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Who do you trust?

John 20:19-31

Pastor David Ernst

Quasimodo geniti
Epiphany Lutheran Mission of La Caramuca  
Barinas, Venezuela

Play MP3 of this sermon

Sun, Apr 27, 2014 

Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior , Jesus Christ.

In who or what do you trust ? In this world many people say , “I do not believe in anything without evidence.” However, in this life it is rare to have all the evidence we want. We often have to make decisions on important matters without conclusive evidence . It is rare for a person to be 100 percent sure of something based on the evidence in hand. Then we must often rely on another person , who more knowledge or more wisdom about a certain thing and we must take his word on faith. Trust is another word for faith, they are equal ,

What kind of person is trustworthy? If someone tells you there is a short queue for milk in El Garzón , what kind of person would you believe ? A friend? A family member? Your father or mother? What are the criteria for trusting a person ? First, he or she should know something about the topic at hand. We trust a person who had never been mistaken in the past, even though we know any human can be wrong at one time or another . If a person lies to you on purpose, is he a trustworthy person? Of course not . A liar is not a reliable person. But a person who has never lied to us is a reliable person.

So when we have confidence in a person in a matter, the more important it is, the more valuable the trust in a person or authority.

Our readings for today speak of trust, or faith , and the evidence that God has given us as well. In the Old Testament lesson ( Genesis 32:22-30 ) , we have the story of Jacob. Once he fought with “a man” all night. What is the background of this story ? Many years ago , Jacob had tricked and betrayed his older brother, Esau . Esau swore , "Next time we meet , I'll kill you , brother. " Jacob fled from his father 's house to the house of his uncle and worked for his nearly 20 years. He never returned to his parents' house until one day he decided to return with his own family , his servants and his livestock. Jacob knew that to return to his parents' home, it would be the right thing to reconcile with his brother, Esau .

But Jacob was very afraid because Esau had vowed to kill him and Esau was big and strong , a great hunter. It would have been very easy for him to kill Jacob. Then the text says he wrestled all night with a man , but in truth the man was God. He wrestled with God, ie , He said to God, I do not want to reconcile with my brother, I have much fear of him . Yet I know it is Your will to be reconciled.” He wrestled with God all night in prayer. Finally , God gave him a blessing, a sign of good will, that all would be well. He also gave Jacob evidence that it was all not just a dream, because he touched his thigh to make it hurt. The text does not say if the pain was permanent or just for a while, but it was evidence that God was present .

Also in our gospel for today , Jesus appeared to His disciples after His resurrection , when the doors were locked. He said, " Peace be with you " and showed them the nail marks in His hands and that of the spear in His side . The disciples told Thomas , who was not present, "We have seen the Lord . He lives and appeared among us. "And the answer of Thomas? Did he you believe them? No, he said to them , "Unless I 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 . "

Think of the story. Is it normal for a man to rise from the dead ? Of course not . At that time , 2000 years before our day, people would not want to believe this story without evidence or without trust, ie , faith, in the witness, that a man could rise from the dead .

However, Jesus gave Thomas the evidence. He appeared to him, not as a ghost, but he had a body with the marks of the nails in His hands and the spear in His side . He showed these to the other disciples and also to Thomas . He said, " Here I am and here's the evidence of my death and resurrection. "

But also He said, " Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed. " What does this mean ? Confidence is not based only on the evidence, but that we have faith in a person with whom we have a good relationship. We do not begin with the expectation of lies or mistaken words , so we do not need more and more evidence to believe his word. With a reliable person , often his word alone is enough.

We have the Word of God written for us in the Holy Bible. We can believe in this Word , we can have confidence in this Word . For the Apostle John tells us all the things written in this book was written that we might know what it is necessary for salvation (John 20:31 ) . There are many matters in this world in which we must decide what is right , despite many interpretations of the evidence . But we may trust in Jesus Christ and his apostles , in this gospel , that Christ died for us and rose again the third day.

And not only the testimony of the written Word . In our epistle ( 1 John 5:4-12 ) , St. John says , " And there are three that bear witness on earth, the Spirit , and the water , and the blood . : And these three agree as one." What is the water that bears witness with the Spirit ? Baptism is the water that bears witness of Jesus Christ with the Spirit and the Word of God. The Spirit is active in the administration of water and the Word of God. Without the Word , the water is simply water, but with the Word it is a washing of spiritual regeneration.

What about the blood ? First, it is the blood of Christ shed at the crucifixion. But now, we receive the body and blood of Christ in the Lord's Supper. These are the signs that Christ has given us, because now we cannot see Christ in a visible form . But we can hear the voice of Christ in the Word of God and find His blood and body in the sacrament. This is the evidence that Christ has given us and we have faith in them .

There is much other evidence of the truth of the Bible in other forms. The Bible speaks of dates, places and people that we know existed . For example , the Creed says Christ suffered under Pontius Pilate. He was the Roman governor of Palestine at that time and we have evidence of his existence in other documents. We have ancient inscriptions that speak of King David and much archeological evidence of the truth of Scripture. Not conclusive evidence in itself , but enough for us to believ the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ. So says St. John , this is the conclusive evidence for us, the water, the blood , the Word , the Holy Spirit. Blessed are those who believe in them and do not need anything more . The peace that passes all understanding is the fruit of faith in God's Word and the water of baptism and the blood and body of Christ in the sacrament. Amen .

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