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A blog of the Evangelical Lutheran Liturgy

Why did you doubt?


Alleluia! Christ is risen! [R: He is risen indeed! Alleluia!]

Do you not this day have infallible proof that he has done what he said he would do? O ye of little faith! Why did you doubt?

Behold, he comes leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills, like a roe or a young hart, standing behind our wall, looking forth at the windows, showing himself through the lattice, speaking, and saying unto us, All hail! And showing us his hands and his side!

Behold, today he brought us up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set our feet upon a rock, and established our goings; and he hath put a new song in our mouth, even praise unto our God. Why did you doubt? Did he not promise to do this? Has he not fulfilled his word abundantly more than we asked or thought?

Behold, he has promised it himself, and has kept his word; and he has foretold it also in countless ways, and the joys of those former ways are this day supplanted by a joy of infinitely greater value.

For it is written that Abraham declared, Isaac will come again to you. Isaac, who was marked to ascend the mountain of sacrifice with the wood of his own altar; Isaac, the beloved son of his father, marked for death by his father’s faithful hand; nevertheless Isaac, said he, will come again to you. And so he did; a he returned joyfully on the third day, just as Abraham had said; and so today is a greater third day than that, fulfilled; as one greater than Isaac returns to us, as he himself had promised. Why did you doubt?

And likewise it is written that Joseph had declared, saying that the sheaves of his brothers, and the sun and the moon and the eleven stars would bow to him. But Joseph was sold into slavery, and his father, thinking him dead, mourned for him; so that dream and promise was forgotten and discarded. Yet he at length became ruler over all of Egypt, and in the days of famine his brothers came to him for bread, and he revealed himself to them alive; and they returned to their father and told him the news, and Jacob’s heart fainted for disbelief, until when he was convinced, he exulted, saying, Joseph my son is alive. Now behold, the news of the resurrection of one greater than Joseph is this day declared to us, and we likewise exult with greater joy, Christ is alive. Oh, why did you doubt?

And let us recall the terrified children of Israel, trapped at the water’s edge as the Egyptian armies approached them; but Moses said, Fear ye not, see the salvation of the Lord, which he will show to you today; for the Egyptians whom yet have seen today, ye shall see them again no more forever. The Lord shall fight for you. – And the Lord divided the sea, and caused them to pass through; and he made the waters to stand as a heap. Now behold, one greater than Moses is here, who has likewise said, Fear not! And who has led us through the greater sea of Baptism into regeneration and deliverance even from death. Has he not told you? Why did you doubt?

We could go on to speak of the promised conquest of the Promised Land under Joshua, and how one greater than Joshua was this day given all power in heaven on earth, and we, his meek ones, become heirs not merely of a particular land, but of the whole world: heirs of heaven and earth; heirs of all things; heirs of eternal glory. For this is what he purchased for us by the magnificent price of his own Body and Blood.

And what shall we say of the mighty deliverances under Gideon, and Samson, and all the great judges of Israel? And of the victories of David the King? Christ is greater than all of these, and today his resurrection from the dead delivers to us a victory infinitely greater than they all.

And has not Christ himself declared this openly? saying that the Son of man shall be betrayed, and condemned, delivered to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify: and the third day he shall rise again. And when the time came, they withered and fainted, for it was too much for them to bear, and they wept bitterly, forgetful of the promise! Why did they doubt? They forgot that weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. Behold, now is the morning! Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation!

Who is he that still doubts? Who is he that still fears? Who frets? Who worries? Who sorrows as others who have no hope? Who will not believe, today, of all days? Come near today, and lend your ears. Listen attentively, for the news has trumpeted forth from the empty tomb, and from the angel, and from the women at the tomb, and from the risen Christ himself, and from his holy apostles, witnesses all, and from them, through the ages, to the preachers of Christendom echoing across two thousand years, to this preacher, to this place, to this day, to you: Christ is alive! He has burst the fetters of death and hell! He has vanquished the grave! He has kept his word! He has brought light out of darkness, and in him life has triumphed over death.

Let these tidings ring in your ears; let them extinguish all doubts and fears. And even let them lay to rest your guilt over having doubted, until now; for all your sins have been atoned a thousand times over, even your foolish doubts, and the Man who gave his life has risen from the dead by virtue of a personal union with his own divine nature. And he gives this precious resurrected Body to you this day as a pledge of his own eternal mercies which are new every morning. Did you doubt? Be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven.

I say again, This day you have infallible proof that he has done what he said he would do. Listen, I say; listen! Listen to these tidings above all other news; let them drown out all else. Listen! What do you hear?  Behold, he comes leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills, standing behind our wall, looking forth at the windows, showing himself through the lattice, speaking, and saying unto us, All hail!

Today, then, let us put off the mourning garments of Lent, and let us feast! For it is glad Easter Day! Yea, let us rejoice and be exceeding glad! Let us praise his name in the dance; let us sing praises unto him with the timbrel and harp. For the Lord taketh pleasure in his people, and has beautified the meek with salvation. Let the saints be joyful in glory; let the high praises of God be in our mouths, evermore saying,

Alleluia! Christ is risen! [R: He is risen indeed! Alleluia!]

Easter sunrise April 21, 2019