Reflections: April 24, 2021
Saturday of the Third Week of Easter
By Alfonso Espinosa
Shout for joy to God, all the earth. Alleluia. Sing the glory of His name; give to Him glorious praise! Alleluia. (From the Introit for the Fourth Sunday of Easter)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. The Fourth Sunday of Easter tomorrow is known as Jubilate Sunday. Jubilate from the Latin means "Rejoice." Joy, real joy--isn't this something we all want in our lives? The psalmist is, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, revealing to us where genuine joy comes from. It is as if the psalmist had a bird's eye view of what would occur centuries later (from his standpoint), when Jesus would rise from the dead and conquer the grave. Psalm 66:3, which is part of this Introit, states, "Say to God, How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies come cringing to you." These words apply especially to our greatest enemies: our sin that leads to death, the world, and the devil (and his demons). These enemies were and are overcome by the LORD's awesome deeds, especially His most awesome deed which was conquering death.
Now these enemies must cringe before Him (that is, be bent in fear knowing that they are utterly conquered and defeated). The psalmist knew what to focus on, because he knew what sealed the deal, so, to, speak, when it comes to knowing that God's deeds are awesome indeed. Psalm 66:8-9, also part of the Introit, says, "Bless our God, O peoples; let the sound of his praise be heard, who has kept our soul among the living, and has not let our feet slip." Could there be any greater reason to shout for joy? What do we desire more than life itself?!
On account of the LORD's awesome deeds, all who trust in Him will be kept among the living, through the might of the One risen and who raises the dead. Knowing these things, how can we not rejoice? Every possible reason to live in fear has been overcome by the joy of knowing that not even death can take our joy away. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
LORD Jesus, You took our illnesses and bore our diseases, bringing hope to the sick and the dying. In Your death on the cross, You completed Your work of bearing all our burdens and on the third day showed us in Your resurrected body the firstfruits of the new creation. Heal us now by Your Word and Sacraments, and raise us up on the Last Day that we might live with You forever; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
The Rev. Dr. Alfonso Espinosa is the pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church of Irvine, CA. He is also the author of two books: Faith That Sees Through the Culture and Faith That Engages the Culture.
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