Sermon for 04.14.24 “More amazing than a miracle”

EASTER 3, APRIL 14, 2024
Text: Acts 3:11–21
Theme: More amazing than a miracle
Other Lessons: Psalm 4; 1 John 3:1–7; Luke 24:36–49

(A) In the Name of the Father…Amen.
(B) The first reading serves as our sermon text for this morning.
(C) Grace, mercy, and peace be yours from God our heavenly Father through
our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
(D) Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray:
Gracious and Almighty God, we come before You, inspired by the words of
Peter in Acts 3, where he speaks not of his own power or piety but of Your
strength and sovereignty that made the lame man walk.
As Peter redirected the people’s awe from himself to Jesus Christ, the
source of true healing and salvation, we too focus our hearts on You,
recognizing that every good gift comes from Your hand.
Lord, we are reminded of our own need for repentance and turning back to
You, just as Peter urged the people of Jerusalem.
Help us to turn from our evil ways that lead away from You and to embrace
fully the life and redemption You offer through Jesus Christ, whom You
raised from the dead.
As we gather here today, may we, like the early believers, be filled with
boldness to proclaim the truth of Your power and compassion.
Empower us by Your Spirit to be agents of healing and transformation in a
world that yearns for Your touch.
Open our eyes to see the opportunities You lay before us to speak of Your
goodness and to act in ways that bring Your kingdom here on earth as it is
in heaven.
(E) Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! Amen.


(A) Miracles sure attracted the crowds.
(1) Peter and John healed a lame man in the temple, and wow!—everybody came
(2) And who wouldn’t?
(3) I think all of us would.
(4) An amazing thing had happened, really impressive, but in Peter’s sermon
that followed—our text for today—another amazing thing took place, and
actually even more amazing than the miracle.
(5) God offered the forgiveness of sins to those who had killed Jesus!
(B) Yes, More Amazing than a Miracle, God Offers Forgive­ness to All.
(1) It’s impossible to imagine any sin worse than killing the Author of
(A) Let’s think about this for a moment.
(1) Who was Jesus?
a) He is God Himself, become true man in order to save us.
b) And in His ministry, what did He do?
1) He helped people:
a) Healing their diseases,
b) Casting out their demons,
c) Raising the dead,
d) And forgiving the sins of people, especially the sins of tax collectors
and sinners who knew so well that they needed it.
2) Did Jesus do anything that deserved death?
3) No. Not at all.
4) Even the conflicted governor Pontius Pilate knew he was innocent and
planned to release Him.
(B) So what happened?
(1) The leaders were jealous and resented Jesus’ rebukes to their pride and
(2) He was seen as a menace to their positions and power, so He had to go.
(3) And the people?
a) Well, on Palm Sunday they hailed Jesus as a hero, but just a few days
later, they were screaming out:
Mark 15:13 (NASB95)
13 They shouted back, “Crucify Him!”
b) Instead of choosing Jesus, they chose Barabbas, a murderer.
c) They wanted the Author of life dead.
d) And they got what they asked for.
e) Peter declared:
Acts 3:14–15 (NASB95)
14 “But you disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked for a murderer to
be granted to you,
15 but put to death the Prince of life, the one whom God raised from the
dead, a fact to which we are witnesses.
(C) Can you imagine a worse sin than that of crucifying the Son of God?!
(1) Even Adam and Eve’s choosing a piece of fruit at the price of death
does not seem so bad as crucifying the Son of God!
(2) So if anybody deserved hell, it was these very people to whom Peter was
(3) But instead of delivering God’s curse, what does Peter say?
Acts 3:19 (NASB95)
19 “Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in
order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;
(4) Sins:
a) wiped out,
b) erased,
c) gone for good.
(5) That is what forgiveness is all about:
a) Sins gone for good!
(2) The resurrection is Christ’s victory over every sin, even the worst.
(A) Forgiveness for their sin or any sin is possible for one reason
only—the kind of God that God is.
(1) For when Adam and Eve sinned first and then all the rest of us followed
right along to fill up the measure of man’s wickedness, God acted to save.
(2) His mercy and love were greater than the sin of Peter’s hearers
a) even greater than the sin of killing God’s Son.
b) And His mercy and love are greater than our sin.
(B) Not only did He promise—starting with Adam and Eve—that He would save
us sinners from the punishment we deserved, He also kept his promise and
sent His Son, who did die, but on the third day rose again.
(1) Jesus was:
a) the great sin-bearer (our sin),
b) and the great conqueror of death(our death, our punishment, our hell!).
c) But when He arose from the grave:
1) He had won.
2) It is finished (Chinese: I won)
3) Not sin, not death, and not the devil had won, but Jesus had won.
4) Sin had been blotted out.
5) And that was what Peter was offering even to those who had killed Jesus:
a) the very worst sin, conquered and wiped clean in Jesus’ resurrection.
(3) The resurrection is Christ’s victory over every sin, even yours.
(A) Some sins seem too big to forgive.
(1) There are many of us here—maybe all of us—who have a sin too big to
(2) Perhaps it’s something really embarrassing or something really
scandalous that nobody knows about except us, and we can’t forget.
(3) Or maybe it’s a recurring sin that we can’t get over.
(4) We do it again and again and again.
Romans 7:15–20 (NASB95)
15 For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I
would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.
16 But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law,
confessing that the Law is good.
17 So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.
18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the
willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.
19 For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that
I do not want.
20 But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one
doing it, but sin which dwells in me.
(5) Sins like these can:
a) trouble us,
b) haunt us,
c) refuse to leave us alone . . . but do leave us wondering:
d) Does God really forgive this sin?
(B) Yes, He does!
(1) That is the answer found in our text for this morning.
(2) There is no sin too big to forgive even if we never forget it.
(3) God:
a) forgave David, an adulterer and murderer.
b) forgave Paul, who persecuted Christians.
c) forgave Peter, who denied him three times.
1) It was this same Peter who held out forgiveness and times of refreshing
from God, who would send Jesus back and restore all things to these very
people who had “killed the Author of life.”
(C) Yes, they killed Jesus, but He didn’t stay dead!


(A) When he was almost fifty years old, Pastor Henry Gerike joined the army
to serve as a Lutheran chaplain during World War II.
(1) He served capably and competently during the war, but his most notable
service occurred afterward.
(2) He was chaplain to the Nazi war criminals at Nuremberg.
(3) This was an assignment that he dreaded to take because, after all, he
would be ministering to men accused and then convicted of the most
atrocious war crimes, involving the deaths of millions.
(4) Some of the Allied officers at Nuremberg resented his ministry.
(5) They wanted to send the prisoners straight to hell.
(6) But Gerike did it because Christ had died for all, even the Nazis.
(7) He conducted services and invited all to come.
(8) Some did.
(9) Gerike prayed with them, heard their confessions, communed four of them
in order to assure them that Christ’s blood had washed away even their
(10) He walked to the gallows with some, and with Wilhelm Keitel, head of
the German high command, just before his execution, he prayed aloud a
prayer that both had learned from their mothers.
(11) That’s how amazing God’s forgiveness is.
(12) Christ’s resurrection proclaims his victory over all sins, including
those of Nazi war criminals (Acts 3:11–14, 19–20).
(B) What is God’s answer to sin?
(1) Easter!
(2) It is His answer to your sin, my sin, all of it.
(3) And there’s a lot of it.
(4) The whole world is full of sin, and history is its record.
(5) But there is something greater than sin, and it’s a part of history
(6) For God:
(1) almighty and all gracious
(2) has entered our world in the person of his Son to redeem us
(3) to die and to rise again, and to blot out all our sins.
(4) And that, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, is really amazing! Amen.
(C) Let us pray:
We pray for the humility to acknowledge our sins and the courage to forsake
May our hearts be turned towards You in every action we take and every word
we speak.
Guide us in Your ways, that our lives might bear witness to the
life-changing power of Your grace and the hope of the resurrection.
In the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer, who with You and the
Holy Spirit, reigns in power and glory forever. Amen.
(D) Hebrews 13:20–21 (NASB95)
20 Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of
the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord,
21 equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which
is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory
forever and ever. Amen.
(E) Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! Amen.
(F) In the Name of the Father…Amen.


