The Word Works
Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
The Word of God is a marvelous and mysterious thing. God the Father makes all things through His Word. Jesus was conceived by God's Word spoken by the angel Gabriel. The Holy Spirit comes to us through the Word. Water washes away sins because God adds His Word. Pastors and Christians forgive sins because Jesus' Word says they do. So…how is it that a boat full of fisherman can fish all night and catch absolutely nothing, but when they go out into the deep, they can hardly haul in all the fish? It works that way because that's where our Lord’s Word pointed them. The Word of God has unfathomable power. Where Jesus puts His Word, there we have forgiveness, life and salvation.
Where Christ and His Word are, there the devil and the world and our sinful nature have no power. Everything begins with God's Word. It's always His Word that directs us to what saves us and blesses us. God the Son came into this world, born of the Virgin Mary, and He came to speak the Father's Word to save sinners. In fact, Jesus is the Word made flesh, born to suffer for our sins and to die for them on the cross. Who would have guessed that God Himself would come in the flesh and die on the cross and rise again to take away our sins? Think what other amazing things Christ has done. See how He directs the fishermen to let down their nets for a huge catch; in the same way He has let you into the waters of the font in which you catch the great bounty of forgiveness and life. See how Jesus absolves Peter; in the same way you have been forgiven. See how Jesus leads the disciples to follow Him; in the same way He leads you today to His altar to be where He is for you in His body and blood.
When Peter sees the great catch of fish, however, he throws himself at Jesus' feet: "Away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!" Peter knows that Jesus is God and He is not. Peter knows that He doesn't deserve anything from Jesus. That's you too. When you see and hear all that God does for you, learn Peter's response: "Away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!" When you kneel for confession and absolution and when you come today to kneel at Christ's altar, understand that it is not that you are worthy or deserve to be here. If you think you are worthy, if you think you do deserve what Christ is about to give you, then stop and repent. Come as a sinner. Confess your sinfulness as Peter does. Only at the font, only at the altar, only in His church does Christ come to you and forgive your sins. Jesus says, "Do not be afraid." You are washed, you are absolved, and now you will eat and drink my flesh and blood. There is nothing to be afraid of. I have defeated all your enemies. You are mine.
Dear Christians, you belong where Jesus is: present in His Word, present where His holy gifts are. In Baptism, Absolution, through the Gospel, in the Lord’s Supper—in His church, you receive His love for you. Here you are forgiven. Here you are a child of God. Here you are no sinner but a saint of Christ's church. Outside of Jesus, none of that is true. Approach your Lord Jesus Christ boldly to receive His pledge and promise that nothing can separate you from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus. Come now to receive more Jesus. Come and receive what Jesus has for you. Come to receive Him as He comes to you in His holy body and blood. Like Peter, you are unworthy on your own. But also like Peter, your Savior speaks His Word of forgiveness to you. He chooses you. He makes you worthy. In the name of the Father and of the Son (+) and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
The peace of God which passes all understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus always. Amen.