Sunday, August 09, 2015

Sermon for 8/9/15: Trinity X



Making Peace

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

As Jesus rode into Jerusalem, He cried. He was coming into the city to save the people from their sins, and they didn't care. They didn't believe. They did not know the things which would give them peace—the Son of God dying for sins on the cross. They didn't know the time of their visitation, when God Himself showed up to save them. Jesus cried because God in the flesh saves the world from sins, but God's own chosen people refused to believe it. When the Holy Spirit gathers us in the church, when we celebrate the Divine Service, God Himself is present. Here in this place, the Lord stands among you to serve you the gifts of forgiveness, life and salvation. Here in this place, Christ comes to bring the things that bring you peace. Here in this place, our Lord is with you to shelter you from His wrath and to give you eternal life. The water of Holy Baptism; Absolution spoken by your pastor; preaching and teaching; the body and blood of your Lord Jesus: these are the things which bring the peace of God to you. Do you know them? Do you believe that Christ is here and visits you for your good and blessing?

Jerusalem didn't know the things that will bring it peace! The clergy especially, along with the Pharisees and leaders, wanted a Savior who comes to do what they want, not one who suffers and dies for their sins. Over and over, as Jeremiah reminds us, the Lord has called to His people and they want nothing to do with Him. Jesus then predicted what will happen to Jerusalem. If they don't want God's Word, then the Lord won't have them! In 70 AD the Romans laid their siege against Jerusalem and destroyed the city. Brothers and sisters in Christ, don't miss this warning about what happens to those who reject Christ and want nothing to do with His Word. How long will God be patient with you before He brings you to utter shame and ruin? Do you know the things which bring God's peace? Do you know the time of God's visitation? Are God's Word and promises the very thing which give you peace? Or do you despise them and see the consequences in a life full of frustration and heartache and turmoil?

The visitation of God, the things that bring peace, are all there in Christ. Jesus comes to Jerusalem—God Himself. Over and over He sent prophets like Jeremiah to warn Jerusalem to stop worshiping false gods, to repent and cling to the Lord's saving promises. Now God has come Himself in the flesh to save and rescue His people. Jesus goes to the cross and suffers and dies for the sins of a world that doesn't know Him and doesn't want to know Him. He dies for His own people who don't want anything to do with Him. He dies for you and me—people who often put little importance on learning His Word and receiving the true peace which comes from sins forgiven. But He goes to the cross to bring an end of your enmity with God. He goes to the cross in your place as your sacrifice that takes away your sins. Believe that, dear people of God! Believe that all that Christ is and has done by His death and resurrection is for your peace.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let Jerusalem serve as a warning, a wake up call that God's Word is not to be treated lightly or with contempt! Instead, hear again the things that are for your peace: the Son of God dying on the cross and rising from the dead; the washing of water and the Word at the holy font; the speaking of forgiveness into your ears by your pastor; the forgiving feast of Christ’s body and blood at this altar. These are the things for your peace. You don't have to look anywhere else in the world to have your sins forgiven, to be made right with God, to have peace with your neighbor. Though you have despised God's Word and gifts, your sin has been blotted out by the blood of Jesus. Do not fear that you have neglected God's Word and promises! Don't be afraid of your sins! They have been answered for, covered by Jesus. He has come to Jerusalem for the salvation of the whole world. And now He comes to His Church, in this Divine Service, to give that salvation to you. These are the things that make for your peace. 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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