Sermon for 04.07.24 “Easter makes a difference”

EASTER 2, APRIL 7, 2024
Text: Acts 4:32–35
Theme: Easter makes a difference
Other Lessons
Psalm 148
Epistle: 1 John 1:1–2:2
Gospel: John 20:19–31

(A) In the Name of the Father…Amen.
(B) The first reading serves as our sermon text for this morning.
(C) Grace, mercy, and peace be yours from God the heavenly Father through
our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
(D) Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray:
Eternal God, we approach Your throne of grace, mindful of the message
declared by John in his first letter, recounting the Word of life made
manifest among us.
He speaks of what was seen, heard, and touched—the very life of Jesus, Your
Son, made tangible in our world.
Through these sacred testimonies, we encounter the living truth of Christ,
drawing us into deep fellowship with You and each other.
Lord, in Your light, we see our shadows and acknowledge our sins.
We often stumble in darkness, veering away from Your path.
Yet, Your faithfulness shines bright, promising forgiveness and
purification from all unrighteousness through Jesus, our advocate and
As we come together in worship, fill us with the joy of fellowship that
John spoke of, a fellowship with You and with Your Son, Jesus Christ.
Empower us to live out this truth, reflecting Your love and righteousness
in our daily walk. Amen.
(E) Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! Amen.

(A) Easter Sunday may be over for this year, but the season of Easter is
definitely not.
(1) Our church year gives us six more Sundays of the Easter season.
(2) But even that is not enough.
(3) Every Sunday serves as a “little” Easter.
(4) Christians worship on Sundays because Jesus arose from the dead on the
first day of the week.
(B) Easter still matters in the church calendar, but what difference does
it make in our lives?
(1) Easter Sunday can certainly create an emotional high:
(A) great music,
(B) powerful preaching,
(C) a church filled with people.
(D) We can all get excited about that, but how about this Sunday?
(E) Or the next Sunday?
(F) Pretty soon we’re back to the same old, same old.
(C) So what difference does Easter make—for you?
(1) Our text for this morning shows us how Easter does indeed Makes a
Difference in the Lives of Those Who Believe It.
(I) Making gods out of ourselves and our possessions ends us in the
grave—until it doesn’t.
(A) Our text for today shows what a difference it made in the lives of the
first Christians.
1) And what a difference!
2) People sold all their property and gave it to the apostles for relief of
the needy. That’s hard to believe, isn’t it, especially in this day and age?
(B) “What’s mine is mine” is the common, natural, and believable way of
thinking nowadays.
1) The mindset is something like this:
a) If you have need, maybe I’ll do something about it.
b) I might do it, but it’s not a sure thing.
c) After all, I have needs too:
1) bills to pay,
2) things to buy,
3) family to tend to,
4) lots of stuff.
5) You can’t expect me to take care of you.
6) In this world, you’re on your own.
7) Maybe the government will help, but don’t expect me to bail you out.
(C) That kind of thinking is easy for us to understand.
1) We do it all the time, and not only us.
2) So does everybody else.
3) It’s not even anything new.
4) The ancients used to argue about whether the sun traveled around the
earth or the earth around the sun, but both were wrong.
5) Not only the earth and the sun, but the entire universe goes around me.
6) I am the center of it all.
a) My hopes,
b) my desires,
c) my fears,
d) my thinking all center on me
e) not you, not even God, just me.
f) We call that sin.
(D) Satan’s first temptation to Eve was to replace God with herself.
Genesis 3:5 (NASB95)
5 “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened,
and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
1) It wasn’t true, but ever since, the devil has been repeating this lie,
and human beings have been falling for it ever since.
2) They:
a) define their own values,
b) make their own rules,
c) and do what pleases themselves, including with their possessions.
d) They—or better, we—make gods out of ourselves and so out of our
possessions too.
e) I earned it,
f) I bought it,
g) and I’m going to do what I want to with it.
h) It’s mine.
(E) But that, too, is a lie.
1) What we have in this life depends entirely on the goodness and gifts of
a) our talents,
b) our opportunities,
c) our successes
d) all these are a result from what God has done for us.
2) Moreover, what Paul said to Timothy is still true:
1 Timothy 6:7 (NASB95)
7 For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything
out of it either.
(F) Of course, by the time Eve discovered that Satan’s temptation was a
dead end—literally, it was too late.
1) We do the same thing, every one of us.
2) We think that we are in charge, until we’re not, but then it’s too late.
3) The wages of sin is death!
4) It all ends in the grave—until it doesn’t!
(II) Easter changes that by restoring us to the love of God and his free
gift of eternal life.
(A) For Jesus Christ is alive, risen from the dead.
Romans 6:23 (NASB95)
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life
in Christ Jesus our Lord.
1) That is the difference that Easter makes!
2) Our Lord’s resurrection overcame the penalty for sin, death, because His
crucifixion overcame sin itself.
3) He took the sin of all upon himself:
a) starting with Eve,
b) then Adam,
c) and then every last one of their descendants, including those yet to
come, including you and me.
4) But now Jesus is alive:
a) just ask no-longer-doubting Thomas.
b) Our God and our Lord is alive!
c) Sin has been paid for;
d) death has been overcome.
(B) Everything is different now.
1) Because of Easter, we know that what Jesus told us about God is true.
2) He is our loving Father.
Ephesians 2:1 (NASB95)
1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,
3) The Lord took the initiative to redeem us.
Romans 8:32 (NASB95)
32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how
will He not also with Him freely give us all things?
4) Our heavenly Father takes His perfect, tender loving care of us and
provides for us, and at the end of this life, He welcomes us into the next,
into the paradise about which Jesus spoke to that penitent thief on the
5) The devil is still lurking around, and, for sure, sin rears its ugly
6) But neither devil nor sin can take away what we have in Christ:
a) the God who loves us.
(III) Therefore, Easter also frees us to respond to the needs of others,
whatever they may be.
(A) That’s why those first Christians could respond as they did to the
needs of others.
1) Christ had freed them from the sin of self-interest.
a) God had filled their hearts with his love; and that love overflowed to
others, and:
Acts 4:34 (NASB95)
34 For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of
land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales.
(B) Of course, we live in different times.
1) Perhaps physical needs are not so pressing.
2) But in addition to the basics, people still have needs:
a) respect,
b) companionship,
c) purpose,
d) security.
3) How good are we at supplying things like these to others in our
a) Since God takes care of us, we can take care of others, giving not only
our money but also our time, energy, talents, and—most fundamental of
all—our love to one another in response to whatever challenges life brings.
(C) Perhaps this sounds like a sermon for “Stewardship Sunday” instead of
for Easter, but these first Christians have given us an example that we
cannot ignore—not now, not ever.
1) Easter means something.
a) It changes lives.
b) It changed their lives.
c) Easter makes a difference in the lives of those who believe.
d) So what about you?


(A) Speaking of examples, immediately following today’s text, Luke
introduces Barnabas as an example of someone whom the Easter proclamation
changed forever.
(1) He not only sold his property for the relief of the needy (Acts
4:36–37), but he also became one of the great missionaries of the apostolic
a) He took great risks for the sake of the Gospel.
b) After Paul’s conversion, Barnabas befriended him when others were
c) Upon hearing that the Gospel was reaping fruit in Antioch, the Jerusalem
church sent Barnabas to continue the work there, and Barnabas recruited
d) When the Spirit indicated that Paul’s missionary journeys were to begin,
he called Barnabas to the work as well.
e) Barnabas then shared in all the challenges and trials of that first
journey, including persecution in Antioch of Pisidia and Iconium.
f) Along with Paul, he was mistaken for a god in Lystra, where once again
they were persecuted.
g) Nevertheless, they revisited those places in order to strengthen the
faithful and appoint elders in the churches.
h) After returning to Antioch, Barnabas along with Paul defended the
Gentile mission against the Judaizers.
(2) Although Barnabas and Paul separated over a disagreement, the former
continued the mission by going to Cyprus.
a) Church tradition tells us that Barnabas died a martyr’s death.
b) Easter certainly made a difference to him.
c) It ought to make a difference for us and to us as well. Amen.
(B) Let us pray:
Lord. we thank You for the assurance and advocacy we have in Christ, who
not only covers our sins but also intercedes for all of us.
May our worship today be a reflection of the eternal life You have revealed
to us, an offering of gratitude and commitment to Your ways.
In the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Redeemer, we pray. Amen.
(C) The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts
and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.
(D) Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! Amen.
(E) In the Father…Amen.


