The text is Jesus returning to Nazareth to preach in his home synagogue. His message in the first place is right in line with what they all hoped and expected. He announces that he is the messiah. He also describes what kind of messiah he is – one that is bringing the Year of Jubilee. That is on OT concept the sermon explains a bit. Jesus is our Jubilee. But his message in the second place is much tougher. So tough that the Synagogue of Nazareth, full of people who knew Jesus from childhood, wants to cast him over the cliff. The text says they are full of wrath as the words of Jesus. The contrast is Jubilee and wrath. And that is what is put before us. Which way shall we choose. God has given us the kingdom, and he’s given us the kingdom in times and ways he feels best. Do we live in wrath against God for any perceived slights, or do we join the Jubilee?
The text contains a couple of staple funeral texts. They are more than that, but it is that connection that is part of this meditation. The greatest of the “I AM” statements is the first text – “I am the Resurrection and the Life”. The shortest verse in the bible, “Jesus wept”, is the second. Both of these are part of the larger story of Martha, Mary and Lazarus. And the repeated line is theirs. “If you had been here, our brother would not have died.”
This sermon is a personal reflection on those words. I hope that it carries the gospel.
Worship Note: Two points. First, we got our new organ this week. I believe you might he a much clearer sound. Second, today was a good day to sing some of the great Lenten hymns. The one I left in the recording is LSB 435, Come to Calvary’s Holy Mountain. I believe it carries the themes of resurrection and the life, a God who keeps his promises.
The word cloud are completely random outside of reflecting the usage in the sermon, but I like the one above for two reasons. I went with the black and white because that is how Jesus present having mercy. It is a black and white issue. Not being merciful to your fellow christian is the same thing as cutting yourself off from Christ. The second reason is the order the big words got spit out in. The Mercy flows down from the Lord God to fellows slaves. Fellow slaves become the conduits, the extra nos or outside of us paths of the mercy of God. It is through our fellow Christians that we hear the good news and the absolution of Christ. This sermon reflect on that through the parable of the unmerciful servant in the gospel text for the day.
You don’t get much more raw than this text. This is the Jesus that tends to get submerged. This is the Jesus of a sign of contradiction (Luke 2:34, Acts 28:22). So much of Christianity and church has been scrubbed and sanitized, domesticated and made safe…and then you read passages like this. And if you are going to be apostolic and orthodox, you have to make room for them. You have to talk about fire and division. And you have to see them as good news, because it is passages like this that are at the core of the Christian proclamation. Repent, for the Kingdom of God is here. Settle before you are thrown in debtors prison until the last penny. (Luke 12:58ff)