top of page

Fourth Sunday of Easter (Jubilate)

April 21, 2024; Rev. Kurt A. Lantz, Pastor
Easter 3 A. emmaus.jpg

Please use this web site merely as
an introductory step to
attending services in person.
What our Lord does for us in 
His presence in the Divine Service
cannot be recreated here or
through any technological medium.

The Life of a Traveller

“Elect exiles...,

May grace and peace be multiplied to you” (1 Peter 1:1-2).


Over the last generation it has become popular once again to make use of Bed and Breakfast accommodations when travelling. Rather than staying in an institutional hotel, you stay in someone’s home, and although paying for lodging you also get some personal hospitality. That requires a clearer acknowledgement that the space you are staying in is not yours to do with as you like, but that you are making use of the space that houses someone’s family. It is perhaps, more like dinner at a friend’s house than out at a restaurant.


St. Peter addresses his epistles to the “elect exiles.” These are believers who have been scattered and driven from their homelands because of persecutions and local riots that have broken out against Christians at various times and in various places, forcing them out of their towns. Where they then live is not their home. They are surrounded by strangers and yet interact with them on a close basis for the daily needs of life, whether it be food, shelter, employment, business, shopping, or leisure. It is not that they are on vacation, but neither are they in their settled homeland.


As the Lord of the Church speaks to you in the epistles of Peter, He reminds you that you are not settled in your eternal homeland, no matter what your circumstances might be at this time. Whether you are here temporarily for school, or have purchased your house and enrolled your children in the local school system, this is not your forever home. Even if you have lived here for fifty, sixty, seventy, or eighty years, you are still awaiting an eternal habitation that will make this life look like a stop along the roadway.


That is what the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead proclaims to you. You have an eternal home prepared for those whom death cannot hold. This life, this world, and all of its comforts is enough for a short stay, but it is no longer meant to be our eternal home. The curse of sin upon the land and all who inhabit it, has not only brought death to mankind but will also bring an end to this world when it will be consumed in heat and fire on the day of the Lord’s coming visitation.


His coming again is also just a visit to this world, as He is preparing a new heavens and a new earth, the home for the righteous, where they will live with Him forever. This place is nice enough and filled with the wonderful blessings of God for this life, but it just will not do for eternity. The Lord has gone to prepare a place for you that will be an eternal home, and He is coming again to take you to Himself, that where He is there you will be also (John 14:2-3).


So St. Peter writes to us as “elect exiles,” the chosen baptized people of God who are not living at home. We are travellers, staying here for a little while before we pass through death into eternity at the day of resurrection. As travellers, never forget the hope that you have to reach a much better place, and remember that in the meantime you are here as a guest.


Last summer, when I took my vacation to the Maritime provinces and served our vacant congregations there, it meant a lot of travelling, and not just to get there. That was the shortest part (a two hour flight). It was longer to drive between the congregations. From Halifax to Charlottetown is three and a half hours, or Charlottetown to Middleton, four and a half hours. After a long day of travelling it can be nice to check into an anonymous hotel room and just stretch out to sleep undisturbed. That is good for an overnight stay.


But if you are staying for a few days or a week, it is even nicer to be welcomed into someone’s home, to have a conversation over a meal made by the same hands that held the door open for you to come in. Perhaps the isolationist lifestyle that many have fallen into day to day, makes them more desirous of the bed and breakfast style of stay where they are welcomed into someone’s home for conversation and a meal (although it is not everyone’s cup of tea).


Life in this world is like a stay in a tavern, hotel, or bed and breakfast, where no matter how hospitable the host and how welcome the fare, the travellers, thoughts are still on getting home. They are not thinking about how they might change the decor or where they might set up their study. They are not considering buying property or running for public office. Rather, their thoughts are of the place where they reside with their own family.


