Sermon uploaded

 

 

A sermon entitled, “Scripture Fulfilled in Your Hearing,” based on Luke 4, the account of Jesus reading from the prophet Isaiah, has been uploaded.  Click on “Sermons on YouTube” for the site.

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“Only those who are sick require the doctor (Matt. 9:12); only the sheep that is lost is looked for (Luke 15:4); only the captive is freed (Luke 4:18; Is. 61:1); only the poor man is enriched; only the weak man is made strong; only the humble man is exalted (Luke 1:52); only what is empty is filled; only what is scattered can be assembled. The truth is, as the philosophers say: Matter cannot be given a form unless it previously was formless or its earlier from has

 

been put off…God satisfies none but the hungry and the thirsty. Therefore he who is satisfied with his own truth and wisdom cannot contain the truth and wisdom of God. These can only be received in a vacuum and an empty space. Therefore let us say to God: Oh, how gladly are we empty, so that Thou mayest be full in us! Gladly am I weak, so that Thy strength may dwell in me! Gladly am I a sinner, so that Thou mayest be justified in me! Gladly am I foolish, so that Thou mayest be my Wisdom! Gladly am I unrighteous, so that Thou mayest be my Righteousness! See, this is what is meant by: “Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned….that Thou mightest be justified when Thou speakest”” (Ps 51:4). (Plass, What Luther Says, #2097, p674-675) 

Listen to the sermon on John 2, Jesus changing water into wine…

Luther’s Large Catechism

6th Commandment

Cross-rings206 Inasmuch as this commandment is concerned specifically with the estate of marriage and gives occasion to speak of it, let us carefully note, first, how highly God honors and glorifies the married life, sanctioning and protecting it by his commandment. He sanctioned it above in the fourth commandment, “You shall honor father and mother; but here, as I said, he has secured it and protected it. 207 Therefore he also wishes us to honor, maintain, and cherish it as a divine and blessed estate. Significantly he established it as the first of all institutions, and he created man and woman differently (as is evident) not for lewdness but to be true to each other, be fruitful, beget children, and support and bring them up to the glory of God.

208 God has therefore most richly blessed this estate above all others and, in addition, has supplied and endowed it with everything in the world in order that this estate might be provided for richly and adequately. Married life is no matter for jest or idle curiosity, but it is a glorious institution and an object of God’s serious concern.

For the sermon, click link to the right, “Sermons on YouTube”

He has risen, as He said

 

1Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 2And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. 5But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. 7Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.” 8So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. 10Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.” (Matthew 28:1–10)

Jesus Christ is risen, as He said…With these words ringing in our ears, we rejoice! We rejoice because Jesus risen from the dead means that death is not the last word. Rather, Christ’s Word is, and His Word He fulfills.We rejoice in Christ’s resurrection because His resurrection means that our faith in Him is not at all futile, vain, or useless, but right, true, and full of worth and significance. Christ risen from the dead means you are no longer in your sins. Your sins do not define you. Christ’s death and resurrection do.

There, on the cross, Jesus conquered sin, death, and hell. His bodily resurrection means that these have really been conquered, defeated, and are no longer your lot. They are no longer yours to bear because on the tree, Christ already bore them in your stead. And because He bore them for you, these no more remain for you to suffer. Instead of these, in Christ, you have forgiveness, life, and heaven. Christ took all that is yours and gives you all that is His. You are complete in Him, and only in Him (Colossians 2:10).

By yourselves and of yourselves, you remain in your sin, your sin that separates you from God, your sin by which you live according to the lusts and desires of your flesh, your departure from God and His ways. By yourselves and of yourselves, and apart from Christ, your sin literally condemns you to hell, with no escape and no hope.

But thanks be to God! Now is the day of salvation. Today is the day to believe. Now is the day to cast off the works of darkness (Romans 13:12), to forsake one’s way, and to repent and believe the sweet Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, that your sin does not define you, that death is not the last word, and that hell is not your final destination.

Christ has overcome death by means of His own death. Good Friday is done. “It is finished” (John 19:30). Easter Sunday is here. The death that Christ died is sufficient sacrifice for your sins and the sins of the world. His blood cleanses you from all your sin. Christ’s resurrection means that His sacrifice was accepted, approved, and meritorious for your salvation.

