Lutheran Worship and Resources

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Easter Service

The Feast of the Resurrection of Our Lord

KJV 1 Corinthians 5:6 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? 7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: 8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

KJV Mark 16:1 And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. 2 And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. 3 And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? 4 And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great. 5 And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted. 6 And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him. 7 But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you. 8 And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid.

Lord God, heavenly Father, who didst deliver Thy Son for our offenses, and didst raise Him again for our justification: We beseech Thee, grant us Thy Holy Spirit, that He may rule and govern us according to Thy will; graciously keep us in the true faith; defend us from all sins, and after this life raise us unto eternal life, through the same, Thy beloved Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

Easter Sunday

The Hymn (Gerhardt) vss. 1-8 #192
The Invocation p. 15
The Confession of Sins
The Absolution
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 Corinthians 5:6-7
The Gospel Mark 16:1-8
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn vss. 1-4 #199
The Sermon
Christ the Victor

The Offertory p. 22
The Hymn (Kingo) #207
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 vss. 1-5 #341

Mark 16:6 And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him. 7 But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.

Easter Sunday remains the most religious Sunday of the year. This day marks the resurrection of Christ, His victory over death, our greatest enemy. Every Sunday marks His triumph. The earliest Christians gathered each Sunday at dawn and sang hymns. The rising of the sun reminded them of the trip to the Empty Tomb. Sunday was renamed in Revelation – the Lord’s Day:

KJV Revelation 1:10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,

The actual event was predicted by Christ and yet a shock to His followers. That shock should not surprise us. Believers often find themselves forgetful of God’s promises, prone to despair, pessimistic about what God can do, sunk in the Slough of Despond, as Bunyan described it in The Pilgrim’s Progress.

The women went to prepare a corpse. The men were in hiding “for fear of the Jews.” We have no record of Jews hunting for them, but they were locked in a room. Fear does that to people. The disciples trusted their knowledge, experience, and feelings. When we trust those things instead of the Word, fear determines all our actions. Faith is gone, at least for a time.

The women headed for the tomb, worried. Those worries should make us smile. The sparse narrative of the Resurrection gives us details which the Holy Spirit determined were important for all believers. The women were worried. Why? The tomb was empty. We know that. The stone door had already been taken down, to show everyone that the tomb was already empty. But the women worried. Who will roll that monstrous rock for us? Their reasoning was superb. I have a small slab of rock attached to a floor-lamp, to make it steady. Two of us men had trouble getting it to move across the clay tile and into place again. That was nothing compared to a stone covering the entrance to a tomb. The reasoning was good, but the women’s faith in the Word had vanished. So had the disciples’ faith, even though they heard the prediction three times:

KJV Mark 8:31 And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.

KJV Mark 9:31 For he taught his disciples, and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day.

KJV Mark 10:34 And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again.

The question is not whether they knew this to be true. They knew it, men and women both, but their fears and anxieties drove faith away. The Gospels show us many examples of the frailties of the followers. They panicked in the boat during the storm. They accused Jesus of not caring if they died. They worried about having food after the Feeding of the Multitude. In other words, they were a lot like us.

God let them fall down on their own and picked them up again, many times over. Their faith in Jesus grew with each incident. They were tested and strengthened with the Word. We know faith drove out their fears because they died as witnesses to the Gospel. We only know of John living to an old age. What terrified them during Holy Week was their loss of the Savior and the threat to their lives. Later, they realized they had the Savior for eternity and no longer saw death as a threat.

The women approached the tomb, bent with worry, then saw the tomb was empty.

Recently a student in my New Testament class noted something important. Some artists show the angels letting Jesus out of the tomb, by rolling the stone away. The student saw that this was not Biblical and certainly not necessary. How could the creating Word be bound by the stone He fashioned in the beginning of time? – “whose Word the mountains rendeth” (Gerhardt, #142).

The women entered the tomb and saw an angel (a young man in a long, white robe) who addressed them. “You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified.” That may seem like an ordinary way to speak about the risen Lord. But the name is very specific. We get involved in the same issues today with identity theft and fraud. People have to prove who they are. Jesus, the Greek form of Joshua, was a common name. In Hebrew or Aramaic He was called Yeshuah – salvation. The first name and the city of origin identified Him as one particular man, a unique individual.

The women must have nodded yes, in stupefied amazement. The next statement is quite remarkable. The angel tells them the new identity of Jesus:

He is risen;

He is not here.

behold the place where they laid him.