Sermon for Easter Sunday 10:30 service 03.31.24

Easter Sunday 03.31.24
Text: Psalm 41:12-13
Psalm 41 (in its entirety)
Old Testament: Isaiah 25:6–9
Epistle: 1 Corinthians 15:1–11
Gospel: Mark 16:1–8

(A) In the Name of the Father…Amen.
(B) Psalm 41:12-13 serves as our sermon text for this morning, which reads
as follows:
Psalm 41:12–13 (NASB95)
12 As for me, You uphold me in my integrity, And You set me in Your
presence forever.
13 Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, From everlasting to everlasting.
Amen and Amen.
(C) Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord Jesus
Christ! Amen.
(D) Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray:
Gracious and Almighty God, on this Resurrection Sunday, we come before You
with hearts brimming with joy and gratitude, celebrating the victory of
Your Son, Jesus Christ, over death.
As the Apostle Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 15, it is the good news of
Jesus’ death for our sins, His burial, and His resurrection on the third
day, according to the Scriptures, that stands as the cornerstone of our
Lord, we are humbled by the depth of Your love and the power of Your grace
that brought Jesus from death to life, ensuring our own resurrection and
eternal life in Him.
You have fulfilled Your Word and demonstrated Your faithfulness through the
ages, from the witnesses who first saw the risen Lord to all of us gathered
here today, united in the joy of His resurrection. Amen.
(E) Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! Amen.


(A) David prayed to the Lord of hosts in Psalm 41, “You have upheld me
because of my integrity, and set me in Your presence forever. Blessed be
the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting! Amen and

(1) Integrity means “whole and undivided.”
(A) Integrity indicates original, unblemished condition.
(1) Because integrity means “whole, original, and unblemished,” the word
also can be used to indicate beautiful qualities such as:
(a) honesty,
(b) faithfulness,
(c) purity,
(d) reliability,
(e) uprightness,
(f) honor,
(g) incorruptibility,
(h) forthrightness,
(i) and other noble virtues.
(B) “Because of my integrity.”
(1) David wrote those words, but NOT because he wanted to sing and pray
them all by himself.
(a) David wrote Psalm 41 because he wanted you and I to sing and pray
together with him.
(b) He wanted YOU and I to say to God in sincerity and truth,:
(1) “You have upheld me[, O Lord,] because of my integrity.”
(2) Can you bring yourself to do that?
(C) God, the living God, provided that David’s words be written into His
Holy Scriptures.
(1) David’s words are in the Scriptures because the Lord your God wants you
also to pray with all honesty:
(a) “You have upheld me[, O Lord,] because of my integrity.”
(b) Can you do it?
(D) Can you honestly join with David in saying to God:
(1) “You have upheld me[, O Lord,] because of my integrity”?
(a) The answer is YES!
(b) Yes because you are the baptized child of Christ and because Christ is
(c) He is risen, indeed! Alleluia!
(d) The resurrection of our Lord has guaranteed that your answer is indeed
YES, even though you might feel tempted to think that your answer should be
(E) “Because of my integrity.”
(1) Everybody wants to have integrity, but nobody actually has it—at least,
not in the original, main sense of the word.
(a) Our loss of integrity was originally Adam and Eve’s fault and only
later became ours.
(2) Integrity means “whole and undivided.”

(a) Integrity indicates an original, unblemished condition.
(b) Integrity also can be used to indicate such beautiful qualities as
honesty, faithfulness, and purity.
(c) We all want to be described with such wonderful words and, to a certain
extent, we all can be—but only to a certain extent.
(F) Do you ever hesitate to pray to the Lord:
(1) “You have upheld me because of my integrity”?
(a) Perhaps you do not think all the qualities of integrity rightly
describe you; at least, not all of the time.
(b) Perhaps you can see a different set of qualities at work inside
(1) NOT whole and undivided, but sometimes doubleminded (James 1:8) and
other times doubtful (Matthew 14:31).
(2) NOT in original, unblemished condition, but chipped or broken, stained
with sin, hampered by the memory of wrongdoing, and marked with regret.
(3) Honest, but not always;
(4) true and faithful, but only when no temptation is present;
(5) mostly reliable and fairly honorable and hopefully incorruptible, but
nobody’s perfect!
(G) Such realizations might make it feel a little brazen or dishonest for
us to pray David’s words:
(1) “You have upheld me because of my integrity.”
(a) We all want to have integrity.
(b) In most cases, any of us would gladly describe ourselves as having
integrity, but we probably would NOT want to talk that way in the presence
of God for He knows our hearts (Luke 16:15).
(c) He knows where the integrity falls apart.
(d) Perhaps it is wisest and best to mumble Psalm 41 when it states, “You
have upheld me because of my integrity,” or to pray those words with the
thought that they probably refer to someone else but NOT so much to you or
(H) Why then did David write these words in Psalm 41?
(1) David wrote Psalm 41 because he wanted us to sing and pray together
with him.
(2) David’s words are in the Scriptures because the Lord our God also wants
us to pray those words together with David.
(2) “You have upheld me because of my integrity.”
(A) Throughout the season of Lent, the sermons and our worship services
have focused upon Psalm 41.
(B) There have been two points of emphasis as we focused on Psalm 41:
(1) In one way or another, all of God’s Psalms—including Psalm 41—speak
about our Lord and His work of salvation on our behalf (Luke 24:44).
(a) That is why God included the Psalms in His Scriptures;
(b) They all “bear witness,” said Jesus, “about Me” (John 5:39).
(2) Because the Psalms are about Jesus, they are also about you.
(a) You are, after all, the baptized of Christ.
(b) When you were baptized:
(1) you miraculously entered into Christ’s holy body (Romans 12:5; 1
Corinthians 1:30) just as surely as He entered yours (John 14:20; Galatians
(2) And Christ is risen! (He is risen, indeed!) Alleluia!
(3) You and your risen Christ are now joined together as one flesh (1
Corinthians 6:17; Ephesians 5:32).
(4) “What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matthew
(C) What does our union with Christ indicate?
(1) It indicates that, when Jesus of Nazareth died upon His cross, you and
I and all the baptized of Christ died there with Him.
(a) Baptism is why Paul could say, and why we each can say with Paul:
(1) “I have been crucified with Christ” (Galatians 2:20).
(b) In addition to that, Baptism also indicates that, when Jesus rose from
the dead, God the Father also:
(1) “raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in
Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6).
(2) At your Baptism,
(a) your Lord’s perfection became yours, and your sins became His (1 Peter
(b) His strength became yours, and your weakness became His (2 Corinthians
(c) His life became yours, and your death became His (Romans 6:4); and
(d) His perfect and unblemished integrity became yours, and any lack of
integrity in you became His
(D) You are now “partakers of the divine nature,” as Peter declares in his
second epistle (2 Peter 1:4).
(1) Because of your participation in the divine nature of Christ in and
through your Baptism, every Scripture passage that speaks about Jesus now
also speaks about you.
(2) In all of human history, only Christ Jesus, our Lord, could pray to His
Father on the basis of His own merit:
(a) “You have upheld Me because of My integrity.”

(3) But Jesus has now joined Himself to you.
(a) In that miraculous joining, whatever the Scriptures say about Jesus can
now also be said, in all faithfulness and honesty, about you:
(1) “You have upheld me because of my integrity.”
(3) Integrity means “whole and undivided.”
(A) Integrity means “in the original, unblemished condition.”
(1) Integrity indicates such qualities as:
(a) honesty,
(b) faithfulness,
(c) purity,
(d) reliability,
(e) uprightness,
(f) honor,
(g) incorruptibility,
(h) and forthrightness.
(i) Those qualities all describe Jesus, the One who was crucified (1
Corinthians 1:23).
(j) Because of our Lord’s personal integrity (Acts 2:24), “God raised Him
up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for Him to be
held by it.”
(B) As you heard in today’s Gospel these words:
Mark 16:1–6 (NASB95)
1 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James,
and Salome, bought spices, so that they might come and anoint Him.
2 Very early on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the
sun had risen.
3 They were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us
from the entrance of the tomb?”
4 Looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away, although it was
extremely large.
5 Entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting at the right, wearing a
white robe; and they were amazed.
6 And he said to them, “Do not be amazed; you are looking for Jesus the
Nazarene, who has been crucified. He has risen; He is not here; behold,
here is the place where they laid Him.
(4) By the power of His death and in the victory of His resurrection, Jesus
has now given all of His integrity to you so that His perfect integrity may
be yours forever!
(A) Our Lord’s personal integrity has been delivered to you in the water of
Baptism, which joined you to both His death and His resurrection (Romans
(B) Our Lord’s personal integrity has miraculously entered into your heart
and mind through the proclamation of the Gospel.
(C) Our Lord’s integrity likewise enters your mouth and fills your entire
body when you participate in the blessed Sacrament of the Altar.
(1) With confidence, we can proclaim that yes, Christ lives—and we with
Him—as we hear in Romans 6:9:
Romans 6:9 (NASB95)
9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die
again; death no longer is master over Him.
(D) Our Lord’s personal integrity, given personally to you, is the power by
which you now can pray to the Lord, with all godliness and honesty:“
(1) You have upheld me because of my integrity.”
(2) That same integrity, poured out by our God, is the only reason why I
can likewise pray with you.


