Easter 4—Jubilate 2023 (Jn 16, 16–22; 1 Jn 3, 1–3; Lam 3, 22–33)

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᛭ INI ᛭

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

(5. Oops!: In the world there is no lack of sin and trouble.)

“Look around [at] the world.” There is, and “there [always] will be no lack of sin and trouble.” (Small Catechism, Christian Question #20) There’s an abundance of sin and trouble in the world. It’s about the only thing that there’s an abundance of!

In fact, the hard truth is that there were never “the good ol’ days.” We’re often blind or at least have poor eyesight to what’s corrupt and broken and full of sin and trouble in our own days. But whether it’s now or 50 years ago, 100 years ago, 500 years ago—there is one constant: sin and trouble. The sin and trouble might differ by what kind of sin and trouble there is, or it might differ in degree (how much or how bad it is), but sin and trouble are and remain.

The world and society isn’t a good place. It’s not salvageable. It’s heading toward the burn pile. (That’s the Last Day.) All we can do is affect and influence our own daily lives. The sin and trouble of the world breeds nihilism—there’s no point to anything except momentary pleasure. There is no light or joy in such a world. Because of sin and trouble, it’s a hopeless place, the world.

(4. Ugh!: “No lack of sin and trouble” is precisely our daily experience—without and within!)

“No lack of sin and trouble” is precisely our daily experience, and it has always been the experience of Jesus’ disciples. We’re surrounded by trouble. “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful…” (Jn 15) Indeed, “You have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.” (Jn 15) Jesus is talking about His death and resurrection—His disciples not seeing then seeing Him again, but it also fits for us who don’t see Jesus now but will on the Last Day. Here’s the trouble of persecution, but more on that in a couple weeks.

We’re also bombarded by sins—the sins of the world! The world who lives with this motto: “Let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die!” (1 Cor 15:32) The selfish and self-destructive lifestyles of the world come at us from all sides: our TVs, our phones, or firsthand in the lives of the people in our daily lives. The words of David ring true, or should ring true for us who believe in Jesus: “My eyes shed streams of tears, because people do not cherish” God’s Word.” (Ps 119:136)

But it’s not just out there; it’s in here! Our hearts and minds are a source of sin and trouble! “What we will be has not yet appeared” (1 Jn 3:2b) We’re impure because of what comes out of our hearts in what we say and do. So we’re impure because of our sins, but we’re also impure because of our sorrows. “You will have sorrow now,” in our sorrow we have impure thoughts against God. They well up within our hearts. (It is a special Gift of the Spirit when that doesn’t happen.)

We often dabble in hopelessness like the world does. “What’s the point of it all? Why’d this happen? Why God? Is there a god?” It is the sinful nature coming out in sorrow. “We were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself.” (2 Cor 1:8)

(3. Aha!: Jesus makes promises to those who live in such a world.)

What’s Jesus going to do with disciples like that, like us? Well, Jesus doesn’t cast off such people. “A flickering candle He won’t blow out.” “A bruised stalk He won’t snap.” (Is 42:3) He makes promises to those who live in sin and trouble, in a hopeless word. He says, “Your hopelessness is no good. If I left you alone, you would be lost, but take heart! I am greater than your unbelief. I am greater Faithfulness than you have doubts, greater Hope than you have hopelessness, greater Savior than you have sins, greater Joy than you have sorrow, greater Peace than you have grief, greater Life than you have death.”“I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from.”

Jesus’ promise was true for the disciples on the third day, because of His resurrection it’s not just them—you! The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” (Lam 3:22–24)

(2. Whee!: Jesus purifies you to be God child now and forever.)

The words of Lamentations are true for you. They are true because of what Jesus has done to purify you and give you hope. Jesus purifies you by His death and His resurrection which He not only hints at in John 15, but also it’s hinted at in Lamentations 3. He is the one who set His shoulder to the “yoke” of the cross “in His youth.” (Lam 3:27) He hanged in “silence when it was laid on Him” (Lam 3:28)—His Father gave Him the silent treatment. (“My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mt 27)) He “put His mouth into the dust,” (Lam 3:29) “the dust of death!” (Ps 22:15) He “gave His check to the one who strikes, and let Him[self] be filled with insults.” (Lam 3:30) But “there [was] yet hope” (Lam 2:29), “for the Lord [did] not cast off forever.” (Lam 3:31) Jesus rose from the dead!

Because of what Jesus did you are pure. Washed clean from all your sins—with the precious blood of Christ. His blood is the payment for your sins. His death destroys your death. His resurrection is your life eternal. All this is yours through Baptism. There Jesus made you a child of God, so that’s what you are. You’re a baptized child of God now—right now!—and so you will be forever. “Beloved we are God’s children now, and we shall be like Him” (1 Jn 3:1, 2b) forever.


This is yours right now by faith in Jesus, trusting in what He has done for you. “Everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.” (1 Jn 3:3) “Hope expects promised things, and hope and faith cannot be separated in reality… [For] the Epistle to the Hebrews defines faith as “the assurance of things hoped for” (Hebrews 11:1). Yet if anyone wants a distinction between faith and hope, we say that the object of hope is properly a future event, but that faith is concerned with future and present things. Faith receives the forgiveness of sins offered in the promise in the present. [AP IV 191/312]”


This isn’t hopium but the truth of Jesus’ promises. He makes no idle promises. How long will it go on like this? Oh, it won’t be long. It’ll be just a bit. The Lord isn’t slow in keeping His promises. (2 Pet 3:9) It’ll be just a little bit of not seeing Jesus, and then, just a little bit, you’ll see Him, and that forever. “You do have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.” Of course, because “He lives, yes, He lives, and will nevermore die.” (LSB 480)

In the meantime, He purifies you all the more. You have a “pressing need” for Him to do this, and it’s because of your “own pressing need” that Christ Jesus gave “the command, encouragement, and promise” (SC Christian Question 19) of His Supper. So, “Look around to see whether [you’re] still in the world, and remember that there’s no lack of sin and trouble, as the Scriptures say [today] in John 16.” (SC Christian Question 20) So it is Jesus gives you His body and blood for your forgiveness, for your new life, and for your everlasting salvation.

His Supper is the answer to a dying world, His answer to sinful world, His answer to a world full of a trouble. It’s His answer to a dying you, a sinful you, you in the midst of trouble. His body and blood for you: forgiveness for your sin, salvation of your troubles, life for your death. He builds up your hope so that you would and remain a pure baptized child of God. No longer impure with sin and hopelessness—unbelief!—but fully holy, pure, and righteous in His and His Father’s sight.


Especially by eating and drinking in faith of His body and blood given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. You pure, you filled up with Hope, filled up with Jesus.

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

᛭ INI ᛭

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