Quasimodo Geniti – The First Sunday after Easter
KJV 1 John 5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? 6 This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. 7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. 8 And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. 9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. 10 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.
KJV John 20:19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. 20 And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. 21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: 23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained. 24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. 26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. 27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. 28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. 29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. 30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: 31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
Lord God, heavenly Father, we thank Thee, that of Thine ineffable grace, for the sake of Thy Son, Thou hast given us the holy gospel, and hast instituted the holy sacraments, that through the same we may have comfort and forgiveness of sin: We beseech Thee, grant us Thy Holy Spirit, that we may heartily believe Thy word; and through the holy sacraments day by day establish our faith, until we at last obtain salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.
The First Sunday after Easter
The Hymn tune – Doxology vss. 1-8 #331
The Invocation p. 15
The Confession of Sins
The Introit p. 16
The Gloria Patri
The Kyrie p. 17
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 19
The Epistle and Gradual 1 John 5:4-10
The Gospel John 20:19-31
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn vss. 1-10 #208
The Two Natures and Communion
The Offertory p. 22
The Hymn #314
The Preface p. 24
The Sanctus p. 26
The Lord's Prayer p. 27
The Words of Institution
The Agnus Dei p. 28
The Nunc Dimittis p. 29
The Benediction p. 31
The Hymn (Koren) vss. 1-4 #44
KJV John 20:19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. 20 And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side.
It is such a privilege to be able to teach and preach the Word of God. I am currently teaching some students an Old Testament survey course. They live all over the United States. Many have limited backgrounds in the Bible, so they love taking a required course in the Old Testament, followed by a required course in the New Testament.
Every day I write to them (online) about the Gospel in the Old Testament, the Trinity in the Old Testament, and what Luther says about the Bible. Sometimes I teach the same students in the Old Testament and then the New Testament.
Now this opportunity has arisen to provide the Word of God to people all over the world. We are already hearing from people. One man said, “I never thought I would need the Internet to have a service from The Lutheran Hymnal.
This passage is one of the great doctrinal sections of John’s Gospel. The Fourth Gospel is undoubtedly a supplement to Matthew, Mark, and Luke. John’s Gospel assumes we know the first three Gospels. Therefore, each passage in John is especially important to learn, because the “disciple Jesus loved” (John), the man commended to care for Mary, had significant things to teach through the Holy Spirit’s revelation.
Lutherans often say, “What people teach about Christ is what they teach about Holy Communion.”
This passage is one of the best examples.
The doors were locked for fear of the Jews, but Jesus stood in the midst of them.
John Calvin did not accept Jesus being able to pass through the walls. He had Jesus coming by a secret passage. This is important for his view of Christ. Calvin imagined that the divine nature of Christ was limited by His human nature. Therefore, Calvin also taught against the Real Presence and made fun of it in his Institutes (the main doctrinal book of Calvinism).
Calvin was the founded of the Presbyterians and those who call themselves Reformed. Lutherans generally lump them together, even though there are differences. They agree about the rationalistic interpretation of the appearance of Jesus in the locked room and the Lord’s Supper being merely symbolic. For them, the Lord’s Supper is a law to obey, to witness to their faith, not a sacrament where our sins are forgiven.
The Calvinistic phrase used to defend this is – the finite is not capable of holding the Infinite. The bread and wine could not also be the Body and Blood of Christ, in their opinion.
But the Scriptures teach us otherwise, in two different ways.
One is through Christ Himself. His human nature was and is united with His divine nature. When He was surrounded by crowds ready to take Him and kill Him, he passed through them. It does not say they parted to let Him by. The Son of God, the Creating Word, does not have human barriers.
Coming into the locked room twice (John 20) is another example of the divine nature of Christ not being limited by His human nature.
If that were so, how could He ascend into heaven?
In so many passages we see the emphasis upon one nature, then the other nature, to show us the union of the two natures in the One Person, Christ. Jesus spoke to the woman at the well, John 4, “I am thirsty.” To her He was only a human being looking for water. And Jesus did experience all our human emotions, desires, and pains. But then Jesus spoke to the woman with such divine wisdom that she knew immediately He was the promised Messiah. He knew her heart. Only God could know her heart that way, so she immediately began witnessing to her friends about Jesus.
The crucifixion emphasizes the human nature of Christ, His enormous suffering, but that alone is not enough to make Him our Savior. The innocent Son of God died on the cross, not just a good and kindly Teacher. The Son of God rose from the grave, taught His disciples, and ascended into heaven. But He did not discard His human nature.
When Jesus entered the locked room, He showed His disciples His wounds. This revealed to them that He was not a vision, not a ghost, not a spirit. The crucified Messiah was in their midst with the wounds of His warfare against Satan. He came as the victor over Satan, the Hero, as Luther often mentioned in his writing. He won the battle against sin, death, and Satan.
Another way is way in which the Bible teaches us about Holy Communion. Paul in 1 Corinthians 10 speaks about the bread and the Body, the wine and the Blood. That clearly teaches us that the Lord’s Supper is not merely symbolic (where 2 remain 2), nor is it the sacrifice of the Mass (where the priest turns 2 into 2), but something else. The 2 elements, bread and wine, remain bread and wine, but they include the Body and Blood of Christ through the efficacious consecration of the Word.
The human mind invents so many barriers to the truth of God’s Word, but the Scriptures have more insights than we have doubts.
How can the Son of God give us His body over the centuries, to millions of people?
That question is not answered by human reason but by the Feeding of the Five Thousand. Jesus took ordinary food and multiplied it so that far more was left than He received from the boy. The same introductory formula is used, “Jesus took the bread and broke it and gave thanks,” reminding us that the Feeding of the Five Thousand was a prefiguring of Holy Communion.
Why does God need so many Means of Grace?
God has appointed the Means of Grace (the Word and the Sacraments of Holy Baptism and Communion) because of man’s need, not His need.
Why so many revelations of the Three Persons, One God? Every article of faith is backed by hundreds of interlocking Biblical passages? Why so many? Does God need them or does man?
Much is said about Doubting Thomas, who denied the resurrection of Christ until he saw and felt the wounds of Christ. Thomas is not the major emphasis of this passage. Christ is. When Jesus appeared the second time and offered His wounds to be touched, Thomas cried out, “My Lord and my God.”
Jesus rebuked him in a gentle way, by saying, “Because you have seen Me you believe? Blessed are they who believe without seeing.”
That is a blessing for all those listening today. Blessed are you for believing in the death and resurrection of Christ without having visible evidence.
Some long for miracle services. I have even read of famous miracle rabbis in Poland in the last century (Isaac B. Singer’s stories). That is one way to bring people in. I know of large churches near us where they promise miracles to people.
We have a miracle every time Holy Communion is offered. The Word consecrates ordinary bread and wine. People receive the Body and Blood of Christ. God forgives the sins of those who receive the Gospel in faith.
KJV 1 John 5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? 6 This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.