Over the years I have written several "book" or "booklets" and many, many, many newsletter and bulletin articles. Because the book market seeks writings to meet specific needs at specific times, my material has never been accepted. I have a tendency to write what is on my mind and so I am left with self publishing. So, with the encouragement from my wife and others, I am beginning this blog in order to put my "ramblings" "out there"! I hope you enjoy!
Please note that while my intentions are to use good grammar, because of the way in which some of the material presented here is presented (orally) the grammar and syntax might not always be the best English. Also note that good theology is not always presented in the best English so there may be times when the proper grammar rules are purposely broken.
Sunday, March 31, 2013
Jesus Fulfilled All the Promises - Easter Morning - March 31, 2013 - Text: Acts 2:22-33
He is risen! He is risen, indeed! Alleluia!
Our text for this morning is Acts 2:22-32: “22Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. 25For David says concerning him, “‘I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken; 26therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; my flesh also will dwell in hope. 27For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption. 28You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’ 29 “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, 31he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. 32This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses.” This is our text.
This year during the season of Lent and Easter we have been following the thread of God’s promise to send a Savior for all people (one covenant, not two). We began in the Garden of Eden when God first made His promise to send a Savior to Adam and Eve, before there was a Jew or Gentile. We continued with the reiteration of the covenant and the announcement of its fulfillment being narrowed, that is that the Savior of all nations would be born through the line of Abram whose name was later changed to Abraham. We followed as the covenant was reiterated and continued through the line of Abraham’s son, Isaac, and through Isaac’s son, Jacob and even through Israel’s greatest king, King David. Last week we moved into the New Testament and heard the announcement of the beginning of the fulfillment of the covenant through Zechariah’s son, John. On Maundy Thursday we continued in the New Testament with the announcement to Mary that she will be the mother of the Messiah. On Good Friday we moved to hear the announcement from the priest Simeon who was serving in the temple, the news and prophecy of the events which we do remember on Good Friday Evening. At our Sunrise service we were reminded that Jesus is the Savior for all people of all places of all times, especially including your Savior and mine.
We continue again this morning with a quick review of the history of Christianity which begins in the Garden of Eden. After God created a perfect world and place the perfect man and the perfect woman He had created into the perfect Garden He had created for them, and as soon as He moved to let them live their lives, they just as immediately fell into sin, disobeying God and eating of the fruit of the tree in the middle of the Garden, the tree of knowledge of good and evil. With that sin, death entered the world and God cursed the world. Because of His great love for His creation, God immediately stepped in and promised to send a Christ, which is the Greek word for the Hebrew word, a Messiah. Thus, Christianity was born, in the Garden of Eden with the promise of a Christ, so that all who believed in the coming Christ would be saved. And as we have noted and reiterated time and again through this Lenten Season and this morning, and as we will note and reiterate time and again this morning, this promise, this covenant was made with Adam and Eve, before there was a Jew or Gentile, or any other culture or ethnicity in this world.
As time went on God reiterated and repeated His promise of a Christ, by telling Abraham that the promised Messiah would be born through his family line. This was not a new covenant nor a second covenant, but a reiteration and a narrowing of the line of fulfillment of this one covenant.
As we moved into the New Testament, the last word of prophecy, the last word from the Lord had been given was over 500 years earlier. When the Lord sent His angels to appear and announce the coming of the fulfillment of all His Old Testament promises He began by announcing to Zachariah that he would be the father of the one who would go before Jesus in the power and spirit of Elijah to prepare the way. He sent His angel to announce to Mary that she was chosen to be the mother of God and to Joseph that he was to be the adoptive father of God.
Thus, we get to Jesus who is truly human and truly divine. Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit making Him truly God and He was born of the virgin Mary making Him truly human. He had to be truly God so that He might be born without sin, perfect and holy and He had to be truly human so that He might be our substitute, giving and trading His life for ours.