Now, Jesus is the risen Savior, by whom all will be saved who will be saved, but only as they are found in Him, not having any goodness or merit of themselves, but trusting in Christ’s goodness and merit alone, for there is not other help or hope for sinners.

The gods of this world are useless in offering what the sinner needs, for the real sinner doesn’t need just a remedy to relieve temporary suffering and pain. The real sinner needs a real Savior who placates God’s wrath and truly comforts the tormented and troubled conscience. Real sinners need a real Savior who doesn’t come and go as we please or simply makes us feel good for a moment, or that leaves it up to us to solve our own problems and to come up with our own solutions.

A real Savior is real, getting into the grime and the muck of our lives, who knows our in and outs, who knows what we’re going through, who addresses our real needs and not merely our felt needs of acceptance, momentary comfort, and quick fixes. A real Savior doesn’t just address the symptoms of our sin. He gets to the root of the problem.

This real Savior is, of course, none other than Jesus of Nazareth, conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and buried, who rose again on the third day. This was He foretold of in the Old Testament and the One revealed in the New Testament Scriptures. Though naysayers and nonbelievers not only doubt, but forsake this One, He is not deterred, nor does He not keep His Word, though sinners fail to.

Jesus is the One revealed in the Bible as God’s Son and our Lord, yet the One that a growing number discount and dismiss as nothing more than a mythological hero and figment of the imagination of a delusional people whom they place their hopes in something and someone neither real or true.

Indeed, according to the Rasmussen Reports polling firm, an increasing number of Americans don’t believe that Christ rose from the dead. In 2012, for example, 7% didn’t believe this central tenet of the Christian faith, whereas that percentage in 2013 has increased to 19% who don’t believe it (“Americans Losing Faith in the Bible,” Christian News, April 21, 2014, p6; see also “Americans Losing Faith in the Bible,” Washington Times, April 14, 2014).

One can certainly question the depth and accuracy of such polls, yet, truth be told, Christianity and the teaching of our Lord seem to be becoming more and more under attack, not only from those outside of the church, but also from those within. Though atheists and gay advocacy groups, as well as activist judges and others attempt to redefine marriage, and the meaning of liberty and tolerance according to their own ideologies, Christians, knowing their Bible’s less and less, support and defend such godless positions, claiming God to be love, but apart from His demonstration of love by means of Christ’s death on the cross to save sinners. And because, for them, God is a God of love, but doesn’t speak the truth according to His Word, they determine that any kind of love that they or others might choose is the end all be all of what defines a proper union, not what God has already clearly said (see Genesis 2:24). Thus, rather than calling “sin a sin,” regardless of political or social consequence, many who call themselves Christian are approving of such ungodliness. But such lovelessness is not the will of God. It is a means of permitting what God forbids, all the while claiming the god of one’s own making to be the true God.

If this be the case concerning the growing intensity of the same-sex marriage “debate” of our day, how much more could be said about the growing number who mock the Biblical account of Christ’s bodily resurrection from the dead, either implicitly by not believing it is as God says, or explicitly, by attributing the account as merely fanciful and of little significance for one’s daily life or eternal well-being.

If we think that the resurrection is of little significance for our everyday lives, we’re placing ourselves above and against the Word of our Lord who spoke according to St. John’s gospel, “These 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” (John 20:31).

But the resurrection of our Lord is not of little significance, either temporarily or eternally. St. Paul says it this way, “If Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up — if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable”(1 Corinthians 15:14-19).

If Christ is not risen, the Holy Scriptures are not so Holy, they are not exclusively of God, and Jesus is no Savior. If Christ is not risen from the dead, we have no reason to be here in this place, for the message of forgiveness and salvation, of peace with God and of God’s mercy in Christ would then be empty and void of any truth. If Jesus’ body is still in the tomb, the Christian Church is the deceiver of deceivers and only another sect of man’s creation.

