The 2nd Sunday of Easter – Quasi Modo Genitii April 19, 2020
Text: John 20:19-31 3 Year Series A 20:2191
Theme: Oh, What We Miss When We Miss the Lord!
I don’t know how to describe it. How do you describe the way people are feeling these days with the restrictions placed on us. It’s been over a month now – social distancing, avoiding groups, stores closed, restaurants, parks, gyms, even going to church held from us. At first crowds were limited to 50, then 10, then in Greene County none. We’ve been forced to eliminate things common to us, some which we consider important to life. How are you feeling about it?
I like to cook at home. But Friday night we decided to do something else. There’s a new, small Japanese restaurant in town. People seem to like it. Let’s try that. Let’s try something different. Of course it is take-out orders, right? So Eryn called to order. The wait was over 1 ¼ hour. Too long! She called old Mr. Lee’s Chinese place. Closed. She went by KFC, McDonalds and reported long lines for take-out everywhere. Doesn’t that indicate people are missing things we once considered normal? Probably frustrated too!
Some are missing a lot more than that. Some are missing family members whom they cannot see.
So, how are you feeling – frustrated, cheated, sad, discouraged, missing out. And if that’s the way many are feeling with our temporary situation, I wonder how the disciples were feeling with what they thought was permanent – life without Jesus. And Thomas, what about Thomas? What was going through his head and heart when he was missing the Lord?
I. We miss the peace and joy that only God can give.
Go back to that weekend. Those were horrible days for the disciples. They had betrayed Jesus, denied Him, and deserted Him. They watched Him condemned, crucified, and His body rushed into a tomb. With it they buried all hope and happiness of His being the Promised One. Earlier Sunday evening two of them lamented, “We were hoping that He was going to redeem Israel” (Lk.24:21). Sad, afraid, hopeless, feeling cheated – I think that their situation was far more traumatic than what we are missing at this point.
That morning the women came back with news of a resurrection. They babbled about seeing angels; a few claimed to see Jesus alive. But we are told that the disciples “did not believe
them because the women’s words seemed like nonsense” (24:11).
“Nonsense! You’re crazy! You’re dreaming!” And there are much courser ways some people say that. Has anyone ever said things like that to you?
That hurts, especially if you know that what you told them is true, absolutely true. So, think of the great range of emotions churning in that room that night. There was sadness, disappointment, and despair. There was fear, frustration, and devastation. There was ridicule, scorn, and hurt feelings. The air was thick with dark emotions.
Then, suddenly the risen Lord Jesus stood in the middle of them, even though the doors were locked. “Peace be with you,” He cried as He showed them His hands and feet with the nail marks in them. Stunned in wide-eyed disbelief, yet as delight overwhelmed their faces, He breathed on them and said: “Peace be with you.” It’s exactly what they needed and were missing: peace!
This was more than a wishing of peace; it was an imparting of peace. When the Bible says “the Lord breathed on them,” it indicates something special. When God created Adam, what does it say? “He breathed into him the breath of life and Adam became a living soul.” New life flows with divine breath as the Lord imparts His gifts. Here, it was peace and joy in the midst of turmoil.
A similar thing happens every Sunday at the end of the service when the minister proclaims, “The Lord bless you…the Lord make His face…the Lord lift up His countenance…and give you peace.” It’s not may you have peace, nor I hope you have peace; but the Lord gives you peace. What He says He gives at the same time because that’s what the Savior can do. We miss that when we miss the Lord; we miss the peace that only God can give us. One of our past members, Herb Dannenfeldt, used to tell me a story that went back many years ago to the time that his father was a Lutheran minister in Cleveland, Ohio. At the time a member of the congregation was a bus driver who worked many Sunday mornings. But his bus route went by church. Herb said the member timed his route in such a way that he would drive by church at the time the benediction was given, stop his bus, run up the stairs, and stand in the doorway to hear the Benediction. If that was the only thing he was able to get that Sunday because he had to miss an appointment with the Lord, the man was not going to miss that imparting of the Savior’s gift of peace. It’s not just a word to close
the service. It’s what the Savior gives to all who believe in Him.