We are always thankful for a warm bed and hot meal. We appreciate a refreshing beer and good conversation. These are gifts from God our heavenly Father who is concerned not just to provide necessities but to bring to our life in this world blessings and happiness. Yet, as Christians, recipients of the eternal life that our Lord Jesus Christ has secured for us through His death and resurrection, it is only right that we have a yearning to reach our eternal home, the place where we are with the Lord’s family, gathered around His table, living in His presence, dwelling in the eternal abode which is ours in Christ Jesus.


So, even as we do decorate our homes, set up our studies, seek employment, and even run for public office in this world, we are reminded that these things are relatively transient to our eternal life in Christ. We still long for home. We seek a different homeland. We are guests and strangers, foreigners and sojourners all of our life in this world.


So we ought to behave like we are guests. None of the things at hand are our own on any permanent basis. We do have a homeland, but this is not it. While we are sojourners and exiles in this world, we are to live an honorable way of life, especially in the sight of those who do not share our eternal homeland.


Unbelievers may ridicule us and even take advantage of us. They may not understand us and even drive us out of their towns and cities. But we are to behave in such a way that when our Lord comes again to visit this world, on the day of resurrection and judgment, they will have to give glory to God for our righteous behaviour while they treated us harshly.


It is like when our children are so well behaved as guests in someone’s house that the parents are praised for raising them so respectably. For even our good conduct is a result of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus. He has died for all of our misbehaviour and dishonourable deeds. He paid the damages for our sins when He died for us upon the cross. That good news: that He took all of our penalties upon Himself, not only purges us of all sin but inspires us to live as the holy people we are, children of the heavenly Father who showed us what a life of love and respect is when He visited us in the Person of His Son.


The resurrection of Jesus Christ has set us free from sins of greed and envy. We are not here to seize as much as we can and to claim it as our own. We are not here to take whatever we see or to rise to power. It is not up to us to change the house rules but to submit to them. The fleshly desires are hard to overcome, but they have been overcome by the Son of God who gave Himself to set you free. Do not live as if you are slaves to the ways of the world. You are just visiting. The freedom of the resurrection is a freedom from sin and fleshly desires as well as from death. It is not a freedom to sin, but freeing from the sins and desires that would hold you captive.


What does it mean to live as a free guest in the world? If you visit a foreign country that has restrictive rules (perhaps slower speed limits or restrictions on what clothing you can wear), while you are visiting that country you obey its rules, but at the same time you know that you are free from them. When you get home, those rules will hold no condemnation over you.


Likewise, while you are living your life as sojourners and exiles in this world, know that you are free from its oppressive structures, but as a guest you are called to submit to them. At the same time you do not stop being who your parents raised you to be. You live according to the good conduct that they have taught you and the respectful manner of life that they have demonstrated for you, the conduct that we have learned from the submissive life of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.


This Lord, through His apostle St. Peter, tells you to “Honour everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the emperor. Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust” (1 Peter 2:17-18). It is a common trend in our society to protest loudly against what we feel is not fair. It became so common in our household that my wife had to put in place a rule against the plea, “Not fair!” Perhaps that rule in itself was not fair. But household rules are put in place to maintain order and respect.


It is true that not all rules are fair, but your Lord calls upon you to honour everyone (parents, rulers, masters/employers). And if their rules are not fair, the Lord wants you to know that your honouring of authorities despite their harsh rules is a gracious thing in His sight. Perhaps they do not deserve your honour and respect, but you give it to them anyway. That is your gift of grace to them, just like your heavenly Father has extended His grace to you in giving you the salvation and eternal inheritance that you have not deserved. It is one of the ways in which we as God’s children are given the opportunity to proclaim the Gospel to unbelievers by the way we live.


The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, has not only secured forgiveness for all of your sins of greed and grasping after the transient things of this world, it also has given you a new life of freedom as you pass through this transitory world to the eternal home He has prepared for you. In a little while we will see Him again, on the day of His visitation. And when He comes again to take us to Himself, all of our sorrows will be turned to joy as we finally know that we are at home with Him forever.



“Peace to all of you who are in Christ” (1 Peter 5:14).

bottom of page