And so, Jesus was born and He lived a perfect life, perfectly fulfilling all the law and prophets. Jesus obeyed all God’s laws, His ceremonial, His moral and His civil laws perfectly and He did this because the whole nation of Israel could not do this and because we could not be perfect, so He was perfect for us in our place. He also fulfilled all God’s promises concerning the Christ, the Messiah so that we know that He truly is the one promised in the Garden of Eden and reiterated throughout the Old Testament.
After living in perfection, Jesus took all our sins and the sins of all people who had ever lived and all the sins of those living and all the sins of those yet to come, including our sins and the sins we have yet to commit. He took all sins upon Himself and he suffered and died to pay the price for all sins, which was death as set in the Garden of Eden, the soul that sins shall die.
Yet, as we celebrate here this morning and the reason we come to divine service on Sunday morning is to celebrate the fact that death and the grave had no power over Jesus, but that He rose victorious over sin, death and the power of the devil.
What wonderful words we have from Peter this morning as he preaches a sermon attesting to his witness of Jesus. Peter proclaims the word of truth that Jesus was attested to be the Messiah, the Christ, by His mighty works and wonders and signs, in other words, who else could do the miracles, the healing, raising from the dead, casting out demons, even controlling the weather, except God and as Jesus did these things He showed Himself to be truly God.
Peter continues proclaiming Jesus defeat of death for us. As Christians, we profess that Jesus died, yes, our God, in the person of Jesus Christ died, just like you and I will some day die. Jesus died and as He died He placed Himself into the hands of His Father. Jesus paid the price for your sins and my sins. Jesus whose Father had forsaken Him while He was bearing our sins, He who knew no sin, and while He suffered and paid the price for sin, now that He had reconciled us to Himself, now receives Jesus’ sacrifice for us.
And as Peter continues to proclaim, Jesus did not stay dead, but rose as spoken by the Psalmist David. Jesus, true God, begotten from the Father from eternity, and true man, born of the virgin Mary, rose victorious over death as well as claiming victory over sin and the devil.
And now Peter with all the apostles bear witness of their seeing Jesus alive. Jesus showed Himself to many people over a forty day period, from His resurrection to His ascension, to be alive. Jesus showed Himself to be alive so there would be no doubt about His victory.
What does this mean? As we gather on this wonderful Easter morning, as we have walked through the promises of God in the Old Testament and the fulfillment of those promises in the New Testament, we know that we can believe the Word of God as He has given it. The Bible is the very Word of God, a Word with power, a Word that does and gives what it says, namely that it is a Word which gives faith, forgiveness of sins, and eternal life. God’s Word is true and we believe it because it is His Word.
We know that we can believe the witness of the Apostles. Why would those who witnessed the resurrection risk their lives telling the truth of the resurrection, except for the fact that it is true. Certainly a person may lie in order to save themself, but the witness of Jesus’ resurrection told the truth which cost many of them their lives.
We rejoice this morning as we do every Sunday morning, which, every Sunday we celebrate as a mini resurrection event, because we know that we are saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus alone. And even more, this faith has been given to us, through God’s means of grace, either through Holy Baptism as a child or through His Word as we have grown older. God gives us faith because of His great love for us. And we are saved by God’s grace through faith alone. Remember, grace costs us nothing so that grace plus anything equals the anything, not grace. That is why it is so important that we take care in expressing our salvation by God’s grace so that we never point to ourselves lest we confuse others.
And that my dear friends is why we as Christians are so hated by the rest of the world, because of Jesus, because of His claim to be the one and only way to eternal life. And yet we continue to rejoice in the resurrection. God does it all and He gives everything to us.
This morning, we gather here, as Christians around the world, either underground or in the open gatherings, bearing witness of our faith, bearing witness of the Word of God, its power and its work, bearing witness that we worship a living God, a God who does everything for us and gives everything to us. We worship a God of grace and mercy. We worship a God who loves us so much and daily loves us, forgiving us and giving us opportunities and the will and strength to be His people. And when we fail, as we do on a daily basis, He forgives and forgives again. What a great God we have, a living, resurrected God we have.
He is risen! He is risen, indeed! Alleluia! Amen.