✠ One Message: Christ crucified and risen for you ✠
The Word of the Lord Endures Forever
se cwide þæs béaggiefan ábireþ ferhþ
Psalm 116,3.8-9.12-13; 1. Peter 2,2 2617
Quasimodogeniti (1. Sonntag nach Ostern) 036 weiß
George, Martyr 303
Adalbert, Bishop of Prague, Martyr 997
23. April 2017
1. О Lord God, Heavenly Father, we thank You, that of Your, ineffable grace, for the sake of Your Son, You have given us the holy gospel, and have instituted the Holy Sacraments, so that through the same we may have comfort and forgiveness of sin: We beseech You, grant us Your Holy Spirit, so that we may heartily believe Your Word; and through the Holy Sacraments day by day establish our faith, until we at last obtain salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One True God, world without end. Amen. (Veit Dietrich for the Quasimodogeniti).
2. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up to salvation. The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of the grave laid hold on me; You have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling; I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living. What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the Name of the Lord.
3. Our Introit begins with a verse from the 2. Epistle of St. Peter: »Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up to salvation.« On that first Easter Sunday, the apostles were like newborn infants. They had heard the testimony from the women who said the tomb was empty and Jesus had risen from the dead. Peter and John went and saw the empty tomb with their own eyes. Yet, it was a revelation that needed time to be fully comprehended. In fact, the enormity and the glory of the women’s testimony did not fully sink in until Jesus Himself had appeared to them and they had seen His hands and side to realize that He was not a ghost or a spirit but the real McCoy (John 20,20); Jesus had arisen as a living, breathing person with a physical body. They were now beginning to grow up to their salvation.
4. The Introit reminds us what we all know too well: »The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of the grave laid hold on me.« We’ve seen friends and family die; we’ve been in a funeral home; we’ve stood at a grave. Death and the grave are the sad, mournful existence of our fallen human nature. The dead cannot reveal any secrets (Thomas Becon, 1560), and dead men tell no tales. Dead men certainly don’t rise from their graves.
5. Nor do souls escape the bonds of Hades until the Lord makes it so: »O Lord, You have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling. I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living.« The Holy Scriptures give us about a dozen examples of such an event occurring by the Divine power of the Lord. There are 3 Old Testament resurrections, 4 when you count Isaac as a type of resurrection: Elijah raised the son of Zarephath’s widow (1. Kings 17,17-24), Elisha raised the son of the Shunammite woman (2. Kings 4,35) and when burying a dead man his corpse brushed against the bones of Elisha in the tomb and the man was resurrected (2. Kings 13,21). Abraham clearly expected the Lord to resurrect Isaac from the dead (Genesis 22,5), and the Epistle to the Hebrews says as much: »Abraham considered that God was able even to raise Isaac from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back« (Hebrews 11,19). There are 7 New Testament resurrections: Jesus raised the widow’s son at Main, Jairus’ daughter and Lazarus (Luke 7,13-5; Matthew 9,25; John 11,43-44), many saints were resurrected at Jesus’ crucifixion (Matthew 27,52-53), Jesus Himself rose on Easter, Peter raised Tabitha and Paul raised Eutychus (Acts 9,36-42; 20,9-12).
7. The resurrection of Jesus is a declaration of victory and triumph over Death and Hades. »What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the Name of the Lord.« This is what Thomas did when he saw His risen Lord, and proclaimed: „My Lord and my God!“ (John 20,28) Thomas made a confession of faith that stated Jesus was alive and salvation is at hand, His Divine hand. Paul says it too in his Epistle to the Corinthians: »Now I would remind you, brothers and sisters, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures« (1. Corinthians 15,1-4).
8. »The Lord hears the needy and does not despise His own people who are prisoners.« Again St. Paul: »There is a resurrection of the dead, for Christ has been raised. Christ has been raised, and your faith is certain and you sins are forgiven. Those who have fallen asleep in Christ have not perished. Christ has been raised from the dead; He is the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by Adam came death, by Christ has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. Then comes the end on the last day, when Jesus delivers the reign to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power.« (1. Corinthians 15,13.17-18.20-22.24).
9. Jesus said to Thomas: »Have you believed because you have seen Me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed« (John 20,29). We are those who believe in Jesus’ resurrection but we have not seen Him with our own eyes. We believe the testimony of the apostles who truly did see the resurrected Jesus. This is a great gift given to us by our Lord.
10.„ Enter all of you, therefore, into the joy of our Lord, and, whether first or last, receive your reward. Let all partake of the feast of faith. Let all receive the riches of goodness. Let no one mourn their transgressions, for pardon has dawned from the grave. Let no one fear death, for the Savior’s death has set us free. He that was taken by death has annihilated it! He descended into Hades and took Hades captive! He embittered it when it tasted His flesh! And anticipating this, Isaiah exclaimed: Hades was embittered when it encountered Thee in the lower regions (Isaiah 14,9). Hades beneath was stirred up to meet Christ when He arrived; Hades roused the shades to greet Him, all who were leaders of the earth; Hades raised from their thrones all who were kings of the nations. Jesus preached in hades: Death, you have lost your sting; Hades I have conquered you. „For Christ, being raised from the dead, has become the First-fruits of them who have slept. To Him be glory and might unto the ages of ages“ (Chrysostom).
11. This is the gospel that the apostles preached, yes, that Thomas preached, beginning in Jerusalem and throughout the world, so that in believing we may have life in the name of Jesus. Thus, we believe as Thomas believes, and we confess as he confesses: Jesus, You are my Lord and my God! Amen and Amen.
12. Let us pray. O Lord Jesus Christ, Thou has done a great thing for us in rising from the grave, so that believing in Your resurrection from the dead we hope in our own resurrection by Your hand on the last day. Amen.
To God alone be the Glory
Gode ealdore sy se cyneþrymm
All Scriptural quotations are translations done by The Rev. Peter A. Bauernfeind using the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, 4. Edition © 1990 by the Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart, and the Novum Testamentum Graece, Nestle-Aland 27. Edition © 1993 by Deutsch Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart.
ELKB. Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche in Bayern. www.bayern-evangelisch.de/www/index.php. Copyright © 2013 Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche in Bayern.
Chrysostom, John. Paschal Homily. ad 400.
VELKD. Vereinigte Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche Deutschlands. www.velkd.de. Copyright © 2013 Vereinigte Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche Deutschlands.