The wonders of His power and love

The effects of Easter continue to linger. The event is so big that it does not fit into one gospel or into one divine service. Here is a preview of the sermon topics for the month of April.

“The Lord is risen!” The empty tomb takes centre stage on the first Sunday in April. All four gospels see this as a sign of Christ’s resurrection. None of the gospels provide a description of this event itself. Even so, it is not a metaphor, but a real event.

The point of the resurrection is not merely to assure the continued existence of the soul, but to transform the earthly body into the resurrection body. For this is a prerequisite for human beings to be able to live in perfect fellowship with God.

We can draw lessons from how the disciples reacted to the announcement of the resurrection and the news about the empty tomb.

From doubt to faith

Of all people, it was Thomas, the supposed sceptic, who came closest to Jesus and recognised one of the central mysteries of the Christian faith. There is a lot that we can learn from the disciple Thomas. This is what the second Sunday service in April will explore.

Thomas did not readily believe what the disciples told him about their encounter with the risen Lord. He wanted to see the facts so that he could understand. And Jesus did in fact appear to the Apostles one more time. Whereas Mary of Magdala had only seen Christ as her teacher (rabbuni) and the other disciples their master in Him (kyrios), Thomas recognised and professed, “My Lord and my God!” (theos).

The answer of the Risen One points right into our time: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20: 29).

The reign of love

Christ’s victory over death has shown that Jesus is the Lord. All levels of reality, whether in the invisible or visible world, are subject to Him. And this is also how He rules His church. But how? This is what the third Sunday in April will revolve around.

Unlike worldly rulers, the reign of Jesus Christ is characterised by love. The church is filled with Him, with His Spirit, and the life He brings. In the church, He gives us everything we need for our salvation so that we can become more like Him. The fullness of blessing consists of sharing in God’s glory forever.

“He has done everything well”

Everything Jesus Christ does is perfect. That is the message on the fourth Sunday of the month. His sacrifice is eternally valid and His victory over evil is definitive. He offers perfect salvation to all human beings of all times.

The starting point for the sermon is an exclamation from the people who were amazed by His miracles: “He has done all things well” (Mark 7: 37). And so we need to ask the question, how do believers react to the miracle of their day, to the redeeming love of Christ?

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Andreas Rother
Divine service