“The One Who Shepherds Us”

“The One Who Shepherds Us” – John 10:11-18
The Fourth Sunday of Easter (B)  4/22/18
Pastor Mark H. Hein, St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Lockport, IL

Peace is knowing that a day does not go by… an hour, minute or second… where we are not attended to, closely watched over, cared for, protected and supported.

Peace is knowing that there is never a time or a place that we are defenseless and unequipped… ill-equipped… to make it through that very second, minute, hour or day.

If you and I know the reality of this, believe this, embrace and confess this… we have peace… true peace… peace of body, mind and soul… peace that is not fleeting, but ever present.

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“These Are His Words”

“These Are His Words” – Luke 24:36-49

The Third Sunday of Easter (B)  4/15/18

Pastor Mark H. Hein, St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Lockport, IL

If our Lord’s Passion was a lot for the disciples to take in, so was the Resurrection… and probably even more so. To see their beloved Rabbi, the Master, alive! To go through being startled and frightened by His sudden appearance to them and then troubled by having to process this all and determine if this was real. Was it a ghost or really and truly their Savior?

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“How Can We Know?”

The Second Sunday of Easter (Series B)
“How Can We Know?”
April 8, 2017
Text: John 20:19-31

Peace to you from God our Father and from His Son, our risen Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen.

During the years between 1618 and 1648 the Thirty Years’ War waged across northern Europe.  It was a horrible war that dragged on and on and involved many nations.  It has been said that this was the worst war that Europe ever experienced, including World Wars 1 and 2, because of the uncertainty that it created for people.  No one knew what was coming next, but it was usually even worse than what had happened before, and on and on it went for 30 long years.

A careful study of our hymnal shows one of the results of this war.  If you study the hymns from the 16th century, the century of the Reformation, when people were discussing and debating the doctrine of the church, you will find that those hymns reflect that emphasis.  Most of our hymns that are loaded with great doctrine, the kinds of hymns that serve as sermons all by themselves, with no help, come from the 16th century.

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“Joyous Trembling”

“Joyous Trembling” – Mark 16:1-8

The Resurrection of Our Lord (B)  4/1/18

Pastor Mark H. Hein, St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Lockport, IL

“Entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.”

It would be safe to say that we have all had close encounters that left us more than a little shaken… trembling even. And this realizing what could have been and by all indications, should have been. Where we are somewhat bewildered and ask ourselves, “Did that just happen?”

What a whirlwind it must have been for Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome who St. Mark speaks about in this Easter text.

All that happened… all that took place the past week from the day Christ entered Jerusalem on a donkey. Especially what took place three days ago as they watched their bloodied and beaten Lord crucified. As they took it all in.

  • Him hanging there in agony hour after hour.
  • The taunts and jeers of the Jews, the Roman soldiers and even those crucified with Him on either side.
  • The darkness that covered the land like a thick funeral pall beginning at the noon hour and continuing until He breathed His last.

Until Jesus, their Jesus, gave up His spirit and the earth shook, and the rocks split… tombs also were opened and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised.

  • As they watched their Lord’s lifeless body taken down from the cross and wrapped in a linen cloth.
  • And then as they went and watched where He was laid in a tomb… and the large stone that was rolled into place.

To take all of this in and then to experience what happened early that morning, this morning, the third morning. Seeing the large stone rolled away… seeing the young man all dressed in white… there sitting in the tomb… a tomb that was otherwise now empty.

And then to hear the angelic words, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.”

St. Mark tells us the women then left the tomb, fled the tomb… τρόμος καὶ ἔκστασις … that is trembling and astonished. And who wouldn’t be?

τρόμος from which we get the English word “traumatic.” ἔκστασις from which we get the word “ecstasy.” Both best translated here as trembling and being astonished.

Trembling at what took place. Trembling that still takes place among God’s people… the faithful… here on earth.

Even in the full understanding of all that Christ did on the cross? With all our sins now blotted out and Satan’s power crushed… the Serpents head crushed?

