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Epiphany 3

January 27, 2008

Third Sunday after the Epiphany       Trinity Lutheran Church
27 January 2008                                   Murdock, NE

+ Jesu Juva +

Matthew 4:12-25

Jesus changes His address.  Moves up north after John’s arrest and incarceration.  If you want to look up Messiah Jesus, He’s put Himself in the city of Capernaum.  And that’s in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali.

What’s with the new location?  Is Jesus interested in lake house property on the Sea of Galilee?  That’s pretty pricey.  Sure could host some great parties there, couldn’t He?  Or perhaps He’s going to open up His own carpentry shop and specialize in His own brand of woodworking:  “Christ Woods Inc.?”

No.  He’s fulfilling Bible prophecy.  What was prophesied through the prophet Isaiah.  The long, deep, icy darkness of winter’s sin and death’s black shadow is over.  The spring thaw has begun.  Salvation for Israel and for the world is dawning.  The bright beams of the Sun, the Lord Jesus Christ, shine in the world.  For Jesus, Son of Mary and yet God of God and Light of light, has moved to Capernaum in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali.  God of God and Light of light Jesus is the Light.  Salvation’s light.  He dispels the long winter night of sin and death.  He scatters the darkness.  He warms the world with His compassion and mercy for sinners. 

What’s with the change of address?  Jesus is cranking up His salvation of the world work! Rolling up His sleeves to do a divine service.  “The people who were sitting in darkness saw a great light and to those who were sitting in the land and shadow of death upon them a light has dawned.”   

Christmas Light Jesus comes.  Salvation’s first light has dawned.  Where?  In Capernaum.  In the region of Zebulun and Naphtali.

So notice what happens.  First, a sermon.  And short one.  But it gets to the point.  Right to the heart.  “Repent.”   Repent.  That’s faith.  Or trust.  Trust in Jesus.  You’re the sinner.  He’s the Savior.  His reign is one of forgiveness for sinners.  So “repent [that is, believe], for the kingdom of God is at hand.”   Yes indeed!  The reign of God on the earth has arrived!  Light Jesus has moved to Capernaum in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali.  God of God and Light of light Jesus reigns.  And when He reigns sins are forgiven.  Death is destroyed.  God is merciful!

Jesus preaches this message where He locates Himself.  In all of Galilee he teaches in the synagogues.  He proclaims the Gospel of the kingdom.  The Light has dawned!  Salvation’s spring has begun!

So first, there’s a sermon for those dwelling in darkness and the shadow of death.  His Holy Spirit filled preached Word bears fruit.  He gathers around Himself a church through His Word.  Simon and Andrew.  James and John.  And from His church He sends preachers. “Fishers of men,” those fishermen will be.  He’ll use them to be His instruments in the church to net in more and more people around Himself as God of God and Light of light.

Preaching and then healing.  “Healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people.”   News about this spreads like wildfire!  All across the country of Syria.  So great masses of people from everywhere come looking for Jesus.  “They brought to Him all who were ill, taken with various diseases and pains, the demon possessed, epileptics, paralytics and He healed them.” 

The great multitudes from Galilee and Decapolis and Jerusalem and Judea and from beyond the Jordan River are willing to follow Jesus.  For now. 

But the crowds dwindle when the Light’s preaching turns to His suffering, death, and resurrection.  Peter takes Jesus to task for that kind of preaching.  And when the suffering begins in earnest on Maundy Thursday with Judas Iscariot’s treachery, Peter denies, and the disciples flee.  A crowd gathers around the Cross.  But only to mock!  The Marys weep.  John stands with them.   

But there on the Cross, in the three hours’ thick darkness over the whole land, the Light of salvation shines the brightest!  For there Jesus bears the sin of the world.  To take it away from you and answer for it all Himself.  In His Body’s bitter suffering and dying salvation’s spring becomes salvation’s summer!  For Zebulun and Naphtali.  For the world.  And for you.

The bright beams of salvation’s Light shine on you.  Jesus preaches His Holy Spirit filled Word into your ears.  “Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand.”  At hand through His preaching of all your sins forgiven for His sake.  And through His Gospel preaching He’s gathered you into His church to be His followers.  Followers of the crucified God of God and Light of light.

You’re His little fishes.  He’s the big fish.  Swimming with Him in your Baptism.  The baptismal water hooked with His saving Word has brought you regeneration.  You are a new creation in Christ the Light.  The old has passed.  Behold the new has come!  You now walk in the light of believing that Jesus is God of God and Light of light for you and for your salvation. 

And with His nail scarred hands Jesus feeds you His Body and Blood.  With the bread and wine He gives His enlivening and death destroying Body and Blood.  It’s for your forgiveness.  And more!  For the resurrection of your bodies on the Last Day.  That’s where His healing is headed!  He will not leave your bodies as dust in the grave.  He will raise you up with a resurrection body like His.

So we continue to follow Him.  For we can’t live without light let alone God of God and Light of light Jesus.  But we don’t go to Capernaum.  He’s got a new address since His crucifixion and resurrection.  It’s an Ascension address!  Jesus locates Himself for you in His Word and Sacraments.  For His Word preached there’s a pulpit.  For your being born again in Him as new creations there’s the baptismal font.  For the down payment of your body’s resurrection from the grave there’s the Sacrament of and at the Altar.  Word and Sacrament at 31104 Church Road.  That’s the Light’s new address. His new Capernaum.  And He’s here in this house for you.  For your salvation.

“You who were sitting in darkness saw a great light and to you who were sitting in the land and shadow of death upon you a light [Jesus] has dawned.”   What joy!  What a Savior!  

In the Name of Jesus.   

From → "A" Sermons

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