Roger's Postings

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Acts 10:34-43.                    Risen to be judge???                                      1/4/18

34 Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favouritism 35 but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right. 36 You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. 37 You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached— 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.

39 “We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a cross, 40 but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. 41 He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

He is risen! He is risen indeed!

Yes, the Jesus who died on the cross has now been raised from the dead. This is absolutely amazing news for us here in this world of ours. It gives us a sure and certain hope in the midst of a world that has lost its way. When we are becoming more and more cynical with the realities of life, we have here today again news that gives us a sure and certain hope.

Jesus’ rising from the dead now gives us the assurance that there is something that can lift us beyond the troubles, misery and death of life in this world. Because this is a certainty and not just some concocted story we have here that which gives us a whole new way to face life.

There are many, many, proofs that this really did happen. Jesus did rise from the dead just as he said he would. Some years ago, an unbelieving lawyer set out to examine the evidence for the reality of this event. He came to the conclusion that even today if it as brought before the courts it would have to be accepted that it did happen. Even after all these years, the evidence is clearly there for us to be sure that this is not a made-up story.

Even though it is beyond the realms of what science would say is possible, Jesus rose from the dead after three days. Even though our world today does not want to recognise that it did happen and would prefer to simply think of it as a myth; here we have news that turns life upside down.

As well, we have promises that were given by God and written down hundreds and hundreds of years before this event, here in Jesus and his death and resurrection they are being fulfilled. On Good Friday was a clear example of this in the reading from Isaiah depicting very clearly what would and did happen to Jesus all those years later. Archaeology clearly shows that these writings were written hundreds of years before and so are not some concocted story.

So again, here is a lot more proof to this reality of Jesus death and his resurrection. So, we can be absolutely sure that this is all for real. Jesus’ ‘it is finished’ of Good Friday now means that forgiveness of sins, life and salvation is absolutely guaranteed for us. Jesus has done everything necessary for our salvation and life. He also was raised from the dead so that we can be absolutely sure that this is all for real.

Here God has stepped in and done the impossible. Here God wants us to know for sure that he has done something truly remarkable for us. He is for real, and he has that which gives us what we need in order to get through this life and into the next. Jesus rising from the dead has extraordinary ramifications for each and every one of us.

The message here is that God has now made it possible for us to be lifted beyond the realities of our day to day world. A world that lets us down over and over again. In so many ways our world promises us so much; but fails to deliver over and over again. The more it focusses on great achievements, the more the failures are even more tragic. We see this happening all around us, and it leaves us sad, disillusioned and finally hope-less.

This last week we have had an event that exemplifies this so clearly. Even though cricket is just a game, it portrays quite clearly the problem of life in our world, and also in many ways the message of Easter. Here I would to read to you our Bishop Altus’ message to our state this weekend.

Betrayal, denial, blame, condemnation, shame, public humiliation, the demand for heads to roll…..

Last weekend all that and more was being said about the Australian cricket team.

This weekend those same words describe what happened to Jesus Christ.

He had done nothing wrong. His life had been marked by selfless love and integrity. Yet Jesus was the one cheated on, publicly shamed, humiliated, and hung out to dry on a cross in a field for all to mock. Even his friends ducked for cover.

At stake on Good Friday was more than a game; or saving face for the Aussie public before the eyes of the world. At stake was the saving of humanity in the eyes of God.

What happened last weekend and what we remember this weekend have connections we might reflect on, not by pointing the finger at others from the hill of our high moral ground; but seeing in the mirror our own self-centredness and where it can lead.

If we are honest it is not just our cricket team who have “crossed the line” when it comes to attitude and behaviour. Who hasn’t sought the advantage in a relationship, put self-first, sacrificed integrity for expediency, attempted to get ahead dishonestly, cheated the tax man or even their life-partner, or attempted to lie and cover up something? Have we always spoken out, stepped in or stepped up when we should have? The damage our own actions or inaction causes is at least as hurtful to people around us as the consequences of tampering with a ball during a game have been to us.

Good Friday is about seeing Jesus hanging his head on the cross, taking our guilt and shame away from us in the eyes of God. Easter is discovering the joy and freedom of God’s forgiveness, and the new beginning and life.

Now we can get on with life with confidence and certainty. Now we can be absolutely sure that we are loved and accepted. Now we are able to be a part of God’s family for all eternity. We have been made holy so that we can now seek to live this holy life, both here and in heaven. All guaranteed by Jesus Christ and his death and resurrection.

As a result of that now we can live hopefully, in the midst of a world that has lost its way. Instead of being selfish and self-centred we can now look upward and outward. We can with God’s help now live in accord with what is good, right and helpful. We no longer need to follow the world and its ego-centric living.

While our world around seeks to cheat, deny, blame and all the rest in order to get on in life, we now can set about seeking to do what is good and right; even when everything is going wrong. Even if the world and life seems to be against us, we now know that everything will work out for good, for sure. So, we can do our utmost to live in accord with the fact that we have been made holy by our Lord Jesus Christ.

We can in the face of it all recognise our own weaknesses and failures and readily admit them. We repent of our sin and readily seek forgiveness from our Lord and others. Knowing that he has died for our sinfulness and has forgiven us, we readily turn to him so that we too might be forgiving of others. We recognise that this side of death we are still sinful human beings.

This however does not mean that we condone sin or disregard it as not worth being concerned about. It does not mean that we live as we please because we are forgiven. For we know that unless we live according to his commandments we will be only bringing more hurt and harm to ourselves and others around us. So, we now will ever seek to live as he tells us in his Word. We will constantly seek his help and guidance to live as he would have us.

But even more importantly we will be witnessing to the world around us of that which is good and helpful for us all. We acknowledge our sinfulness and our assurance of the love, forgiveness and salvation that has been won for us by our Lord, Jesus Christ. As we ourselves are so amazed and overwhelmed by what Jesus has done for us through his death and resurrection, it will be seen by others. Then we pray that they too might seek to know and be a part of the wonderful Good News that we have been reminded of again this weekend.

Yes, we now know for sure that because of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead after three days, this is all for real and is essential for us. We can be absolutely sure then that all this that we have been reminded of this weekend about Jesus Christ and his death and resurrection is for real. It is all vitally important for us and for our salvation. So now we can go forward with confidence and certainty in the midst of a world that has lost its way.

Our Lord Jesus Christ has done it all for us. To him be all glory and honour, now and always. Amen.

He is risen! His risen indeed!

Pastor Roger Atze

Glandore/Underdale Lutheran Parish


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