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Posts Tagged ‘Sermon for the 2nd Sunday in Lent’

 

Text:  St. Luke   13: 31-35

In two of the Orders of the Divine Service in our worship book, we sing as offertory verses from Psalm 116, including these verses:

I will pay my vows to the LORD
in the presence of all his people,
19in the courts of the house of the LORD,
in your midst, O
Jerusalem.

The foretaste of the Jerusalem to come down from heaven, adorned as a Bride for her Husband, the Lord, is when the Holy Spirit gathers us  to hear His Word and to eat and drink His Word, His body and His blood. He does as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings.  Even today this spot and this time is Jerusalem. 

At the time of Israel, especially in the history of Genesis through Deuteronomy, there were no nations, but there were cities and kings ruled cities.  Today city may offer many things, places of worship,  business, restaurants, parks, opera houses, theaters and the like…also back then.  The attractions pale in comparison to the reason for them. A city was a reflection of her king in the lives of his people.  If he were wise and benevolent so could the citizens be…or not.  If he were firm in justice and strong in mercy so could his citizens be…or not.  The King of Jerusalem is such, the Lord God, but His people rebelled against His decrees of His just law and His ever firm grace, mercy and peace.  They sought other gods.  They rebelled against His Word.  They stoned the prophets and those the King sent to Jerusalem.  They knew how to look out for number 1, spiritually and materially.  Their goodness, centered on themselves, became sin. This is as old as Adam in us all.  Fallen man turns the best into the worst all the while it looks the best on the outside.

Therefore, the King sent His Son, the rightful heir. Jesus said this is where I must go: Jerusalem, no other place. He said, this is why I have come.  Jesus came to forgive the worst and turn us to the best, Himself, His reign, His rule, His grace, mercy and peace for rebellious sinners that they repent and return day by day to the founts of His grace on life’s way, His way. It was to Jerusalem, the Lord said He must go.  Pharisees, you can not detain Me.  Herod Antipas will not stop Me. You will not.  Tell that fox, today, tomorrow and the next day I finished my course, my race. Death is His destination but not His eternal resting place so our resting places are not eternal.  He is risen.  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday , today and forever(Hebrews 13:8).

 Stay the course. Jesus stayed the course.  He said He would and He did.  We heard last week that the devil tempted Him so Jesus would not go on, not suffer and die for sinners.  The devil did not want that to happen.  He did not want heaven unleashed on earth as in Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as in heaven.  The devil did not want God’s reign to set up colonies in all the devil’s kingdoms. The Pharisee’s by their good intentions to help  Jesus would have likewise stopped Him.  Jesus does not need our help to save us.  Jesus is our help Who has saved us and will do so.  Christ is our righteousness (1 Corinthians 1:30).  Our self-made and unchecked self-righteousness points other to us that they may see how “good” we are and then we have our reward. (Matthew 6:5). Nothing beginning with “I” can ever lead to eternal life…except, Lord, forgive. Lord, have mercy.  Be Thou my Hope and Stay.

His oath, His covenant, and blood
Support me in the whelming flood;
When every earthly prop gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

Nothing can originate in us apart from the Lord.  As Jesus said, I am the vine you are the branches. Apart from Me you can do nothing.

Stay on the Way. “It’s the journey that counts that not the destination.” What nonsense.  “Tell that to your children in the back seat of the car on a long road trip going to Grandma and Grandpa’s.  Oh, by the way, children, we are just going to keep on driving.”  Life is a journey with a destination. We diminish the destination because we want to go our own way.

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.
  (Isaiah 53: 6)

The prophet Isaiah spoke this Word some 5 centuries before Christ on earth. Human nature on it’s own is lost and condemned. All we…not some, not just the ‘bad’ people, but all we.  Every one.  Lost.   The Lord makes this clear in His Law but He did stop there but pressed on.  Luther:

 I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary, is my Lord, who has redeemed me, a lost and condemned creature, purchased and won [delivered] me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil, not with gold or silver, but with His holy, precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death, in order that I may be [wholly] His own, and live under Him in His kingdom, and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, even as He is risen from the dead, lives and reigns to all eternity. This is most certainly true. (emphasis my own)

 “…and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all”. 

Jesus went to Jerusalem to get all our iniquity laid on Him, the pure Lamb of God.  The people wanted to do in Jeremiah.  Jezebel was out for Elijah’s blood.  The King  told Amos, get out of here.  His Law and His prophets preached:  Mend your ways, the way you are walking. You are lost.  His Law spiritually and explicitly shows us the same message as  the road sign, WRONG WAY does.  A destination means accountability that we stay on the way, the path, the road of Life.   Our citizenship is from heaven, from which we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.  The apostle Paul was inspired to write so that his brothers and sisters in the Lord keep steadfast on the Way.  There are two ways:  death or life.  Life lived in the belly, belly faith is death, glorying in shame. They are enemies of the cross, enemies  of His love and mercy and refuse to be gathered under the shadow of His wings, the shadow of His cross. Paul wrote that in tears.  The way of life, eternal life, the way, the truth and the life who is Jesus Christ has found us by His Cross.  His cross is a sign for all freed travelers that He keeps us on the way.  

Oh, to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be;
Let that grace now like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to Thee:
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it;
Prone to leave the God I love.
Here’s my heart, oh, take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

 Stay on the Way as The Way is our Stay.  The Bible tells us to run the race looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfector of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.  (Hebrews 12:1-3) The way is our stay every step of the way He has gone, every temptation He knew and every sin He bore in His sinless body and soul, true Man and true God. So we can,

Pray on the Way. Every word Jesus taught, every Word in Scripture and we

Pray the Way.  Pray as He prays with us, for us and in us in His Church, His Jerusalem on the way.

 We are resident aliens here.  In the 2nd century an unknown Christian wrote to a high Roman official Diognetus explaining his fellow Christians, the Church,

 They live in their own countries, but only as aliens. They have a share in everything as citizens, and endure everything as foreigners. Every foreign land is their fatherland, and yet for them every fatherland is a foreign land.  They marry, like everyone else, and they beget children, but they do not cast out their offspring. They share their board with each other, but not their marriage bed. It is true that they are “in the flesh,” but they do not live “according to the flesh.”They busy themselves on earth, but their citizenship is in heaven.

 Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord!

Now may the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. 

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