The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist in Residence

Bethany Lutheran Worship on
Ustream

NT Greek Lessons - Thursdays, 7 PM.

Saved worship files and Greek lessons are at the live worship link.

email: greg.jackson.edlp@gmail.com,
which works as gregjacksonedlp@gmail.com too.

Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
Book of Concord Selections
Bente's Historical Introductions,
and Martin Chemnitz Press Books

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Quasimodogeniti - The First Sunday after Easter, 2017.
John 20:19-34. Doubting Thomas.



Quasimodogeniti, The First Sunday after Easter, 2017
  
Pastor Gregory L. Jackson




The Hymn #192                          Awake My Soul - Gerhardt
The Confession of Sins
The Absolution
The Introit p. 16
The Gloria Patri
The Kyrie p. 17
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 19
The Epistle and Gradual       
The Gospel               
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22 
    
The Sermon Hymn #
208               Ye Sons and Daughters      
       

Timidity and Hardness of Heart


The Preface p. 24
The Sanctus p. 26
The Lord's Prayer p. 27
The Words of Institution
The Agnus Dei p. 28
The Nunc Dimittis p. 29
The Benediction p. 31
The Hymn #
187                               Christ Is Arisen            

KJV 1 John 5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? 6 This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. 7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. 8 And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. 9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. 10 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.

KJV John 20:19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. 20 And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. 21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: 23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.

24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. 26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. 27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. 28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. 29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. 30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: 31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.


First Sunday After Easter

Lord God, heavenly Father, we thank Thee, that of Thine ineffable grace, for the sake of Thy Son, Thou hast given us the holy gospel, and hast instituted the holy sacraments, that through the same we may have comfort and forgiveness of sin: We beseech Thee, grant us Thy Holy Spirit, that we may heartily believe Thy word; and through the holy sacraments day by day establish our faith, until we at last obtain salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.



Timidity and Hardness of Heart

KJV John 20:19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. 

Luther makes some good observations about lack of faith and hardness of heart in his sermon on Thomas being rescued from his unbelief.

Many different events and circumstances can make us timid, weak, afraid, and despairing. The disciples were stricken by fear because their leader was gone and no one could escape the power of the Roman Empire. They knew the results of religious leaders enabling the soldiers to finish the task. Therefore, the door was locked carefully so that men would have to crash through the door. That was fear, timidity, and lack of faith at work.

We moved into a house where every single door had added locks and chains, more than anything I seen before, including the kind on the door protecting the disciples. I saw all that in our Bella Vista house and thought, "Someone is very afraid." Later, we learned it was a dysfunctional ex in-law, and the renter was a retired police officer. Even the police can be afraid at home.

The disciples already heard the news of Christ rising from the dead. But fear is so great - plus the guilt associated with their behavior - that they were locked up in a fake kind of security. 

The first break in this nightmare of fear came when the risen Lord appeared before them, in spite of locked doors, and said, "Peace be with you." Although much needed to be said, the first response to His cowering disciples was - Peace, a friendly and strengthening greeting.

This is the Son of God strengthening them by praying peace - that is forgiveness - upon them. Peace always accompanies faith, forgiveness, and salvation. That is the most important association in the New Testament - peace and forgiveness. References to warfare and peace are almost absent.

20 And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.

The best way to show them they were seeing Him arisen was to show His hands and side. They knew from John about His last moments. This could not be a dream from their imaginations. Instead, it was confirmation of the Two Natures united in Christ. As the Son of God, He appeared in the room in spite of the locks. As truly human, He showed the cruel wounds of His death.

In the same way, God takes away our fears, anxiety, depression, and torpor by showing us His power, grace, and mercy. He does that in the Scriptures and also in the daily events of life.

As Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, "You not only knew the Word of God but experienced its effect upon you." That is what the Greek class has learned, not to mention those reading Luther's sermons for typos. The power is so striking that no one can deny the power of God's Word.

Sometimes people cannot see this grace of God, so our actions in showing concern and actually helping our neighbor displays this love in action, which is the fruit of the Gospel.

So here we see the Son of God going to them to strengthen and guide them after an experience that crippled their emotions for a time.

21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: 23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.

Jesus offered them peace again, and this is the most important greeting of the time. It is still used today in the Middle East. 

This is where we see the transition from Jesus being sent by the Father to Jesus sending the disciples, who are called Apostles after the Resurrection and Ascension. With this change is also the power of the keys - which clearly argue against Universal Forgiveness without Faith. If there are sins to forgive, then the sins of the entire world have not been absolved.

