Worship Helps for Easter 3

Artwork: Christ’s Charge to Peter 
Artist: Raphael
Date: 1515-1516

Worship Theme: The risen Christ appears to his apostles in the power of his majesty.

First Lesson: Acts 9:1-19

Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem.As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.
“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.
10 In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!”
“Yes, Lord,” he answered.
11 The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. 12 In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.”
13 “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. 14 And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.”
15 But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel.16 I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”
17 Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, 19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength.

1. Whom did Jesus say that Paul was persecuting?

2. What was God’s means to convert Paul?

3. What kind of future did God promise to Paul?

Epistle: Revelation 5:11-14

Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. 12 In a loud voice they were saying:
“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
    to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
    and honor and glory and praise!”
13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying:
“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
    be praise and honor and glory and power,
for ever and ever!”
14 The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped.

4. What great irony does John hear as innumerable angels sing Jesus’ praise?

5. How many things do the angels say that Jesus, the Lamb, is worthy to receive?

Gospel: John 21:1-14

Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way: Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”
“No,” they answered.
He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some. “When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.
10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.

6. How many times had Jesus appeared to his disciples before this blessed incident along the lake shore?

7. How many fish did Peter and the others catch?

8. What is ironic about Jesus fixing fish over a fire?

1. Jesus said that Paul was persecuting Jesus himself. What comfort this gives! Jesus so dearly loves those who trust in him that if someone attacks us, he is attacking our Lord.

2. Paul was converted the same way we all came to faith: through the power of God’s holy Word. The Word came to Paul in two ways—words in his ears and words connected with water in the gift of holy baptism.

3. God did not promise Paul an easy road, any more than he promises any of us a downhill “coast” into God’s eternal kingdom. He told Ananias, “I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”

4. John hears the angels sing, “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain …” But Jesus did not die for the angels, he died for us sinners.

5. The Lamb, the angels sing, is worthy to receive seven things: “Power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise.” Seven, significantly, is the number for completeness in Revelation and many other places in the Bible. That is, Jesus is worthy to receive complete worship from all creation.

6. John says this was now Jesus’ third appearance. The previous two times were in Jerusalem: Easter evening and the following Sunday evening. (See John 20.)

7. Peter and the others caught 153 fish. This is not trivia, but the mark of an eyewitness account.

8. The last time Jesus and Peter were involved with an outdoor fire, Peter denied that he even knew Jesus. (See John 18:18.) Now Jesus will officially reinstate Peter.

Putting your faith into action
When the glory of the Lamb was on display, what else could the elders do but fall down and worship? For you and me, the glory of the Lamb is always on display in his powerful Word. How else can we respond, but to fall down before his merciful throne in worship—not only with our lips, but also with our actions and our trust? Let us shower our Lord with a worship that is due his name.

A reading from the Book of Concord for the 3rd Sunday of Easter
Here we learn to know the Second Person of the Godhead... and how we have been redeemed.

If you are asked, “What do you believe in the Second Article about Jesus Christ?” answer, “I believe that Jesus Christ, God’s true Son, has become my Lord.”  “But what does it mean to become Lord?”  “It is this.  He has redeemed me from sin, the devil, death, and all evil.  Before I did not have a Lord or King, but was captive under the devil’s power, condemned to death, stuck in sin and blindness”...

So those tyrants and jailers are all expelled now.  In their place has come Jesus Christ, Lord of life, righteousness, every blessing, and salvation.  He has delivered us poor, lost people from hell’s jaws, has won us, has made us free, and has brought us again into the Father’s favor and grace.  He has taken us as His own property under His shelter and protection so that He may govern us by His righteousness, wisdom, power, life, and blessedness.

The word Lord means simply the same as redeemer.  It means the One who has brought us from Satan to God, from death to life, from sin to righteousness, and who preserves us in the same.  But all the points in this article serve to explain and express this redemption. They explain how and by whom it was accomplished.  They explain how much it cost Him and what He spent and risked so that He might win us and bring us under His dominion. - Large Catechism, Article II, The Apostles’ Creed (paragraphs 26-27, 30-31)

Hymns for this Sunday: 158; 143; 720; 144

720  Christ Jesus Lay in Death’s Strong Bands

1  Christ Jesus lay in death’s strong bands For our offenses given;
But now at God’s right hand he stands And brings us life from heaven.
Therefore let us joyful be And sing to God right thankfully
Loud songs of alleluia! Alleluia!  Alleluia!

2  No son of man could conquer death, Such ruin sin had wrought us.
No innocence was found on earth, And therefore death had brought us
Into bondage from of old And ever grew more strong and bold
And held us as its captive.  Alleluia!  Alleluia!

3  Christ Jesus, God’s own Son, came down, His people to deliver;
Destroying sin, he took the crown From death’s pale brow forever.
Stripped of pow’r, no more it reigns; An empty form alone remains;
Its sting is lost forever.  Alleluia!  Alleluia!

4  It was a strange and dreadful strife When life and death contended.
The victory remained with life; The reign of death was ended.
Holy Scripture plainly says That death is swallowed up by death;
Its sting is lost forever. Alleluia!  Alleluia!

5  Here the true Paschal Lamb we see, Whom God so freely gave us;
He died on the accursed tree—So strong his love—to save us.
See, his blood now marks our door; Faith points to it; death passes o’er,
And Satan cannot harm us. Alleluia!  Alleluia!

6  So let us keep the festival To which the Lord invites us;
Christ is himself the joy of all, The sun that warms and lights us.
Now his grace to us imparts Eternal sunshine to our hearts;
The night of sin is ended. Alleluia!  Alleluia!

7  Then let us feast this Easter Day On Christ, the bread of heaven;
The Word of grace has purged away The old and evil leaven.
Christ alone our souls will feed; He is our meat and drink indeed;
Faith lives upon no other!  Alleluia!  Alleluia!

This important and historic Easter text is set to a new tune with the hope of reviving its use within the church.

Text: Martin Luther, 1483–1546; tr. Richard Massie, 1800–1887, alt.


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