Do you need proof? Look at the disciples. They reacted in joy even though seconds before this their emotions had been so dark. Like the Bible says, “Since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through Him we also have obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand. And we rejoice confidently in hope for the glory of God” (Ro,5:1f).
Can any of us fully appreciate the indescribable peace and joy that only God could give these disciples that night? Maybe we can understand their joy a bit better now after experiencing the restrictions that have been placed on us. Imagine how happy we’ll be when everything is lifted again. But that can’t come close to the peace and joy they felt that Easter evening. All of those present felt it, except the one who wasn’t there – Thomas. He missed it because he missed the Lord that night. He missed the peace and joy that only God can give in a risen Savior because he was not in the assembly of believers when the Lord Jesus called on them.
II. We miss His word of power given through the Holy Ghost.
Our text says, “Jesus breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whenever you forgive people’s sins, they are forgiven. Whenever you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
With such words Jesus gave those present more than a promise; He gave them the Holy Ghost and a word of power that gives the forgiveness of sins. In the Church we call this power the Ministry of the Keys. It is a “unique right that Christ gave to His church on earth to forgive the sins of penitent sinners but to refuse forgiveness to the impenitent as long as they do not repent.”
Sometimes, people attack this teaching because it says that the pastor, yes, the whole church has a right to tell everyone in this way that sins are forgiven. Those who oppose this say that only God can forgive sins and, therefore, no man has a right to forgive the sins of other men. We agree with that. Only God can forgive sins because only God gave the solution for sin – His Son. Because He did the work, only God can forgive sins. But it does not follow that no man has a right to tell others that their sins are forgiven for God may certainly use people as His instruments to send all sin away and to carry this message of forgiveness to others.
Here Jesus made it clear that He gave the Church the word of power to do that by giving them the Holy Spirit at the same time. And then He told them to go out and do it in the presence of others.
So, when you tell someone that his sins are forgiven, you are telling him what God told you to tell people. God, who has forgiven the sins of the whole world in Christ, does not come to men Himself to tell them. He sends Christians on earth to do it for Him. He gave them a word of power and His Holy Spirit to enable them.
So, when you tell someone that he is a sinner and deserves to go to hell for his sins, you are telling him the truth, for this is what God tells us in His Word. When you tell people this, they ought to believe it because, if they don’t, they are really calling God a liar.
On the other hand, when people learn of their need for the Savior and then believe what the Savior has done in taking away their sins, they ought to believe that too, because Christ Himself breathed the Holy Spirit on His disciples here and said, “Whenever you forgive people’s sins, they are forgiven.”
That is a great thing that we get to hear every Sunday when we are here. Don’t you miss that at this time because you can’t be here? But, in another way, that promise is always yours in the Word of God and in your fellow Christians who support you. So, when the pastor or any Christian stands before you in Jesus’ name and tells you, “I forgive you all your sins for Jesus’ sake,” believe it, for it is certain. Remember, the Lord Jesus Himself stands behind that statement here. He does what He says, and He says what He does. And all who believe it, have it. You may miss out on church right now, but in faith you do not miss out on God’s Word that promises this. Oh, what people miss when they miss the Lord. But you who believe in a risen Savior have it. For Jesus does what He says, and He says what He does. For His sake you have forgiveness. And what joy and peace that brings you
God grant us all such an Easter faith. Even though we miss certain things that are so important to us at this time, this you always have for your risen Savior promised it. God grant it to us in faith for Jesus’ sake. Amen
Zion Lutheran Church of Springfield
(A member congregation of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod)
4717 S Farm Rd 135 (Golden Avenue)
Church phone: 417.887.0886 Pastor’s cell phone: 417.693.3244
www.zionluthchurch.com You can also find us on Facebook
The Second Sunday of Easter: “Quasi modo geniti” April 19, 2020
“Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:29
F o r O u r V i s i t o r s
The family of Zion welcomes you as we worship the Lord today. We encourage children to worship with us. However, if you need to leave with your child, there is a nursery room to the right as you exit the sanctuary. The rest rooms are located in the hallway between the sanctuary and the fellowship hall. Visitors, please sign our guest book to the right, just outside the sanctuary. We’re glad that you are here and pray that through our worship the Lord grants you peace.