This is an important part of the liturgy. We confess our sins together, and the absolution pronounces forgiveness and peace. This is also carried out among the membership and in the family. But it is centered in worship and pastoral leadership. Now that is largely reversed, to the detriment of all. The minister is full of fear that he will be pronounced unforgiven for offending someone, thereby earning the locking key that makes him leave..unforgiven for doing his job.

I have seen clergy fussing over the "Office of the Keys" for decades, but they sidestep the real issue - Justification by Faith. They want to line up and polarize people based on various traditions when the Gospel of John clearly teaches and quotes Jesus teaching faith in Him. 

The ultimate sin is not having the wrong position on the Keys, but teaching against faith in Christ. The ultimate blessing is not belonging to the correct synod, but believing in Christ and remaining with the True Vine through the Means of Grace. 

Those who see their doctors regularly, in spite of fears, will normally be the most healthy, because there are always conditions to be treated. Those who stay with the Means of Grace will also be spiritually healthy because our eternal malady on earth is the Old Adam, our sinful nature. Like most maladies, if left untreated, this takes over entirely.

This is where hardness of heart enters the discussion. When people reject faith, even in the midst of talking about faith, the effect of the Spirit is to disturb them about this. Over time they harden their hearts against the Spirit at work in the Word. And they fall in love with worldly peace and security. They become harder than stone and flint, and nothing touches them. That is the condition of theology in America. In Europe it is worse and few both to stand up for the eternal truths.

24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. 

Luther saw Thomas as brave before this happened, offering to go together with Jesus to Jerusalem and die there. I saw that as Thomas being grim and fearful. Nevertheless, we see Thomas at his worst, just as Peter displayed great timidity when associated correctly with Jesus.

Thomas was so deep in his gloom that he would not believe until he saw the wound and touched them. This is a great vow, and God does not fail to hear such vows, which are more like commands to Him.

On a much smaller scale, I was gloomy about visiting a school recently. I expected nothing but I was welcomed with great warmth, even for just stopping by. I was even given an interview date that day, by email. Going back 36 years, that never happened, for one reason or another. It did at one school at first but that gave way to normal corporate behavior, called Mushroom Management - keep people in the dark and harvest. You can guess the rest, if you know mushroom production.

I have seen this with many people. Various difficult situations confront them, whether economic or health or family. I pray about them and ask for God's help, and help comes in abundance. 

We do not pray to get what we want, but to glorify God's Name. When He provides far beyond our ability to imagine it, we can only attribute this turnabout to God's power. And that gives us all the more reason to trust Him in all things bothering us.

26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. 27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.

The disciples saw the risen Lord, but they were still locked up, one week later, this Sunday that we call Doubting Thomas Sunday. Jesus again entered the locked room and showed that He heard everything. He commanded Thomas to do what Thomas insisted he needed for proof.
This is where Jesus began admonishing them for their little faith. 

Lack of trust doubts what God can do, in spite of our experiences and knowledge of God's Word. 

Many portray this as Thomas responding without doing what he insisted on doing. And I used to say that too. But that overlooks Jesus' command. He did not say, "If you wish..." or "Perhaps..." He commanded. So the lack of debate following tells us that is exactly what Thomas did, because the Lord commanded him to do it.

28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. 29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. 

Thomas did what the Son of God commanded and responded with this brief and powerful confession of faith. Not THE Lord and God - but "My Lord and my God," truly showing his faith in the message of Jesus as Lord and God. After all, faith is not simply what is taught but individual trust in what is taught.

Now Thomas and the rest are strong enough again to hear Jesus rebuke lack of faith. The time is coming when they will no longer see Jesus but will be preaching about Him in all kinds of hostile situations. Now they will be pointing to their Lord no longer seen and teaching people to see Him as Lord and Savior.

This approach is how God teaches. First, the Incarnate Word accompanied His teaching with miracles. to confirm their divine origin. The disciples were built up to withstand the horrors of the crucifixion and be restored to faith in all that Jesus said, even in bearing the cross. 

Next they saw the power of the Word in teaching crowds to dismiss their previous fickleness and blindness and now see the crucified Messiah as their Savior. When thousands responded, they experienced the efficacy of the Word. They raised a harvest although others labored for them to make that possible.

30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: 31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

Jesus continued to confirm His divinity in the Resurrection appearance, when time was short before His Ascension. Here the purpose of the Gospel is stated with perfect clarity. The accounts are written that people might believed Jesus is The Christ. And in believing they have eternal life (from forgiveness) in His Name.

