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FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER – APRIL 24, 2016 PDF Print E-mail

FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER – APRIL 24, 2016
TEXT: JOHN 16:5-15; JAMES 1:16-21; IS. 12:1-6
WHAT JESUS SPEAKS OF – WE SING OF!
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting

 

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen.  Dear hearers of the Word made flesh:


“Rejoice…with exultation…with holy rapture singing.”  (Martin Luther – LSB 556).  Sing praises to the Lord for he has done gloriously…shout and sing for joy… (The prophet Isaiah 12:5-6).  Sing to the Lord a new song for he has revealed his righteousness…break forth into joyous song and sing praises… (The Introit – Psalm 98).


There is surely something to sing about in Jesus’ beautiful sermon to His disciples – in His word to us today!  The context, however, would not indicate that.   In the setting in which He speaks, His disciples are in deep sorrow at His imminent departure.  He spoke to keep them from falling away.  He warned them that they would be excommunicated from the synagogues.  He even said those who killed them would think they were doing God a service (John 16:1-3).  He was taking away their delusions about the nature of His Kingdom in this hostile world.  He had been with them visibly for years and the visible nature of His presence was about to change.


Now I am going to him who sent me…but because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart.  For three years their life had revolved around His.  When someone once volunteered to follow Him Jesus said, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head (Mt. 8:20).  The Lord and His own were constantly on the move and those He spoke to in our text were the ones He had specifically called to follow Him in His public ministry.  Peter once said for the twelve – We have left everything and followed you (Mt. 19:27).

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FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER – APRIL 17, 2016 PDF Print E-mail

TEXTS: JOHN 16:16-22; 1 PETER 2:11-20; ISAIAH 40:25-31
CHRIST BLESSES US WITH LITTLE WHILES
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting


To those who are elect…according to the knowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you (1 Peter 1:1-2). Amen.


Seven times in our Gospel – “a little while” is expressed. The Greek word is “mircron.” Jesus said - A little while, and you will see me no longer; and again a little while, and you will see me. So some of His disciples said…”What is this that he says to us, ‘A little while and you will not see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’; and, ‘because I am going to the Father?” So they were saying, “What does he mean by ‘a little while’? We do not know what he is talking about?”


Dear Christians, you do know what people talk about concerning life’s “little whiles”. Generally the older you are the deeper the understanding. For me trips to South Dakota bring to my mind the “little while” of home town life and boyhood blessings - the “little while” of university years that quickly flies away. For me the “little while” of being single lasted for over thirty-two years. 


Since Friday, the “little while” of God’s gift of marriage now numbers 33 years. It includes the “little while” of raising a family but just like that children are off to college and work, and raising families of their own. There has also now been the “little while” of serving you as pastor for a quarter century Life is full of “little whiles” that God gives to us – “little whiles” that quickly pass away. As year follows year the pace seems to quicken so that looking back on six or seven or even eight or more decades can seem like just a “little while.” You do know what this means. How did it happen that the years so quickly wound their way through all those places and all those people and all those pursuits in your life? Now, here you are! How quickly God has brought you to this day and hour – to this time and place? It is good to reflect on life’s “little whiles”. It is better to reflect on the “little whiles” Jesus spoke of.

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THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER – APRIL 10, 2016 PDF Print E-mail

THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER – APRIL 10, 2016
TEXT: JOHN 10:11-16; 1 PETER 2:21-25; EZ 34:11-16
THE GOOD SHEPHERD KNOWS YOU!
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting

To those who are elect…according to the knowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you (1 Peter 1:1-2) Amen.


Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed. Alleluia! It was He who before His crucifixion and resurrection said -“I am the Good Shepherd. I know my own and my own know me. His use of the word “know” here does not mean to merely have information about one another. Jesus is not speaking about theoretical knowledge or speculation. It’s not like saying – “yes – I’ve read the Bible and know some of its content. I’m familiar with the history and reported miracles of Jesus. I know who Jesus is.”


If you asked me if I know Craig Counsel I would have to say – no, not really. I know he’s a native of White Fish Bay. In know he now manages the Milwaukee Brewers. I know of him. I know who he is. But I don’t know him - I’ve never met him. If, however, you asked me if I know my wife, Barbara, I would say “yes” – in a close and wonderful way. While she might not always agree – in some ways – I know her better than she knows herself. And in some ways not always easy for her – she knows me better than I know myself. For two whom God joins as one flesh in His gift of marriage – it is meant to be like that.


The knowledge Jesus speaks of, however, goes beyond that of all human relationships. “I am the Good Shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father.” This is knowledge that is deep and intimate! This is knowledge supreme - just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. Think of that knowledge! Together with God the Father and the Holy Spirit, God the Son spoke creation into being. The earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord. Alleluia. By the word of the Lord the heavens were made. Alleluia. Together they created what was good culminating in man (male and female) in their image – and it was very good. Jesus speaks of knowledge supreme! Just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. In His shepherding care of us Jesus assuring us that no one can snatch us out of the Father’s hand, Jesus magnified the knowledge He speaks of here to the full, saying, I and the Father are one (John 10:30). There is no knowledge more intimate than between the Father and Jesus.

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SECOND SUNDAY OF EASTER – APRIL 3, 2016 PDF Print E-mail

SECOND SUNDAY OF EASTER – APRIL 3, 2016
TEXTS: JOHN 20-19-31; 1 JOHN 5:4-10; EZEK. 37:1-14
PEACE AND BLESSEDNESS ARE YOURS
FROM THE CRUCIFIED AND RISEN CHRIST!
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting


Alleluia Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! Grace to you and peace from God the Father and Jesus Christ our risen Lord. Amen.


The Gospels are brutally honest about the doubt of the disciples that first Easter. Incredible doubt infected and surrounded everyone! They were all locked in on what they could see and feel – not on what Jesus had said and done. They were all locked in on what they had failed to do in standing with Him and not on what Jesus was faithfully doing and fulfilling in His promises to them.


Fresh from the grave – standing amid their locked-in fear – the risen Christ spoke healing and forgiving words of release. “Peace be with you.” No make-believe peace – this! No fleeting peace of emotional feeling! This is purchased peace – purchased with His blood. This is objective, outside of you, in-the-heart-of-God-toward-you - bestowed-upon-you peace. This is peace that the world cannot give. “Peace be with you.”

They had heard from the women conveying Jesus’ command for them to go to Galilee (Mt. 28:10). Peter and John ran to inspect and saw the linen cloths and the folded head cloth in His open and empty grave (John 20:5-10). Yet when Easter evening comes they are still locked in for fear of the Jews. Outside danger continues to rage – but to their alarm over the possible threat of death Jesus said, “Peace be with you.” To their hearts locked in by the shame of their failure and desertion He said, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Dr. Luther said they were glad with the greatest joy the human heart can feel – that is, Therefore, since we have been justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 5:1).










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