Sunday, August 26, 2012

Trinity 5

Luke 5:1-11 - Trinity V - August 26, 2012
God’s Word Is Powerful toward Sinners
Jesus had been preaching in the Synagogues of Galilee; he had been healing many sicknesses, and casting out demons.  Jesus was doing what we all picture Jesus spending his time doing.  But everything he did served one central purpose: he taught.  In the miracles that Jesus performed, he always taught something.  And likewise, when he taught, Jesus often accompanied his instruction with miraculous signs to confirm his teaching.  And so the two went hand in hand: his teaching and his acts of divine strength.  His miracles were never just to wow the crowds, but always indicated and revealed who he was, what he had come to accomplish, and how these things made known the Father’s will toward them.  God doesn’t reveal his strength just to flex his muscles for his own sake.  No, he shows his strength in order to teach us that he intends to use his infinite power to save us.  And so Jesus’ miracles teach us the same.  That is, they teach us to listen to his word, because it is there that we learn the reason and purpose for everything God does. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Trinity 10

Luke 19:41-48 - Trinity X - August 12, 2012 
What Makes for Our Peace with God

Jesus was drawing near to Jerusalem.  The Lord almighty approached his holy city chosen from eternity to be his dwelling in order to ascend his throne and rule.  The people, right before our Gospel begins, cried out those familiar words that marked his triumphal entry into the city he loved: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!  Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”   The Pharisees rebuked them.  “Jesus,” they said, “do you hear such blasphemy?  These people call you God.  These people treat you as though you were the greatest thing to have visited Jerusalem since the Temple was filled with smoke, and when the prophets prophesied in the days of our fathers.  Rebuke them, Jesus! Silence them, Good Teacher!  Rabbi, you are not who they say you are!”  But Jesus did not rebuke them.  Instead, he responded: “I tell you, if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”  
…. And this here sets the context for where our text begins this morning.  Jesus came to Jerusalem for the very purpose of eliciting praise from those whom he would redeem.  And what could possibly silence the praise of God’s people?  Well, in our text this morning we learn exactly what does: sin; self-righteousness; the refusal to repent.  And we learn as well what it is that rekindles in our hearts the praises of God our Savior. 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Trinity 9

Luke 16:1-9 - Trinity IX - August 5, 2012 
Forcing Mammon to Serve Our God

There are two religions in the world.  People either believe and trust in the one true God, or they believe and trust in a false god.  People either worship the God who made them and who gives them all that they have, or they worship false gods who have no power at all to provide lasting satisfaction.  The essence of idolatry, that is false worship, is the worship of creation instead of the Creator.  True worship, on the other hand, is not simply an intellectual recognition that God exists or that he is the Maker of all things.  To know that there’s a creator is not to know God.  It’s not simply a matter of admitting that there’s a higher power out there, or that this higher power is ultimately good that one worships God.  Even unbelievers, who see no use for God to become man, or to shed his blood on the cross for sins, are able to figure this out – that God is good.  So what of it?!  So God is good because he gives to people what they love more than him?  That’s a fine way to define God’s goodness, isn’t it?  Yet we see this all the time as the insatiable world chases after all the stuff that fills the earth. 
But no, true worship that is not by nature idolatrous requires something much more than this.