President's Message

Holy Week - 03/26/2024

Join Pres. Beinke for a weekly Bible study of the Scripture readings for the coming Sunday! This online study takes place on Thursday's from 7:00 - 8:00 PM on Go-To-Meeting at the following link: If Thursday is a national holiday the class will not meet.

We all know that first impressions are very important. Remember meeting your spouse’s parents for the first time? First impressions can last a long time.

What about first words? They are very important, also. Consider Jesus’s first words from the cross. “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,” He prayed as He was being nailed to the cross. Although being unjustly crucified, for He had done no wrong and was certainly not an enemy of the state, as Pilate knew full well, He nevertheless sought only forgiveness for His persecutors – which includes us all. We are told in Isaiah 53: “Surely he bore our sicknesses and carried our pains, but we had considered Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. Yet he was pierced for our transgression, He was crushed for our iniquities.” We are responsible for His death! He knew this. He gladly gave His life for us, however, as His first words from the cross reveal. “Father, forgive them.” He went to the cross out of love for us, to save us from our sins. Our Lord forgives us!

Not surprisingly, words of forgiveness are also the first words upon His lips after He rises from the dead. The women who went to His tomb that Sunday morning were the first to meet the risen Lord. After greeting them, He tells them: "Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me." (Matthew 28:10). He calls the disciples, “My brothers.” What comforting words! When He was arrested that prior Thursday evening they had abandoned Him and run away. Peter had denied even knowing Him. They had left Him to face the hostility of the Jewish leadership and an unjust trial alone. They had not acted as His brothers, or even as His acquaintances! And yet, His thoughts are of them, and He still considers them His brothers. He has forgiven them, and He sends the women to them with His words of forgiveness!

Later that day, Jesus appeared to the disciples themselves. Although in a locked room, He suddenly appeared in their midst. His first words to them were, “Peace be with you.” He showed them His hands and side, the wounds by which He purchased their forgiveness. Then, He breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whenever you forgive anyone his sin, they are forgiven; whenever you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

Christ speaks the same words of forgiveness to us today. Some of the first words we hear in the Divine Service on Easter Sunday, and every Sunday, are the words of absolution that Jesus told His disciples to proclaim. And so, the Pastor proclaims: “In the stead and by the command of my Lord Jesus Christ, I forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” And so, the mighty Lord of all, who bore our sins and their judgment for us and died for them, and who by His resurrection conquered death itself, responds to our confession of sin with words of peace… of forgiveness! We are given life and salvation!!

How important are first words, even more important than first impressions! Listen to Christ’s words of forgiveness. Keep them in your mind and heart always. Our Savior will then keep you with Him, unto life everlasting!

In Christ, our crucified and risen Lord,

Pres. Beinke