But such, thankfully, is not at all the case! The Christian Church proclaims the truth as she preaches loud and clear that Christ is risen—that Christ is risen indeed! Jesus’ body is no longer in the tomb. Christ has ascended into heaven, and you eat His very body and drink His very blood at the Lord’s Table. Because Christ is risen, you have reason to be here in this place, for the message of forgiveness and salvation, of peace with God and of God’s mercy in Christ—is the truth, even the truth of which not even death can make false. Because Christ is truly risen from the dead, the Scriptures are Holy, exclusively of God, and Jesus is your Savior, apart from whom there is no other. Only the Christian faith is the true faith. And this you know because of God’s revelation to you in Christ. This you know because God makes it known to you by means of His Holy Word. And therefore, do you diligently and regularly seek to study, read, and hear this Word, for it is your life, and by it, you live.

Take this Word away, and you will have the confusion that you have in today’s Christendom. Because so many different messages permeate the airwaves that are not of God, though they claim to be of God, many are stranded in the sea of doubt and despair, looking for a Savior apart from the One God has already sent to deliver from sin and death. All religions are not of God, nor do all who claim to speak the truth truly speaking the truth. The only place to find the truth is to look outside of yourself and into God’s revelation in Christ. And there, you will find God’s favor and love, fully and completely for you, in Christ Jesus, who is indeed risen, as He said! Amen.

Restored in Christ: Broken Promises, Matthew 26:69-75

 

69 Now Peter sat outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came to him, saying, “You also were with Jesus of Galilee.” 70 But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you are saying.” 71 And when he had gone out to the gateway, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, “This fellow also was with Jesus of Nazareth.” 72 But again he denied with an oath, “I do not know the Man!” 73 And a little later those who stood by came up and said to Peter, “Surely you also are one of them, for your speech betrays you.” 74 Then he began to curse and swear, saying, “I do not know the Man!” Immediately a rooster crowed. 75 And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” So he went out and wept bitterly. (Matthew 26: 69-75)

Peter broke a promise—pure and simple. He broke his word. He kept it not. He denied Jesus our Lord, not once, but three times. Peter said that He did not know Jesus. He lied. He didn’t speak the truth. And just before, Peter, like the other disciples, declared that he would not deny the Lord, that he was ready to be put in prison and to die for Jesus.

Such were the words of this disciple Peter and the words of the other disciples of our Lord. Before the betrayal and arrest of Jesus, Peter and the disciples had full confidence in themselves, and they would not be persuaded otherwise. Yet when Jesus’ words came to pass, the disciples and Peter were proven wrong. They were not the ones who kept their word. It was the Lord who kept His.

But even more than Peter not keeping his word that he would not deny the Lord before men, Peter, like on other occasions, denied that the very words of Jesus were true. It was Peter, after all, who had said, “Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble” (Matthew 26:33). And this Peter had said immediately after Jesus had revealed what would happen, “All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written: ‘I will strike the Shepherd, And the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ “But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee” (Matthew 26:31-32).

On another occasion, again, Jesus had revealed to the disciples what was to take place. Just as the gospel according to St. Matthew records, “From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day” (Matthew 16:21), so such would be.

These words, however, were not what Peter wanted to either hear or accept. Then, as in the text before us, Peter denied that the words of the Lord were true. In effect, Peter was calling Jesus a liar. He was saying that Jesus was wrong and that His words would not come to pass. Therefore had Peter then declared, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!” (Mathew 16:22).

Peter, then and there, was showing his true colors, even as he had shown his true colors when he denied that he knew Jesus when asked if he knew Him. He didn’t want the way of the Lord, the way that the Lord was making known to him. He wanted things to be his own way, not another’s, especially if that way meant suffering and trouble and even death.

In effect, Peter did not want to hear such words from Christ. Nor did he want to accept them. He wanted a different way, a way that he himself perceived to be right. He trusted—not the Lord’s Word—but his own.

But to Peter, Jesus said, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men” (Matthew 16:23).

In saying what he said to Jesus when Jesus began to show the disciples that he would suffer and be killed, Peter demonstrated that he was not being mindful of the things of God, but of the things of men.

God had his way. Peter had his. These ways were different and these ways were contrary to one another. It’s always been this way since the Fall of our first parents. Since then, the things of God and the things of men are at enmity.

The Word of God is sure and true, even as we fail to understand them. “It is impossible for God to lie” (Hebrews 6:18). “Heaven and earth will pass away,” Jesus says, “but My Words will by no means pass away” (Matthew 24:15).

