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Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Editor

Seventh Sunday Of Easter

Option A: From  Kelly Bedard 

"Out But Not Down"
"And they put forth...Joseph, called Barsabbas, who was surnamed Justus..." 
Acts 1:23a

A. From disappointment: not chosen or seen (e.g., Matthias over Joseph)

B. To joy: chosen and seeing (through Baptism, God's Word and The Lord's Supper)


1. Barsabbas = "son of the Sabbath"; because Joseph was born on the Sabbath?

a. Had both a Jewish (Barsabbas) and Gentile (Justus, "the righteous") name

b. Tradition holds that he drank snake venom in the Lord's name and suffered no consequences

2. Casting lots

a. Ultimately allows God the right of choice ("The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord" [Proverbs 16:33])

b. Using either rocks or sticks or shaking a jar, with the "winner" being the one whose name comes out first

c. Deliberate selection and prayer are also involved in the process

d. The text is the Bible's last mention of casting lots

e. An Old Testament provision (Leviticus 16:8-10): reception of Promised Land portions, e.g. (Numbers 34:13; Joshua 14:2, 18:2)

3. "Blessing in Disguise"

"Dear Lord, someone else has won the honor that I thought should be mine. Bless them. Someone else is enjoying the rewards I expected. Bless them.
Help me to remember that there is enough fame to go around, enough money to go around, enough happiness. And if I have not found mine this time, there will be other opportunities. This time, maybe I wasn't ready. Next time I will be. Or the time after that.
Purge me of resentment. Heal me of malice. Soothe my disappointment. Don't let me impede my progress by such emotions.
Instead, let me ask a blessing upon the one who has won the honor. To do so is to draw upon a source of energy and courage and optimism. I will rise up against disappointment with joy. I will go forward enriched by this experience, spiritually growing.
And as I bless, I will be blessed. Thank you for this knowledge. Amen!
--Author Unknown

Kelly Bedard, B.A., M.Div.


Option B: From Wayne Dobratz

"How To Know That Your God 
Is The Right God"
John 15:26 et al.

I He gives you His Holy Spirit

A. As in John 15:26 "When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me.

B. As in John 14: 26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

II When you testify that Jesus is God’s Son

A. As in John 5:23 that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.

B. When you trust Him alone for eternal life as in John 5:24 "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life."

III When you are confident of God’s love,

A. As Jesus said in 17 In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

B. To have confidence on the Day of Judgment is to trust that the Judge gave himself for you.

1. As in Gal. 1:3 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,

2. As in Matt. 25:34ff.

C. The "perfect love" that drives out fear is not our love for God, but His love for us.

1. As in Lk. 12:32

2. As in Heb. 13:5-6

3. As in Rev. 1:17-18

IV Sharing unconditional love

"Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. 17 In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. ...19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother."

A. Having confidence in God’s unconditional love leads to sharing that unconditional love--vv.20-21.

B. We need God’s help to live lives of sacrificial love, as Paul writes in Eph. 5:1-2

C. We need the help of God’s Spirit to be living sacrifices to Him--Rom. 12:1-2

Conclusion: The basis of this comfort and the power for the Christian life is the fact that our Savior is the eternal God who "loved me and gave himself for me." Martin Luther writes: 

"Who will harm the man when the great God and Savior Jesus Christ, to whom the Day of Judgment belongs, is on his side and stands before him with all His glory, greatness, majesty and might? None other will hold court on that day than He who gave Himself for us. He will certainly not deny Himself but will declare that He gave Himself for your sins, as you believe. What, then, will sin do when the Judge Himself declares that He has taken it away? Who will accuse you? Who will judge the Judge? Who will overcome Him? ...He Himself would have to be condemned before sin could condemn him for whom He gave Himself.

Oh, here is great sure security. It only depends on the strength and firmness of our faith. Christ will certainly not waver. He is firm enough. Therefore we should diligently cultivate our faith and exercise it with preaching, working and suffering. Then it becomes confirmed and strong."

(From a Message on Titus 2:11-15, given in 1522. Source: What Luther Says: #2178, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959)

Rev. Wayne Dobratz, B.S., M.Div.

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