Worship Helps for Easter 2

Jesus appears to the disciples
Melanie Schuette

Worship Theme: Our faith is based on firmest possible ground: Jesus, our risen Lord. We cannot see him. We cannot touch him. We have not yet experienced the joy that will be ours forever. We come to know and trust in him as our Savior only through the precious Gospel that is revealed to us in the words of Scripture.

First Lesson: Acts 26:19 "So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. 20 First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds. 21 That is why the Jews seized me in the temple courts and tried to kill me. 22 But I have had God's help to this very day, and so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen-- 23 that the Christ would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would proclaim light to his own people and to the Gentiles." 24 At this point Festus interrupted Paul's defense. "You are out of your mind, Paul!" he shouted. "Your great learning is driving you insane." 25 "I am not insane, most excellent Festus," Paul replied. "What I am saying is true and reasonable. 26 The king is familiar with these things, and I can speak freely to him. I am convinced that none of this has escaped his notice, because it was not done in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do." 28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, "Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?" 29 Paul replied, "Short time or long-- I pray God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains."

1. Before which two rulers was Paul testifying?

2. In what two ways did Paul describe his teaching about the resurrection, after Festus told Paul
that he was insane?

3. Isn’t the resurrection of all believers unreasonable? Explain.

Second Lesson:  1 Corinthians 15:12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. 20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.

4. What were some people in Corinth falsely claiming?

5. Why was that claim disastrous?

Gospel: John 20:19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. 21 Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven." 24 Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord!" But he said to them, "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it." 26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" 27 Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe." 28 Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!" 29 Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." 30 Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

6. Why are Jesus’ words in verse 29 so important for us as Christians today?

7. Why did John write the words of his Gospel?

1. Paul was testifying before Agrippa and Festus.

2. Paul said his teaching was “true and reasonable.”

3. The resurrection of all believers on the last day might seem unreasonable (how can a dead person come back alive, bodily?). Still, if a) God is all-powerful, if b) Jesus rose from the dead, and if c) Jesus promises to raise us, too, we would be “insane” not to believe in our bodily resurrection.

4. Some in Corinth were falsely claiming that there was no resurrection, and there will be none on the last day, either.

5. That claim was disastrous because if there is no resurrection, then Christ was not raised from the dead, either. And if Christ has not been raised from the dead, a) the apostles' preaching about Christ was useless, and b) so is our trust in Christ.

6. Jesus’ words are so important for us because, unlike those first disciples, we did not have the opportunity to see Jesus in the flesh and witness his saving work. Even though we have not seen him, we have God’s promise that we will receive the same blessing of eternal life through trusting in him.

7. John did not record every last detail of Jesus’ life in his Gospel. He wrote what he wrote so that we might believe that Jesus is the Son of God and Savior of the world. Through faith in Jesus we, as those first disciples, will receive God’s eternal blessings in glory.

Putting your faith into action
Can you feel the joy? The disciples and Thomas felt the joy of the resurrection. They were overjoyed. With the eyes of faith, we too see the Lord every time he comes to us through his Word and sacrament. May this joy fill your hearts as you eagerly serve our risen Lord!

A reading from the Book of Concord for the Second Sunday of Easter
The Church Fathers have clearly handed down the doctrine that we need mercy even in good works.

Scripture teaches the same.  “Enter not into judgment with Your servant, for no one living is righteous before You” (Psalm 143:2).  This passage denies absolutely—even to all saints and servants of God—the glory of righteousness, if God does not forgive, but judges and convicts their hearts.  For when David boasts about his righteousness, he speaks about his own cause against the persecutors of God’s Word.  He does not speak of his personal purity.  He asks that God’s cause and glory be defended, “Judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness and according to the integrity that is in me” (Psalm 7:8)  Likewise, in Psalm 130:3, he says that no one can endure God’s judgment:

“If You, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
            O Lord, who could stand?”
If I wash myself with snow and cleanse my hands with lye, yet You will plunge me into a pit. (Job 9:30–31)
Who can say, “I have made my heart pure;
            I am clean from my sin”? (Proverbs 20:9)
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves,
            and the truth is not in us. (1 John 1:8)
            In the Lord’s Prayer the saints ask for the forgiveness of  sins. Even the saints have sins. – Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article V, Love and Fulfilling the Law (paragraphs 204-208)

Text of the Hymn of the Day: O Sons And Daughters Of The King
O sons and daughters of the King,
Whom heav'nly hosts in glory sing,
Today the grave has lost its sting!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

On that first morning of the week,
Before the day began to break,
The Marys went their Lord to seek.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

An angel bade their sorrow flee,
For thus he spoke unto the three,
"Your Lord will go to Galilee."
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

That night th' apostles met in fear;
Among them came their Lord most dear
And said: "Peace be unto you here."
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

When Thomas afterwards had heard
That Jesus had fulfilled his word,
He doubted if it were the Lord.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

"Thomas, behold my side," said he,
"My hands, my feet, my body see;
And doubt not, but believe in me."
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

No longer Thomas then denied;
He saw the feet, the hands, the side;
"You are my Lord and God," he cried.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Blessed are they that have not seen
And yet whose faith has constant been;
In life eternal they shall reign.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

On this most holy day of days
To God your hearts and voices raise
In laud and jubilee and praise.

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!


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