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Festival of the Holy Trinity

June 7, 2009

Trinity Sunday
7 June 2009

Job 1 / John 3:14-17

The agony and heartache.  The pain.  Two weeks ago we unexpectedly lost our good friend and brother in Christ, Norman Kupke.  And then came last Saturday afternoon’s awful collision on the highway just outside of Broken Bow.1

Times like this put your faith in God to the test.  Can He be trusted?  Does He even care?  Is there any hope? 

Do you remember Job from the Old Testament?  Tragedy after tragedy in his life.  The catastrophes came day after day, week after week.  And Job didn’t ever say anything.  But then came the biggest disaster any parent could ever encounter.  It was the day he received the horrific news that a tornado destroyed the home of one of his sons and that all his children were killed as a result.  All his children:  dead in a matter of moments!  Can you imagine?  The immense pain.  The colossal anguish.  The uncontrollable sobbing.

All this reminds me of being at the ball field on Saturday, May 30.  Hearing the news of Jake Ita’s deadly accident. His mother’s immeasurable anguish.  Body shaking.  Mind racing.  Death had unexpectedly bored an enormous black hole into her life — on of all days — her son’s birthday.      

But then comes the biggest surprise of all from Job.  Do you remember what Job did and said after he lost all his children in one day?  Here’s what he did and said:  “At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head.”  We would expect this wouldn’t we?  His heart is broken.  But the comes the shocker of all shockers.  After he rips his robe and shaves his head the text says:  “Then he fell to the ground IN WORSHIP.”   He worships!  He gives praise to God.  Doesn’t blame God.  Doesn’t curse God.  Praises God in the worst of all calamities.  Amazing! 

Job then goes on to say:  “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart.  The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised,” (Job 1:20-21). 

The Lord has given.  The Lord has taken away. 

May the name of the Lord be praised even today as well.  Even in the midst of our greatest tragedies and heartaches.

Why?  Because God the Father has opened up His heart to us.  God the Father has revealed Himself to us through His only begotten Son, Jesus the Christ.  “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son.” 

Notice the verbs.  And note who’s doing them.  “Love.”  “Gave.”  God loves.  God gives.

God loves you.  Yes, you.  Even when things happen in your life that seem to say just the opposite.  He loves you so much that He gave His only begotten Son into your flesh, born of the Virgin Mary, to bear your sin and answer for it all.  To atone for all your sin and be your Savior. 

The entire nature of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit is this:  that the Holy Trinity surrenders Himself to sinners in the promise of salvation.  The very promise of which Jesus Himself speaks in the text:  “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him [Jesus] shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”      

What a promise!  From God Himself through His beloved Son.  He’s not out to condemn you.  That will come only if you insist on it.  I tell you the truth:  God doesn’t hate you.  He loves you for Jesus’ sake.  God keeps His promises.  He doesn’t lie. 

So you are given to hold fast to Jesus.  He is the Savior.  He came from the Father in heaven by the power of the Holy Spirit to save the world and you who live in this world!  And that’s Good Friday.  His bloody wounds.  His gory death.  That’s Easter Sunday.  His resurrected body from the grave.  Never to die again. 

And what Jesus did — He did for you.  For Job.  Job’s family.  For Jake Ita, his father, his stepmother and all his family too.  His promise to you who believe is this:  eternal life.  “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life,” (John 3:14-15).

In John 11 Jesus blows our minds with another bold promise that only He can and will keep:  “I am the Resurrection and the Life.  He who believes in me will live even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” 

Job, who lost all his children in one day, believed this.  In the midst of such loss came his bold confession of faith:  “I know that my Redeemer lives and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.  And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh [my resurrected flesh] I will see God,” (Job 19:25-26). 

Brothers and sisters in Christ:  hold Jesus to His promises.  He loves to be caught in His promises.  Especially when we loose our friends and the ones we love.   

If you want to tear your clothes or shave your head like Job, go ahead.  You’re free to do so.  After all, your heart has been broken.  And once again we have learned that we are all beggars before the Lord.  Beggars eager to hear and receive His gifts.

God the Father has given you His Son Jesus into death to win your salvation.  Both the Father and the Son have sent the Spirit through the Word to bestow the benefits of His Good Friday death.  That’s why you are baptized in the Triune Name.  And with His Name the Holy Trinity is with you to bless you.  Born again as new creatures through water and the Spirit.  And the very Body and Blood that Jesus offered on the cross for you as the atoning sacrifice for your sin He now gives you in the Sacrament with the promise that it is for the forgiveness of your sin.  And where there is forgiveness of sin there is the promise of life and salvation.

Such are His promises.  He’s there with His promises of the Gospel.  We know God the Holy Trinity from His Gospel promises like the one we’ve heard today from Jesus:   “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him [Jesus] shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”   

The is why Job could say and we can confess with him even in the midst of such pain in our lives:  “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart.  The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised,” (Job 1:20-21).

Indeed, may the Name of the LORD be praised!  In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen! 

     1 A word of explanation to the reader.  On Saturday, May 30, fifteen year old Jake Ita (a classmate and friend of my son), his father Thad Ita, and stepmother Tricia Ita died as a result of a two vehicle head on collision.  His ten-year-old sister Martina Ita (a classmate and friend of my daughter) was seriously injured and remains in the hospital.  Jake’s nineteen-month-old half-sister Jaelyn Ita was not harmed.  Why all this in a sermon within the liturgical context of the Day of the Holy Trinity in the church year?  In the midst of this tragedy in our community I want to communicate what Oswald Bayer has observed in Dr. Luther’s teaching from the Scriptures, namely, that:  “The triune nature of God is nothing other than the God who reveals himself in the gospel,” (Martin Luther’s Theology, 336).  Martin Luther’s hymn “Dear Christians One and All Rejoice” confesses this so well.  See Lutheran Service Book, #556.  One stanza reads like this:  “He said to His beloved Son:  ‘It’s time to have compassion.  Then go, bright jewel of My crown, And bring to all salvation.’”      


From → "B" Sermons

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