The Easter retreat in Berlin Immanuel church concluded with a sermon on John 20, followed by baptism and communion. The sermon pointed to the importance of sincere and open testimony of those who witnessed the resurrection of Christ. Apostle Paul says to Greeks in Athens how the resurrection is the proof of God’s love for the sinner as demonstrated on the cross of Christ. The bodily resurrection of Jesus is not something that was expected.
John 20 doesn’t say that the disciples were gullible people and would think it that the explanation for the empty tomb is resurrection. John testifies that no one has even thought of it, they didn’t yet understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead. Mary was crying and didn’t recognize the Lord first, thinking the body was stolen. Thomas couldn’t believe until he touched the hands that were nailed to the cross. John is saying that this power of God’s love caught us in surprise, it was unexpected and undeserving love for the sinners displayed clearly so that there would be no doubt that this all happened through the power of God’s grace. We must also be the ones who experience this overwhelming power of God’s love working in our lives and testify it to the world, so that they may also believe and have eternal life.
Two members of the church were baptized by God’s grace and confessed their salvation through faith in Jesus Christ in front of the church. The Sunday service and retreat were concluded with communion in sharing the bread and wine to unite with the love of the Christ through the remembrance of the body of the Lord that was broken for our sins and the blood of the Lambs spilled for our forgiveness.