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Easter Vigil: God’s Word Works!

The Vigil of Easter, 16 April 2022

A Sermon on Isaiah 55:10-11 by Samuel Zumwalt

Isaiah 55:10-11 © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers]

10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven

and do not return there but water the earth,

making it bring forth and sprout,

giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,

11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;

it shall not return to me empty,

but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,

and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

GOD’S WORD WORKS!

Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth… And God said…and it was so.

And God said, “Let us make man in our image” … and it was so.

And God said, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” … and it was so.

And God asked, “Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” For it was so. And God said, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” And it was so.

And God said, “Dust you are, and to dust you shall return.” And it was so.

And God said, “And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden… And it was so.

And God said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.” Only Noah and those who were with him in the ark remained alive. And it was so.

And God said, “Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.” So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city. And it was so.

And God said to Abram and Sarai, “Go from your country, from your family and your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” And it was so.

And God said to 99-year-old Abraham and 89-year-old Sarah, “I will certainly return to you according to the time of life, and behold, Sarah your wife shall have a son.” And it was so.

And God said to Abraham, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.” And it was so.

And God said to Moses, “I am the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob… I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.” And it was so.

And God said to Moses, “Your lamb shall be without blemish… Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.” And it was so.

And God said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea, that the waters may come back upon the Egyptians, on their chariots, and on their horsemen.” And it was so.

And God said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.” And it was so.

And God said to Moses, “Then it shall be, if you by any means forget the Lord your God, and follow other gods, and serve them and worship them, I testify against you this day that you shall surely perish.” And it was so.

And God said to Moses, “If a man has committed a sin deserving of death, and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree … he who is hanged is accursed of God.” And it was so.

And God said to Moses, “This is the land of which I swore to give Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I have caused you to see it with your eyes, but you shall not cross over there.” And it was so.

And God said to David, “I will make you a house. When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom.” And it was so.

And God said to Isaiah, “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” And it was so.

And God said to Isaiah, “Your dead shall live; together with my dead body they shall arise.” And it was so.

And God said to Isaiah, ““Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My soul delights! I have put My Spirit upon Him;” And it was so.

And God said to Isaiah, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all… He was led as a lamb to the slaughter…” And it was so.

And God said to Ezekiel, “Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves. I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken it and performed it.” And it was so.

And God said to Malachi, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.” And it was so.

And God’s messenger said to Zechariah, “Your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John… And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children.’” And it was so.

And God’s messenger said, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus.” And it was so.

And God’s messenger said to the shepherds, ““Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” And it was so.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… and the Word became flesh full of grace and truth. And it is so.

And the Word made flesh said to Nicodemus, “Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” And it is so.

And the Word made flesh said to Nicodemus, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” And it is so.

And the Word made flesh said to the people, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst… He who eats this bread will live forever.” And it is so.

And the Word made flesh said to Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.” And it is so.

And the Word made flesh said from the cross: “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit. And it is so.

And the Risen Word made flesh said to His apostles, “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” And it is so.

And the Word made flesh said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” And it is so.

And the beloved disciple of the Word made flesh testified: “These [things] are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.” And it is so.

And the Word made flesh said to His apostles, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” And it is so.

And the Word made flesh said to His apostles, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” And it is so.

And the Word made flesh said to His apostles, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” And it is so.

And the Word made flesh says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” And it is so.

And the Word made flesh says, “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away… Behold, I make all things new… It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.” And it is so.

And the Word made flesh says, “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.” And it is so.

And the beloved disciple of the Word made flesh testified: “And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely… Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!”

For Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! And it is so!

In the name of the Father, and of the +Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

©Samuel D. Zumwalt, STS

szumwalt@bellsouth.net

www.societyholytrinity.org

St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church

Wilmington, North Carolina