Our words, on the other hand, like Peter’s, express the position of our sinful human nature, that of self-certainty and pride, rather than firm trust and confidence in the Lord’s truth. Like Peter, we place our own perceptions and strength over against the Lord’s revelation and weaknesses, believing ourselves to be more sure and certain than God himself.

But such is the way of men, not the way of God. The way of God is to speak the truth, even that truth which is unlikeable and undesired, in order that we know our place before the Almighty, and know His way as the way of life and peace. They way of God is to reveal man’s sin, pride, and arrogance, not that he harden himself, but that he repent and believe God’s forgiveness. The way of God is to keep what He says and to fulfill His Word, that man’s confidence and hope rest in Him and not in any other.

Peter’s denial, and first, His unbelief in Jesus’ words, demonstrate where we all are if left to matters according to our own will. We want things our way. Period. But our way is the way of despair, regret, and sorrow. And though we might convince ourselves otherwise, our way leads to death, not to life, for refusing to hear Jesus is refusing to hear God, and that’s precisely what wanting our way is—refusing to hear God. That’s what Peter was doing in today’s text, and that’s what we do as we place ourselves over and above God’s Word and will.

Yet Peter’s action was not the final act or last word. Though today’s text does indeed end with the rooster crowing and Peter weeping bitterly, Peter’s sorrow was a godly sorrow that produced repentance, leading to salvation (2 Corinthians 7:10).

The last word for Peter did not consist of his words of denial of our Lord, for Jesus had earlier said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren” (Luke 22:31-32).

The Father heard the prayer of His beloved Son, and kept Peter from falling into utter despair and the denial of His mercy, as Judas had done. The Lord strengthened him and sustained him, that he deny himself, take up his cross, and follow the Lord wherever He lead.

The last word for Peter was the fulfillment of Jesus’ own words to His beloved disciple. Yes, according to the Word of the Lord, Peter did deny the Lord Jesus. But also did the Words of the Lord find fulfillment as Jesus went the way of His Father to the cross, rose from the dead, and after being raised the third day, went before the disciples into Galilee.

Jesus had said that the Son of man would suffer and die, and be raised the third day. These words of our Lord came to pass. They found fulfillment, and in Christ’s death, God demonstrated His love for the world, for the sinner, for you (Romans 5:8). And because of this love of God shown you in Christ’s death, you have surety and confidence that the Lord is faithful to all that He says. “It is finished!” (John 19:30)

God’s Word is sure and true! Because of Christ, your sin no longer condemns you. Your failed promises and prideful hearts do not at all compare to the fulfilled promises of God in Christ and the compassion of your heavenly Father towards you through Him who endured the cross. Deny yourselves and your own inclinations, which are according to the way of men. Only Christ and His Word are the way of God, the way of life, and the way of everlasting peace.

Don’t trust yourselves. Rather, trust Him “who purchased you, not with gold or silver, but with His holy precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death, that you may be His own, and live under Him, and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, just as He is risen from the dead and lives and reigns to all eternity” (from the explanation of the 2nd Article of the Apostles’ Creed, Small Catechism). Amen.

Restored in Christ: Broken Bread, Matthew 26:26

 

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.”

Matthew 26:26

 

These words of our Lord, if left by themselves, seem quite incomplete. We’re used to hearing these words together with others. “Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.’” (Matthew 26:27-28)

Or, in the words of St. Paul the apostle, and closer to the words of our Lord spoken as the pastor consecrates the elements for distribution at the Lord’s Supper, “The Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me’” (1 Corinthians 11:23-25).

By themselves, the words of our Lord, “Take, eat; this is my body,” in addition to sounding incomplete, are impossible to grasp according to our reason. They don’t seem to make sense. The words, well, they don’t seem to match up. We understand the grammar of the words, of course, but the meaning…How can Jesus say, “Take eat, this is my body,” when it’s bread that He is giving? And if it’s only bread that He’s giving, why does He say that the bread is His My body?

According to His very own words, Jesus, in fact, means just what He says. The bread, which Jesus was giving to His disciples, was His very own body—not symbolizes, not signifies, not represents, but is. And Jesus is not speaking in a spiritual sense, either.

The meaning of Jesus giving the bread to His disciples and saying, “This is My body,” along with His giving of the cup, the wine, to the same disciples and saying, “Take, drink, this is My blood,” are full of significance, import, and life. They are Jesus’ words, not man-made, and therefore, they carry weight and authority, the authority of God, because Jesus is God incarnate, God in the flesh.

