Thursday, March 19, 2015

Sermon for 3/15/15: Lent IV


He Already Knows

Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Amen. 

The Lord already knows how He's going to take care of you. Are you going to trust Him and not worry about your future? Or are you going to get all worked up because you aren't sure how everything is going to play out? Jesus already knows how He's going to provide for this congregation. The question is, are we going to trust that He'll take care of things? Or will we get agitated because we think we have to figure it all out ourselves? This is our problem. This is our sin. We live as if we think the Lord is ignorant of what's going on in our lives. We get downright grumpy because we don't believe the Lord is paying any attention. Suddenly we're on a hillside after three days and there's nothing to eat. We're in the desert and wondering whether God just brought us there to starve. Is that how you live? Our ears are filled over and over with God's promises, but one thing comes along that we don't like and we stew about it for days, getting grumpy and complaining. We forget about God and ignore or mistreat our neighbor.

If you are ever in doubt as to whether the Lord will take care of you, then think of this account. Five thousand people are sitting there, and they need food. Jesus feeds them. It's that simple. Jesus knows what you need before you need it. He knows what you need even before you ask for it. And He still knows what you need even if you don't think He is going to provide it. And that’s not just true of food. Our real problem isn't that we're hungry. It's that we're sinners. It's that we are filled with unbelief. We don't think He can do anything about our sins. We don't ask Him to. We don't even know we need Him to. But He comes to save sinners.

There's a reason John mentions that the Passover was near. The Passover was coming when Jesus, the Lamb of God, the true Passover Lamb, would be killed so that we are set free from sin, from death. Today it's a hill with green grass. Soon it will be a hill covered with crosses and criminals and skulls. On the first Passover, the lamb dies. But because of the blood on the door, the Angel of Death passes over. On the final Passover, the Lamb of God dies. But because of His blood sprinkled on you in Baptism, the Angel of Death passes over. On the first Passover, the lamb dies and is eaten by the people. On the final Passover, Jesus dies, giving Himself to you in His Holy Supper. You head out into the world where nothing seems to go your way, where you don't think you'll have what you need, in which the devil and your flesh try to drag you into sin. And Jesus takes care of you.

We are in the midst of our own wilderness wanderings. But as we’re told in the 23rd Psalm, Jesus the Good Shepherd has led us to a place where we lay down in green pastures. Grass is where sheep graze. Grass means God's Word in this pasture called the Church. There’s plenty of grass here, plenty of the Word of God. He feeds you as much as you want. On the hills with Jesus, you are filled to bursting with bread and fish, and there's still more. That's how His forgiveness goes too. He gives you more than you need, more than enough to drown your sins. Jesus knows what you need before you need it. He'll give it to you before you ask for it, even when you don't know how He's going to do it. That's how He feeds five-thousand people. That's how He saves the world. With a Jesus like that, there’s no need to worry that you’ll have enough, no need to worry about being able to help your neighbor. After all, what is there to worry or complain about? Jesus gives you everything you need and then some. And not even your worry can keep Him from saving you. 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.  

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