In Nomine Iesu!
In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
Some of His disciples therefore said one to another, “What is this that He saith unto us, ‘A little while, and ye behold Me not; and again a little while, and ye shall see Me: and, ‘Because I go to the Father?’” They said therefore, “What is this that He saith, ‘A little while?’ We know not what He saith.”
Prayer in Pulpit before Sermon:
Merciful God, faithful Father, Who chastenest all whom Thou lovest, that they may not be condemned with the wicked, we beseech Thee, Thou wouldst comfort us in our afflictions with Thy Word and Holy Spirit, that by patience we may overcome the miseries of this present world, in the firm and joyful hope that Thou wilt speedily turn our sorrow into joy and glory everlasting; for the sake of Thy dear Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever One God, world without end. Amen.
Grace, mercy, and peace be to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior + Jesus Christ. Amen.
Hallelujah! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Hallelujah! This resurrection of our Lord would bring much joy to the Apostles. It was joy that could not be taken away from them. But before they knew this joy—this eternal joy—they would experience deep sorrow. These words of our Lord + Jesus, recorded by the Apostle and Evangelist St. John, were delivered to His Apostles on the night of His betrayal and arrest while they ate the Last Supper with the Lord in the Upper Room. Our Lord + Jesus knew what was going to befall Him. He knew what was coming. But the Apostles did not. Some of them were probably like the crowds on Palm Sunday, who expected the Lord to take possession of an earthly crown; to take possession of the throne of King David, and rescue them from the oppression of the Romans.
They therefore argued among themselves who was the greatest; who would be next in authority after the Lord + Jesus. In the Upper Room they were plotting out how the earthly reign of our Lord + Jesus would look. Our Lord therefore prepares them for the truth of the situation. He prepares them for the events to come. He had already washed their feet, giving them an example to follow. Teaching them that they were not to be worried about dividing up the authority of the kingdom among them, but were to serve one another as servants of one another. Here He prepares them for His betrayal, arrest, trial, and crucifixion. He prepares them for His death on the cross.
The world would rejoice at the Lord’s death. Indeed, they mocked Him with insults as He hung upon the tree. The world thought that they had gained the victory. The scribes and Pharisees who worked so hard to have Him condemned; to have Him declared legally deserving of crucifixion by the ruling governor of the region; to have Him legally declared to be cursed, thought they had gained the victory when they saw Him hanging cursed upon the tree of the cross. They had finally gotten rid of this man Who took the people’s attention away from them. They had Him declared guilty of crucifixion, so that the people would know that He was to be considered cursed. In their minds they thought that nobody would follow this Man any longer. They even went to Pilate to have him set a guard over the tomb so that no one could come in the night and steal the body and say that He was raised from the dead. Of course, in doing this they only served to establish that the Lord + Jesus did indeed rise from the dead, because no one was able to steal the body with the soldiers there.
Therefore, they and the rest of the world rejoiced at the death of the Lord + Jesus, thinking that they had gained the victory. The devil and his angels also rejoiced thinking they had killed the Anointed One of the Lord God. They thought they had gained the victory. So, they rejoiced and were jubilant at the death of the Lord + Jesus.
But the Apostles would not be jubilant; they would not be rejoicing. They would all forsake Him and flee. Some would deny Him three times. They would go out and weep bitterly. They would all be filled with sorrow; heartbreaking sorrow. The Man they had been preparing to follow to an earthly throne was dead and gone in a night. The celebration they had in the Upper Room, was turned to tragedy. Their Lord hung cursed upon a tree. Their Lord was wrapped up in burial clothes, and placed within a tomb. They wept and lamented the Lord’s death, while the world rejoiced.
The Lord in His love for His Apostles prepared them for these events. He prepared them for His death. In a little while they would not see Him. He would be buried in the grave; His body would rest in the tomb for three days. But on the third day they would see Him again. He would rise again from the dead on the third day. On that day, after the little while, they would rejoice and be jubilant, for the Lord Who had been taken away from them would be returned to them alive again. Their joy would not be able to be taken from them, for they now knew that death had been conquered. Their joy would not be taken from them for their Lord and Savior had risen from the dead, and had destroyed death once and for all.
We have this same cause for rejoicing. We have this same reason to be jubilant on this day of Jubilate; this day of rejoicing. For our Lord’s resurrection from the dead is not just the joy of the Apostles, but is the joy of all those who cling in faith to the Lord + Jesus. For all those who hold onto to the Lord’s works in faith will receive an eternal crown in Heaven. Our Lord’s death and resurrection is a sign of our own death and resurrection. We all may die, but we will be raised again to life on the Last Day. We too, are filled with sorrow when our loved ones die in this life. They are gone from us for a little while. We see them no more for a little while. But we will see them alive again on the Last Day. In that day we will weep and mourn no more for we will see them alive again.
We indeed will join them in Heaven. The whole company of Heaven will rejoice at the new and eternal life which the Lord + Jesus has won and granted to us. We will wear the white robes of our Lord’s righteousness, and carry our palm branches, and sing the songs of jubilation; the eternal joyous songs proclaiming that our Lord + Jesus has conquered death, so that death can no longer cause us pain and sorrow. We may have sorrow now, but in a little while our sorrow will be turned to joy. In that day our joy shall never be taken away from us.
The devil, the world, and our own flesh, seek in this day to rob us of our joy. They desire to plunge us into sorrow and keep us there. They laugh and sing whenever the Church, or those who are members of the Church, suffer pain and persecution. The world rejoices in our travail. They rejoice in our suffering, pain, and demise. Even as they did with the Lord + Jesus on the tree of the holy cross. But the world’s rejoicing will be turned into eternal pain and suffering. For our pain and suffering in this life is only for a little while. As the Psalmist says, the length of days of man is but seventy years, and if by reason of strength they are eighty years; even so their strength is filled with toil and sorrow, for our lives are soon cut off, and we fly away.
For this reason, we cling in faith to the promises of our Lord and Savior + Jesus Christ. For just as He died and rose again on the third day, so too will we rise again on the Last Day. He was unseen for a little while, our loved ones are not seen by us for a little while, but we will see our Lord again on the Last Day, and we will see all those who have gone before us in the faith again when we are called out of this vale of tears to our eternal home in Heaven. In that day we will rejoice and be jubilant, for we will have gained an eternal crown. We will have an eternal joy that cannot be taken away from us, for we will be with our risen Lord and Savior, and all the company of Heaven, for all eternity. Hallelujah! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Hallelujah! In the Name of our Lord + Jesus, the Christ. Amen.
Prayer in Pulpit after Sermon:
Almighty God, be pleased to accompany Thy Word with Thy Holy Spirit and grant that Thy Word would increase faith in us; bring into the Way of Truth all such as have erred; turn the hearts of the unrepentant; and for sake of Thy Name grant succor to all heavy hearts and those who are heavy-laden, that they may through the mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ be relieved and preserved so that they succumb not to the temptation of despair but rather that they gain the victory over the world, the flesh, and the devil; through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with the Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever One God, world without end. Amen.
The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Amen.
Soli Deo Gloria!