Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!
In our gospel for today (John 16: 16-22), our Lord says to his disciples, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, and the world will rejoice; but even if you are sad, your sadness it will become joy. "
The unconverted world rejoices in the sufferings of Christians. In the times of persecution of the first Christians, the enemies of the church rejoiced in seeing the followers of Jesus Christ being burned at the stake or being torn to pieces by wild beasts in the stadium. Because? The proclamation of the gospel reveals to unbelievers their sin and need for a Savior, and unbelievers do not want a Savior.
And the world outside the church has not changed in this regard. There is more persecution of Christians today than ever. There are modern martyrs in China, Nigeria, the Middle East, North Korea, and other countries. It does not matter, as heirs of the kingdom of God, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we endure persecution as the common suffering of earthly life.
"So you now certainly have sadness; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you." Jesus promised his disciples that he would return to them in visible form one day in glory. Until that day, he would be with them through his body and blood offered at the Lord's Supper. Also, on the day of Pentecost, the church would receive an outpouring of the Holy Spirit, who would guide them into all truth. In this we have joy and hope because of the faith that the Spirit engenders in us. From the time of Pentecost with the wonderful revelation of it, all believers can become partakers of this joy. The pain over the death of Christ can no longer affect us; Jesus now comes to us in a spiritual way, with his Holy Spirit; He reveals all the glories of his salvation to our hearts. Christians see and know Jesus by faith as the Son of God and his Savior, and they are filled with a joy that will continue as long as his presence continues, until the end of time.
Also, in the midst of a strange and hostile humanity so that our lives are a testimony that silences slander and can make men glorify God. Because the same men who now viewed Christians as bad or suspicious characters, or as enemies of public order, were still open to conviction. The good works of Christians, their meekness in the face of the severest provocations, their cheerful disposition to be of service at all times, their evident observance of all the precepts of the holy will of God, all this was bound to leave an impression, to despite all opposition.
Many unbelievers who originally viewed Christianity as a great fraud have been led to reconsider their first impression by the conduct of the confessing believers. Exact observation, closer knowledge, showed her the injustice of his position. And when the grace of God was proclaimed to him, when God visited him with the gracious Word of the gospel, his heart changed in favor of the Christian religion, he accepted its truths, he glorified God, whom he now also recognized as his Father by love of Jesus.
Not only could the doctrine of spiritual freedom be misunderstood by superficial Christians, but some of them could get the impression that the government, being pagan, was none of their business and that they owed no allegiance to the emperor. Therefore, the apostle clearly states that believers must submit, must be subject to, and obey all human authority and institution.
That is one of the functions of the government, to punish the wicked, those who refuse to keep the peace, those who disobey the laws of the country. People who do well, on the other hand, who live in accordance with the laws of the land, the government should recognize with due praise, that is, protect them and their property against all forms of evil. Eyes: Clearly, Christians cannot be obedient to government if it tries to extend its authority to spiritual matters.
The motive for the voluntary obedience of Christians is given by the apostle: Because this is the will of God, namely, that by doing good you silence the error of fools, as free, and not having your freedom as a cloak of your malice but as servants of God. Christians in this way, by cheery obedience to the constituted authorities, will do more to silence the wrong ideas, the errors that fools have regarding their position in the state, than by books written explaining their principles.
The freedom of the Christian is freedom from sin. In this sense, the Spirit gives us new life at baptism. This is the beginning of the Spirit's work. We are justified by the faith that the Spirit has given us. However, during this trial period, the Spirit changes our lives to bear witness to the truth of the gospel to the world and lead others to faith. In this hope we have the peace that passes all understanding. Amen.
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