By Caravaggio.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Luther's Sermon - Thomas Saved from Unbelief

Norma Boeckler



FIRST SUNDAY AFTER EASTER


FOURTH SERMON. JOHN 20:19-31.


KJV John 20:19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. 20 And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. 21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: 23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained. 24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. 26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. 27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. 28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. 29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. 30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: 31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.


I. THE UNBELIEF OF THOMAS.

2. Here we see what a poor thing the human heart is when it begins to grow faint, that we cannot strengthen and comfort it again. Both the other disciples and Thomas did not only hear during the time they were with the Lord that he taught the people with great authority, and later also saw how he confirmed his doctrine by the great miracles performed on the blind, the lame, the lepers, the dumb etc., whom he cured; but also that he raised three persons from the dead, especially Lazarus who had been four days in his grave. And, as it appears, St. Thomas was the most fearless and courageous of all the disciples, in that he said when Christ wished to go again into Judea to Lazarus who was dead: “Let us also go, that we may die with him,” John 11:16. Such fine characters were the disciples of Christ and especially St. Thomas, who it appears, had a more manly heart than the others, and besides had recently witnessed how Christ raised Lazarus who had been in the grave four days, and ate and drank with him; yet he could not believe that the Lord himself arose from the dead and was alive.

3. Moreover, we see in the apostles that we are truly nothing when Christ withdraws his hand and we are left to ourselves. The women, Mary Magdalene and the others, announced it, and now the disciples themselves proclaim that they had seen the risen Lord. Yet St. Thomas is stubborn and will not believe it; yea, and he will not be satisfied even if he see him, unless it be that he sees the print of the nails in his hands and puts his fingers into the print of the nails and his hand into his side. And the beloved disciple will thus himself also be lost and condemned, in that he will not believe. For there can be neither forgiveness of sins nor salvation if one believes not, since therein lies all the virtue and power of faith and eternal life, as St. Paul says: “And if Christ hath not been raised, then is our preaching vain, your faith is also vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also that are fallen asleep in Christ have perished,” etc. 1 Corinthians 15:14-18. To perdition will St. Thomas also go, he will not be saved but wills to be lost, because he will not believe that Christ is risen. And he would have perished and been condemned in his unbelief had not Christ rescued him from it by this revelation.

4. So the Holy Spirit illustrates and teaches now in this example that without faith we are simply blind and completely hardened, as we see everywhere in the holy Scriptures that the human heart is the hardest thing in the world, harder than steel and adamant. And on the other hand, if it be bashful, despondent and soft, there is no water nor oil so soft as the human heart.

5. You find many examples and narratives illustrating this in the Scripture.

Pharaoh, before whom Moses performed so many terrible signs and wonders that he could not reply to them, yea, he had to admit that it was God’s finger and therefore also confessed he had sinned against God and his people etc.: yet his heart became harder and more obdurate continually until the Lord drowned him with all his army in the sea. Likewise also the Jews; the more powerfully Christ proved both by word and deed that he was the one who was promised by their fathers that he should be a blessing to them and to the whole world, the more vehemently and bitterly they raged against him and their hatred, blasphemy and persecution knew no measure nor end until they condemned their Lord and God to the most ignominious death and crucified him between two malefactors, nothing could prevent it although Pilate the judge himself declared against them that he was innocent, creation acted differently than usual and thereby testified that its Lord and Creator hung there on the cross etc.; likewise the thief freely confessed publicly, although Christ truly hung there and died, yet he was a king who had an eternal heavenly kingdom; and the heathen centurion publicly cried: “Truly this was the Son of God,” etc. Matthew 27:54. This all, I say, helped nothing to bring about this conversion.

6. This is the way the godless, condemned world does: the more grace and kindness God shows it, the more unthankful and wicked it becomes. Now it is meet and right for us all to thank God from our hearts that he has revealed his holy Word so pure and clear before the day of judgment, from which we learn what inexpressible treasures he has given us in Christ, namely, that we are saved by him from sin and death, and shall now be righteous and blessed, etc. What is the attitude of the world to this? As its custom is, it does not know how to abuse, blaspheme and condemn this Word of grace and life enough, and wherever possible to persecute and destroy those who confess it, and although the world hears that God will severely punish such sin with hell-fire and eternal condemnation, it thinks little about it, goes ahead securely and obdurately, as if it were nothing, and enjoys its sport as we clearly see now in the pope and his following.

