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Resurrection Hope

November 10th 2013 by VicarCalvin Kapels

What do you place your hope in? This message from Luke's Gospel shows us the hope of new life that is given to us by Jesus; we live in hope of the resurrection. Read or listen to find out more on how our hope in Jesus; our hope in the resurrection plays out in our daily lives.

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Proper 27C-“Resurrection Hope”-Luke 20:27-40-November 10, 2013

Three weeks ago we celebrated Colston’s 4th birthday. The weeks leading up to his birthday, he had us keep a wish list of things that he wanted for his birthday ranging from giant stuffed panda to an airplane…not a toy one, a real airplane. We told him that he was only going to get one gift from us, so pick out your top three. Well, we found out that his mind would change every day we asked the question. So, we went with this…(hold up teenage mutant ninja turtle costume). And yes, I have worn it a few times. On his birthday, he opened it and was super excited, so excited that he had to wear it that moment. The excitement over his gift only lasted a few hours because it was time to open the next gift, from the grandparents. Just like grandparents are known for, they spoiled him. Soon the excitement from the turtle costume was replaced by the new gifts. And now, three weeks later, they are all just more toys in the toy box and he is already making his Christmas wish list. It’s hard to get upset with him because he was thankful for the gifts. In fact it is easy to see where he is coming from, our culture and the world around us keeps us wanting more things of this world. Things of this world….That is what this group of Sadducees were clinging to in our text today. The Sadducees didn’t believe in the hope of the resurrection of the dead on the last day. Their hope was found through life in this world. That is why they come to Jesus to test Him with this ridiculous scenario based on the Old Testament law of levirate marriage. Levirate marriage is recorded in Leviticus, as a way to provide an heir for a dead brother. It seems strange to us, but if a man died without a son then it was the responsibility of his brother to marry his widow and have a son for him. So, the Sadducees present a scenario where this happened seven times. Seven brothers married this woman and all in turn died. And then the woman died as well. “If there is a resurrection, Jesus, which of the seven brothers will be her husband?” Not only is it a ridiculous question, it is also a question that is focused on the things of this world. Since the Sadducees denied resurrection, the only way life could continue is in name alone. The focus of the Sadducees is having life in this world; a way to pass their gifts and possessions that they accumulated in this world to their next generation. It is not focused on Jesus and the life and salvation that He is bringing to all people who will believe in Him as Lord and Savior.
Sometimes, too often, the Sadducees sin problem is our problem. We too often place our desire and focus; hope and happiness on the things of this world. Life in this world becomes consuming. Many find hope in climbing the corporate ladder. Success, position, and power is a way to find hope. Now, there is nothing wrong with using your God given abilities to reach your full potential in a way that gives God glory. The problem is when the life that is found in Jesus is pushed to the side; perhaps without even realizing it, and the things of this world; money, respect, power, your job become your happiness and hope. Sometimes our desire and focus, hope and happiness, is found in the relationships of this world. Again relationships are good and created by God for our good. But what happens when that relationship fails? It is a selfish, world-centered idea that our hope and joy can be found in another person. Yet when that person fails us, when their thoughts and ideas don’t agree with us, we are quick to get frustrated, quick to attack, quick to feel slighted. It’s probably safe to say that within the last year or two, there is nobody in this room who hasn’t hurt or been hurt by someone else. Holding on to that hurt only leads to more pain and will destroy and kill a relationship or friendship. On what things of this world do you incorrectly, improperly, SINFULLY, place your hope and happiness? Money? More stuff? Bigger house? Non-stop sports? Popularity? We are all sinful. We often place too much hope in the things of this world, just like the Sadducees, and miss the One in whom we have true and lasting hope.. Our sin damages and can even destroy our relationship with our Heavenly Father. But there truly is hope for we have been restored, resurrected into a new life that we live out in joy for our Savior and for one another.
This new life starts with the hope that is found, not in the things of this world, but in the new life that Jesus gives us. Jesus’ life, His preaching and teaching, wasn’t about things of this world. It was about the new life found in Him as Lord and Savior; it was about the one and only Living God who has come to restore fallen creation, to restore the fallen, sinful people of this world to Him.