Even in the full understanding and the glorious reality that Jesus lives and that death has been conquered?

There is trembling?  For you? For me?

Yes, “healthy trembling” in understanding the oh-so close encounter we have all had with eternal death and what could have been… should have been… but is no longer and never can be.

Also “reverent trembling” in the full knowledge and appreciation that all this was affected… brought about… by the Lord God Almighty in the most wonderful, powerful and mightiest of ways. And that it was all for us… we poor miserable sinners.

Reverent trembling that still goes on as we behold the divine mysteries of God and partake of the same.

  • Reverent trembling as God breathes His all-powerful Word… His life-giving Word upon us as it is read in the divine service.
  • Reverent trembling every time Satan is cast out, exorcised at every baptism that takes place at that font.
  • Reverent trembling that takes place every time we take into our mouths a wafer of bread and a sip of wine at this communion rail fully realizing that it is Christ’s very Body and Blood, given and shed for us for the remission of all of our sins.

Healthy trembling… reverent trembling… and also, my friends, “joyous trembling” that continues on and on and on for God’s people.

And this every time we respond to the Good News “He is Risen.”

This every time you and I sing “I Know that My Redeemer Lives” and especially that seventh verse where we gladly proclaim,

“He lives and grants me daily breath; He lives, and I shall conquer death; He lives my mansion to prepare; He lives to bring me safely there.”

You know, when you think about it, it is really the joy… the reality of our joy and what all is behind it… that leaves us trembling… as tears of joy stream from our eyes in full realization that all of this is ours…

  • Victory is ours.
  • Jesus is ours… our ever-living Head… our Savior, Lord and King.

To God alone the glory… now… and forevermore! Amen.

 

 

“He Wouldn’t Come Down”

“He Wouldn’t Come Down”Mark 15:1-47

Sermon Notes – Palm Sunday (B)  3/25/18

Pastor Mark H. Hein, St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Lockport, IL

“If I only knew” How many times have we said, thought this? And most times having to do with averting that which caused us heartaches, headaches, pain, problems, and even very serious consequences of our actions. In contrast to this…

The Son of God… the Second Person of the Holy Trinity… knew. Jesus, our Lord and Savior… knew… perfectly. And not just from the beginning… at this, the start of Holy Week… what will happen as He makes His way into Jerusalem.

Not just from then, but always. The eternal Godhead knew… has always known… what would happen in the minutes, hours and days we are about to observe.

Jesus knew. And still He came not only to Jerusalem now, but to earth, then! He left the heavenly, holy realms to come to the stinking cesspool of sin here on earth… to those, all those, who were under the curse of sin – every man, women, child and infant. He took on our flesh and is about to take on our sins.

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“The Message of the Cross”

The Third Sunday in Lent (B)
“The Message of the Cross”
March 4, 2018

Sermon Text: 1 Corinthians 1:18–31

Grace, mercy and peace be unto you from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Dearly Beloved of the Lord,

So this whole idea that from nothing, God created everything that is… everything that exists. It is all the work of His hands.

This whole idea that the creation of the entire universe, our solar system, this planet and all things on this planet came to be by the Word of God over just six natural, normal days.

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“No Profit to Be Had”

The Second Sunday in Lent (B)
“No Profit to Be Had”
January 21, 2018

Sermon Text: Mark 8:34-38

Grace, mercy and peace be unto you from God our Father, and from our  Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Dearly Beloved of the Lord,

Not too long ago, we discussed in one of our weekday Bible studies, an amazing book, “Tried by Fire” by William Bennett, in which he brings before the reader many of those who lived the Christian faith, suffered for the Christian faith, died for the Christian faith and are now in glory with their Savior, Jesus Christ… who they would not abandon… who they willingly confessed to be their Lord even, with their very last breath.

It was, to say the least, a humbling book… a humbling and sobering look at so many of our brothers and sisters who remained faithful unto death and received the crown of eternal life…

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