And yet it is such horrible and dreadful wrath that all creatures are terrified by it. Therefore it is certainly true that no stone, steel, adamant, yea, nothing on earth is as hard as the impenitent heart of man.

7. On the other hand, if the heart loses courage and is terrified it is softer than water and oil, so that, as Scripture says, it is frightened at a rustling leaf. And when such a person is alone in a room and hears a little cracking of a rafter or a beam, he thinks thunder and lightning are striking him and he is in such anxiety and fear (as I have often seen), that no one can comfort or strengthen him, and all the preachers and all consoling proverbs are too few to calm him. So there is no moderation with the human heart; it is either entirely too hard like wood and stone, that it inquires about neither God nor Satan, or, on the other hand, it is entirely too timid, fickle and despondent.

8. Thus the apostles are here too scared and terror-stricken by the scandal they saw in their Lord being so ignominiously mocked, spit upon, scourged, pierced and finally crucified, so that they no longer had a heart in their bodies, who before while they had Christ among them were so bold and courageous, that James and John ventured to bid fire to come down from heaven and consume the Samaritans who would not receive Christ, Luke 9:54. They also knew how gloriously to boast that the devils were in the name of Jesus subject unto them; and Thomas admonished the others and said: “Let us go that we may die with him;” and Peter, more impetuous than the others, smites with the sword among the crowd when they wished to seize and take Christ captive. But now they lie prostrate in great fear and terror, locked up, and will let no one come to them. For this reason they were also terrified at the Lord when he comes and greets them, and they still think (which is indeed a sign that they are completely overcome by fear and despair) they see a spirit or a ghost. So soon they had forgotten all the miracles, signs and words they had seen and heard from him, that the Lord had enough to do during the forty days after his resurrection before he separated from them, in his appearances and revelations in various ways, now to the women, then to the disciples, both individually and collectively, besides eating and drinking with them; all for the purpose that they might be assured that he is risen. Yet it is so hard for this truth to enter their hearts.

9. Likewise, when after forty days he spoke with them out of the Scriptures about the kingdom of God, which should now commence and be a kingdom in which should be proclaimed in his name repentance and the forgiveness of sins among all nations, they raise the cry and ask him when he was about to ascend from them in a cloud, and say: “Lord, dost thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” they have entirely different thoughts of the kingdom of Christ than those he had been teaching them.

Here you see how exceedingly difficult it is for bashful and despondent hearts to be comforted and strengthened, even after being rightly instructed, so that they know what kind of a king Christ is and what he has accomplished by his death and resurrection.

10. Thus both the obduracy and the bashfulness of the human heart are indescibable. When out of danger it is hard and obdurate beyond measure, so that it cares nothing for the wrath or the threatening of God. Although it hears for a long time that God will punish sin with eternal death and condemnation, yet it goes ahead and is drowned in pride, avarice, etc. On the other hand, when the heart begins to fear it becomes so despondent that it cannot be again reclaimed. It is indeed a great pity that we are such wicked people. If we are not in want we continue to live on in sin without the least fear or shame, yea, to grow stiff like a dead corpse; what is spoken to us is as if spoken to a rock. On the contrary, if there is a change in us that we feel our sins, we are terrified by death, God’s wrath and judgment; we on the other hand grow stiff at the great anxiety and sorrow, so that no one can strengthen us; yea, we are even terrified before that which should comfort us, like the disciples were before Christ, who came to them for the very purpose that they might be comforted and made happy. Although he does not at once set them right he has to doctor them during the forty days, as I said. He takes and uses all kinds of comfort and medicine and still he can hardly strengthen them again, until he gives them the right strong drink, namely, the Holy Spirit, of which they drank and were comforted in the right way so that they are no more as before, bashful and terrified.

II. THOMAS SAVED FROM HIS UNBELIEF.

11. Finally, we have in St. Thomas an illustration of the power of Christ’s resurrection. We just heard how firm and even stiff-necked he was in unbelief, that although the other disciples unitedly testified that they had seen the risen Lord, yet he simply will not believe it. He appears to have been a fine and brave character who had thoroughly concluded that he would not so soon believe the others. For he had seen that the Lord only three days before was put to death on the cross and the nails driven through his hands and feet and the spear pierced his side. This picture was so indelibly and deeply impressed upon him that he simply could not in the least believe what the others told him, that Christ was risen. Therefore he promptly and defiantly says: “Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” He thus utters a hyperbole, an exaggerated statement, that he will not believe his eyes alone, but will feel and grope about Christ’s body with his hands. As if he would say: No one shall persuade me to believe, but I will stand so firmly upon no, that I will not believe even if I see him, as you say you saw him. But should I believe it, then he must come so near to me, that, if it were possible, I may touch his soul and put my hands into his eyes.

