'Jesus' Tagged Posts

'Jesus' Tagged Posts

ETERNAL LONGINGS

One writer asked, “Where do words like ‘immortal’ come from?”   There are similar questions.  Why is it murder to kill a man and not a cow or a cat?  Why would we not throw out the lifeless body of a loved one with the Monday morning trash?   Instinctively, even the ancient heathen civilizations based their beliefs on something better and beyond the broken existence we now have.  The pyramids still stand as evidence of man’s quest for some sort of…

“WHODUNIT?”

It’s terrible English grammar, of course, but a good crime novel or movie is often called a “Whodunit.”  We even spoof those corny old movie scenes where the detective assembles everyone in the parlor or the library of the mansion after a murder and announces:  “The murderer is someone in this room!”    And as the background music plays a few tense notes – all of them –  from the maid to the butler, from the millionaire playboy to the…

PLEASANT PLACES

You may recall that at the end of The Small Catechism, Martin Luther tacked on what he called “The Table of Duties.”    For husbands and wives, parents and children, pastors and parishioners, labor and management he set down the Bible passages that apply to each, concluding:    “Let each his lesson learn with care and all the household well shall fare.” Escaping from a church that exalted holy orders and man-made works, Luther emphasized the sacredness of each Christian’s…

LIFE IN THE LIGHT OF MORNING

“It was the best of times and it was the worst of times,” is the way Charles Dickens began his novel, Tale Of Two Cities.   Paul would have said the same about his times.  In our epistle lesson from Romans 13, he says:  “The night is almost over, and the day is drawing near.” The times are dark with judgment…like the night. The times are bright with promise…like the day. We would have to say the same about our own…

OUR SUBSTITUTE

Our old teachers spoke often about “the vicarious atonement.”  We got it, because they explained it.    Churchy words such as, “justification” (to declare not guilty), or “redemption” (to be ransomed by the blood of Christ when we were held hostage by sin, death and hell), or “reconciliation” (that God made friends of us when we were His declared enemies) – these and countless other rich Bible words do not need to be dummied down to a vanilla vocabulary.  They…

GOD’S ACRE

You may recall that this past April 12th, we observed Easter in a way we had never observed it before…virtually…live streaming the service with as much joyful noise as a few voices and instruments could make amid the shut-down. Today’s hymns are Easter hymns!  This is on purpose. With as many as are able to come to our sanctuary, we will celebrate “a little Easter in August.”   We shall stand in a little graveyard in the village of Bethany and…

SWEET SORROW

Shakespeare’s Juliet says to Romeo:  “Parting is such sweet sorrow.”    English teachers might call that an oxymoron, a contradiction in terms.   But life is full of seeming contradictions which are not so contradictory.  We talk about “bitter sweet moments,” or a “deafening silence,” or “an open secret,” or a “tragic comedy.” There is a sweet sorrow laced in the lines of today’s epistle lesson from 2 Corinthians.  Paul says:  “Godly sorrow produces repentance, which leads to salvation, leaving no…

“THIEVES AND ROBBERS”

On November 18th, 1978, in the jungle commune of Jonestown, Guyana, South America, more than 900 people drank cyanide-laced purple Flavoraid served up from a common pot.   More than 270 were children.  The babies were given the poison with little syringes.   Folks who resisted or tried to run were gunned down.  Their cult leader, Jim Jones, finally dispatched himself with a bullet to the head. In March of 1997, Marshall Applewhite played out a similar scene in Rancho…

KINGDOM COMFORT

The bumper sticker said:  “No matter who the president is, Jesus is King.” Amid polarized opinions, that’s a comforting reminder in any generation.   Jesus once said to a Roman governor:  “My kingdom is not of this world.”    Maybe it’s a challenge for us Americans to identify with Jesus as our King.    After all, we don’t have kings.  None of us have ever lived under a king.  Each July 4th we celebrate and give thanks that we live in a…

WHERE WILL IT ALL END?

In these troubling times, as in many times past, we may find ourselves wondering:  “Where will it all end?”    St. Paul famously said this:  “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, for those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28  EHV). It is doubtful that you and I would believe these words if God Himself had not caused them to be written down in the Bible.  As the years…

THE BACKSTORY REVISITED

An old man named John wrote it down in a little letter years later:  “We have heard…we have seen…we have observed….our hands have touched.”   Those days long ago scroll across the old man’s memory.  He was a young man then, maybe all of nineteen.  He was hanging on the words of a rugged preacher named John the Baptist on that day when Jesus came in sight of the Jordan River.   “Look!”  said the preacher, pointing at Jesus, “The Lamb of…

TIMELESS TRUTH

In the verses before us today, Jesus says:  “If you remain in My word, you are really My disciples.  You will also know the truth, and the truth will set you free”  (John 8:31-32 EHV).  This includes the truth of the Holy Trinity.  For a lot of folks the name Athanasius may not ring a bell.  But we Christians owe the man a great deal.    In the early centuries of the Church, a fellow named Arius, along with others,…