Jesus: The Holy Trinity’s Gift for Your Salvation (John 3:1-17)
The Festival of Holy Trinity Trinity Lutheran Church
3 June 2012 Murdock, NE
+ Jesu Juva +
He sneaks in! At night! Nicodemus, that is! He’s impressed with this young controversial pastor/preacher Jesus from Nazareth. Remarkable sermons and outstanding Bible teaching! And the miracles! Incredible! Sneaks in at night under the cover of darkness to meet with the Preacher. To give Jesus kudos! Praise! Complements! “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”
Learned Nicodemus is in the dark. Scholarly and cultured Nicodemus is puzzled. Who is this Jesus?
And the answer to that question is the heart of Trinity Sunday. Trinity Sunday! You’d think you’d get a long, drawn out theological treatise on the Holy Trinity today! A twenty-five page paper on the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. How they relate to each other in eternity as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Map out the Holy Trinity way up there!
But what do we get on this Trinity Sunday? Way down here God in the flesh Jesus! Here we go again! Even on Trinity Sunday! The star of the Trinity is Jesus! The Holy Trinity has a Jesus fixation! A Jesus obsession! A Jesus mania! Addicted with Jesus!
He’s not just a rabbi! Not just a teacher who has come from God! Not just a preacher who is God inspired! Jesus is God! The second Person of the Holy Trinity! When you see Jesus, you see God! When you hear Jesus you hear God! When Jesus touches you, God handles you! Now God sits right in front of Nicodemus and you! “No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven – the Son of Man!” That’s Jesus of course! He is the Most High God come down from heaven. “Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven,” as the Creed confesses the biblical truth! The Second Person of the Holy Trinity, Jesus, preaches to Nicodemus!
AND THE HOLY TRINITY IS ALL ABOUT GIVING JESUS OVER TO SINNERS AS GIFT! PURE GIFT OF SALVATION FOR SINNERS!
So Jesus preaches today’s sermon to Nicodemus, you and me that is chock full and pregnant with divine promises! Promises of salvation for sinners! For whom you, Nicodemus, and me qualify!
“I tell you the truth,” Jesus says, “I’m here to give you a new birth! A birth from above! A heavenly birth!” How? “Not by climbing back into your mother’s womb and gestating for nine months!” Jesus declares. But by the new birth of “water and Spirit!”
“Water and the Spirit!” That’s Holy Baptism! The washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5)!
Are you born again? Are you born from above? Converted? Brought to faith in Jesus? Of course you are! You are baptized! Are you Holy Spirited? Yes! You are baptized! In the water and Word of your baptism, the Holy Spirit gave you all of Jesus’ Good Friday divine benefits! That includes the forgiveness of sins, rescue from death and the devil and eternal salvation! “I tell you the truth,” Jesus promises, “deadbeat sinners can not see the kingdom of God unless they are born again/from above … by water and the Spirit!”
And then there are more divine promises by God in the flesh Jesus! He goes to the story from the Old Testament. “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert.” You remember that one, don’t you? Numbers 21:4-9 where the LORD said to Moses: “‘Make a snake and put it on a pole; anyone who is bitten by the poisonous snakes can look at it and live.’ So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone looked at the bronze snake he lived.” So now Jesus categorically promises: “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert so the Son of Man Jesus must be lifted up on the pole of the cross so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” Did you note Jesus’ promise to those who believe in Him as the crucified Savior? “ETERNAL LIFE!”
Do you see what the big deal is here on Trinity Sunday? It’s Jesus! The Father didn’t take on flesh and die. Neither did the Spirit! But both the Father and the Spirit are all about keeping our attention and our believing on Jesus – the crucified and grave yard dead Jesus! The eternally begotten Son of the Father took all sin in His Body!
What are your sins? Name them! Confess them! What’s that? Most you can’t even remember? That’s all right! Jesus answered for them all! He didn’t leave any of your sin out of His being lifted up on the pole of the cross! “God so loved the world [and you are part of the world] that He gave his one and only Son into death on the cross!”
The two biggie verbs are “love” and “gave.” God loved you the unlovable! God loved you His enemy! Love gives! Divine love gives Himself to sinners! The holy Trinity insists on being in a relationship to sinners as the Giver of gifts! Especially the giving of Himself to you! Yes, that’s right, I said it:
GOD IS IN THE BUSINESS OF GIVING HIMSELF TO YOU!
In the world God the Father has given Himself to you and me with all creation. Hidden behind the mask of creation God Himself is at work providing you with all kinds of worldly gifts so that you can provide for your families, friends, communities, and your congregation.
The eternally begotten Son of the Father, Jesus the Christ, gives Himself completely to us with all His gifts and power! “God so loved the world [and you] that He gave! He gave His one and only Son” to die for you!
YOU DON’T GIVE YOURSELF TO GOD! THE BIBLE TEACHES THAT GOD GIVES HIMSELF COMPLETELY AND TOTALLY TO SINNERS! TO THE UNGODLY!
Why? Jesus gives the answer. “To save the entire world through the crucified and dead Jesus on the cross!” “So that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life!” You are forgiven! You are saved! You have eternal life! All because God the Father “so loved” you and “gave” His only begotten Son Jesus to do a Good Friday! Now that’s a Trinity Sunday! Jesus is given to you as salvation gift! Eternal life gift! For you who “believe” in Him!
In the Name of Jesus!