12. That is to be steeped very firmly and deeply in unbelief. And it is wonderful what he means by it that he at once proposes a thing absurd, to put his hand and finger into the openings of his wounds. For he had always been so smart as to think: Since Christ was again alive, had conquered death and was rid of all the bruises from the scourging and the crown of thorns, he would surely have healed and removed also the five wounds.

13. Now, this has happened for our example and consolation, that the great apostle also had to fail and stumble, in which we see how Christ shows and conducts himself toward his weak disciples, that he can tolerate also such who are still as hard and stubborn as St. Thomas is here, and that he will not on that account condemn and disown them, if only in other respects they sincerely wish to continue to be his disciples, and not maliciously blaspheme him and become his enemies; and by this he teaches us that we should become neither offended nor despondent because of that; but in harmony with this his example gently go on with them, serve their weakness, with our strength until they become established and grow strong.

14. But it serves more to the end, as I began to say, that the resurrection of the Lord is not only clearly shown and proved by this unbelieving and stubborn Thomas, who persevered for eight days in his unbelief, and he lay there grown almost stiff; but also that the power of the resurrection becomes known, and is of benefit to us; as appears in Thomas who thereby was brought from unbelief to faith, from doubt to certain knowledge and to a beautiful and glorious confession.

15. Now it happens, says the Evangelist, first on the eighth day after his resurrection, when Thomas had established himself in his unbelief in the face of the testimony of all the others, and by this time he is dead and no one hopes he will show himself in a special manner to Thomas. Just then Christ comes and shows him the same scars and wounds, as fresh as he had shown them to the other disciples eight days before, and tells him to reach hither his finger and hand and place them into the prints of the nails and into his side. Christ yields to Thomas so much that he not only sees as others did, but he also seizes him and feels, as he had said: “Except I shall see in his hands,” etc., and he says in addition: “Be not faithless, but believing.”

16. Here you see Christ is not satisfied to stop with the narrative; but he is concerned only that Thomas becomes believing and is resurrected from his stubborn unbelief and sin. This follows in a powerful way in that St.

Thomas soon begins and says to Christ: “My Lord and my God!” There is at once a different man, not the old Thomas Didymus (which means in English a twin, not a doubter, as has been wrongly interpreted from this text), as just before, when he was so cold and stiff and dead in his unbelief, that he would not believe unless he puts his finger into his wounds; but he commenced suddenly to deliver a glorious confession and sermon about Christ, the equal of which no apostle to that time had yet preached, namely, that the person, the risen one, is true God and man. For they are admirable words he utters: “My Lord and my God! He is not drunken, he is not jesting nor mocking; he does not mean a false God; therefore he certainly does not tell a lie. Besides he is not here chastised by Christ, but his faith is confirmed, and it must be the truth and sincere.

17. It is now the power of the resurrection of Christ that St. Thomas, who was so deep and obdurate in unbelief, even more than any other disciple, was so suddenly changed, becomes an entirely different man, who publicly and freely confesses that he not only believes that Christ is risen but is also enlightened by the power of Christ’s resurrection so that he firmly believes and confesses that he, his Lord, is true God and man, through whom, as he is now resurrected from unbelief, the fountain of all sin; so he will also arise from the dead at the judgment day and live forever with him in indescribable glory and blessedness. And not only he, but all who believe thus, as Christ himself further says to him: “Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”

18. Finally, that Thomas puts his finger into the wounds. I will not argue whether Christ always after his resurrection retained the wounds and prints of the nails; yet I argue they did not appear hideous, as otherwise they might, but fresh and comforting. And whether they were still fresh, open and red as artists paint them, I will leave for others to decide. Otherwise it is a fine idea to picture them before the ordinary person so that he has a memorial and a picture that will remind and admonish him of the sufferings and wounds of Christ. It is possible that he retained the same signs or marks which will likely enlighten much more beautifully and gloriously at the day of judgment his whole body and he will show them before the whole world, as the Scriptures say: “They shall look unto me whom they have pierced,” Zechariah 12:10. This I would commend to every devotional exercise for consideration.