(A) King David did NOT rely upon his own integrity when he prayed.
(1) King David relied upon the integrity of his Christ, who was both
David’s Son and David’s Lord.
(2) You and I do NOT and cannot rely upon our own integrity any more than
David did.
(3) David’s Son was born also to us (Luke 2:11).
(4) David’s Lord died also for us.
(5) David’s prayer is therefore our prayer, and David’s rejoicing in
eternity is likewise our rejoicing, both now and forever:
(A) “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to
everlasting! Amen and Amen.”
(B) Why? Because Christ is risen! (He is risen indeed!) Alleluia! Amen.
(B) Let us pray:
Lord, as we proclaim with Paul that Your grace towards us has not been in
vain, may we, too, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in Your work,
knowing that in the Lord, our labor is not in vain.
Empower us by Your Spirit to bear witness to the resurrection of Jesus,
living as people of hope, transformed by the reality of the empty tomb.
On this glorious day, help us to grasp the magnitude of what it means to
say, “Christ has risen indeed!”
May this truth renew our minds, inspire our hearts, and guide our actions.
Let the joy of Easter not just be a momentary celebration but a lasting
reality in our lives, shaping us to be bearers of Your light and love in a
world that so desperately needs the hope of the risen Christ.
In the mighty power of the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy
Spirit, we pray. Amen.
(C) The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts
and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.
(D) Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! Amen.
(E) In the Name of the Father…Amen.


Sermon for Easter Sunrise 03.31.24

Easter Sunrise 03.31.24
Text: Exodus 15:1–11
Theme: Holy Joy
Other Lessons
Psalm 118:1–2, 15–24; 1 Corinthians 15:1–11; Luke 24:1–11

(A) In the Name of the Father…Amen.
(B) The Old Testament lesson from Exodus 15 serves as our sermon text for
this morning.
(C) Grace, mercy, and peace be yours from God our heavenly Father through
our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
(D) Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray:
464:1-3 The Strife Is O’er, the Battle Done
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

The strife is o’er, the battle done;
Now is the victor’s triumph won;
Now be the song of praise begun.

The pow’rs of death have done their worst,
But Christ their legions hath dispersed.
Let shouts of holy joy outburst.

The three sad days have quickly sped,
He rises glorious from the dead.
All glory to our risen Head!
Alleluia! Amen.


(A) Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! Amen.
(B) Today is a day of joyous celebration!
(1) With great songs of holy joy we affirm the victory over death and the
grave that the Lord accomplished through his death and resurrection.
(2) Listen to the first stanza of the hymns for this morning as evidence of
this holy joy:
467 Awake, My Heart, with Gladness
Awake, my heart, with gladness,
See what today is done;
Now, after gloom and sadness,
Comes forth the glorious sun.
My Savior there was laid
Where our bed must be made
When to the realms of light
Our spirit wings its flight.
Text: Public domain
490 Jesus Lives! The Victory’s Won
Jesus lives! The vict’ry’s won!
Death no longer can appall me;
Jesus lives! Death’s reign is done!
From the grave will Christ recall me.
Brighter scenes will then commence;
This shall be my confidence.
Text: Public domain
461 I Know That My Redeemer Lives
I know that my Redeemer lives;
What comfort this sweet sentence gives!
He lives, He lives, who once was dead;
He lives, my ever-living head.
Text: Public domain
(C) As we celebrate the greatest victory of our faith, we take as our text
the song that was sung on the day of the greatest victory that the people
of Israel ever experienced in their history:
(1) their deliverance from Pharaoh and his army at the Red Sea.
(2) The Song of Moses gives us, too, the occasion to celebrate.

(D) As in Israel’s day, with Joyous Hymns of Faith, the People of the Lord
Celebrate Christ’s Easter Victory.
(1) With the song of Moses, Israel celebrated a foreshadowing of Christ’s
Easter victory.
(A) At the Red Sea, the people of Israel faced two unpleasant options.
1) They could surrender to the Egyptian army and be taken back as slaves to
Egypt, or they could drown in the Red Sea.
2) Either option basically amounted to death.
3) In addition to their precarious situation, they also showed a lack of
faith as mentioned in the previous chapter right before our sermon text for
this morning:
Exodus 14:10–12 (NASB95)
10 As Pharaoh drew near, the sons of Israel looked, and behold, the
Egyptians were marching after them, and they became very frightened; so the
sons of Israel cried out to the LORD.
11 Then they said to Moses, “Is it because there were no graves in Egypt
that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you dealt
with us in this way, bringing us out of Egypt?
12 “Is this not the word that we spoke to you in Egypt, saying, ‘Leave us
alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for
us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.”
(B) But God provided them with another option: salvation from the Egyptian
army by passing through the Red Sea.
(1) God parted the waters of the Red Sea so they could escape from the
a) Much more dramatic than Cecil B. Demille’s version!
(2) God tricked the Egyptians into thinking that they could go through the
Red Sea too.
Exodus 15:9–10 (NASB95)
9 “The enemy said, ‘I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the
spoil; My desire shall be gratified against them; I will draw out my sword,
my hand will destroy them.’
(3) But God wiped them out.
10 “You blew with Your wind, the sea covered them; They sank like lead in
the mighty waters.
(4) The Egyptians never bothered the Israelites again.
(C) In response, the people of Israel sang joyous praises to the Lord:
Exodus 15:1–2 (NASB95)
1 Then Moses and the sons of Israel sang this song to the LORD, and said,
“I will sing to the LORD, for He is highly exalted; The horse and its rider
He has hurled into the sea.
2 “The LORD is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation; This
is my God, and I will praise Him; My father’s God, and I will extol Him.
(1) Their song affirmed two things:
a) God’s power active in the world.
Exodus 15:3–8 (NASB95)
3 “The LORD is a warrior; The LORD is His name.
4 “Pharaoh’s chariots and his army He has cast into the sea; And the
choicest of his officers are drowned in the Red Sea.
5 “The deeps cover them; They went down into the depths like a stone.
6 “Your right hand, O LORD, is majestic in power, Your right hand, O LORD,
shatters the enemy.
7 “And in the greatness of Your excellence You overthrow those who rise up
against You; You send forth Your burning anger, and it consumes them as
8 “At the blast of Your nostrils the waters were piled up, The flowing
waters stood up like a heap; The deeps were congealed in the heart of the
b) There are no other gods like their God (v 11).
Exodus 15:11 (NASB95)
11 “Who is like You among the gods, O LORD? Who is like You, majestic in
holiness, Awesome in praises, working wonders?
(2) We, too, celebrate Christ’s Easter victory with hymns of faith.
(A) Our situation seemed no less perilous than Israel’s. We were left with
the same two options.
(1) On one side were the devil and his army. Oh, he wants us to live. He
doesn’t want us to die—that is, in the sense of being snuffed out of
existence. He wants to take us back to his country, where he can enslave us.
a) Slavery to Satan is our fate because of our sin.
1) Lustful thoughts
2) Words of anger
3) And if thoughts and words were not bad enough, actions including and to
the point of abuse.
b) Every time we sin, we confirm that we cannot live as free people.
1) We are slaves to sin.
2) On our own, we can’t do good, we can’t turn away from evil.
3) That means we are destined to live in sin forever in hell.
(2) The other option for us is no better: death.
(3) Moses’ song is our song because they faced the same enemy we do.
a) For the Israelites, the name of death was Pharaoh and his army.
b) For us, the name of death may be a heart attack or cancer.
c) But these are just names for the same thing: death.
d) Someone with terminal cancer is just as trapped as the Israelites were.
(4) Death, like enslavement in hell, is a result of our sin, and that makes
it just as inescapable.
a) Christians, who are often accused of being unrealistic, are very
realistic about death.
(B) But through Jesus’ cross and resurrection from the dead, God has
provided us with a third option: salvation through death.
(1) Despite the disciples’ lack of faith on that first Easter, God’s power
broke through and won the victory.
(2) Now when we pass through death, we are saved.
a) This is what happens in the waters of Baptism.
b) In Baptism we are buried with Christ and raised to a new life.
c) In a way, the baptismal waters you were drowned in are the same as the
parted waters of the Red Sea.
(C) Our response to this great salvation is holy joy—especially in song.
(1) Examples of words from the great Easter hymns.
457 Jesus Christ Is Risen Today
Jesus Christ is ris’n today, Alleluia!
Our triumphant holy day, Alleluia!
Who did once upon the cross, Alleluia!
Suffer to redeem our loss. Alleluia!
Text: Public domain
458 Christ Jesus Lay in Death’s Strong Bands
Christ Jesus lay in death’s strong bands
For our offenses given;
But now at God’s right hand He stands
And brings us life from heaven.
Therefore let us joyful be
And sing to God right thankfully
Loud songs of alleluia!
Text: Public domain
488 He Is Arisen! Glorious Word
He is arisen! Glorious Word!
Now reconciled is God, my Lord;
The gates of heav’n are open.
My Jesus did triumphant die,
And Satan’s arrows broken lie,
Destroyed hell’s fiercest weapon.
O hear what cheer!
Christ victorious,
Rising glorious,
Life is giving.
He was dead but now is living!
Text: Public domain
(2) The joy we sing is holy because:
a) it is not based on anything we have done.
b) it is a permanent solution to the enemy of death.
c) As Peter says in his first epistle, we have:
1 Peter 1:4 (NASB95)
4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not
fade away, reserved in heaven for you,
(3) Our songs of joy today affirm that our God has real power and that
there are no other gods like him.