We are used to various titles of Jesus: Son of God, Messiah, Savior, Redeemer, Son of Man, Lord. These two sentences define Jesus in the positive sense – He is risen—and also in the negative sense—He is not here.

Those are really the most powerful descriptions of Jesus, since all the titles are generally shared in one way or another with earthly rulers. Apostates glory in that knowledge. An emperor was called Lord. The kings of Israel were called Messiah-King, which means Anointed King. Christ is the Greek form of Anointed.

He is risen. He is not here. Both statements go far beyond human experience and reason. They can only define God Himself.

Jesus was raised for our justification. Lutherans like to quote that passage. Let’s look at it in context.

22 And therefore it was imputed to him [Abraham] for righteousness. 23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; 24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; 25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

Righteousness shall be imputed to us also (we shall be justified) if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was turned over (betrayed, delivered) for our sins and lifted up for our justification.

Since we look back upon the death and resurrection of Christ, we may miss the association everyone had with His death. He died as a guilty man. There was a terrible stigma attached to someone who was crucified. We assume today that the death sentence means a horrible crime has been committed. The crucifixion was just one of hundreds unless it had special meaning. That was a difficult message to get across for the apostles. When Jesus rose from the tomb, He showed everyone that He did not die as a mortal sinner but as the crucified Messiah, the innocent Son of God.

Paul used an early Christian hymn or creed to repeat the same message to Timothy. God declared Jesus innocent in raising Him from the dead. (The resurrection is described both as God raising Him from the dead and as Jesus rising from the dead.)

The creed or hymn is more easily seen as poetry, thus:

KJV 1 Timothy 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness:

· God was manifest in the flesh,
· justified in the Spirit,
· seen of angels,
· preached unto the Gentiles,
· believed on in the world,
· received up into glory.

The two passages complete the meaning of the death and resurrection of Christ. He died for our sins and became sin for us. He was so completely sin on the cross that God abandoned Him. “My God. My God. Why have you forsaken Me?” This cry of desolation shows how terribly Christ suffered for us in bearing our sins.

His Resurrection means that He did not deserve His punishment, that God declared Him righteous, innocent of all sin. He was raised for our justification because His death was meaningless if He was also a sinner.

Justification by faith is a continuous blessing enjoyed by Christians. We are daily forgiven:

I believe in the Holy Ghost; one holy Christian Church, the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen.
What does this mean?--Answer.

I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Ghost has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith; even as He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian Church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith; in which Christian Church He forgives daily and richly all sins to me and all believers, and at the last day will raise up me and all the dead, and will give to me and to all believers in Christ everlasting life. This is most certainly true.

This continuous forgiveness is something we should cherish, but we take for granted, the way we take for granted anything in abundance. The difficulties of life bring to mind how important justification is, how great a treasure the Gospel is.

Easter Sunday reminds us at Bethany of those believers who have gone before us: Brenda Kiehler, Walt Boeckler, and my mother. We communed with them on earth, in preparation for that day when we would join them again.

Christ is risen! Hallelujah!
Risen our victorious Head!
Sing His praises! Hallelujah!
Christ is risen from the dead.
Gratefully our hearts adore Him
As His light once more appears,
Bowing down in joy before Him,
Rising up from grief and tears.

Christ is risen! Hallelujah!
Risen our victorious Head!
Sing His praises! Hallelujah!
Christ is risen from the dead.

Stanza 2:
Christ is risen! all the sadness
Of His earthly life is o'er;
Thro' the open gates of gladness
He returns to life once more;
Death and hell before Him bending,
He doth rise, the Victor now;
Angels, on His steps attending,
Glory 'round His wounded brow.


Stanza 3:
Christ is risen! henceforth never
Death or hell shall us enthral;
We are Christ's, in Him for ever
We have triumphed over all;
All the doubting and dejection
Of our trembling hearts have ceased;
'Tis His day of resurrection,
Let us rise and keep the feast.

Christ Is Risen! Hallelujah!

Lyrics ~ John S. B. Monsell, 1811 - 1875
Music ~ Frederick C. Maker, 1844 - 1927


"When Christ arose, He brought with Him complete righteousness. For He arose for the sake of our righteousness, Romans 4:25. So then, when you, in a similar fashion, arise from sin through true repentance, you are justified from sins, for faith lays hold of this completed righteousness in Christ, by which we are enabled to stand before God."
Johann Gerhard Eleven Easter and Pentecostal Sermons, Malone: Repristination Press, 1996, p. 80. Romans 6:3-4; Romans 4:25.

