SERMON TEXT BELOW
Divine Service One from Lutheran Service Book
478 The Day of Resurrection
486 If Christ Had Not Been Raised from Death
483 With High Delight Let Us Unite
487 Come, You Faithful, Raise the Strain
Easter 3 2020
Immanuel Lutheran Church, Hamilton, Ohio
Pastor Kevin Jud
April 26, 2020
Acts 2:14a, 36-41, 1 Peter 1:17-25, Luke 24:13-35
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Full Service Audio: bit.ly/ImmanuelWorship
In dramatic films and horror movies there is a tension that builds as an enemy is confronted and the battle rages back and forth. Relief only comes when the adversary is overcome and killed. But often, in these types of films, the relief that comes from killing the villain is short-lived. You think the enemy is gone, but he comes back to life and the tension returns; greater than before.
This is where we find ourselves in our reading today from the Book of Acts. It is the Jewish feast the Greeks call Pentecost. Jerusalem is crowded with people from all over the Mediterranean for the festival the Jews call the Feast of Weeks or Feast of Harvest which marks the beginning of the first harvest, seven weeks after Passover. The Holy Spirit has come upon the Jesus’ disciples in wind and fire and they are telling the mighty works of God to the people and the people are hearing it in their own languages and they ask, “What does this mean?”
Then Peter stands up and addresses the Jews of Judea and Jerusalem. It has been fifty days since Jesus died and rose from the dead and this is the first recorded public proclamation of Jesus’ resurrection. Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed, Alleluia!
Acts 2:22-24 (ESV) 22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.
This seemingly Good News is bad news for the people of Judea and Jerusalem because they have blood on their hands. Five weeks earlier they are convinced by the scribes and Pharisees that Jesus is the enemy; an outside agitator from Galilee stirring up all sorts of trouble. They cry out for Jesus’ blood, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” “His blood be on us and on our children!”
Friday morning the frenzied crowd cries out for blood, and they get their blood. Jesus is beaten, flogged, crowned with thorns and crucified. By Friday afternoon it is all over. All the tension of the previous week is resolved; Jesus lies dead in a tomb. It is all very dramatic, but now it is over. Jesus, the troublemaker, is dead. Everyone can breathe a sigh of relief and get back to normal life…that is until Sunday morning. This Jesus, whose death they demanded, has risen from the dead. “Oh no! Jesus really is who He said He is. What have we done? We have killed the Messiah. We have killed the King of the Jews.”
And now, here comes one of Jesus’ disciples. It has been reported that Jesus ascended into heaven a week and a half ago and now Peter addresses a huge crowd at the Feast of Weeks and He tells the people, “this Jesus that you crucified and killed…God raised Him up.”
“We are finished!” the people must be thinking. “What have we done?” That awful, rock of guilt that has been sitting in their guts since the day of Jesus’ resurrection has now become a great boulder that will sink them down to Hell forever. Not only did they crucify Jesus, but then He came back…He rose from the dead, just as He said He would. The people are cut to the heart. Peter preaches that Jesus has risen and instead of responding, “He is risen indeed!” the people, in their guilt, are left only with a question, “Brothers, what shall we do?”
“We killed Jesus. We killed Jesus and then He rose from the dead. We are in deep trouble. What shall we do?” What is Peter’s answer? Peter has proclaimed the resurrection of Christ which brings not joy, but terror to those listening that day. “What shall we do?”
The answer comes from God through Peter; an answer that is full of mercy and grace; an answer that brings the Holy Spirit, forgiveness and eternal life.
Acts 2:38-39 (ESV) 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”
“Repent and be baptized.” God’s response to those who killed Jesus is to give them the Holy Spirit in baptism; to them, and their children, and everyone. What great mercy. What abundant mercy from the one who said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” This promise of forgiveness is not given out with an eye dropper but poured out like a baptismal flood. “The promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off.” The Lord has great mercy on the people of Judea and Jerusalem who killed Jesus and they are told, “Repent and be baptized...save yourselves from this crooked generation,” and 3,000 are baptized that day.
So this is what happened 2,000 years ago in Jerusalem and it is all well and good for the people who cried out to crucify Jesus, but what about you? What does all this have to do with you? You were not there in Jerusalem crying out for Jesus to be crucified and you have already been baptized.
The people of Jerusalem cried out for Jesus’ blood. What a terrible thing to do. But you do it also. You cry out, “crucify him,” when you indulge your sinful desires. Your sins put Jesus on the cross. Your anger. Your lust. Your greed. Your selfishness. You also killed Jesus. Peter’s words, “This Jesus…you crucified and killed,” are just as much for you as the people of Jerusalem. And so what should you do?
Repent and be baptized.
Turn from sin and return to your baptism. Save yourselves from this crooked generation. Be baptized. Live your life as a baptized child of God. Live out your baptism.
There is a saying that you are, “all wet,” meaning that you are completely wrong. This crooked generation looks at the baptized followers of Jesus and says, “You are all wet.” And it is so true. You are all wet. You have been baptized into Christ. You have died to sin. You have been crucified with Christ and have been raised from the dead with Christ. You are a new creation; born again in water and the Spirit. Daily return to your baptism and remember God’s promise to you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
This crooked generation hates you for that. It wants you back following its crooked ways. It wants you back to your anger and lust and greed and selfishness. This crooked generation wants you to dry off and reject your baptism; ignore your baptism; live as if you are not baptized. And this is a great danger. It is so easy to compromise with this crooked generation and instead of living your baptized life you let yourself sink into ongoing sin and learn to be comfortable with it.
Repent and be baptized! Turn from your sin and live your baptized life. At Easter when I announce that Christ has risen the response is, “He is risen indeed, Alleluia!” But perhaps another, very appropriate, very realistic response would be, “repent and be baptized.”
“He is risen indeed.” is a good response, it is acknowledging the fundamental truth that Jesus rose from the dead. Knowing Jesus died for our sins, “Repent and be baptized.” is also our response to this great Good News. So let us today add, “Repent and be baptized” after “He is risen indeed, Alleluia.”
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed, Alleluia! Repent and be baptized.
This Jesus who you killed with your sin has risen from the dead. He has given you new life in baptism. He has forgiven you all your sins. Every day drown the Old Adam of this crooked generation in contrition and repentance along with all your sins and your evil desires. Each day, be baptized. Live your life as a baptized believer in righteousness and purity forever.
What shall we do? Repent and be baptized. Live out your identity as a redeemed child of God. Amen.
 The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001
 The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001