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

12 April 2020

Easter Sunrise Sermon: Recognized

Preached on John 20:1–18
The Resurrection of Our Lord (Series A)
A Service of Prayer and Preaching (LSB 260)
12 April AD 2020

Video: Click to view the YouTube video of Recognized.

Service of Prayer and Preaching from the Lutheran Service Book begins with the Versicles (260). Then follow the Psalmody, Scriptures, Responsory (263), Apostles’ Creed (LSB 264), and Lord’s Prayer. The sermon starts at the 14:15 mark. The service concludes with the Prayer of the Church, Collect of the Day, Collect for the Word (265), Morning Prayer (266), and Blessing (267).

Note: I’m still working to get better sound for the music.

John 20:16-17 Summary: Mary Magdalene truly and deeply knew Jesus. He cast demons from her. She followed Him, hanging on His words and watching Him feed, heal, even raise people from the dead. After the Twelve, she’s the one we’d expect to know what Jesus looked like, to be able to instantly identify His voice.

Yet on that early Sunday morning outside His tomb, Mary didn’t recognize Him. Perhaps she couldn’t because Christ kept Himself veiled from her perception in order to give her a special gift. She saw Him and heard Him ask why she wept. She mistook the Lord for the gardener! But when Jesus called her name, she absolutely recognized Him.

We don’t usually find ourselves weeping beside a tomb outside of Jerusalem. Yet the tears and trials of our days can prevent us from clearly recognizing Jesus. Instead of finding Him in Word and Sacrament, we often construct an image of the Lord from our own thoughts and desires.

We don’t know the next time that He will call any of us individually by name. But we know that He did so in our baptisms and that He continues to speak to our hearts and minds in His Word. He shows His gracious self to us in the Holy Supper of His body and blood and comforts us with His Absolution.

The Good Shepherd recognizes His sheep and loves us dearly. We likewise recognize Him when we listen to Him and as we reach out to receive His gifts of forgiveness and new life. When we pay attention to His Word and receive His Sacraments, no tears can blur Him, no tumult can keep us from hearing His call.

Text: Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.”

So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in.

Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples went back to their homes.

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”

She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.”

Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus.

Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?”

Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.”

Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher).

Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord” — and that he had said these things to her. John 20:1–18

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.

Video: Click to view the YouTube video of Recognized. Sermon begins at the 14:15 mark.

Other Readings: Psalm 118:15–29; Exodus 14:10–15:1; 1 Corinthians 15:1–11

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