"That the Lord Christ, after His resurrection, wishes peace to the disciples and eats the broiled fish and honey comb in their presence, and thereby portrays the benefit and fruit of His resurrection. For through His death and resurrection He has reconciled us with God, His heavenly Father, so that we may from now on, through faith in Him, have peace with God, have peace in our hearts, and have peace against the accusations of the devil and our conscience. When a war lord victoriously overcomes the enemy, peace follows after. So also, since Christ has overcome all His and our enemies in His victorious resurrection, He can thereafter wish [us] peace...Through Him, Samson's riddle was fulfilled: From the eater came something to eat and sweetness from the strong one...He is the powerful Lion from the stem of Judah, Rev 5:5, which mightily fought and overcame so that ours souls find honey-sweet food in Him."
Johann Gerhard, Eleven Easter and Pentecostal Sermons, Malone: Repristination Press, 1996, p. 52. Judges 14:14,18.

"Furthermore, another reason for stating that the Lamb of God was slain from the beginning of the world is that God the Lord, soon after the Fall in the beginning, made the promise that He wanted to have the Seed of the woman step on and crush the head of the hellish snake; and, it would also occur that the snake would bite the woman's Seed in the heel. This stinging of the heel is none other than that Devil's inflicting himself on the woman's Seed and bringing Him to the cross."
Johann Gerhard, Eleven Easter and Pentecostal Sermons, Malone: Repristination Press, 1996, p. 60. 1 Corinthians 5:7-8; Genesis 3:15.

"He who follows his feelings will perish, but he who clings to the Word with his heart will be delivered."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, II, p. 245. Mark 16:1-8.

"For when the heart clings to the Word, feelings and reasoning must fail."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, II, p. 246. Mark 16:1-8.

"Therefore the Holy Spirit must come to our rescue, not only to preach the Word to us, but also to enlarge and impel us from within, yea, even to employ the devil, the world and all kinds of afflictions and persecutions to this end. Just as a pig's bladder must be rubbed with salt and thoroughly worked to distend it, so this old hide of ours must be well salted and plagued until we call for help and cry aloud, and so stretch and expand ourselves, both through internal and through external suffering, that we may finally succeed and attain this heart and cheer, joy and consolation, from Christ's resurrection."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, II, p. 253. Mark 16:1-8.

"If I do not believe it, I will not receive its benefits; but that neither renders it false nor proves that anything is lacking in Christ."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, II, p. 258. Mark 16:1-8.

"For this reason one should not be too credulous when a preacher comes softly like an angel of God, recommends himself very highly, and swears that his sole aim is to save souls, and says: 'Pax vobis!' For those are the very fellows the devil employs to honey people's mouths. Through them he gains an entrance to preach and to teach, in order that he may afterward inflict his injuries, and that though he accomplish nothing more for the present, he may, at least, confound the people's consciences and finally lead them into misery and despair."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, II, p. 322. Luke 24:36-47.

"Thus we have two parts, preaching and believing. His coming to us is preaching; His standing in our hearts is faith. For it is not sufficient that He stand before our eyes and ears; He must stand in the midst of us in our hearts, and offer and impart to us peace."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., xd., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, II, p. 355. John 20:19-31.

"The first and highest work of love a Christian ought to do when he has become a believer, is to bring others also to believe in the way he himself came to believe. And here you notice Christ begins and institutes the office of the ministry of the external Word in every Christian; for He Himself came with this office and the external Word."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, II, p. 359. John 20:19-31.

"Now God drives us to this by holding the law before us, in order that through the law we may come to a knowledge of ourselves. For where there is not this knowledge, one can never be saved. He that is well needs no physician; but if a man is sick and desires to become well, he must know that he is weak and sick, otherwise he cannot be helped."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, II, p. 370. John 20:19-31.

"Who are the people, therefore, to whom God makes known the resurrection of His Son? Women of little learning and poor fishermen."
Sermons of Martin Luther, The House Postils, 3 vols., ed., Eugene Klug, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1996, II, p. 22. Luke 24:13-35.

Click on this link to get there:

Bethany Lutheran Worship

You will need broadband (cable or DSL) to get the service, plus speakers to hear the service. You will be watching it live on the Internet. We will make provisions for saving files and posting them on a website.

Double-click on the Bethany logo at the link to start the service. We start early to test some things. You will see the altar at that time.

You can use this link below to determine your local time compared to Phoenix, where we do not deal with the fraud of Daylight Savings Time:

Time Zone Comparisons

Easter Sunday's service will be Holy Communion at 8 AM Phoenix time.

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