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Stop Trying to Understand, and Believe!

Appearances Deceiving
By Rev. Dr. Fritz Ritsch
Easter Day, 2015
John 20: 1-18
Isaiah 25: 6-9

How do we believe what we don’t understand?

That’s what happens to the disciple who loved Jesus when he entered the tomb and saw Jesus’ shroud lying there where Jesus’ body had once lain. The Bible says, “He saw and believed,” but then adds, “They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.” So the disciple who entered the tomb—John, the gospel writer—believes, even though he doesn’t understand. Apparently his theology is not sufficient to cope with what he is experiencing. Apparently he doesn’t fully grasp the intricacies of the Chalcedonian Definition of the Dual Nature of Jesus, or the Five Points of Calvinism. Worse, he doesn’t understand the most basic, basic, core principle of Christianity: the actual resurrection of Jesus our Lord. John, the apostle, the Gospel writer, the Disciple who Jesus loved, John himself doesn’t understand that Jesus is raised from the dead!

And yet, he believes.Read More »Stop Trying to Understand, and Believe!

Easter: Jesus Rose


by Rev. Dr. Fritz Ritsch

John 20: 19-31


Jesuss resurrection is the beginning of Gods new project not to snatch people away from earth to heaven but to colonize earth with the life of heaven.  That, after all, is what the Lords Prayer is about.N. T. Wright (b. 1948), Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection and the Mission of the Church


Today we celebrate Easter. Easter is the most important Christian holy day, because this is the day that we remember that Jesus rose from the dead. He was dead, but God raised Him from the dead.  This past week We have been reflecting on Jesus’ suffering and death. Often our focus is his life and teachings. none of that is in itself particularly unique. Other wise people have taught. Other miracle workers have healed. Other martyrs have suffered and died. Perhaps He should have been remembered, if He was remembered at all, as one among many great teachers of history.

But He rose from the dead. That changes everything.Read More »Easter: Jesus Rose

Don’t Be Afraid: God Loves You

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We Are Risen Indeed!

Matthew 28: 1-10

By Rev. Dr. Fritz Ritsch

Easter Day, 2013


Holy Jesus, I hear God’s mighty “Yes!” in your Resurrection. You invite me to live also, and I want to say “Yes!” to you. Take me out of the tomb that imprisons me: lead me into the morning of new life, and walk with me wherever your love may lead.

Peter Storey, Listening at Golgotha

 Mary Magdalene and “the other Mary,” probably Mary the mother of James, go to the tomb on Easter day, and what they aren’t expecting– is Easter.

They are expecting to find a tomb guarded by soldiers. They expect to find a great stone rolled in front of the grave. They expect to find Jesus in there, even more dead as He was a couple of days before.

Read More »Don’t Be Afraid: God Loves You

Easter Sunday: Go and Tell

Isaiah 25: 6-10

Mark 16: 1-8

By Rev. Dr. Fritz Ritsch, Pastor

April 8, 2012

St. Stephen Presbyterian Church

Fort Worth, TX

 “And the disciples all deserted him,” Mark tells us. First, Jesus told them to watch and pray with him, but they didn’t know how, so they fell asleep. Then the soldiers came and Jesus told them they couldn’t defend him with swords, and they didn’t know what to do, so they ran. The other gospels bear out that the disciples were so frightened that they were hidden away in a locked room. They left their Lord to die on a cross, alone.Read More »Easter Sunday: Go and Tell

The Politics of Death: The Mystery of Pontius Pilate’s Strange Behavior

John 18: 33-19: 16

Passion/Palm Sunday

St. Stephen Presbyterian Church

Fort Worth, TX

April 1, 2012

Rev. Dr. Fritz Ritsch, Preacher


The names are familiar, even if you are not a churchgoer at all: Pilate. Caiaphas. Jesus. The three main characters who comprise a First Century version of “Law and Order:” Jesus, the accused traitor, insurgent and potential rebellion leader. Caiaphas, high priest, arresting officer, and prosecuting attorney. And Pilate, Roman magistrate, judge.Read More »The Politics of Death: The Mystery of Pontius Pilate’s Strange Behavior