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1 John 3:1-3
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. (ESV)
It'll Be a Feast
Elizabeth of Hungary
19 November 2015
What will it be like to be face-to-face with Jesus? I'm looking forward to it. It will be great. The blessed dead see that. And so the blessed dead are far better off than we are. Because we live here under the signs of the presence of that Lord all hidden under word, speech, proclamation, dribbling water, a few words said over a child, an altar, bread, wine, and yet much more because God says it is much, much more. And with that same voice He says to you, "You are my white-robed martyrs. You are my children made holy by the blood of the Lamb." And that is what we are (1Jn 3:1-3). The Bible is so clear about this. And that's why we Lutherans are very glad to say, "I'm going to heaven; I'm going to see Jesus face-to-face; I'm going to be with him forever and I'm going to be with the saints and martyrs, robed in white, praising him for eternity!" Because it isn't a description of how you are it, as much as it is a statement of how gracious that God who is surrounded around His throne.

We look forward to a resurrection of the flesh, not zombie-ism. What's it going to be like? Well, the Bible tells us that our resurrected flesh will be like Christ's. But, but what's that like exactly? First of all, not dead. Living. Living in the fullest sense. Not merely biological life, but life in its fullness and abundance, the way God intended us to live. What is it like? It's unburdened by sin. We don't know what this is like because we are burdened by sin every day from our first breath from our mother's womb. We are burdened by sin until our last ragged breath, when we will no longer be burdened by it. What will it be like? We will belong to our Father because we will see Jesus as He is. And by seeing Jesus as He is, we are truly being who we are in Him. It will be a party. A feast. A celebration. And you know who's serving the table? Christ, our Lord, himself. He comes and feeds us from his own hand from the dainties of his own kingdom. Oh, it's not like you have to eat, it's a bit more like New Orleans. Living to eat, not eating to live.

And he's begun to feed us at that feast, here at this table. I have a difficult time telling you about it. Pastors have a great privilege. We see faces you don't see. We see your faces here at this table surrounding this altar and we see the sorrow over sin that you experience. We see the certainty of salvation and the comfort of the Gospel in your face. We also see those tears streaming down the cheeks of widows and widowers, of mothers and fathers, of children and grandchildren when they gather here; sometimes for years after their beloved has gone to be with Jesus. But remember that those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. And so we come here together as redeemed by Christ, certain of our salvation, knowing that God is providing all. There is a Supper on this side and there is a feast on the other. Here eternity breaks through and all of the blessed dead are with us. And so we cry out on this day, "Therefore with angels and archangels and all the company of Heaven," unbounded by physics, you appear before the throne of the Lamb and in faith you see it all. It's all here.

On the night when He is raised, Jesus comes among His disciples. He doesn't bother to open the door, He just shows up. He says such a powerful thing and it's but a word, "Peace." "Peace." "Peace." There's nothing to be afraid of. Not death. Nothing. Because Christ himself has given you his peace.


Martin Luther

"Our article very clearly bears the title 'Resurrection of the Flesh,' meaning that the body that dies now shall come forth again and become alive, just as Christ rose bodily from the grave. That is the correct understanding of this article. It is true that Scripture at times speaks of a spiritual resurrection, namely, when it commands us to depart from sin and enter into a new life. This happens through faith and baptism while we are still in this life. This article, however, treats of the resurrection following this life and after our death. Therefore it is not relevant to cite that verse of St. Paul here and say that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God. It contravenes the clear meaning which St. Paul pursues throughout this chapter (1Co 15:50). For as we shall hear, he calls flesh and blood naught but the lusts and the evil which inhere in our flesh and blood from Adam, namely, the sinful, mortal being, the evil lusts, and all sorts of infirmities of flesh and blood. For in the life to come everything is to be pure, without sin and weakness. Therefore all the evil in us derived from flesh and blood must perish, so that we may on that Day be completely new and pure in body and soul. It does not follow from this that we will not rise bodily with flesh and blood. Otherwise we should also have to say that Christ did not have flesh and blood after His resurrection." 

Martin Luther, Commentary on 1 Corinthians 15, 15.34
Collect for Elizabeth of Hungary
Mighty King, whose inheritance is not of this world, inspire in us the humility and benevolent charity of Elizabeth of Hungary. She scorned her bejeweled crown with thoughts of the thorned one her Savior donned for her sake and ours, that we, too, might live a life of sacrifice, pleasing in Your sight and worthy of the name of Your Son, Christ Jesus, who with the Holy Spirit reigns with You forever in the everlasting kingdom. Amen.

For Ione Bredahl who was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor, that the Lord Jesus would prepare her to enter His nearer presence with confidence in the resurrection of the flesh and the life of the world to come

For police and other public safety officers, that they would be kept safe in the faithful execution of their duties

For Timothy Scharr, who is suffering from a foot wound that is not healing, that the Lord Jesus would grant him healing

Art: Dürer, Albrecht  The Adoration of the Trinity (1515) 

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