about hating one’s life and being a servant. None of that sounds very glorious to me. It’s not what I want to see in Jesus. I don’t think its what the Greeks expected to hear or see.
The truth is faith in Jesus isn’t about being successful in life. It’s not about being healed from every disease. It isn’t about triumphing over our enemies. Faith in Jesus is about seeing Jesus lifted up on a cross, bleeding and dying, suffering and crying out in pain. Faith in Jesus is about that Seed dying and being buried. The Passion of our Lord is all about. It is a day to think about Jesus Christ crucified, and what it means. Our faith is in Jesus Christ who was crucified, lifted up. It’s what he did there on the cross that is so important to everyone. It is there that he “draws all people to himself.” It is there that he gets our attention as he dies.
Jesus is in his full glory on the cross. He is the one who hates his life for the sake of us all. What we mean is that he loved us more than himself. He willingly hung on the cross out of love for you and me. It’s been said that nails didn’t hold Jesus on the cross, love did. God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, to be lifted up on the cross and suffer, and die, for the sins of the whole world. Our God is an awesome God. We see just exactly what that means when we stand at the foot of the cross.
What do we see when we look at Jesus? We see Jesus crucified, dead, buried and raised. We see Jesus dying for us, and our sins. We see Jesus paying the penalty for all that we do wrong every day; the things that hurt our friends and family; the things that cause us pain and suffering. We see Jesus’ suffering for all that we don’t do that we should. Ignoring the suffering of others and passing up opportunities to share the love of Jesus with other. We see Jesus taking all our punishment to the grave, and packing it all in there to stay, freeing us from it all.
And there’s something else. This seed dies, but it springs up again and bears many seeds. Jesus rises from death and the grave. The punishment of sin is taken care of; the guilt of sin is washed away. Good Friday sorrow leads to Easter joy. But there is no Easter, no resurrection with out death and burial. There are no “many seeds” with out the death of the One.
Do you want to know who God is? The world is looking for Him. They want to see him as a god who will make their nation successful in war. They want to see him as a god who will give them a happy and healthy life, and a booming economy. But God isn’t necessarily found in those kinds of things. But he is found in the suffering and death of Jesus Christ. That’s where he shows his love for the world. That’s where he shows his love for you and me. That’s what we see when we look at Jesus. Amen.
The Peace of God that passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.