Sermon for Quasimodo Geniti, the Second Sunday of Easter, AD 2022

John 20:19-31

Alleluia! Christ is risen!
Truly today we continue to celebrate that Christ is risen from the dead. Our Lord has died and risen again for our salvation. Not only have our sins been taken away on the cross, but our Lord has sealed our salvation by rising from the dead, so we too, believing in Him, will rise. Certainly the Sunday of Easter is a great celebration of our Lord’s victory, and many were here to celebrate. But you can tell there are fewer people here this week.
Today’s gospel lesson also has to do with gathering, location, and missing people. First, on the evening of Jesus’ resurrection, the disciples are gathered together with the doors locked for fear of the Jews. The disciples are not in a position of confidence and faith with regards to the resurrection. The disciples do know that it would be best to gather together. There in the midst of their gathering, Jesus appears to his disciples. He appears even though the doors are locked and says, Peace be with you. He shows them his hands and his side, his holy wounds. The disciples then are glad when they see the Lord.
See the very specific way that Jesus appears to them. Jesus appears to them in his body. Jesus is always in his body, he is always the God-man, even after his death. When he appears to them, they recognize him as Jesus. He is physical. He shows his holy wounds on his hands and in his side. There is no doubt that this is the man Jesus who was crucified. Jesus is also God, and by his divine power can appear to them in a locked room. There is no other way that Jesus could appear to them in his body than by divine power. He is not a ghost or spirit. Jesus is always man.
It is important that Jesus is man because Jesus as man is our Redeemer. All the work Jesus does for our salvation is in his human flesh. The Son of God had to become man. He had to show up on this earth, taking on flesh in the womb of the virgin Mary. As a man, he is our brother and has the same flesh. As a man, he is able to take on the punishment for our sin. As a man, he is a high priest who sympathizes with our temptations.
This is why the disciples are glad when they see him. Seeing his wounds, they know he is crucified for them. He is close, being the God-man he shares their flesh. He has not resurrected to be a far-away God, but one very close. They are glad to gather at the place where he is located.
How do we gather where he is located? We know Jesus being God and man is everywhere as God and man. He is separate from creation, but fills all creation. If this were all we had, it would be enough. Jesus has given better promises than this. We can trust his word that he gives to the disciples – receive the holy Spirit, if you forgive the sins of any they are forgiven. If you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld. Jesus is with us in his Word of absolution. You need to be where that absolution is promised. In the gospel preached. Even in private confession and absolution. He has given these gifts for your benefit. This is where he is in his body, as God and man, very close to us.
You are here the week after Easter, you know this, but others need to know too. Encourage people who aren’t here. The disciples told Thomas what Jesus brought to them. We don’t know why Thomas wasn’t there. He was not in the place he should have been. The disciples encouraged him to believe. He would not believe unless he saw the crucified Jesus in his body.
When Thomas was with them and the Lord appeared, he then believed. When people are brought to Jesus where he promises to be, doubts are taken away. Christians need to be strengthened regularly by receiving from Jesus. Christians are also strengthened by being with each other. We need those people here who only come on Easter. It is better for the body of Christ. We also need the people here to be here and willing to serve.
Service in the church will not earn you salvation. That comes from receiving from Christ. As Thomas saw the Holy wounds of Jesus, so we also partake of Jesus’ crucified body in a more blessed way. Jesus says blessed are those who do not see and yet believe. We do not see Christ bodily, but we believe. When we believing partake of his supper, we are those who are blessed. Christ is here also in his body and blood because he has promised it. This is his seal and promise on his presence with us.
Christ dwell in us by faith. That means that he is held onto by trust in his Word, not by what our senses perceive. St. John wrote these things were written that you may believe. Jesus has sent us his gospel so he can dwell in his church personally. He is not far away, but personal, close, and active. He is constantly guiding and protecting his church. Next week, we will talk about Jesus as the Good shepherd and how he himself rules his church. For this week remember that Jesus is always God and man, crucified and resurrected. He promises to be with you always. Is that not a reason to always want to dwell with him? Amen.
Alleluia! Christ is Risen!

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