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Pentecost 11 Lamb of God

August 16, 2009

Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 15)
16 August 2009

St. John 6:51-69
Lamb of God Lutheran Church, Papillion, NE

There He goes again.  Will His Bread of Life sermon never end? And most of His followers don’t like it.  Not one bit.  Grumbling about preacher Jesus and His sermon.  Arguing among themselves about His extended homily.

Scandalous sermon.  Offensive sermon.  Really gets people riled up.                                              

In fact, the majority of his disciples, after hearing this sermon “turn their backs, leave, and no longer follow him.”  Jesus even speaks of the one who would betray Him and those who do not believe in Him.

What did preacher Jesus say in the sermon that was so scandalous?  So offensive?

It’s that He claims to be the “living bread come down from heaven.”  And that this bread is His “flesh that will give for the life of the world.”  That’s quite an assertion!  And more:  “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood you have no life in you.”   And yet more:  “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and I will raise him up on the last day.  For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.  Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.”  

Good grief!  Sermons like that are what get preachers fired!  Jesus must be out of His mind to proclaim something like this from the pulpit.  Is He serious?  If He is then it’s time to have a special meeting with all the church authorities and demand Jesus’ resignation!  After all, He’s scattering the flock.  People are leaving in droves!  Look at how many disciples have dropped Him like a bad habit!  They can’t stand to hear sermons like this anymore!  He started with a mega church of 5,000 at the beginning of chapter six and now He’s down to only twelve!  And even one of the twelve will be the devil’s instrument to betray Him.  Such hemorrhaging membership stats are enough proof that Pastor Jesus should be defrocked immediately!  Or perhaps crucified! 

Inviting people to eat His flesh and drink His blood?  That’s not just disturbing.  It’s extremely dangerous!  Better hide the women and the children from such a preacher!  Someone call the police! Pastor Jesus should be put in a pink cell with cushioned walls and stuffed in a straight jacket.  Or perhaps crucified!

Does Jesus’ sermon offend you too?  Are His words too hard for you?  Too scandalous?  Ready to call it quits with this Jesus?  Do you want to leave too?  Then Jesus says:  “you have no life in you.” 

Or will you trust Him?  Especially when He preaches a sermon that appears to go too far?  The answer to this question is a matter of life – or death!  Eternal life – or eternal death!   

Peter’s answer for the twelve remaining disciples is this:  “Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life.  We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”

The twelve will be given to.  Trusting that what Jesus says is exactly what He gives. 

After all, Jesus is THE SACRIFICE that atones for the sin of the world.  He offers up His Body on the cross.  He sheds His Blood on the tree.  He gives His life for your life.  He is the substitute sacrifice – the vicarious Victim.  To pay the price for your rebellion against God.  To make peace between God and all of us.  His promise is this:  “I am the living bread that came down from heaven.  If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever.  THIS BREAD IS MY FLESH which I will give for the life of the world.” 

Jesus’ flesh is indeed real food.  His blood is real drink.  In the Sacrament of the Altar Jesus nourishes you with His body and His blood together with the bread and wine. 

How do you know that?  He says so!  His words of promise are Spirit and they are life!  “Take this bread and eat it; it is My body.  Drink from this cup.  It is the new testament in My blood shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.”   

Jesus’ promise to you today at the Sacrament is that, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and I will raise him up at the last day.”  Eternal life.  Resurrection of the body.  The fruit or benefits of the Sacrament of the Altar because of Jesus’ words that are Spirit and life.  Words of Jesus and Holy Spirit go together.  And in the words of Jesus the Holy Spirit is at work “giving life,”  that is, raising sinners from the dead.    

And more.  His giving and bounty overflow.  “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.”   Holy Communion!  Jesus is not far away.  He abides in you and you abide with Him.  He is in your mouths and in your hearts as you eat His Body and drink His Blood in the Sacrament!  And your bodies then are temples of the Holy Spirit. 

The Epistle’s exhortation to “be filled with the Spirit” comes about as you hear Jesus’ words and receive in faith what His words promise.  After all, His words are Spirit and they are life.

“Do you want to leave too?”
 

“Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life.  We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”

And the words of eternal life are these:  “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

In the Name of Jesus.        
 

From → "B" Sermons

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