19. The leading thought, however, for us to learn and retain from this Gospel is, that we believe that Christ’s resurrection is sure and that it works in us so that we be resurrected both from sin and death; as St. Paul richly and consolingly speaks of it, and Christ himself here, when he says: “Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed,” and St. John concluding this Gospel teaches and admonishes about the use and benefit of the resurrection: “These are written, that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and believing ye may have life in his name.”

20. This is indeed a powerful and clear passage, which highly praises faith and gives the testimony that we certainly have eternal life through the same; and that this faith is not an empty, dead thought on the history about Christ, but that which concludes and is sure that he is the Christ, that is, the promised King and Savior, God’s Son, through whom we all are delivered from sin and eternal death; for which purpose he also died and rose again; and that we alone for his sake acquire eternal life, in a way that is called in his name, not in Moses’ nor in our nor any other man’s name, that is, not because of the law, nor of our worthiness and doings, but alone on account of Christ’s merits, as Peter says in Acts 4:12: “There is none other name among men, wherein we must be saved,” etc.

Beneficial Garden Bugs – Attracting Pirate Bugs To The Garden

Crimson Clover arrived today - 5,000 seeds.



Beneficial Garden Bugs – Attracting Pirate Bugs To The Garden:



"Minute pirate bugs are tiny insects that are usually less than one-fifth inch long. They are black or dark purple with white markings at the tips of their wings so that they appear to have white bands when the wings are closed. Nymphs are generally between a yellow-orange color and brown and are shaped like a teardrop.

Although incredibly small, pirate bugs move fast and are very predatory. Pirate bugs in the garden feed on a number of small insects, including aphids, spider mites, and thrips. They are also used to kill thrips in greenhouses. Each adult pirate bug can consume as many as 20 thrips larvae each day."

 Over and over.


'via Blog this'

***

GJ - A few days ago I found John Paul II was blooming. That was good. Then I got closer and saw black specks on it. Now that I am enlightened, I thought, "Good. Either these are pest-eaters or pests for for pest-eaters to eat."

I had been reading about pirate bugs but did not realize how small they were. Normally the aphids I see are light green. These were black. I am sure now they were pirate bugs, the ferocious and voracious enemies of aphids. The JP II rose looks good, not aphid-destroyed.

Pirate bugs over-winter in piles of leaves, and my entire backyard is blanketed with leaves from my trees, plus 60 bags I hauled in from other properties. The leaves are sometimes knee-deep along the Gardener's fence because the wind drives them against the fence and over the roses. That is also good winter protection for the roses - and food for the soil creatures.

As readers can see from the article above, Crimson Clover is a good plant to grow for beneficial insects, especially pirate bugs. They hate aphids with a perfect hate - or perhaps love them with a perfect love. The results are excellent.

We can see how God has...

  1. created these plants and animals to live together, 
  2. engineered each participant (with overlapping dependencies), and 
  3. managed them to perfection. 

If people neglect the beneficial insect plants, those insects pack up and leave. The increase in pests will draw beneficial insects back, especially when conditions are good. When gardeners maximize the perks for beneficial creatures, the good ones flourish and do their jobs.

I continue to marvel at gardeners removing the fallen leaves, the ground cover needed most for bugs and beetles that will serve them all summer. They do not have to be as bountiful with leaves as I am - they can leave the back of the yard in leaves or surround trees with giant piles of leaves. Brett Meyers reported that mulching with leaves doubled the production of their fruit tree. That seems to be a great yield for piling up leaves.

As Paul Gerhardt might say today, if God could plan so elaborately well for His Creation, how could He neglect our needs?

 Norma Boecker's Autumn Leaves

Friday, April 21, 2017

Comparing Traditional Bible Translations


In Biblical translations, the Protestants drove off the road after WWII. Most of them were associated with the Left-wing National Council of Churches, earlier called the Federal Council of Churches. The FCC was so Communist that scandals erupted and they changed their name, ending the scandals.

The NCC sponsored the Revised Standard Version, which was hyped as much as the NIV later, especially since every denomination got behind it, sooner or later. Before the RSV, the KJV reigned supreme. Some Protestant became suspicious when the RSV experts decided the Virgin Birth prophecy in Isaiah 7 only predicted a young woman would bear a child, forgetting the phrase  God with us - Emmanuel. Let's face it, the RSV was a Bible from liberals and for liberals, clearly intended the break the grip of the King James.

All modern translations follow the dynamic equivalence nonsense from that heresiarch who put his stamp on all the Biblical societies - Eugene Nida. That theory gave everyone a license to make the Bible text say anything they wanted it to say. The New NIV is an example of delivering exactly what the mainline apostates and Church Growth apostates demand to hear - all are justified in Romans 3:24, even though the all is missing from all Greek texts.

