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April 28 Sermon

Sermon John 20:19-31 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, the resurrection of Your Son, Jesus the CHRIST, is the greatest news the world has ever heard. It turns our priorities upside down, and draws us into an ever-deepening relationship with You, the source of life itself. I pray by the power of the Holy Spirit that we might grow in faith, witness to others, and live our lives in praise and thanksgiving as disciples of Jesus. This we ask in His holy name. Amen.

 

The disciples’ hearts were filled with sorrow, grief, and fear. Their minds were filled with the horrible images of Jesus crucified. They were threatened by thoughts of the Jews looking for them next.


There was no joy or alleluias in them. There was only silence as they hid behind locked doors, entombed by hopelessness and despair. Nathanael, you’re sure the windows are locked? Andrew, just double-check the door again, would you?

 

How would this end? The shame Peter had when he denied Jesus was multiplied. This was a nightmare turning into real life . . . and they all felt it.

 

We can all relate, can’t we? Fear and trembling… horrible thoughts of what could be….regrets of things said and done…wishing things could be different.

 

Just like we heard last week-- Jesus needed to be on the cross NOT to be in the tomb. Jesus was exactly where He needed to be now just as he was then--close to His disciples. He appears among them even though doors and windows were locked; but still they were uncertain, questioning, and unsure of what would happen next.

 

Just seeing Jesus didn’t make everything all right. When Jesus walked on the water, they thought He was a ghost. How else could He have come through locked doors? Why did He show up? Was He angry at them for denying Him and running away? Was He going to rebuke them? Haunt them?

 

Of course, there was none of that. “Peace be with you. And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Peace, not anger. A real body, not a ghost. The women were right! and then the disciples were glad! Then their sorrow and fear were replaced with peace. The same voice that had filled them with hope and life, the same voice that raised the dead was raising their hopes, filling their hearts to overflowing again! Jesus did it! He won!

 

And that same peace and life is ours as well. For any heart or mind locked by fear, worry, lies, sin, and death, Jesus offers His peace. Jesus then commissions His disciples with this same word of peace, giving them His Holy Spirit and sends them out. As the Father has sent me - into the world, even so I’m sending you” - “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of anyone, they are forgiven; if you withhold forgiveness from anyone, it is withheld.”

 

Jesus had not removed the obstacles for the disciples in the world. The danger and hatred was still out there. The Jews and Romans were still out there and yet in CHRIST, for those who believe, everything changes. If they were thrown into prison - it didn’t matter. In , sin was/is forgiven. In , death was/is defeated.

What could men, or even the demons, do to them now?

So like the disciples, we have troubles, struggles, fears and uncertainties, too. Health concerns, guilt, fear of the future. They’re real, and sometimes choke the alleluia—the hope right out of you. We’re gun shy and we don’t want to get hurt again. The temptation to give into despair and doubt is exactly what the evil one wants.

But the sealed tomb is empty, locked doors couldn’t stop Jesus. Nothing is beyond His reach; nothing beyond his power.

And so His Words of life comes to each one of us. Jesus has the keys of Death and Hades - the keys to unlock and set you free from whatever burden you might have.

Just as Jesus did for Thomas -- the doubter, Jesus does for you as well. His Word is here, His Absolution is given, and He invites you to feast at His table, that you will be among those who are blessed; who have not seen and yet have believed.

 

Believers in Jesus CHRIST can shout Alleluia even as the troubles of life seem unending. No matter where you are or what you are going through, He’s been there, and He is here for you.

 

So having been given His Spirit and life, go out into the world, and live your alleluia! Fill the ears of others with good news, fill their hearts with hope, and their minds with God’s Word of truth. Having celebrated the LORD’s resurrection, we confess with our lives, that Jesus is LORD! He has the last word, and that word is life.

CHRIST is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!