U p o n E n t e r i n g G o d’ s H o u s e
“Like newborn babies, crave the pure milk of the Word so that by it you may grow up with the result being salvation. Certainly you have tasted that the Lord is good! Sing a loud song to God, our strength. Shout to the God of Jacob! (1 Peter 2:2-3; Psalm 81:1)
W h a t T h i s S u n d a y i s A b o u t
Blessed Are Those Who Believe. The day of Easter is past, but not its blessings. Christians still bask in the warmth and glow of Christ’s resurrection. Because He lives we have peace and joy, knowing that in His forgiveness and love we can face today and tomorrow in renewed confidence and hope. As we continue in faith, nothing can shake us – no matter what trial might arise in life. He is ours and we are His, now and forever. Blessed are those who believe!
But for those who refuse to believe the resurrection, only sadness, gloom, and uncertainty await. Lord, preserve us from such unbelief which loses the blessings that the risen Christ won for us.
So it is that we pray: O risen Lord, You came to Your disciples and took away their fears with Your word of peace. Come to us also by Word and Sacrament, and banish our fears with the comforting assurance of Your abiding presence; for You live and reign now and forever. Amen.
– T h e W o r d o f G o d f o r T o d a y –
The First Lesson: Acts 2:14,22-32
Peter addresses the crowd in Jerusalem on Pentecost, admonishing them for crucifying Jesus, who was the Anointed from God. In Him the prophecies of the Savior were fulfilled. God raised Him from the dead, of which the disciples were eyewitnesses.
The Epistle Lesson: 1 Peter 1:3-9
Through faith in Jesus’ resurrection from death, God gives us a new birth into a living hope and an inheritance in heaven that cannot be taken away from us.
The Gospel Lesson: John 20:19-31
Jesus appeared to His disciples on Sunday evening and the week following His resurrection. He quieted their fears, dispelled their doubts, gave their hearts peace, and sent them out in His name so that others might hear and, by believing, have life in Him.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
We Serve the Lord with Gladness:
Today’s Organist: Jane Rips The Preacher: Pastor Edwin Lehmann
Points to Ponder: “Cursed be the life that a man lives only for himself and not for his fellow man. On the other hand, blessed be the life in which a man does not live for and serve himself but his fellow man….The greatest of all services I can render my fellow man is proclaiming to him the Gospel, telling him to cling to the works of Christ and firmly believe that Christ’s righteousness is his. This is the greatest of all services – to free my fellow man from sin and to liberate him from the devil and hell.” — Martin Luther on John 20:19-31
“Christ gives point and purpose to our lives. Have you found that He is the central Refuge of our lives to whom we flee for peace, strength, and reassurance? The ancient church father, St. Augustine, once said, ‘Thou hast made us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.’ Put your heart to rest in the risen Christ, and it will be kept by Him in perfect peace.” — Herman Gockel on Rest for Restless Hearts
Outline of Our Worship
Lord, Hear Us
Opening Thoughts on the Service
Entrance Hymn: #160
Order of Worship: Hymnal page 38, “Service of the Word”
Lord, Feed Us
Psalm of the Day: #16 Hymnal page 68
1 Peter 1:3-9
Duet: In Joseph’s Lovely Garden
Gospel Response: pg 40
Sermon Hymn: #156 st.1-3
Sermon: John 20:19-29 Oh, What We Miss When We Miss the Lord
Lord, Accept Our Response
Confession of Faith: insert
Prayer & The Lord’s Prayer
Lord, Bless Us
Closing Prayer & Blessing: Hymnal pages 43-44
WELS Connection Video
The Use of the Keys
Keys can open doors and lock them. Those who possess keys possess a great deal of responsibility. They need to know when a door should be unlocked and when it should be shut tight.
God gives believers in Jesus the keys to open and close the door of heaven. Jesus said: “I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Matt.16:19).
It might not seem right that God should give these keys to people. How can human beings ever handle this responsibility? Thankfully, God tells us in His Word exactly how to use the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven.