(A) In John’s vision of heaven in the Book of Revelation, he hears the
saints singing the very song of Moses that we’ve heard in our text.
(1) Through the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, God has given us a
place to escape the power of sin, death, and the devil.
(2) Our enemies are drowned, just as the Egyptian army drowned in the Red
(3) Now we sing these glad tidings, and we sing them in words that John
suggests we’ll be using for all eternity. Amen.
(B) Let us pray:
He broke the age-bound chains of hell;
The bars from heav’n’s high portals fell.
Let hymns of praise His triumph tell.

Lord, by the stripes which wounded Thee,
From death’s dread sting Thy servants free
That we may live and sing to Thee.
Alleluia! Refrain
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia! Amen.
Text: Public domain
(C) The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts
and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.
(D) Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! Amen.
(E) In the Name of the Father…Amen.


Sermon for Good Friday 03.29.24

Sermon for Good Friday 2024
Text: Psalm 41:10
Psalm 41 (in its entirety)
Old Testament: Isaiah 52:13–53:12
Epistle: Hebrews 4:14–16; 5:7–9
Gospel: John 18–19

(A) In the Name of the Father…Amen.

(B) Psalm 41:10 serves as our sermon text for this evening, which reads as
Psalm 41:10 (NASB95)
10 But You, O LORD, be gracious to me and raise me up, That I may repay
This is the Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

(C) Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord Jesus
Christ! Amen.


(A) During the season of Lent, we have focused our attention upon Psalm 41,
written by David, written concerning our Christ.
(1) Although it was written many years before the birth of our Lord, Psalm
41 speaks history concerning Jesus:
(A) During the days of His humiliation, Jesus
“went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for
God was with Him” (Acts 10:38).
(B) Thus fulfilled were David’s words from Psalm 41:
“Blessed is the one who considers the poor” (v. 1) and “he is called
blessed in the land” (v. 2).
(2) Jesus was welcomed and loved by the Galilean crowds but not by the
Jerusalem leaders.
(A) Many prominent men opposed Him, hated Him, and conspired against Him.
(B) This all took place according to what David had prophesied in Psalm 41:
“My enemies say of me in malice, ‘When will he die, and his name perish?’”
(v. 5)
“They imagine the worst for me” (v. 7).
(3) Psalm 41 could also see the Lord’s betrayer, Judas Iscariot, coming.
(A) The Psalm said in our Lord’s voice, and our Lord even quoted the psalm
on the night He was betrayed:
“Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his
heel against me” (v. 9; cf. John 13:18).
(4) Tonight’s Gospel brings us to the death of our Lord and to these
prophetic words from Psalm 41:
“But You, O Lord, be gracious to me, and raise me up, that I may repay
(I) When the Scriptures speak about “lifting up,” or “raising up,” as they
do in this psalm, the first thing that often comes to mind is God’s
miraculous power of resurrection, by which He makes that was once dead to
be alive again.
(A) Thus it is written in an earlier psalm, Psalm 40:
“He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my
feet upon a rock, making my steps secure” (Psalm 40:2).
(1) To this Paul added:
“[God] raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places”
(Ephesians 2:6).
(B) Sometimes when the Scriptures speak about “raising up,” they are NOT
talking about life, but they are talking about death.
(1) In particular, “raising up” can be a reference to our Lord’s death on
His cross.
(2) Throughout John’s Gospel, for example, Jesus repeatedly used “lifting
up” and “raising up” in reference to His cross and death.
(C) Jesus said in the third chapter of John:
“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man
be lifted up” (v. 14).
(1) Those words speak NOT about our Lord’s resurrection but, rather, His
death on the cross
(2) In the same way that the bronze serpent was raised up on a pole for the
healing of the rebellious people of Israel, so Jesus was likewise suspended
above the earth:
“for the healing of the nations” (Revelation 22:2).
(D) Jesus said a similar thing in the eighth chapter of John:
“When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He”
(v. 28).
(1) There again, the “lifting up” or “raising up” of which our Lord spoke
was a reference to His crucifixion.
(2) This lifting was in keeping with the words of the prophet Isaiah:
He shall be high and lifted up. . . . His appearance was so marred, beyond
human semblance, and His form beyond that of the children of mankind—so
shall He sprinkle many nations (Isaiah 52:13–15).
(E) What happened when the Lord Jesus was lifted up from the earth and
suspended upon His cross?

(1) Jesus explained in John chapter 12:
“And I, when I am lifted up from the earth,” He said, “will draw all people
to Myself” (v. 32), once again speaking about His death for the sins of the
(F) “But You, O Lord, be gracious to Me, and raise Me up.”
(1) Here in Psalm 41, as in those other passages, the reference to “raising
up” is not so much a reference to our Lord’s resurrection as it is to His
death on the cross.
(2) “Raise me up, that I may repay them.”
(II) For what purpose was our Lord therefore lifted up, according to this
psalm? “That I may repay them!” Repay whom? Here is an amazing thing: Jesus
wanted to be raised up on His cross in order to repay those who plotted
evil against Him; to repay those who spoke evil concerning Him; to repay
those who imagined the worst for Him and who said “in malice, ‘When will He
die, and His name perish?’” (v. 5).
(A) This is a strange way of speaking!
(1) The Lord our God has worked His vengeance against His enemies in a
manner that is totally unlike all the ways that we humans like to work our
(2) For example:
a) The kings of the world work their vengeance by sending out armies
against those who plot against them.
b) Saul required from David a terrible and weighty bride price, requiring
that it be cut from the Philistines,
“that he may be avenged of the king’s enemies” (1 Samuel 18:25).
c) When Jesus told His parable of the tenants, even His enemies knew that
the master of the house would be within his rights to
“put those wretches to a miserable death and let out the vineyard to other
tenants” (Matthew 21:41).
(B) Like all of the kings of the earth, you and I equally use revenge
against those who have wronged us.
(1) We want them to feel as miserable as we do.

