Sunday, January 27, 2019

Sermon for 1/27/19: Third Sunday After the Epiphany

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Miracles for You

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

We’re supposed to be impressed by this centurion’s faith which trusts the Word of Christ. But it seems like we don’t get the chance to walk up to our Lord and ask for help. We don’t get an offer from Him to come to our houses and heal our sick family and friends. We start where the centurion left off. All we’ve ever asked for is a command from Jesus that will drive off disease. We know He has the power and authority to do it. But it seems like we never get it. We have doctors and drugs and modern equipment…but no miracle. And there are diseases which modern medicine cannot cure.
How hard it is for flesh and blood to endure these sorrows! It weighs us down to pray over and over, and it seems we never get what we ask for. Is it any wonder that we have our doubts, that we are afraid to get our hopes up? There are too many in the cemetery already, too many children in the hospital, too many divorces, too many murders, too many bullies, liars, and cheats. They surround us at work, at school, at the grocery store, even at Church. If only we could go home and find peace! But even there, the reality is less than ideal. How many times will we stand at the bedside of our loved ones and ask for a miracle, and though we are hoping, pining, longing, dreaming of a miracle, never really expect that a miracle will come? We know the stories from the Bible, but we’ve never seen a real miracle for ourselves. The centurion believed and got his miracle. The Lord was willing to heal the leper. But what about those in the Cancer ward? What about diabetes, congestive heart failure, autism, Alzheimer’s, and so many more?
My brothers and sisters in Christ: repent. The truth is, it is hard to live by faith. It is hard to walk the narrow way. The way of the cross is full of sorrow. But our Lord’s gifts are His to give as He pleases. In our Lord’s time, the centurion received his desire. Would you take the centurion’s servant back from him? Would you deny the leper his miracle? You’ve been afraid to hope. But God loves you. He knows what troubles you. He has walked in your shoes; He has borne your burdens. He hears and answers your prayers. Your time will come.
Do not stop praying for miracles. This authority and power belongs to Jesus. He has promised that He will give you whatever you ask in His name. He may give it to you now. He may hold it for you in heaven. But He will give it. In the meantime, you live by faith. You rest in the forgiveness of sins and the hope to come. Our Lord has called you by name; He has marked you as His own. He has fed you with His Holy Body and Blood. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He is your Good Shepherd. You wait for Him, believing that He has obtained redemption for you by His innocent suffering and death. He has delivered you so that you will dwell with Him forever. The dead will rise. This corruptible will put on the incorruptible. Jesus did not die in vain. He died for you. His resurrection is no myth. It is the foundational reality of the entire universe. Jesus is Lord. He is your Lord by faith. He loves you. He forgives you. He gives you life.
Your day will come. You will have your miracles. You will not always be disappointed. You will know joy and laughter and peace. You are God’s people. You were Gentiles, the hostile nations that hated God’s people. But now you are Christians with God’s name upon you. He tells you to go, and you go. You make disciples of all nations, baptizing them, teaching them, bearing witness to who He is. You do this at home and work, and by your offerings and sacrifices here and elsewhere. You will sit with this centurion, his servant, and with all the saints, basking in the wonderful grace from the Lamb of God who take away the sin of the world. 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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