Sermons

Quasimodo Geniti (Jn 20:19–31)

April 23, 2017
Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

Alleluia! Jesus Christ is risen!

HE IS RISEN INDEED! ALLELUIA!

INI + AMEN.

Jesus is alive—really alive! But He’s more than alive: not only will He never die again, but now He openly does things that only God can do. He certainly could do them before His resurrection, but, even though He’s God, He took on the appearance of a servant. Now that’s over, and He appears to His scared disciples behind locked doors. He knows word for word what unbelieving Thomas said even though He wasn’t standing there.

Now, what’s this resurrected and glorified Jesus up to? Why does He appear to the 10? Why does He appear again to them along with Thomas? Why does He gather us together today? Well, there’s one reason for all of it. There’s really only one thing Jesus is after. It’s why He was born. It’s why He died—really died! It’s why He came back to life. One thing: peace.

JESUS IS IN THE PEACE-DELIVERING BUSINESS.

((I. The world’s peace vs. God’s peace.))

What do we know about peace? Well, we know how the world delivers peace: through power. It would be nice if everyone just got along, but so often in a fallen world peace is secured by having a bigger stick than the other guy. Then the other guy will do what you want, or at least he’ll leave you alone. Now, I’m not trying to say whether that’s good or bad when it comes to governments. I’m just saying that’s how peace works in a fallen world. Peace through power.

We understand that, too, in our own lives. To be at peace with others means that they’ve got to do what we want. That’s especially true if they’ve wronged us, whether they know it or not! We know the exact steps they need to take for there to be peace. When we work that way, we’re just exerting our power over someone else.

God’s peace is completely different. He doesn’t try and exert power. In fact, He secures peace not by slaughtering His enemies, not by giving them a checklist to follow, not by being more powerful than them. No. In fact, quite the opposite! He is slaughtered, murdered, buried. He secures peace by the blood of His cross. (Col 1:20) He tore down the wall of separation (Eph 2:14), His side being torn open by a spear (Jn 19:34).

He comes back to life. Now you have a peace that lasts past death and grave. A peace with God that outlasts sin and judgment. Jesus lives and delivers that peace, a peace that’s nothing other than the forgiveness of your sins. A peace, a forgiveness that you pass on to others.

((II. What gets in the way of God’s peace?))

Now, that’s all fine and dandy, but so often we’re not at peace. We’re not content. We don’t feel at peace with God. We don’t feel at peace with others. So, what’s getting in the way of peace?

Fear. We’re afraid that God still counts our trespasses against us, or maybe He will someday. We think God says, “You’ve gotta shape up or ship out!” So we’re afraid. We try and hide from Him, and the peace His resurrection gives.

We’re afraid of others. We’re afraid to forgive them. Our power is lost then, I guess. What if they’ve not done the necessary steps? Maybe they’ll do it again. We use forgiveness as a club and not as it really is: a key that unlocks the bound—whether they know they’re bound or not! We’re afraid to be forgiven, to admit we’re wrong. We’re afraid to admit we’ve been wronged! Fear keeps us far away from peace.

Unbelief—that’s the other thing that keeps us from peace. We disbelieve that God’s at peace with us—for whatever reason. Maybe it’s our own sins, maybe it’s the junk that happening in our life. Unbelief chokes the peace God’s won and delivers. Since we don’t believe that we’re forgiven, we don’t think others can be forgiven either.

Fear and unbelief get in the way of God’s peace—towards us and towards those around us.

((III. Jesus does deliver it!))

Jesus cuts through all of that. He’s IN THE PEACE DELIVERING BUSINESS, after all. He breaks through the fear of His disciples by appearing in a locked room and declaring His peace. No welcome mat. No getting ready for it. No tidying up. No getting things in order first. Nope. Jesus shows up and says, “Peace be with you.” He declares the peace He won by His cross and death, His coming back to life and empty tomb. He shows the content and source of the peace He’s delivering: nail-scarred hands, spear-gashed side. “Peace be with you,” He said again.

That peace isn’t just the disciples’, it isn’t just Thomas’, but it’s yours, too! Jesus’ peace, His forgiveness is FOR YOU. He delivers that through the forgiveness that I speak. In the very speaking of that forgiveness, forgiveness is being delivered. That’s what Absolution is: “forgiveness [that’s] from the pastor as from God Himself.” “If you forgive any one his sins, they are forgiven,” Jesus says.

It’s not just Sunday mornings either. We know that from Ash Wednesday. I’d ask for a show of hands from everyone who’s gone to Ash Wednesday service the past two years, but I know the poll results, I think. That service is powerful because the forgiveness isn’t just tossed out there like it was this morning, but it’s delivered specifically and individually to each person who comes forward.

That’s what Thursday nights are for, too! Forgiveness is delivered then! Forgiveness for you. Forgiveness for those who need it, who need to hear and know and receive the forgiveness for something that’s bothering them. If Thursday’s don’t work, call me up! Because whether it’s Sunday or Ash Wednesday or Thursday or whatever day it happens to be: you pay me and more importantly Jesus sent me to say three simple words: “I forgive you.” When I’ve said that, I’ll have three more: “Depart in peace.”

You’ll depart in peace today, too. Body and blood for the forgiveness of sins. Body that was pierced and raised, blood that was poured out—given today, FOR YOU. Then you can truly “depart in peace.”

JESUS IS IN THE PEACE-DELIVERING BUSINESS. That’s what He lived, died, and lives for! We don’t have to be afraid. We don’t have to doubt. We don’t have to disbelieve. Jesus won and secured peace: as surely as His hands and side were pierced, as surely has His tomb was empty, as surely as He is alive right now, you have it. He delivers it! He proclaims it. He delivers it through three simple words: “I forgive you.” He delivers it through the means of redemption: His body and blood given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. That’s what Jesus is about. True peace. Lasting peace. Peace that lasts beyond sin, death, and grave. Eternal peace, forgiveness, and life.

Alleluia! Jesus Christ is risen!

HE IS RISEN INDEED! ALLELUIA!

INI + AMEN.

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