(2) Even little children understand the idea of payback.
(3) Adults are more subtle when it comes to working out their revenge but
still with the same disastrous results.
(4) That is why we have such familiar sayings as:
a) “The sweet taste of revenge”
b) “Revenge is a dish best served cold”
c) and “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”
(C) These sayings do not apply to the Lord our God!
(1) Where we humans prefer to work our vengeance in acts against others,
the Lord of hosts preferred to execute judgment against His Son.
(2) Our God was so adamant about cleansing the sin of the entire world, so
preoccupied with your salvation, that even the vengeance He sought against
His enemies was self-inflicted:
“But You, O Lord, . . . raise Me up that I may repay them!
(3) In answer to that prayer, God the Father lifted up His Son to death:
a) “even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8).
(D) The death of Jesus our God was indeed divine vengeance over every
enemy—including death itself.
(1) The death of Jesus our God was therefore NOT the triumph of His enemies
over Him.
(2) When the soldiers at the cross saw the earthquake and what took place:
“they were filled with awe and said, ‘Truly this was the Son of God!’”
(Matthew 27:54).
a) This happened in keeping with David’s prophecy in Psalm 41, written in
the voice of Jesus:
“By this I know that You delight in me: my enemy will not shout in triumph
over me.”
b) Even though the enemies of God enjoyed the sight of His death, their
enjoyment was but momentary, so eclipsed and devastated that momentary
victory was by the power of Christ’s resurrection.
(III) We must therefore be exceedingly careful—and mindfully faithful—when
we think of our enemies. Jesus died. All vengeance was worked by God upon
the cross. That is why our heavenly Father now graciously forbids us to
seek vengeance. Our acts of revenge are nothing less than denials of the
Christ and His death!
(A) You were joined by Baptism to the death of Christ, according to the
words of Paul:

“I have been crucified with Christ” (Galatians 2:20).
(1) Again, Paul also said:
“Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus
were baptized into His death?” (Romans 6:3).
(2) Thus, because Psalm 41 speaks about Jesus, it speaks likewise about
(3) Therefore, these words are your words:
a) “But You, O Lord, be gracious to me, and raise me up, that I may repay
(B) What do those words mean when you and I pray them?
(1) They mean that we, along with Jesus, have already been raised up on the
a) We, like Jesus, already have our losses and injustices avenged in His
b) In the death of Christ, all vengeance has been worked by God.
c) When we therefore seek revenge upon our enemies, our desire for revenge
becomes a denial of the cross and a rejection of the atonement.
(2) That is why God has said:
“Vengeance is Mine, I will repay” (Deuteronomy 32:35; Romans 12:19).
(3) That is why our Lord Jesus taught us:
“Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right
cheek, turn to him the other also” (Matthew 5:39).
(4) That is why the apostle Paul has added:
“The Lord is an avenger in all these things” (1 Thessalonians 4:6).
(C) Shall the Lord our God work vengeance for us on the Last Day, when
Christ Jesus our Lord returns to judge both the living and the dead?

(1) The answer is:
a) Yes, and Amen!
b) That is why there are Christian martyrs who, even now, plead with God
for His victorious return, that He might avenge their blood (Revelation


(A) We do NOT need to think of our Lord’s vengeance on the Last Day as
something separate from His cross.
(1) The Last Day, rather, is the culmination and the full flowering of that
which was completely worked for us upon the cross.
(2) The blood of God’s saints shall one day be avenged (Revelation 6:10)
because Jesus was raised up on the cross to work God’s vengeance.
The death of God’s saints is precious in His sight (Psalm 116:15) because
Jesus of Nazareth “bowed His head and gave up His spirit” (John 19:30).
(3) Every injustice you have suffered:
(A) along with every injustice you have ever perpetrated
(B) They all find their fulfillment and satisfaction in these words:
“O Lord, be gracious to me, and raise me up, that I may repay them!” Amen.
(B) Let us pray:
Dear Father, thank You for Your infinite love and goodness toward us, Your
dear children.
Even when we are disciplined, we know You love us.
Keep us in Your Word, in faith and in prayer. Amen.
(C) The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts
and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.
(D) In the Name of the Father…Amen.


Sermon for Maundy Thursday 03.28.24

Sermon for Maundy (Holy) Thursday 2024
Text: Psalm 41:9
Old Testament: Exodus 12:1–14
Psalm 41 (in its entirety)
Epistle: 1 Corinthians 11:23–32
Gospel: John 13:1–30

(A) In the Name of the Father…Amen.
(B) Psalm 41:9 serves as our sermon text for this evening.
(C) Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord Jesus
Christ! Amen.
(D) Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray:
Lord Jesus, who came to Your own and they received You not, grant us Your
Spirit to glorify You in our hearts.

Enlighten our souls with this living knowledge that You are the power of
God and the wisdom of God, that we may never be offended in You, but may
hold Your righteousness in an unwavering faith, and may not be ashamed to
confess you before men.

(A) David prayed in Psalm 41, “Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who
ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me.”
(B) During the midweek services for Lent, two things have been emphasized:
(1) that the Psalms speak about Jesus (John 5:39) and
(2) that because the Psalms speak about Jesus, they therefore speak also
about you.
(A) In Baptism, you were “joined to the Lord” (1 Corinthians 6:17) and
(B) are now “become one” as the Scriptures say (Ephesians 5:31–32).
(C) We can therefore think of Psalm 41, in part, as a biographical sketch
about you.
(1) Psalm 41 tells both your story and mine as surely as it tells the
history of our Lord.
(2) But Psalm 41 was written by King David, which means the psalm also
gives us a sketch of David.
(I) “Even my close friend,” said David, “in whom I trusted, who ate my
bread, has lifted his heel against me.”
(A) David might have been talking about Absalom (cf. Psalm 3:1), his most
handsome and charming son.
(1) Absalom grew up on King David’s knee.
(2) Absalom ate his father’s bread at his father’s table.
(3) He enjoyed his father’s generous and reconciling love and received
every comfort of his father’s house.
(4) Absalom also harbored a temper and held a grudge that led him to
conspire against his own father and murder his own brother.
(5) Absalom tried to overthrow his father and occupy the throne of Israel
for himself.
(6) In the figure of speech expressed by Psalm 41, Absalom “lifted his heel
against” David.
(7) David was knocked down hard by the blow.
(B) Think of the various muscles in the human body.
(1) Hardly any physical blow can exert more impact than a raised heel.
(2) A closed fist can certainly do damage, especially when thrown by a
strong man with an experienced arm and calloused knuckles.
(3) A swung elbow can drop an opponent larger than you, but only if it hits
the right target.
(4) By comparison, it is very difficult for anyone to receive the uncoiled
blow of a raised heel and still remain on his feet.
(5) Even a petite woman’s raised heel can “kick like a mule,” as the saying
(6) The heel explodes out like a cannonball, involving nearly every muscle
in the leg.
(C) Absalom “lifted his heel” against David.
(1) Absalom laid low the one who had lifted him up and had given him every
good thing.
(II) Judas Iscariot did the same thing to Christ Jesus, our Lord.
(A) As it is written in Matthew 26:
Matthew 26:14–16 (NASB95)
14 Then one of the twelve, named Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests
15 and said, “What are you willing to give me to betray Him to you?” And
they weighed out thirty pieces of silver to him.
16 From then on he began looking for a good opportunity to betray Jesus.
(B) Judas did that terrible thing because he held malice toward Jesus:
(1) inexplicable malice toward Jesus, who had given Judas every good thing.
(2) When traveling together with the disciples, Jesus entrusted to Judas
all the finances of the entire group (John 13:29).
(3) When Jesus sent out His disciples and gave them His own divine power to:
Matthew 10:8 (NASB95)
“Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely
you received, freely give.”
(a) the gracious, ordaining hand of our Lord was gently laid also upon
Judas’ head.
(4) On the night Jesus was betrayed, as you heard in tonight’s Gospel,
Jesus knelt even before Judas and humbly washed his feet along with the
rest of the disciples.
(5) Jesus likewise served Judas the Holy Communion of Christ’s body and
blood, given and shed even for the sins of Judas (Matthew 26:20–28).
(6) Our Lord knew beforehand:
(a) He knew from the Scriptures of the Old Testament (Zechariah 11:13;
Psalm 69:25; 109:8; cf. Acts 1:20)
(b) who would betray Him.
(7) Jesus faithfully loved His betrayer, nonetheless.
(C) Judas fulfilled in the life of Christ what King David had earlier
experienced and written in Psalm 41:
Psalm 41:9 (NASB95)
Even my close friend in whom I trusted, Who ate my bread, Has lifted up his
heel against me.
(1) David likewise wrote in another psalm concerning Jesus:
Psalm 35:14 (NASB95)
I went about as though it were my friend or brother; I bowed down mourning
(literally dressed in black) as one who sorrows for a mother.
(2) Yet again, David said in another psalm—again speaking words concerning
our Christ—
Psalm 55:12–14, 20 (NASB95)
12 For it is not an enemy who reproaches me, Then I could bear it; Nor is
it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me, Then I could hide
myself from him.
13 But it is you, a man my equal, My companion and my familiar friend;
14 We who had sweet fellowship together Walked in the house of God in the
20 He has put forth his hands against those who were at peace with him; He
has violated his covenant.
(III) “Even my close friend in whom I trusted”:

(A) Those words are indeed about David, who suffered the betrayal of his
beloved son Absalom:
“He who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me”.
(B) Those words are likewise about Jesus, the true and messianic Son of
David, whom God had promised.
(C) Because those words are about Jesus, they are also about you; you are
the baptized of Christ and “one body” (Romans 12:4–5) with Him.
(D) Among the many emotions that betrayal can evoke, perhaps the strangest
is that of loneliness.
(1) Betrayal can make you feel abandoned and alone.
(2) Betrayal can focus your thoughts upon only that one, lost friend,
rather than all of the other friends who have remained faithful to you.
(3) David wrote Psalm 41 about himself, and he wrote it about our Christ,
in part, so that we would be able to draw comfort from the ancient fact
that we are not alone.
(4) We are in good company when we are betrayed by those whom we have made
our equal, our companion, our familiar friend (Psalm 55:12–13).
(E) “Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted
his heel against me.”
(1) Many people can read those lonely words as that biographical sketch I
mentioned earlier.
(2) Life in this dreary world assures us that we shall each eventually get
to a point where we can see ourselves in this story.
(3) I know how my betrayers have made me desolate.
(4) Who has betrayed you?
(F) Think of the muscles in the human body.
(1) Our betrayers have the power to kick like a mule, bowl us over, and lay
us low.
(2) Both our Lord Jesus and our forefather David can help us with that
(a) Absalom dealt his father, David, a harsh blow that laid him low, but
David survived; he rose to his feet by the power of God, and he sat down
again on the throne that had been given and promised to him by his Maker
and Redeemer.
(b) Judas Iscariot likewise dealt our Lord Jesus a mighty blow, laying Him
low in the depths of the grave.
(c) Jesus rose again from the dead.
(d) God:
Hebrews 2:9 (NASB95)
But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels,
namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned [Him] with glory
and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.
(e) Jesus loved NOT His life, even unto death (cf. Revelation 12:11), but
loved those He came to save.
(f) Thus, Jesus could say to His Father in heaven, in the words of His
father David and in the closing words of Psalm 41,
Psalm 41:11–13 (NASB95)
11 By this I know that You are pleased with me, Because my enemy does not
shout in triumph over me.
12 As for me, You uphold me in my integrity, And You set me in Your
presence forever.
13 Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, From everlasting to everlasting.
Amen and Amen.
(G) Those words are also your words.
(1) David said those words.
(2) Jesus said those words.
(3) You have been given God’s Spirit that you might likewise say those
Psalm 41:11 (NASB95)
By this I know that You are pleased with me, Because my enemy does not
shout in triumph over me.

(A) There is no need to pretend here.
(1) Those who have betrayed us have indeed hurt us, having raised their
heel against us.
(2) The pain and the shame and the loneliness can be undeniably great, but
those things shall remain only for a little while.
(3) The Lord your God shall vindicate you and raise you up and set you
above your “enemies all around” (Psalm 27:6), even those who have betrayed
you and raised their heel against you.
(4) The resurrection of our Lord shall inevitably make it so.
(5) To this, we can say with David, in the final words of Psalm 41, “Amen
and Amen” (verse 13).
(B) By the power of the Holy Spirit and with confidence in the resurrection
of our God, we add our “Amen” with certainty and without fear.
(1) We say it once because we mean it.
(2) We say it twice to intensify and emphasize our hope.
(3) This is in keeping with what we learned to say from the Small
(A) “Amen, Amen means ‘yes, yes, it shall be so’” (Conclusion to the Lord’s
(4) Amen.
(C) Let us pray:
Dear Father, thank You for Your infinite love and goodness toward us, Your
dear children.
Even when we are disciplined, we know You love us.
Keep us in Your Word, in faith and in prayer. Amen.
(D) The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts
and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.
(E) In the Name of the Father…Amen.


Sermon for 03.24.24 “A glorious death”

MARCH 24, 2024
Text: John 12:20–43

Theme: A glorious death

Other Lessons:
Zechariah 9:9–12
Psalm 118:19–29
Psalm 31:9–16
Philippians 2:5–11
Mark 14:1–15:47
Mark 15:1–47

(A) In the Name of the Father…Amen.
(B) The Gospel lesson serves as our sermon text for this morning.
(C) Grace, mercy, and peace be yours from God our heavenly Father through
our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
(D) Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray:
LSB 560:1-2 Drawn to the Cross, Which Thou Hast Blessed
Drawn to the cross, which Thou hast blessed
With healing gifts for souls distressed,
To find in Thee my life, my rest,
Christ crucified, I come.

Thou knowest all my griefs and fears,
Thy grace abused, my misspent years;
Yet now to Thee with contrite tears,
Christ crucified, I come. Amen.


(A) No sooner had Jesus dismounted his donkey, no sooner had the parade of
Passover pilgrims begun to wind down, than some Greeks showed up.
(1) That they were Greeks isn’t particularly important; after all,
God-fearing folks from all over the world were converging on Jerusalem for
the Passover.
(2) What is notable about this group of Greeks is that they were eager for
an audience with the man of the hour.
John 12:21 (NASB95)
These then came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and began to
ask him, saying, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.”
(B) They probably weren’t the only ones with that wish.
(1) Just days earlier, Jesus had performed his greatest, grandest miracle
up to this point:
(A) the raising of Lazarus.
(2) Everyone was talking about it.
(A) The air was electric with anticipation.
(B) Even in an era before there was “social media”, it was safe to say that
Jesus was “trending.”
(C) He had just entered the city amidst a parade of palm branches and
shouts of “Hosanna.”
(D) Those Greeks were probably just the first ones in a long lineup of
people who really, really wanted to see Jesus.
(C) But as for Jesus, He was past the point of press conferences and
(1) Jesus was thinking, instead, about His death.
John 12:23 (NASB95)
And Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to
be glorified.
(2) And as Jesus goes on to make clear when He says:
John 12:32 (NASB95)
“And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.”
(D) Jesus’ Ultimate Glory Is His Crucifixion, by Which He Draws Us to
(E) As if there were still any questions about what lay ahead for Jesus, He
employs the use of a common metaphor to make it even clearer:
John 12:24 (NASB95)
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth
and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
(1) Jesus is that grain of wheat.
(2) Try to keep it and preserve it, and you get nothing.
(3) But bury it in the earth, and it rises up to bear much fruit.
(4) So it would be for Jesus.
(5) He would go the way of death and the grave, just like a seed is cast
into the ground.
(6) Jesus will lose His life only to take it up again three days later.
(7) And in His dying and rising, He will bear much fruit; He will earn the
gift of your salvation.
(F) This is what we expect to hear at the beginning of Holy Week—Jesus
talking about dying and rising. It’s why Jesus came. It’s why we remember
this week as holy.
(1) We must follow Jesus by following in His dying and rising.
(A) But then:
1) the unexpected happens.
2) Jesus turns the Palm Sunday tables.
(B) If you thought you could glide through Holy Week safely in your comfy
spot like a spectator in the stands, soaking up the Passion, pomp, and
pageantry, think again.
1) It turns out that dying and rising has as much to do with you as with
John 12:25 (NASB95)
“He who loves his life [literally his soul] loses it, and he who hates his
life[that is, his soul], in this world will keep it to life eternal.
(C) And here comes the phrase that pays:
John 12:26 (NASB95)
“If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant
will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.
1) That’s you Jesus is referring to.
2) You must follow Him.
3) How it goes for Jesus, so it shall go for you.
4) Expect to get treated like Jesus got treated:
a) trials,
b) temptations,
c) Turmoil
d) Oh it gets worse!
e) Eventually, death and resurrection.
f) Follow Jesus, and that’s what you get.
(D) We don’t much care for this way of speaking.
1) But at least nobody can accuse Jesus of false advertising.
2) Jesus never claimed that following Him would be easy.
3) Yet that’s the popular myth to which lots of Christians subconsciously
4) Popular TV preachers and televangelists often perpetuate this myth.
5) Many of them have been known to say that following Jesus means you can
expect nothing but the best, here and now, today.
a) Follow Jesus, and watch life’s pressures and disappointments just melt
b) Follow Jesus, and you won’t have depression or sickness or worry.
6) In reality, what Jesus says is this:
a) “Follow me, and give up all control.
b) Follow me to the cross and grave.
c) Follow me and fall into the earth like a grain of wheat and die.”
(E) Everybody dies, of course, so what is Jesus talking about?
1) What does he mean?
a) Well, the New Testament tells us that Baptism is a kind of death
i) that in Baptism we are buried with Jesus into death (Romans 6:4)
ii) that in Baptism we died and our life is now hidden with Christ in God
(Colossians 3:3).
iii) Amen to all that.
b) If you were thinking of Baptism before I mentioned it, give yourself a
pat on the back.
c) But remember, the dying and rising of Baptism isn’t a one-time event.
d) It’s a daily occurrence.
2) Baptism is a way of life:
a) dying to sin,
b) rising to new life with Jesus.
c) At one point, Paul wrote:
1 Corinthians 15:31 (NASB95)
I affirm, brethren, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our
Lord, I die daily.
d) What he meant was that, as Luther says in the catechism, every day, our
old Adam with all his filth and sin needs to be drowned and die.
(F) What needs to die in you?
1) What part of you needs to be put to death?
2) In what area of life does your old Adam reign supreme?
3) There is a very selfish way of thinking about Holy Week that goes
something like this:
a) Jesus died and rose for me so that I don’t have to change a thing.
b) I can live as complacently and comfortably as I want, without having to
do the hard work of changing my sinful life.
4) But in fact is not the opposite the truth?
a) Jesus died and rose for me so that everything is changed in me
i) so that I can do battle daily against the sin in me
ii) against everything that prevents me from following Jesus.
iii) That’s what Luther says baptizing with water indicates.
b) Therefore, Holy Week is not about living complacently:
i) about watching Jesus’ agonizing prayers,
ii) His arrest,
iii) His trials,
iv) and His crucifixion all unfold with a spectator’s detachment.
c) Holy Week is about the urgency of putting to death every part of you
that loves this life more than Jesus and the eternal life he gives.
(G) And so, again, I ask: What—in you—needs to die?

