What Happened?

April 25, 2011

Peter got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened. – Luke 24:12

What happened? As Peter peered into the open tomb, he was plagued by the question. Certainly he had plenty of evidence. He heard the women’s testimony (Luke 24:9-11). He went past the stone that covered the opening. He saw the linen strips that covered Jesus’ body. He could even recall the words Jesus had spoken previously: “On the third day he will rise again” (Luke 18:21-33). In spite of the evidence, Peter left the tomb wondering.

What happened? I may struggle with the same question. On Easter Sunday I may have heard about the open tomb. I may have been led past the stone that guarded the opening. I may have even been shown the linens, and heard the message of the women and the angels proclaiming that he is not here. Still, the question persists.

What happened? I need an answer, and Jesus is the only one who can help. I could try to rely on other resources, but none will answer the question. None will give me the peace of mind I desperately need. None will offer me any lasting assurance.

Jesus tells me what happened. Throughout his ministry, Jesus always pointed to his death and resurrection. These were the culmination of his God-appointed work. When Jesus died and rose from the dead, he proclaimed that every promise God made was kept. He also proclaimed that my rescue was secure.

Jesus’ resurrection is my guarantee that I am forgiven. Jesus’ resurrection is my guarantee that I am at peace with God. Jesus’ resurrection is also my guarantee of a new life. Because Jesus lives, I can live with confidence. Satan’s tyranny is defeated. Sin’s control is overcome. Death’s terror is silenced. Today, and every day, I can live with a resurrection joy. In addition, I can live every day with Jesus’ personal promise, “because I live you also will live” (John 14:19). I know the grave is not the end. Just as Jesus broke free from the grip of death, so will I. On that day I will live with him forever.

So, what happened on Easter day? I might be tempted to wonder about the resurrection, but my doubts are answered in Jesus. He lives. The tomb is empty. New life and heaven are mine.

Prayer:
 
He lives to silence all my fears; He lives to wipe away my tears.
He lives to calm my troubled heart; He lives all blessings to impart.
He lives, all glory to his name! He lives, my Jesus, still the same.
Oh, the sweet joy this sentence gives: “I know that my Redeemer lives.”

The Resurrection of Our Lord

April 24, 2011

Sunrise: Divine Service I, Page 136, Lutheran Worship

Easter Festival Worship: Divine Service II, Page 158, Lutheran Worship

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Easter Vigil

April 23, 2011

Divine Service II, Page 158, Lutheran Worship

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Good Friday

April 22, 2011

Order of Service Printed in Today’s Bulletin

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Maundy Thursday

April 21, 2011

Order of Service Printed in Today’s Bulletin

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Voices Up! Stones Quiet!

April 18, 2011

The disciples threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road. When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” – Luke 19:35-40

On Palm Sunday Jesus came into Jerusalem riding a donkey, which is kind of like our president coming to town riding in a used Kia. It was much later when his disciples made the connection with the prophet Zechariah’s promise (9:9) that Israel’s real Messiah-King would come into town on a donkey.

Crowds of people were in Jerusalem because of the upcoming Passover. Many had traveled the couple of miles out to the Bethany area because they wanted to see if Lazarus was really alive again after being miraculously raised from the grave by Jesus. They found it to be astoundingly true. Excitement rose.

As Jesus traveled the couple of steep miles down the Mount of Olives and up to Jerusalem, the news traveled faster. “It’s Him!!!” They wanted to make a royal highway for him, so they threw down their cloaks and tore off palm branches and put them down. Picture that and then picture the noise as the shouting rose higher and higher and the crowd got bigger and bigger. They said wonderful things – parts of prophetical passages about the coming Savior.

Even though there were many disciples among them, it almost seemed as if the crowd thought the Lazarus-raising Jesus was going to throw out the Romans and establish a new Jewish kingdom. The jealous Pharisees told him to shut the people up. That’s when he said those famous words, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

Those stones did cry out… 40 years later when the Romans destroyed the city and literally broke the temple’s stones apart. Their message: “You rejected Jesus.”

Our hearts swell  as we celebrate Palm Sunday, knowing full well that awful things would be done to Jesus by Friday. We sang those songs because we know Jesus had long ago decided with his Father that he would make this trip that would take him to the cross for our sin and guilt and brokenness. But we also know the rest of the story: that he has risen from the grave and promises to do the same thing for us!

That’s why it is so important this week, above all weeks, that our voices are not stopped… not on Maundy Thursday. Not on Good Friday. And certainly not on Easter Sunday! But also during this week, as we connect with co-workers and friends and invite them to join our joy. Let’s keep our ears and mouths open and the stones silent!

Prayer: Dearest Jesus, during this most holy of weeks, put your own power inside me so that I might be bolder to open my lips and speak unafraid about the work you have done for all of us on the cross and the opened tomb. I pray that you might use me this week to bring one special person in my life to know you. Amen.

Palm Sunday

April 17, 2011

Order of Service Printed in Today’s Bulletin

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