Easter 2—Quasimodo Genti (Jn 20, 19–31; Ez 37, 1–14)

Photo by Martin Adams on Unsplash

Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || VIDEO

INI + AMEN.

Alleluia! Jesus Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

((5. Oops!: What’s the Lord to do with His disciples?))

What’s the Lord going to do with His disciples? They all abandoned Him. Peter denied Him. Three times He did! They didn’t believe what the women told them. Sure Peter and John saw the empty tomb, but they just sort of said, “Hey, yeah. Tomb’s empty.” The other disciples just thought it was an idle tale. Angels. Stone rolled away. Roman guards as dead men. Sure Sure Sure. Silly women. That’s what we can gather from all the Gospels about what the disciples thought of it all. What’s the Lord to do with them?

What’s the Lord to do with Thomas? Wow. Unbelieving. We always call him doubting Thomas, but that’s not quite it. Doubt makes it seem like Thomas is thinking, “I’m not so sure about that, guys.” That’s not what Thomas thinks. Thomas rejects the whole thing! “Jesus isn’t alive,” Thomas thinks. Thomas believes that dead people stay dead. There’s no way Jesus is alive. After all, the Romans were good at executing people. The only way he’ll believe is if puts his fingers on the scars, his hand into Jesus’ side. So, what’s the Lord to do with him?

((4. Ugh!: What’s the Lord to do with you and me?))

What’s the Lord going to do with you and me? Faithful, believing. Really? Does that describe you and me? Maybe some of the time. Especially if we look at what we tell ourselves. But when we look at our actions, how we treat those around us, well, it starts to fall apart then, doesn’t it?

Let’s be honest. We’re uncomfortable with Jesus’ resurrection. We want to make Christianity about something else than His death and resurrection. It’s why we settle for so many other things as being “Christian.” If someone just says “God” we act as if that’s good enough. Jesus’ death and resurrection usually don’t even come up. And Jesus being “Lord and God”? Well, yeah… That, too, doesn’t even come up.

We don’t really believe it either. We’re like Thomas. Dead people stay dead. That’s the norm. That’s what we can see and observe. It’s what’s gracing our headlines more and more, isn’t it? But this reality is why we go with god off somewhere. God all powerful. An awesome god that we can fashion and mold to our own liking, who likes what we like and do, who doesn’t like what we don’t like. That’s a god we can all agree on, but a crucified and alive again God? Not so much. At least not openly. Just locked away.

But that’s the God you have: the one who was crucified and who came back to life again on the third day. That’s what they all saw—multiple times! And what’s that Lord, that God, that Jesus to do with followers like you and me?

((3. Aha!: It’s a matter of what He’s already done.))

Well, you see, it’s not a matter of what Jesus will do with you or me. It’s not a matter of your being faithful, your drumming up enough faith or courage or strength or anything else. It’s a matter of what He’s already done. What He’s already done was on display for His disciples, and even for unbelieving Thomas. It’s what He had done for them. It’s what He’s done for you, too. Standing before them with scarred hands and feet and side. Jesus crucified and raised, that’s what He’s already done for you.

((2. Whee!: THE LORD DELIVERS PEACE TO HIS DISCIPLES.))

So, what has the Lord done for such a sorry lot of disciples like Thomas or the rest of the Apostles or like you and me? Those who deny Him, abandon Him, don’t believe in Him? Well, what’s the Lord to do with disciples like that? He saves them! THE LORD DELIVERS PEACE TO HIS DISCIPLES. That’s Thomas, that the other Apostles, that’s the women, that’s you and me, too! We are His disciples. He makes us disciples: “baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to cherish all I’ve commanded.”

What’s He gonna do with His disciples? Save them. Die for them. Rise for them. Give them His peace. He will declare peace with them, because that’s what His death and resurrection do for them, for all people! “He was crucified for our transgressions and raised for our forgiveness.” That’s peace. That’s what Jesus has done for you. No more sins. He’s died for you. No more worry or fear. He’s alive right now for you. Jesus is ever-living for you. No more death either. Now death is a nap thanks to Jesus. He destroyed death by His rising again on the third day for you.

((1. Yeah!: His peace is for those who most need it.))

Jesus’ peace isn’t for those who are at ease. He doesn’t give peace to those who are bold. If you need to get your sins in order for there to be forgiveness, then it really wouldn’t be forgiveness would it? If you could earn it, then it wouldn’t be free, wouldn’t be by grace. If you could do anything: be bold, be strong, endure, have enough faith, then why did He die? If you could just keep on living, then He wouldn’t need to be raised from the dead.

THE LORD DELIVERS PEACE TO HIS DISCIPLES. Those who need it the most. Those who are locked behind closed doors out of fear. Doors and lockdown can’t stop Jesus from delivering peace. This video’s proof of that. Kind a weird, huh? But Jesus peace is for you. You are forgiven. For being faithless, for doubting, for sinning, for arguing, for worrying, for being angry, for whatever it is. It doesn’t matter. Christ is crucified and raised. He’s alive. FOR YOU. His peace, His forgiveness is FOR YOU.

THE LORD DELIVERS PEACE TO HIS DISCIPLES. And His disciples are then at peace. The Lord doesn’t cast off His people. Didn’t reject Apostles. Didn’t reject Thomas. Just hands and feet and side for them. He didn’t reject His people in the Old Testament either, those who complained, “Our bones are dried up, our hope is lost, and we are cut off.” No, He delivered peace to them, the promise to resurrect them from the dead.

You, too. That’s the peace Jesus wants you to have. The peace Jesus did for you. Good Friday and Easter. It’s the peace He puts on display for you: hands and feet and side. “There are three that bear witness: the Spirit, the Water, and the blood.” That’s how the Lord delivers His peace to you.

The Spirit delivers Jesus’ peace in the words of Absolution, the Words of Forgiveness. Mine to you. “By the command of Jesus I forgive you all your sins.” That’s John 20. Not just mine though—yours to those around you. His peace was delivered to you in Holy Baptism. There you were washed in His blood, united to His death for you—“immediately water and blood flowed out.” You were united to His resurrection, too. His scarred hands and feet and side say so. And yes, His blood delivers His peace, His forgiveness, too. And since the Lord says that’s a witness, and since He says, “eat and drink,” and we wait for His timing to deliver that witness—His blood, His body and blood—to us again.

But no matter what Jesus’ peace is yours. You’re forgiven. You’ll live forever with Him. That’s your Baptism, His forgiveness. “Blessed are those who have not seen but yet have believed.” His body and the cross and His empty tomb.

THE LORD DELIVERS PEACE TO HIS DISCIPLES. That’s those who’ve been baptized and heard the Lord’s Word. It’s those who’ve got sins and fears and who will die. Even you and me! You are at peace with Jesus. You are forgiven! He won’t cast you out. He’ll bring you to Himself. And if He’s gotta bring His Word and forgiveness to you behind a closed door to do it? Well, hasn’t He just done it?

Alleluia! Jesus Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

INI + AMEN.

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