Today's Reading: John 16:16-22
[Jesus said,] "In a little while and you won't see me any longer, and again, in a little while, you will see me." (John 16:16)
He is risen indeed! Alleluia! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Jesus was going to die at the hands of sinners. His disciples would see one of their own, Judas Iscariot, betray Jesus. They'd see the band of soldiers take Him away, bound and under guard. They'd run away. Peter would follow, at least, for a little while. By the fire he'd warm himself, waiting, watching until he was asked three times if he were a disciple of Jesus. The answer was the same each time: "No." Then, hearing the rooster, he left and wept bitterly. John hung tough, though. He followed Jesus until the end, standing with Mary. He saw Jesus die. Then all the 11 knew the truth: Jesus was gone; He was dead.
They wept and mourned over their teacher and friend who was gone, but it was only for a little while--three days, to be exact! Then they saw Him. He was alive. They were filled with joy! Then, no one could take their joy and hope and faith, as they continued to preach, teach, baptize, absolve, and deliver Jesus' Body and Blood until they all, except John, were killed for their faith. But that was not an ultimate loss, for they'd see Jesus again in the everlasting joys of Paradise.
We don't have troops of soldiers, or middle-of-the-night questionings, or the proposition of death for our faith, but how easily we flee from Jesus for other things. These things that are certainly not more important than Jesus: sports, work, vacation, life. For this Jesus lived, died, and came back to life. He gives His gifts: Baptism, Absolution, Body and Blood. You do see His face! In the face of your pastor, you see the face of Jesus. His voice is Jesus' voice. His hands are Jesus' hands. Nothing should take your joy from receiving the gifts he delivers. They really are for you. These deliver Jesus' forgiveness for the things we think are more important. Jesus' gifts deliver the true life we need in place of the things we think give us life.
One day you'll see Jesus. He'll see you. It will all be face to face. You'll be eye to eye, and on that day He will make good on the promises He made in His water, in His Absolution, in His Word, and in His Body and Blood. He will deliver then on what He delivers to you now. He continually fills you with His promises, and on the Last Day you will see Him forever in the eternal joys of Paradise. He is risen indeed! Alleluia! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.