Sermons by Pastor Walter Snyder plus announcements, articles, videos, and anything else that doesn’t fit Ask the Pastor or the Luther Library.

20 April 2014

Sermon: Easter Sunday A (OT)

The Feast of the Resurrection of Our Lord
20 April AD 2014

Title: A New Vineyard (MP3 Audio)

Christ the Firstfruits Summary: Ephraim, Samaria, the entire Northern Kingdom — all gone, overrun and carried off by the Assyrians. Now Judah’s inhabitants faced a similar fate at the hands of Babylon. Others would harvest their crops, drink their wine, and live in their land.

The Israelites, both the North and the entirety of God’s chosen people, had taken to “whoring after other gods” rather than remaining faithful to their Husband. Yet here as in so many places, the Lord announces His ongoing faithfulness even in the face of Israel’s idolatrous promiscuity.

However, He couldn’t let matters continue without losing all of Israel, so He sent afflictions and attackers to regain His people’s attention. And even as He was sending Judah into captivity, He was declaring a time of restoration and return. His people would again plant, harvest, and rejoice. Their vineyards would be a picture of the Lord’s planting of His people in the soil of the promised land.

The promise continued beyond Israel, however. Gentiles, by faith in Jesus, would be grafted into Israel’s vine and the Lord would celebrate that harvest. Christ’s resurrection is new life not only for Him but for all of us born dead in our sin, whether Israelite or Gentile. He is the Firstfruits of all who will live and we are being prepared as a bumper crop for the Resurrection into Eternal Life.

Vineyard Text: “At that time, declares the Lord, I will be the God of all the clans of Israel, and they shall be my people.”

Thus says the Lord: “The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness; when Israel sought for rest, the Lord appeared to him from far away.

“I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you. Again I will build you, and you shall be built, O virgin Israel! Again you shall adorn yourself with tambourines and shall go forth in the dance of the merrymakers.

“Again you shall plant vineyards on the mountains of Samaria; the planters shall plant and shall enjoy the fruit. For there shall be a day when watchmen will call in the hill country of Ephraim: ‘Arise, and let us go up to Zion, to the Lord our God.’” Jeremiah 31:1-6

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of A New Vineyard.

NB: For some reason, a few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio if Windows Media is their default MP3 player. If this occurs, you can either change to QuickTime or another default browser player, copy and paste the link directly into a selected player, or download it to your computer, where it seems to work regardless of which player. Several folks have suggested VLC Player from VideoLAN.

Other Readings: Psalm 16; Colossians 3:1-4; Matthew 28:1-10

Please visit Aardvark Alley to read The Resurrection of Our Lord, which includes Saint John Chrysostom’s Paschal homily celebrating death being swallowed up by the One whom it swallowed.

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