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Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came from the Father and became flesh among us in order to rescue us, His sheep. He laid down His life for us and took it up again in order to give us eternal life. By the preaching of His Gospel, He calls His sheep to Himself and keeps them with Him forever. As they hear His voice and follow Him, “they will never perish” (John 10:28), for “no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand” (John 10:29). In the same way, faithful pastors (literally, “shepherds”) “care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood” (Acts 20:28), “testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21). Therefore, with all the company of heaven, the Good Shepherd gathers His flock in worship, as they cry: “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Rev. 7:10).
“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain” (Rev. 5:12), who by His cross has conquered sin and death. With His blood, He has “ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Rev. 5:9). This same Lord Jesus visits people of all nations and calls them to Himself by the Gospel, even as He “was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead” (John 21:14). He restored Simon Peter to faith and life, and He commissioned him to feed His lambs and tend His sheep (John 21:15-17). Likewise, He revealed Himself to Saul of Tarsus and brought him repentance, so that the persecutor of Jesus might carry and confess His name “before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel” (Acts 9:15).
On the Lord’s Day, St. John the apostle was given a revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God, the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, He is the Living One, “the firstborn of the dead” (Rev. 1:5). He died for all people, and behold, He is alive forevermore! Therefore, He has “the keys of Death and Hades” (Rev. 1:18). For His death atoned for sin and conquered death, and in His resurrection, He opened the kingdom of heaven to us. The “sharp two-edged sword” of His mouth (Rev. 1:16) calls you to “believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,” that by such faith “you may have life in his name” (John 20:31). To that end, He sends His ministers of the Word, as the Father sent Him, “to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins” (Acts 5:31)
24 On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb,
The King of Israel comes into His royal glory by the path of humble obedience “to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:8). He “goes as it has been determined” (Luke 22:22), according to the Scriptures, willingly submitting to His Father’s plan for the salvation of sinners. “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name” (Phil. 2:9). His suffering and death open the way of repentence for the forgiveness of sins because He goes to the cross bearing the sins of the world. In his resurrection, God the Father vindicates His people and has compassion on His servants (Deut. 32:36). He kills to make alive; He wounds in order to heal. In remembrance of Him, we praise God, confessing “that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:11).
12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
God the Father has opened His heart to us in love. While we were “still a long way off,” He saw us and “felt compassion” (Luke 15:20). Therefore, He gave His only begotten Son for us, making “him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21). By the ministry of reconciliation, He runs to us, embraces us in mercy and clothes us with His glory as beloved sons in Christ Jesus. And so we give thanks unto the Lord our God, who as taken away our sins and turned anger from us (Is. 12:1). Because He has become our salvation, our strength and our song, we “will trust, and will not be afraid” (Is. 12:2).
“Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3,5). By this warning, the Lord would turn us away from wickedness and bring us to life in Himself. For He is patient with us, that we would not be cut down in our sin but live and bear fruit in Him. As He lives, the Lord has “no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live” (Ezek. 33:11). So the Scriptures have been “written down for our instruction, on whom the end of ages has come” (1 Cor. 10:11), that we should not desire evil but trust in Christ. He alone is faithful, the Rock who feeds us with His “spiritual food” and pours out His “spiritual drink” (1 Cor. 10:3-4).
32 He replied, “Go tell that fox, ‘I will keep on driving out demons and healing people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.’ 33 In any case, I must press on today and tomorrow and the next day—for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem!
1 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 where for forty days he was tempted by the devil.
32 Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. 33 As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, “Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”
36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. 37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you.
20 Looking at his disciples, he said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. 24 But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort.”
5 Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” 6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break.
Pastor Sander’s retirement service.