Welcome to Living Savior Lutheran Church
Living Savior church is now having regular worship services at 9:00a.m. every Sunday. We will be practicing social distancing. Masks are required. Communion will be given at the end of the service. Offering plates will not be passed, but will be located at the entrance and at the exit. For those of you who are not comfortable with this arrangement. We are now sharing the service on facebook live also.
Scriptures & Message for Third Sunday of Easter – April 18th, 2021
First Reading – Acts 3:11-21
While the man held on to Peter and John, all the people were astonished and came running to them in the place called Solomon’s Colonnade. When Peter saw this, he said to them: “Fellow Israelites, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified His servant Jesus. You handed Him over to be killed, and you disowned Him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. You killed the author of life, but God raised Him from the dead. We are witnesses of this. By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through Him that has completely healed him, as you can all see. “Now, fellow Israelites, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders. But this is how God fulfilled what He had foretold through all the prophets, saying that His Messiah would suffer. Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that He may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus. Heaven must receive Him until the time comes for God to restore everything, as He promised long ago through His holy prophets.
Second Reading – 1 John 3:1-7
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as he is. All who have this hope in Him purify themselves, just as He is pure.
Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that He appeared so that He might take away our sins. And in Him is no sin. No one who lives in Him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen Him or known Him.
Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as He is righteous.
Gospel – Luke 24:36-49
While they were still talking about this, Jesus Himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at My hands and My feet. It is I myself! Touch Me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”
When He had said this, He showed them His hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, He asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave Him a piece of broiled fish, and He took it and ate it in their presence.
He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about Me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”
Then He opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what My Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
Too Good Not to Be True
A company once hired a recent immigrant and put him to work in the mail room. To the foreman’s shock, the guy was a whiz. He stood in front of the sorting racks and shuffled the letters into slots with amazing speed. The foreman had never seen anything like it.
At the end of the day, the foreman shook the new man’s hand, thanked him and said, “I’ve never seen anyone who could sort mail as fast as you.”
The new immigrant smiled and said, “You think I’m good now you wait until I can read English.”
I wonder where some of the mail ended up?
How many times have we been cautioned, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”? And yet, every once in a while, we get pleasantly surprised. Something that seems too good to be true, turns out to be genuine.
Imagine the reaction of those first disciples at the appearance of the risen Christ after his resurrection. Luke tells us, first of all, that they were terrified. He writes, “While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost.”
We can appreciate that, can we not? If I saw someone walking around three days after I had performed his funeral, I would be more than a little uncomfortable.
Fear is a very potent force in our lives. It’s said that Hans Christian Andersen, the beloved storyteller, always carried a rope with him in his travels, in case of a fire. If he stayed in a hotel on the second story or higher, the rope would be his escape route from the window if fire ever broke out. That rope is now on display in the museum adjacent to Andersen’s birthplace in Odense, Denmark.
Was Hans Christian Andersen irrational to carry that piece of rope with him, or was he simply being prepared? Fear certainly has its positive aspects, but there is that fine line.
Some people are still afraid of accepting the truth of the resurrected Christ even today. What if I committed my life to Christ only to discover that it was all an illusion? All of us live with that possibility. For those of us who have experienced Christ’s presence in our lives, however, there can be no question as to the reality of the resurrection.
But there was a second reason for their reluctance to admit to themselves that Christ was alive, according to Luke joy. We read in verse 41: “And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement . . .” In other words, they didn’t at first believe because the news was simply too good to be true.
A social worker tells of being assigned to distribute used clothing at a social service center in a poor neighborhood. A mother brought in her twelve-year-old son to see if she could find a jacket for Easter. The boy was embarrassed. The social worker, in looking through the pile of clothing found a boy’s sport coat that seemed entirely new, with no sign of wear.
“Son,” said the social worker. “Try this on.”
The boy put it on slowly and then began to touch it and look at it. His eye grew wide with quiet excitement. “Why,” he gasped, “it’s new!”
Here is a child who had known only cast-offs and hand-me-downs. For the first time he had something new to put on. It was an occasion of great joy for him. How great is our joy when we become a new person in Jesus Christ.
The disciples disbelieved, first because of fear, then for joy. But I believe there is a third reason many today are afraid of accepting the truth of the risen Christ. They are afraid it might require some change in the way they’re living their lives.
As someone has correctly stated, the only person who likes change is a wet baby. Many of us are in a rut, and we are content with that rut. We don’t want anyone or anything to upset our routine. The last thing we want is change. We are afraid to ponder the idea that Christ really is alive that the gospel really is true because if we accept that, we can no longer be content with half-hearted commitment to Christ’s person or his purpose. Those early disciples met the risen Chris, and they were forever changed. They enlisted in his cause. They gave everything they had in serving him.
Some of you are familiar with the name Malcolm Muggeridge. It was as an adult that he finally became a Christian.
Muggeridge frequently spoke and wrote of “feeling like a stranger” in the world. In an interview a few years before his death, Muggeridge was asked if he would be willing to explain that feeling. His answer is worth repeating: “I’d very gladly do so, because I’ve thought about it often. In the war, when I was in North Africa, I heard some lieutenant colonel first use the phrase ‘displaced person.’ That phrase was very poignant to me, but it’s also a very good definition of a person who’s come to see that life is not about carnal things, or success, but is about eternity rather than time . . . I don’t really belong here, I’m simply staying here.”
The point is that Muggeridge experienced a radical change in his life after he came to the realization that Christ is real and that Christ is alive. But what he discovered much to his amazement was that his new life was so far superior to his old life that he in no way would ever turn back.
Have you made that discovery yet? There is no joy in half-hearted faith. Many of us have just enough religion to make us miserable.
But Christ wants to make our lives a miracle.
Are you afraid to believe the good news that Christ is risen? Is it simply too good to be true? Or are you willing to open your life to the risen Christ and allow him to make a radical change in your life?
Those early disciples had trouble believing, first for fear, and then for joy, but when they did believe, it turned their lives and their world upside down.