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Month: March 2013

He Called Them Brothers…..

I am always amazed at how Luther could cut to the heart of a matter and see divine mercy in simple words.  He meditates on how the disciples felt as they huddled in locked rooms knowing that Christ was dead, that the Jews still hated them and that they all had forsaken Christ.  He says that the first post resurrection sermon was about forgiveness when he says to Mary, “Go and tell my brothers”. Luther says, “I know very well that I am an unworthy being, worthy to be the brother of the devil, not of Christ and his saints; but now Christ has said that I, for whom he died and rose again, as well as for St. Peter, who like myself was a sinner, am his brother; and he earnestly would have me to believe him, without doubt and wavering, and would not have me consider that I am unworthy and full of sin, because he himself will not so consider nor remember it, as indeed he well might do, having abundant cause to repay his followers and visit upon them what they committed against him. But it is all forgotten and blotted out of his heart; yea, he has slain, covered and buried it; and he knows nothing to say of them now but that which is kind and good, and he greets them and addresses...

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Quiet Saturday ………

I found this on something called Easter Icons – “It is hard to imagine the Easter story without thinking of the resurrection, and  often we teach the Good Friday message as if it was Easter Day. The Disciples  and followers of Jesus, and his family, did not have the luxury of being able to  skip to the end of the book. Good Friday is the day where all hope is lost.  While Jesus remained alive on the cross, there was still some hope of a miracle.  But, by the end of Good Friday, Jesus is dead. All hope is lost, and it becomes clear that Jesus is not the Messiah. The Disciples look and feel like fools. The  strange and horrific events they had just experienced would still have been  fresh and vivid. Saturday would have felt decidedly unholy for the Disciples, whilst the majority of people around them, including perhaps their family, were celebrating the festivities of Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread.  They were alone and abandoned, and all hope was gone… This is the Christian  story, this is the Christian faith: Jesus dies. This is no pretence. Jesus is  laid in a tomb. This is no fairytale. Death comes and death is faced … and death  is defeated … but not on Good Friday or on the Saturday. Today we wait and contemplate the death...

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Good Friday and mercy.

1 Timothy 1:15-1615 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. Maybe it was the equivalent of “twitter” back in the day or maybe Paul had put it on the his face book page but he calls it a “saying”. This means that it was something that was repeated and stated over and over again. It was the life blood of the church.  Our primary task is to witness to Christ in word and deed.  Why?  Because Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.  We shouldn’t abandon assembling for worship.  Why.  Because Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. This was not just an offhand comment. Paul repeated a statement that captured the reason the early church existed. Christ came to save sinners!  They understood that this was the driving force of Jesus’ life and ministry. He came into the world to save sinners, and He never stopped living for this reason until He was dying for this reason.  “For this cause I came into the world,” Jesus said. He came...

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Mercy and Maundy Thursday and Luther.

Christians should be instructed to approach it (The Lord’s Supper) with joy, confident and comforted, saying, I am a poor sinner, I need help and comfort, I wish to attend the Lord’s Supper, and take nourishment from the Body and Blood of my dear Lord Jesus Christ. For he instituted this Sacrament so that all hungry and thirsty souls might be nourished and refreshed. He will not reproach me, much less hold me back, if I but come in his name to receive his help and comfort. But should we Christians trouble ourselves continually to repeat the remembrance of the deliverance Christ wrought for us from sin, death, devil, and hell? Are you among those who say, I have heard it all before; why must I heart it again? If so, your heart has become dull, satiated, and shameless, and this food does not taste good to you. This is the same thing that happened to the Jews in the wilderness when they grew tired of eating manna. But if you are a Christian, you will never grow weary, but will long to hear this message often and to speak about it forever. If you abandon God’s Word and prayer, and yet feel that you will continue to pray, your soul will lose power and ardor. For this reason we should not look at God’s Word in this light,...

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Mercy and those pesky Pharisees.

Matthew 23 takes us into the heart of Holy Week and in the center of the conflict is the Pharisee.  The stunning words of Matthew 23:23 sum up the mercy issues. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. 24 You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel! We have talked on these pages before about Pharisaism and the modern examples we have even in our churches.  Read the blogs of some in the church and you hear and read the vestiges of a modern Pharisee.  It is a great system.  You have God on your side so you are always right and you know that others are wrong by a simple measure – if they disagree with you!  I read a blog not to long ago where the author actually said the best way to know if the people that are arguing with you are wrong, is if they call you a “pharisee”.   These modern pharisee’s are very much into justification by faith and the “sola’s” of the Reformation.  They talk a lot about grace and the fact that we can do nothing to merit salvation and yet there is behind their...

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