But what do they mean?

For Jesus’ disciples, Jesus’ Words meant that the Passover, the Feast of the Passover, which had been celebrated by God’s people for generations, was now finding its fulfillment. The Feast of the Passover was celebrated in remembrance of the time when God passed over His people in Egypt whose house lintels and door posts were covered with the blood of the lamb.

But the first born of the Egyptians whose homes were not covered with the blood of the lamb died. This was according to the Word of the Lord, “I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD. 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. So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance” (Exodus 12:12-14)…“And it came to pass at midnight that the LORD struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of livestock. So Pharaoh rose in the night, he, all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where there was not one dead” (Exodus 12:29-30)

According to the Lord’s Word, the firstborn of the Egyptians died. As God spoke, so it came to pass. And though this truth might seem cruel and unusual to our 21st century ears, it was only after this last plague (of 10) that the Egyptian King Pharaoh freed the children of Israel from their bondage and slavery in Egypt.

It was through the death of the firstborn that God delivered His people from their hardship, saving them from their enemies. Thus, afterwards, after the Lord’s Passover, the people left Egypt for the promised land. The Exodus, the going out, the being delivered.

This is what the Passover meant for the people of God in Moses’ day. This is why generation to generation celebrated this feast. It was a memorial feast of God’s deliverance.

But from the moment of Christ’s Institution of the Lord’s Supper, the fulfillment of the Passover Feast had come, for the Passover pointed to Jesus, the very “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

In the first Passover, a lamb had been slain, and with its blood, the children of God covered the entrance of their houses that they be protected from God’s righteous judgment against the godless. Now, Jesus was going to shed His own blood, to cover sinners and shield them from God’s righteous judgment.

Then, God slew the firstborn of the Egyptians. There, God made a distinction between those who were not His people from those who were. Now, God the Father was going to slay His only begotten Son. He was going to make a distinction between the righteous and the godless by crucifying the righteous One, that the firstborn Son take the place of the godless, that the godless be saved through His death.

Then, only after the 10th plague, the slaying of the firstborn, only then, did Pharaoh release God’s people from slavery, that they journey towards the land of promise. Now, Jesus was going to free sinners from death and hell by means of His own death, by bearing the sins of the world upon Himself.

“Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. 6 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 35:5-6)

Jesus was “broken”, for you. “He (that is, God) made Him (Jesus) who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Jesus, in your stead, means your wholeness and sure peace with God (Romans 5:1). Jesus, in your stead, means that you are no longer severed from God’s love, His kindness, or His favor. Rather, do you have these, totally and completely, in Christ.

If you want to know whether God is for you or against you, or if you want to be sure that God is favorable towards you, look to Christ, believe His Word of absolution, partake frequently of the Lord’s Supper for the forgiveness of sins, and for the strengthening of your faith. Believe and do not doubt that Christ is your salvation, that He is your peace with God, and that Christ alone is your hope, your help, and your life. Amen.

The Passion of our Lord, Matthew 26:1-27:66

“The Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified” (Matthew 26:2).

It is all coming down to this. Today in the Church Year is Palm Sunday. It is also called, “Sunday of the Passion.” Today is the beginning of Holy Week. With Jesus riding on a donkey, He enters into Jerusalem, receiving acclamations of praise and honor from the people, “Hosanna to the Son of David! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’ Hosanna in the highest!” (Matthew 21:9).

That word “hosanna” is an Aramaic word for “Help/Save, I pray.” It is a calling out for divine help, and most appropriately prayed to our Lord always, not least of all on Palm Sunday. The people were right to pray these words as the Lord Jesus entered into Jerusalem, for divine help only comes from Him who sent His Son for the true and lasting divine help of everlasting peace with God.

The people were right to acclaim Jesus as “the Son of David,” for so He was. Jesus was David’s son, David’s descendant, and David’s Lord (Psalm 110:1; Matthew 22:44). Jesus was of the line of David, the Son promised of old by Nathan the prophet who had prophesied to King David, “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. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever” (2 Samuel 7:12-13).

God fulfilled these words in Jesus His Son, David’s descendant and Lord. Jesus was that seed whose kingdom the Father established. Jesus built a house for God’s Name and the throne of His kingdom is now established forever.

