DEAD HERO OR LIVING LORD?

The Jehovah’s Witnesses were making the rounds again last week.  The lady at the parsonage door was unusually brief. She simply delivered an invitation to a special service for the coming week.

An invitation to an Easter service?  Nope. The brochure said: “Please join us for the annual commemoration of the death of Jesus Christ.  The date, time, and location will be Saturday, March 31, 2018.” (Yesterday).   There was no mention of today – April 1 – Easter Sunday – The resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

That is because in addition to their denial of the Trinity, the Godhead of Christ and salvation by grace alone through faith alone, and their legion of other false doctrines, the Jehovah’s Witnesses do not teach that Jesus Christ came bodily, physically out of His grave.

How sad!  St. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:17-19 (EHV):  “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.  Then it also follows that those who fell asleep in Christ perished. If our hope in Christ applies only to this life, we are the most pitiful people of all.”

Was Jesus not serious when He said, “I am the Resurrection and the Life; he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall He live, and whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die?”   Was it mere philosophy when He said, “Because I live, you too will live?” Was He teasing you when He said: “Verily I say unto you, if a man keep My saying, He shall never see death?” Was He bluffing when He said:   “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it again?” or when He said, “No man taketh My life from Me; I have power to lay it down and I have power to take it again?” or when He bluntly said that on the third day He would rise again?

The angel at the empty tomb asked, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?”  Why are you out here at the cemetery looking for the Lord of life? Do I too look in all the wrong places?  Do I too often think of Jesus as a dead hero rather than a living Lord? Is Jesus only an idea on paper, a Sunday morning hors d’oeuvre, a free, psychological baby sitter for the children, a nanny when they are little, a master of ceremonies at funerals and weddings?  How real is Jesus to you and me? How alive is He?

There are a lot of famous graves.  The pyramids of Egypt are famous as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world because they were built to house the mummified remains of the pharaohs.  You visit Westminster Abbey to pay honor to the bodies of English nobles and notables buried in its walls. The tomb of Mohammed in the mosque at Medina draws countless thousands.

The grave of Jesus Christ is famous because it is EMPTY!  We do not commemorate a dead hero. We have a LIVING LORD!

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Rev. Roy W. Hefti

About Rev. Roy W. Hefti

Pastor Hefti grew up on the North side of LaCrosse. He is a 1971 graduate of Luther High School. He then attended Northwestern College in Watertown, WI. After graduation, he went on to attend Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in Mequon, WI. He graduated the Seminary in 1979 and accepted his first call to start a mission congregation in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. In May 1984, Pastor Hefti received and accepted the call to be the Pastor of St. Paul’s. Pastor, his wife Alice and 3 children moved to Bangor in July of 1984. The Lord blessed the Heftis with 3 more children while living in Bangor. Their 6 children are now grown and are living around the world. In addition to his pastoral duties, Pastor Hefti teaches 7th-8th grade confirmation classes and also teaches a rotating class of “A Touch of Latin” or “A Touch of German” to familiarize the children with a foreign language. Each morning, Pastor conducts a Bible study with the faculty and he also conducts a weekly mission devotion with the whole school.