The Word — The Easter victory grows

Published 5:09 pm Thursday, April 28, 2022

“To all who shall see these presents greeting: Know ye that reposing special trust and confidence in the patriotism, valor, fidelity and abilities of Matthew D. Sorenson I do Appoint Him Ensign in the United States Navy …” Those are the words with which my commission from the President of the United States began.

Every officer in the United States military is commissioned by the President to ensure that the President is fully accountable for the actions of that officer and their military unit. International law requires that commanding officers must be commissioned so that the country is fully accountable for the actions of that ship. Because they are commissioned by the President they are an extension of the President himself.

Following his victory over sin, death and the devil Jesus commissions his disciples. First it was Mary Magdalene. She meets Jesus outside the empty tomb and clings to Jesus. But Jesus commissions her. He sends her to the other disciples with a message. In John 20:18 we read, “Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord’ — and that he had said these things to her.”

Can you imagine telling your friends that you just talked to someone who had been dead for three days? Did that take courage? I don’t think so because Mary Magdalene was commissioned by Jesus. She saw the resurrected Jesus and he sent her. It was his message that she rejoiced to share. She was an extension of Jesus.

Jesus does the same thing for the rest of the disciples. In John 20:21 we read, “Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.’” Jesus sends the disciples out to share their victory over sin, death and the devil with the world by forgiving sins.

Jesus is still doing the same thing today. Listen to Paul’s words in Romans 6:4-5. “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.” Paul says that when we’re baptized we meet the resurrected Jesus. We die with him so that we can rise to new life with him. So that his Easter victory is our victory.

In those waters we are commissioned by the resurrected Lord to go and share our victory over sin, death and the devil with the world. The forgiveness and life that we share is his message of forgiveness and life. The victory we share is his Easter victory. As you go from your commissioning in those baptismal waters you are an extension of Jesus.

Rev. Matthew Sorenson is the pastor at St. John’s Lutheran Church. He can be reached at pastor@stjohnsfarmville.org.