The people were right to cry out “Hosanna.” They were right to give Jesus the title, “Son of David.” They were also right to call out, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” And with these latter words, they proclaimed that the One riding on the donkey was He who comes in the Name of the Lord. They identified Jesus as not coming of Himself or of another, but in the Name of the Lord. By these words, they made clear that Jesus was no counterfeit, but the real deal. Jesus was no imposter, but One whom the Father sent.

By these words of praise and honor given to Jesus and about Jesus, it would seem that the people of Jerusalem fully recognized Jesus’ identity. It would seem as if they knew who Jesus really was, not only Jesus the man, but Jesus, God in the flesh (John 1:14). It would also seem as if they were ready and prepared for the kind of kingdom God was going to establish through Him, that they acknowledged the kind of Jesus that Jesus was.

Yet, comparing the day that Jesus entered into Jerusalem on a donkey to the events later that Holy Week would seem to upset the balance. The Jesus welcomed on Palm Sunday seems a different Jesus than the Jesus hanging on the tree. The Jesus honored and praised as “Son of David” and “He who comes in the name of the Lord” seems different from the one of whom the people shouted, “Let Him be crucified” (Matthew 27:23). The man who the people call “Blessed” seems different from the man mocked with the scarlet robe and crown of thrones, blasphemed, and crucified.

One might think that the Jesus of Palm Sunday is not the same Jesus of Good Friday, or, that somehow, the Jesus of Good Friday is not the kind of Jesus that we’re looking for.   The Jesus of Good Friday is weak—meek—bruised—and beaten. He’s not only suffering and dying. He’s dead. This isn’t what kind of one we think of with the words “come in the name of the Lord” and “Son of David,” son of the mighty king whose heart was after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14).

One who comes “in the Name of the Lord” should be strong. The “Son of David” should not be defeated. He should be alive, living, and thriving. He should be conquering, overcoming and advancing the kingdom. He should be all-powerful, and un-stoppable.

But the kind of Jesus that the Father sent, the kind of Jesus that you have, is not the one molded or modeled according to sinners and their thoughts and their ways. The kind of Jesus that the Father sent, the kind of Jesus that you have, is indeed One whose heart is after God’s own heart.

This Jesus, “being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:6-8).

The Jesus of Palm Sunday, the Jesus of the Transfiguration, the healer of the blind, the lame, the deaf, and the mute, and the raiser of the dead is the same Jesus of suffering, thorns, beatings, mocking, blasphemies, crucifixion, and yes, even death. This Jesus is not the Savior of the sinless, but of sinners only. Those who are well have no need of a physician. Only those who are sick do (Matthew 9:12).

Jesus is that physician of the sick. He is the great physician, who alone heals you by taking all of that which condemns you and makes it His own. He takes it from you so that it is no longer yours, but His, and puts it to death on the cross.

He who “knew no sin” was made “to be sin for us” (1 Corinthians 5:21).

The beatings and the mocking, the blasphemies and the thorns, the insults and the injuries, the suffering, the crucifying, and the death—were yours. Jesus took them for you. Through these so-called weaknesses, salvation is yours—just because Jesus conformed to the will of His Father and suffered and yes, even died, for your sake.

If Jesus had done anything different, if He would have called down a legion of angels when He was arrested, if he would have come down from the cross and saved Himself, then you would still be in your sin, and have nothing but the consequence of eternal death upon you, now and into eternity.

But because Jesus was and is strong and mighty against the devil, because He conquered sin and death through His death, you now live and have life, for all eternity.

Because we walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7), we don’t judge according to appearance. We “judge with righteous judgment” (John 7:24), with the Word of God. Life (and the church) might not look like much at times, but it need not to. Jesus wasn’t what people expected. But the same Jesus of Good Friday is the same Jesus of Easter Sunday. “Hosanna to the Son of David! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’ Hosanna in the highest!” (Matthew 21:9). Amen.

Audio of Sermons update

 

If you would like to listen to audios of preached sermons (and/or other audio recordings), please visit our YouTube channel.

You can also access this by clicking on the grey image of Luther’s Seal (under the calendar) in the right hand bar above the text, “Sermons on YouTube”.  The most recently uploaded sermons should be towards the top.

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