The modernists were already getting three examples of this phrasing wrong, which the KJV has precisely as written in Greek -

Romans 3:22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: (not in, but of, see Galatians and Philippians)

Like the Virgin Birth omission, this addition of all has to be a new low in prostituting Biblical translation to the demands of the market place. Another example is Willowcreek only buying Bible that are feminist, which will certainly lead to pan-sexual Bibles. Like Marble Collegiate Church in NYC, the gulf between the founders and the present demons occupying what others labored for - is impossible to describe completely.

Lizard Hands - Murdoch owned your NIV Bible,
though I heard he sold it.


Although SP Mark Schroeder inkled that he hated the New NIV, that monstrosity from Lizard Hands has become the official WELS translation. Mequon won that round, which was one more eructation from the unified Church Growth UOJ faculty.

Where Are the Lutheran Groups?
WELS jumped 100% into the New NIV, which is appropriate for Pietists in the last stage of the Great Apostasy.

The Little Sect on the Prairie (ELS) seems to like the New KJV, as do the CLC (sic) and ELDONUTs. However, ELDONA also likes the Calvinist ESV (the RSV edited by a Calvinist), which is also a tendency in the LCMS.



ELDONA does not like the KJV21 or the Third Millennium Bible. One layman donated a number of both. Nobody thanked him or acknowledged the Bibles. He does not even know what happened to them. That suggests that the Right Reverend Bishop James Rodham Heiser pressed the shun button on the entire KJV family - except the Babtist New KJV. Do not search for logic in all this - I am only reporting what I know.



Comparing the KJV21 and Third Millennium
I look at the sacramental passages, which the modernist ones - including the New KJV - fail miserably. It is not only a matter of imposing their anti-sacramental views, which reveal opposition to the efficacy of the Word, the work of the Holy Spirit exclusively through the Word. Their failure to translate properly comes from slapping words into a text that were never there.

I am going to list key passages - KJV, KJV21, and TMB. Forget the New KJV, which I have shown before to be Babtist. The luv of the New KJV among the micro-mini-sects suggests they are Justification-by-Faith starved, just like WELS. If you want to find those blokes getting an education, it is always at a Babtist conference or college, Baylor included.

Romans 3:22King James Version (KJV)

22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

Romans 3:2221st Century King James Version (KJ21)

22 even the righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ, unto all and upon all those who believe. For there is no difference,
TMB - by faith of Jesus Christ.
---


Matthew 28:19King James Version (KJV)

19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

Matthew 28:1921st Century King James Version (KJ21)

19 Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,
TMB
Go ye therefore and teach all nations
--

1 Corinthians 10:16King James Version (KJV)

16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?

1 Corinthians 10:1621st Century King James Version (KJ21)

16 The cup of blessing which we bless: is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break: is it not the communion of the body of Christ?
TMB
...is it not the communion of the blood of Christ?...communion of the body...
--

1 Peter 3:21King James Version (KJV)

21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

1 Peter 3:2121st Century King James Version (KJ21)

21 The like figure to this, even baptism, doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ,
TMB
...baptism, doth also now save us

Conclusion So Far
I use the KJV all the time, so I do not read the KJV21 or TMB often. They are synoptic in agreeing with the KJV, which is the intention. I see only minor, inconsequential differences in these comparisons.



EC President Oren Paris III and Shelton face 13 wire fraud counts instead of 10.
Charges added against former Arkansas lawmaker in bribery case.
The defendants each face up to 20 years in prison, plus fines and forfeiture of any money or property acquired.

 The defendants each face up to 20 years in prison, plus fines and forfeiture of any money or property acquired.


Charges added against former Arkansas lawmaker in bribery case:


"Former Republican Sen. Jon Woods is accused of accepting bribes from Ecclesia College President Oren Paris III in return for state grants to the college, the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported. Randell Shelton Jr. is accused of passing the bribes to Woods through his consulting firm in return for a share.

The amended indictment shows Woods faces 15 counts of wires fraud, instead of 12. Paris and Shelton face 13 wire fraud counts instead of 10. All three also face one count of mail fraud.

The defendants each face up to 20 years in prison, plus fines and forfeiture of any money or property acquired. They are scheduled to be tried together in May.

Woods and Paris were released on a $10,000 bond, and Shelton was released on a $5,000 bond.

The amended indictment also names former Republican Rep. Micah Neal, who allegedly helped Woods direct the state General Improvement Fund money to Ecclesia College in 2013 and 2014."

