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Fifth Sunday in Lent

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Judica Sunday - extremely rough notes

March 18

Hebrews 9

Grace and mercy to you from God Our Father and the Lord Jesus  Christ.

It is written in Hebrews chapter 9: 11 But Christ has arrived as a high priest of the good things to come. Through the greater and more perfect tent not made by hands, that is, not of this creation, 12 and not by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood, he entered once for all into the holiest place, obtaining eternal redemption.

Thus far the text.  

A quick comparison of the material Jewish sacrifices of goats and bulls versus the spiritual Christian sacrifices of prayer praise and thanks.

The Old Testament altar is the place of blood sacrifices.  A lamb would be sacrificed as an atoning sacrifice for sin.  The lamb did the work. It shed its blood. The blood was sprinkled on the ark of the covenant.  The body was burned on the altar for burnt offerings. This is the material sacrifice that was regularly repeated through the Old Testament.  

How were the OT folks made righteous before the Lord? They were saved by faith In the promise connected with the atoning sacrifice.  

The  New Testament altar is a spiritual altar.  The first my altar was the cross upon which Jesus died.  No one notice that that particular cross was an altar. The fact was hidden from all people.    Crosses were common for executions. Those other crosses were not altars. Christ’s cross was different because of the promise and the sacrifice.

Jesus is the promised Lamb of God.  Behold the Lamb who takes away the sins of the world.  Jesus is not a material lamb. Jesus is The spiritual Lamb.  The promised Lamb. The announced One. This Lamb is God Himself.  

No one can see that Jesus is God.  They see a convicted man, not The Son of Man, God in the flesh.  The sacrifice is hidden from sight.

Much like Abraham and Issac did not see the ram of grace caught in the thicket so also no man woman or child looked upon crucified Jesus and saw the Lamb of God entangled in the thicket of our sins.  But there He was.

There is only one New Testament atoning sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins.  That was accomplished on the altar of the cross.

The altar before you is a spiritual altar.  It is not an altar for the atoning sacrifice for your sins.  Your sacrifices are your pray praise and thanks. In that sense, it is an altar.  It is a spiritual altar because it requires faith in Jesus.

There is only one atoning sacrifice for your sin but that one atoning sacrifice is delivered to you from this altar.  You can’t see Christ’s body but the promise of God is that Christ’s resurrected and living body is here for you to eat.  Why? To receive the promise connected to the bread the justification of your sins by faith in Jesus. ( whole burned offering)

Third Sunday in Lent

 Third Sunday in Lent

Third Sunday in Lent

Oculi--The Third Sunday in Lent

March 4, 2018

St. Luke 11:14-28

 It is written in the Gospel according to Luke:  14 Now he was casting out a demon that was mute. When the demon had gone out, the mute man spoke, and the people marveled. 15 But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the prince of demons,” 16 while others, to test him, kept seeking from him a sign from heaven. 17 But he, knowing their thoughts, said to them,.... 20 But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 21 When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are safe; 22 but when one stronger than he attacks him and overcomes him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his spoil…. 27 As he said these things, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!” 28 But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”  thus far the text.

Let us pray:  Almighty Father, who has given the Strong Man Jesus to bear our sin, grant us Your Holy Spirit and protect us in body and soul; in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

In Lent so far we’ve seen Christ’s power over the devil and his kingdom. Today, Jesus’ enemies accuse Him of driving out demons by the prince of demons, which Jesus calls a ridiculous idea that doesn’t make any sense. But we do get two warnings here about what happens when the Lord casts Satan out of us. He will either come back with a brute force attack or he will try to make our religion about something other than hearing and keeping Christ’s Word. A brute force attack is when the devil realizes he’s been cast out by your baptism into Christ so now he comes back with the world and your sinful nature to assault you with all sorts of temptations and vices until you just give up on Christ and stop coming to church and believing any of it at all. You know, using the things and people around us to cause us to fall into misery and mistakes and give up on Christ. The more subtle way is to distract you with something that sounds religious but isn’t really about Christ at all. Like the woman who praised Jesus’ mother. You know, coming to a church for something other than God’s Word and Supper and forgiveness. Beware of these attacks, either head on with full force or subtly and craftily. And repent of wanting to join in these things! Beware and flee to Christ who alone can withstand these temptations and cast out Satan for good. 

You see, now you are a marked person. A target for the devil. And when he comes for you, there is only one thing to do. Give him the finger of God! Jesus declares to His enemies that He drives out demons by the finger of God. We saw the power of God’s finger when the Egyptian magicians couldn’t duplicate the plagues the Lord brought upon Pharaoh and Egypt. The finger of God is not just a metaphor. God actually has a finger. Ten in fact. And hands and feet and human flesh. For Jesus is true God and true man who has come to save us from Satan’s kingdom. He has come to rescue us from our slavery and bondage to darkness and sin. He does so by casting out Satan. And He casts out Satan by being the sin bearer. Satan goes where there are sinners and sins and so Jesus rescues you from the devil by making your sins His own and being nailed to the cross on Calvary and there suffering, bleeding and dying for your sins! His descent into hell is the victory lap around the devil’s kingdom in which He declares Satan’s power null and void. His resurrection is the proof for the whole world to witness that since sin has been overcome, so has death, its curse. 