The power and right to forgive sins is the loosing key. It opens the door to heaven, declaring the person free from the guilt and punishment of sin. The power and right to refuse to forgive sins is the binding key. It locks the door of heaven, binding the person to the guilt and condemnation of his or her sin. Jesus said: Whenver you forgive people’s sins, they are forgiven. Whenever you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven. (John 20:23)
Some people don’t believe that their sins are serious or even that they have sinned. Others are driven to despair when they think of their sins. Jesus has given the keys to the Church in order to address the spiritual needs of both kinds of people. Martin Luther commented on this: “God gave the key which binds so that we might not remain too confident in our sins, arrogant, barbarous, and without God; and the key which looses, that we should not despair in our sins.”
Since Christ Himself has established this, the use of the keys by believers is as valid and certain in heaven also, as if Christ, our dear Lord, dealt with us Himself.
Luther’s Catechism, NPH 2017
The Ministry of the Keys
As the head of the family should teach them in the simplest way
to those in his household.
Pastor: First: What is the use of the keys?
The Use of the Keys is that special power and right which Christ gave to His church on earth: to forgive the sins of penitent sinners but refuse forgiveness to the impenitent as long as they do not repent.
All: Where is this written?
The holy evangelist John writes in chapter 20: “[Jesus] breathed on [His disciples] and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.’”
THE PUBLIC USE OF THE KEYS:
Pastor: Second: How does a Christian congregation use the Keys?
A Christian congregation with its called servant of Christ uses the Keys in accordance with Christ’s command by forgiving those who repent of their sin and are willing to amend, and by excluding from the congregation those who are plainly impenitent that they may repent. I believe that when this is done, it is as valid and certain in heaven also, as if Christ, our dear Lord, dealt with us Himself.
All: Where is this written?
Jesus says in Matthew, chapter 18, “Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
The Second Sunday of Easter – Series A
Old Testament Lesson: Acts 2:14,22-32 – Peter’s Address on Pentecost
14Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice, and spoke loudly and clearly to them: 22“Men of Israel, hear these words! Jesus the Nazarene was a man recommended to you by God with miracles, wonders, and signs that God did through him among you, as you yourselves know. 23This man, who was handed over by God’s set plan and foreknowledge, you killed by having lawless men nail him to a cross. 24He is the one God raised up by freeing him from the agony of death, because death was not able to hold him in its grip. 25“Indeed, David says concerning him: I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. 26Therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced. My flesh also will rest in hope, 27because you will not abandon my life to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. 28You have made known to me the paths of life. You will fill me with joy in your presence. 29“Gentlemen, brothers, I can speak confidently to you about the patriarch David, that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30Since he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn to him with an oath that he would seat one of his descendants on his throne, 31he saw what was coming and spoke about the resurrection of Christ, saying that he was neither abandoned to the grave nor did his flesh see decay. 32“This Jesus is the one God has raised up. We are all witnesses of that.
Epistle Lesson: 1 Peter 1:3-9 – Living Hope through the Resurrection
3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he gave us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4into an inheritance that is undying, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you. 5Through faith you are being protected by God’s power for the salvation that is ready to be revealed at the end of time. 6Because of this you rejoice very much, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various kinds of trials 7so that the proven character of your faith—which is more valuable than gold, which passes away even though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not see him now, yet by believing in him, you are filled with a joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9because you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
Gospel Lesson: John 20:19-31 – Behind Locked Doors
19On the evening of that first day of the week, the disciples were together behind locked doors because of their fear of the Jews. Jesus came, stood among them, and said to them, “Peace be with you!” 20After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. So the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.21Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you! Just as the Father has sent me, I am also sending you.” 22After saying this, he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23Whenever you forgive people’s sins, they are forgiven. Whenever you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” 24But Thomas, one of the Twelve, the one called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25So the other disciples kept telling him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands, and put my finger into the mark of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will never believe.” 26After eight days, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. 27Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and look at my hands. Take your hand and put it into my side. Do not continue to doubt, but believe.”28Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” 30Jesus, in the presence of his disciples, did many other miraculous signs that are not written in this book. 31But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
The Evangelical Heritage Version (EHV), New Testament & Psalms ©2017