Through His death on the cross, He has taken the sinful things of this world, our sin, upon Himself. He has taken our place in judgment which brings to Him death and separation from God that we deserve. But through His death and resurrection He gives new life to all those who place their hope in Him and believe in Him. That is why, on our third to last Sunday of the Church year, this message of hope in the resurrection, of things to come is so important. This world will come to an end, the only hope we have is in the living God, living as sons and daughters of the resurrection. That is what Jesus means when He proclaims: “Now He is not God of the dead, but of the living, for all live to Him.” Even though Abraham and Isaac, and Jacob had been physically dead for hundreds of years by the time God was speaking to Moses in the burning bush, they were still alive, alive is Jesus. Jesus has been proclaiming and teaching that His authority is from God, that He is true God, that He is the Son of God and the Messiah. Jesus is saying that He is the resurrection and the life for all are living in Him. Jesus is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who with all the saints of heaven are alive in Him, in His glory. Paul speaks about this in Colossians 3:1-4 “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” As sons and daughters of God, we by faith live with hope not in the things of this world, but we live in the hope in the resurrection on the Last Day. We live a new life in Christ as we share His Good News and share His love with one another.
So, what does that new life rooted in the hope of the resurrection look like? We live in thanksgiving that our Heavenly Father has made us His own children. That He has given us His Word, Baptism, and Lord’s Supper to give His gifts of forgiveness, life and salvation.
We also live with a great desire to want more of the gifts of God, the gifts that bring us true joy and hope. We desire more of what God is giving us. More of His Word of truth so that we can continue to grow in our faith. More time in prayer as we talk with our Heavenly Father and thank Him for our daily bread, and as we ask for the strength and guidance to live a life of service to Him out of joy. More compassion as we seek forgiveness and forgive those who wrong us. I think that this new resurrection life also makes us look different-weird even. Last week in Bible class I made a brief mention on how some of my college friends/teammates reacted when I told them that I was going to Seminary to become a pastor. They just couldn’t understand why I would want to do something that seemed so weird to them. It’s weird because they aren’t sure that Jesus is Lord and Savior, their hope and trust is in the things of this world. So when we talk or when we get together, they have said a few times, “Calvin, you’re different than what we remember, you’re kind of weird.” And so I usually respond, “Thanks, you’re absolutely right.” Because as I am living my life as a son of the resurrection that is in Christ, they are seeing how Christ is changing my life. How my life is looking for the things that are from above, and that God is using me as a witness to bring others to Him.
All of us here, living the resurrected life should seem strange and different to the people of this world, to those who aren’t sons and daughters of the resurrection. As we live our lives there is something about us that stands out that is not of this world. The thing that makes us stand out is the joy and hope found in the gift of our Savior Jesus. The gift of being children of God, children of the resurrection, children with everlasting life found in Christ. When our joy and hope is found in our Savior, then our lives are a witness to the new life found in Christ. Our life is focused on the things above, not of this world.

So the people of this world will find it strange and different that we come to Church on Sunday to praise and worship our Lord and Savior instead of going to a football game to sing praises of a simple touchdown. Or perhaps the strangest thing is giving money to the Church to help spread the Good News to all people and build the Kingdom of God which is eternal instead of using that money and buying a new car, which eventually loses its new car smell and in time will break down. Or what makes us different from people of this world is going to a Bible study, that is not on Sunday, so that we can hear about His gifts of hope and promise of new life found in His Word.
The Apostles Paul uses words like toil, strive, and yearn for when talking about living a life of hope in the resurrection; growing more in the faith and trust of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. These are words that cause a passion inside of you to spring into action. It is not just merely wishing or wanting more. Do you have your hope on the things of this world? Or do you have that passion, that yearning for more of the gifts that God gives? Do you yearn to hear and study more of His Word as you attend Church, Bible Study, Confirmation Class? Do you strive to grow in faith as you do devotions, as you share the good news of Christ with others? Do you have your heart on the things above; your hope in our Lord and Savior Jesus? Does your life show the hope and joy of being sons and daughters of the resurrection? Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort our hearts and establish them in every good work and word. Amen.

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