 Henderson did not know he was on the Ecclesia Board of Regents.
This so-called board never met, and Pat Boone could
not remember the college or being asked.


'via Blog this'

Progress of Luther's Sermons


Volume 1 of Luther's Sermons is having a final look, because extra readers really help. Norma Boeckler is already working on the art.

Volume 2 already has one reading, which I will edit for the typo repairs.

Other volumes are being worked on or finished for their first proofing.

My extra job the last two months has been dealing with all the appointments for cancer diagnosis and treatment. Any doctor's appointment is good for 1/2 day's time and energy - hurry-up and wait. And there were a lot of appointments. But that has been worthwhile and also had far better results than anyone imagined.

I expect to have four or more of the eight volumes done this year, then some additional Luther's works - the Catechisms, for example - following.


  • Some anticipated new works are:
  • The Lutheran Dictionary.
  • Two Felons and One Christian Leader: Stephan, Walther, and Loehe.
  • The Parable of Growth.

 Readers should be getting their copies of The Lost Dutchman's Goldmne.
Let me know if you have not.


Rain, Rain, Stay a Day - The Creation Gardening Is Bursting with Life

Sweetheart Calladiums came from Florida Calladiums

Yesterday I planted the Calladiums that came in the mail. Almost every one was a triple, so they will put on a great display, with color matching the big Crepe Myrtle.

One bloom of the Crepe Myrtle displayed its color close-up.

 The lower half of the Crepe Myrtle was pruned
after the first bloom, which lasts a long time.
The upper half housed the Cardinal nest.
No one else prunes the first bloom, which gives color into late fall.

The new Crepe Myrtle twigs finally leafed out and began growing like weeds. Two are almost waist-high now.

The Mr. Lincoln roses popped new leaves four days after planting. I watered the new roses and Calladiums to give the little bulbs a start and the rose canes some extra moisture.

Nothing brings on rain like watering and visiting Walmart. By the time I was going to Walmart for medicine we had an afternoon of rain (scattered showers?) building up to a cloudburst when I went into the store and departed. Unlike the customers who bent their heads to avoid the rain - does that work? - I went in happy to have all the plants watered and fertilized.

The rain washes pollen out of the air, which was already coating cars like golden powder. I would not dismiss the added benefit of tree contributions to the soil. The pollen, leaves, and seeds add tons of organic matter, if only people would notice.

Almost Eden and I covet pine needles, so they are in short supply on our block.

I never know what a surprise rose will yield.

Another day of rain should leave standing water in the backyard, weeds reaching new heights, and the second rose garden in full bloom. Those roses get bonus rain-barrel water, so that gave them a jump. John Paul II was in full bloom. In the front, Easy Does It was completely in bloom, with bright orange flowers on short stems - typical of floribundas. Later the stems will be much longer. As readers recall from last summer, the Easy Does It ($5) roses would always have plenty of blooms to share.

Some buckwheat (not a grain!) should arrive today. Since that is sown, I will be out in the rain sprinkling the seeds in the butterfly garden, under the maple tree, and in the backyard.

Cat Mint mounds rather than taking over - at least I hope so.


One principle of beneficial insect plants is having them grow near the victims of insect pests. Therefore, I want various hosting plants close to the rose garden. Buckwheat will be in bloom quickly and for a long time. I have tiny mints from last year maturing and blooming already - Mountain Mint, Cat Mint, and Horse Mint.

Spirea Neon Flash - from Almost Eden

Another principle is having blooms open up at various times, besides having plants that seem to be ever-blooming. Contributions come from Crepe Myrtle, Spirea, clover, and dandelions (a herb!).

For the most part, adult beneficial insects need nectar and pollen, while the younglings feed on the pests, growing up where the livin is easy.

One of these mornings you're gonna rise up singing
And you'll spread your wings and you'll take to the sky
But 'til that morning, there ain't nothin' can harm you
With Daddy and Mammy standin' by.
Summertime - The Gershwins.

The mistake many gardeners make is killing all the insects and spiders with poison sprays and particles, when almost all of the creatures are beneficial. The toxin-gardeners also drive away other voracious and useful creatures, from the toads to the birds, none of which thrive on dead, poisoned insects.

One reader wants me to publish a second Creation Gardening book, and I am gathering photos to help that happen. My initial plan is to use the parables of Jesus as the basis for the booklet.

The retail site is here, but readers can obtain it for the author's price or less - by emailing.