1) What needs to be buried?
2) Is it your need to be in control and in charge at all times?
3) Or is it your utter apathy, indifference, and laziness?
4) Maybe it’s that you draw your identity from what other people think
about you, that you get your self-worth from the good works you do instead
of regarding yourself above all else as a baptized child of God.
5) Maybe you have bought into the mindset of:
a) “I have been a member of this church for so many years.”
b) “I own this church; therefore it is mine.”
c) “Since it is my church, I can do with it as I see fit.”
d) “If I do not like what the pastor has to say, or what is sung, or how
people treat me, I can take it or leave it.
e) It makes no difference to me.”
6) Or maybe you’ve let yourself be defined by your defeats and you have
resigned yourself to play the victim.
(H) What part of you needs to be put to death?
1) What are your addictions, and do you love them or hate them, feed them
or starve them?
2) Do you lack generosity because you are holding your money and
possessions far too tightly?
3) Do you charge into every challenging situation behind a shield of anger
and rage?
4) It could be anything or everything—
a) something different for each of us.
5) But whatever it is, it is evidence.
a) It is evidence of how much we love our life in this world.
b) Whatever sin has enslaved you, dear baptized brothers and sisters in
Christ, recognize the threat.
c) Put it to death.
d) Bury it with Jesus.
(2) But in that glorious death of Jesus, He lifts us up from death to life.
(A) It’s not easy.
1) It’s painful and difficult.
2) But with Jesus, that is, with faith in Jesus, all things are possible,
including the hard work of repentance.
3) In the world of sports there’s an old adage:
a) “No guts, no glory.”
b) We are often the ones lacking in the guts department, but you have a
Savior who is all guts and all glory.
c) Jesus saw His impending death as His hour of greatest glory.
d) Being found in human form, He humbled himself by becoming obedient to
the point of death, even death on a cross.
e) For all the sin in you that needs to die, Jesus died.
f) And it was his moment of glory.
(B) This is certainly a strange combination:
1) death and glory.
2) You and I would never even think of using those two words in the same
3) What seems glorious to us in this world usually involves:
a) Applause
b) accolades
c) Attention
d) For us, glory is all about basking in the spotlight, the fame and the
e) It means winning, not losing
f) and by no means dying.
g) But the glory of Jesus is centered on the cross.
h) The glory of Jesus doesn’t shine; it bleeds.
i) It bleeds for you and for your salvation.
(C) Jesus’ greatest glory is what?
1) To do the will of His Father:
a) To accomplish what He took on human flesh to do:
i) to lay down His life as a sin-sacrifice for the world
ii) to give up His back to those who turned their backs on Him.
iii) to raise His face to spit and shame, disgrace and mockery, being
struck and beaten.
iv) We sometimes talk about the glory of Christmas or the glory of Easter.
v) And there the glory is so easy to spot.

2) But Jesus’ glory shines brightest in the darkness of death:
a) the death of Jesus for you.
b) It was truly a glorious death.
(D) Jesus said:
John 12:32 (NASB95)
“And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.”
1) By his death on the cross, Jesus lifts you up:
a) lifts you up out of your sin and shame and draws you to Himself.
2) Jesus is really undoing what Adam did.
a) When Adam sinned, he took you and me down with him.
b) Adam draws us down to the grave.
c) Adam took everybody from life to death.
d) Adam took everybody from heaven down to hell.
3) But in the glorious death of Jesus, Jesus lifts you up from death to
a) In that glorious death, God and sinners are reconciled.
b) Your sin is forgiven.
c) Men and women are justified before God on account of Christ’s glorious
death on the cross.
Romans 6:5 (NASB95)
For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death,
certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection,
4) Die with Jesus:
a) and rise with Jesus.
b) Jesus is drawing you to Himself, and He will not stop until you behold
Him face to face.


(A) You have been crucified with Christ.
(1) His glorious death is your glorious death.
(2) You no longer live, but Christ lives in you.
(3) In Jesus, you are that grain of wheat—a solitary seed—dead to yourself
but alive to God in Christ.
(4) You’ve been buried in the fertile soil of Jesus’ death so that you,
too, might rise and bear much fruit.
(5) May this Holy Week be for you absolutely glorious! Amen.
(B) Let us pray:
LSB 560:3-4 Drawn to the Cross, Which Thou Hast Blessed
[Lord] Wash me and take away each stain;
Let nothing of my sin remain.
For cleansing, though it be through pain,
Christ crucified, I come.

And then for work to do for Thee,
Which shall so sweet a service be
That angels well might envy me,
Christ crucified, I come. Amen.
Text: Public domain
(C) The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts
and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.
(D) In the Name of the Father…Amen.


Hiring Church Secretary

First Lutheran Church in downtown Little Rock is a congregation of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod. We are pleased to announce that we are seeking a committed individual to join our small staff as a part-time church secretary.

Reporting to the Pastor and Board of Elders, the Church Secretary is responsible for:

  • Receiving incoming phone calls, answering questions and providing information whenever possible
  • Sorting mail and taking messages for pastor and staff
  • Scheduling appointments, handling correspondence, taking notes from meetings
  • Preparing weekly bulletin for worship
  • Ensuring the office files are up-to-date and well-organized, and the office equipment is clean and well maintained
  • Ordering office supplies as necessary
  • Maintaining schedule for special services such as baptisms, weddings and funerals
  • Proofreading written materials generated by the pastor as requested, such as bulletins or articles
  • Cooperating with the vestry by performing any other duties as needed


  • Active Christian faith, attending worship services regularly
  • Proficient with MS Office: Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, Excel
  • Organizational skills for efficient office control
  • Ability to communicate professionally with people at all levels both within the church and externally

First Lutheran Church offers a competitive part-time wage for the hours 10a-2p, M-F. Please send your letter of interest
and resume to:

Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.