 So just how do you aim the finger of God at the devil? You start by making the sign of the cross to remind him of your baptism. That you were washed. That he was cast out of you and you brought out of his kingdom already at the font. You hear Christ preached and hear your sins absolved. Those words of Jesus drive the devil away as surely as Jesus standing here speaking in person. You receive Christ’s body and blood so that instead of the prey of a sinner the devil must see in you the Lion of Judah who has overcome sin and death and therefore he must fear to get close to you! Do you see? All the power and might and strength of God against Satan is yours in Christ that the evil foe may have no power over you. Your sins are forgiven. You are God’s child. Death has been defeated. Eternal life is yours. Blessed are you who hear the Word of God and keep it. For Jesus is yours. And therefore the devil can’t have you. In the Name of Jesus. Amen. 

Second Sunday in Lent

 Second Sunday in Lent

Second Sunday in Lent

Reminiscere Sunday

Second Sunday in Lent

February 25, 2018

It is written in Matthew chapter 15,

22 And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.”  23 But He answered her not a word.  And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, “Send her away, for she cries out after us.”  24 But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”  25 Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, help me!”  26 But He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.”  27 And she said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”  28 Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.  Thus far the text.

Let us pray:  O Lord, who kills and makes alive, keep the promise you made when you baptized us, to drown the Old Adam and raise us in the New Adam so that both His death and His life may be our own; in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

Do you want to receive the mercy of the Lord? Are you sure? Do not answer so quickly. Remember, our God is the God who says, (Deuteronomy 32:39)  “See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god beside me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand.”

You have to be killed in order to be made alive. You have to give up everything to have anything. He who keeps his life will lose it, but he who loses his life will keep it. God is eager that you should live – so he's going to kill you.

This is what the Canaanite woman learns in today's Gospel reading. She comes to her Lord begging his mercy, ready to receive with empty hands, for she comes to her Lord as a dead woman. Her heart has been emptied. Her soul rings hollow: for she comes to her Lord as one who knows her powerlessness. She comes as one without pride.  She comes as a parent who can do nothing for her sick child. She had been to the doctors, she's stayed up endless nights – but nothing has helped. Still her daughter is grievously tormented by a demon, one of the false gods of Canaan.

And what can this mother do for her daughter? She knows that she can do nothing. She has no hope of helping her daughter. Her pride is dead. And with that, now on the brink of despair, she is ready to receive the mercies and the lovingkindesses of God our Father.

She comes to Jesus with empty hands: Lord, have mercy. She does not ask for what she deserves: her pride, her self-esteem, is dead. She knows she deserves nothing at all, or something worse. But she comes to beg mercy.  She comes with empty hands: no more bargaining for her. She has nothing to try to bribe Jesus with: she just asks for mercy.

And behold: the Lord ignores her, then even calls her a Gentile dog and not his child. But she clings to him still: these harsh words of rejection from her Lord do not strike her as harsh. For she knows that they are true. She knows she has no right to call upon the Lord; she knows that he is right when he calls her a unclean. But she also knows of his mercy and his lovingkindesses for they are from of old. So she confesses: Yes, Lord: it is as you say. I am a dog, I’m unclean, I’m a sinner.  I know that very well. There is nothing that I can rightly ask of you, nothing that you owe me. I do not ask what is right: I ask what is merciful. I ask only for a crumb of mercy from your table.

With her pride dead, with all hope of dealing gone, having given up on justice and instead begging for mercy: now the woman is ready to be made alive. Great is your faith, woman! - Your daughter is healed.

Faith is having nothing to offer God: so to say that your faith is great is to say that you are small.

Beloved in the Lord, you are in the shoes of the Canaanite woman. God seeks to kill you also that he might raise you to life. Each hardship you face, each cross you must bear, each prayer that seems to go unanswered: all these are God's work to crush your pride, to empty you of yourself, to knock from your hands any chips you would use to bargain with Him. For God wants to fill you up. But to fill you up he must first empty you. To make you live, he must first kill you. So beloved, repent. Admit that you are dead. Give up on yourself. And instead cry out: Lord, have mercy. Nothing in my hand I bring, only to your cross I cling.

For there, in the cross, the Lord will fill you up. He emptied himself on that cross to pay for your sins – he poured out his life so that death for you would be but the gate to life immortal. He took upon himself the sin and pain and loneliness and sorrow and guilt of all the world and took it with him down to death – but then he rose from the dead all alone – for he left the sin and the pain and loneliness and the sorrow and the guilt down in that grave. He lives: and he now makes you alive.

Day in and day out, he will kill you and make you alive. Day in and day out, he will drown that own Adam in you by repentance and raise you to new life in himself. Day in and day out he will empty you so that he may fill you up. For he has lifted you up: he brings you to the table to give you the children's bread: the Bread of Life: the daily Bread of the children of the Heavenly Father, indeed the very Body and Blood which he shed on the cross. Beloved, come and receive him. Come with empty hands, with nothing to offer; Come calling on his mercy alone. Come and be filled, be raised, be made alive through faith in Jesus.  Amen.


The peace which passes understanding guard and protect you in Jesus Christ, our Savior.  Amen.