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"What a Teaching!" Pentecost 17B

September 23, 2012

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Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost                                       Trinity Lutheran Church

23 September 2012                                                                                                Murdock, NE


St. Mark 9:30-37


Did you catch what Jesus teaches?  Quite a teaching! It’s the most important sermon you could ever hear from Jesus. Your eternal life or death hinges on what He says. 


If you’re a sinner, it’s the best news you’ve ever heard.  That’s right, I said, for sinners.  Son of Man Jesus has come for sinners.  Sinners who are dead in their sin.  Sinners who are dead and damned in their sin.  Yes, Jesus has come for you.  For his disciples.  For the world.  “To be delivered in the hands of well-meaning but wicked men.  To be murdered gruesomely in cruciform fashion.  But then on the third day I’ll pull off a resurrection from the grave!”  And He indeed did it!  Did what he said.  No one else has a track record like that. 


Yes, that’s the Son of Man Jesus Show.  Jesus Son of Man Salvation.  Not for Himself.  But for you!


Absolutely!  Categorically!  He does it all for you.  Takes all your sin.  Your death.  Your damnation.  Bears it in His Body on the cross:  For you!


Your sin does not belong to you anymore.  He took it.  Answered for it.


Your sin does not condemn you anymore.  Son of Man Savior Jesus atoned for it. 


What are your sins?  How big?  How little?  Doesn’t matter.  They all separate you from God.  They earn God’s eternal wrath and hell.  But for Jesus’ sake all your sin is forgiven.  Not held against you. 


This is the teaching of Jesus.  He suffered.  He died.  And He rose again just as He predicted.  He did what He promised He’d do.  Therefore, you are no longer in your sins.  Heaven is yours — in and for the sake of the Christ, Jesus!  In His Good Friday dying and His Easter rising there is reconciliation with God and rest for you in His wounds.


So what are you arguing about?  Who’s going to be the greatest?  Are you kidding me?  That’s really quite silly considering what Jesus has said and done.  Son of Man Jesus is the greatest.  How?  By becoming the last.  How?  By being the Servant of sinners, that is by giving up His life and shedding His innocent blood on the cross. 


Who is the greatest?  Are you serious? 


Do you want to be great?  Then live in the freedom of the Gospel, the forgiveness of sins, to live not for yourselves but for others.  Receive and take care of the little ones!  The least in the world.  Those who need help.  No wonder Jesus takes a child, Jesus sets the kid before us.  Hoists the kid in His arms and says:  “Whoever receives one child like this in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me also receives the Father who sent Me.”      


Seriously:  you want to be great?  Then help those who can’t help themselves.  Take care of your children.  Take care of anyone who needs your help.  “If anyone wants to be first,” Jesus says, “he shall be last of all, and servant of all.”


And as you serve the children or neighbor who needs your help, you serve Christ Himself and the Father who sent Him. 


You are disciples of Christ.  Made so in Holy Baptism.  Your life is has a two-fold shape:  the discipline of faith in Son of Man Savior Jesus and then the disciplined service or love for the neighbor that Jesus puts into your life. 


And such a life of service to others doesn’t keep score.  No need to.  For Son of Man Jesus, the greatest, who became the last has redeemed you. 


Today, He gives you His Body and Blood for the strengthening of your faith in Him and to increase your service of love for each other.  Here He is!  Standing before you even now as your humble Servant.  Serving up heaping portions of the benefits of His Calvary dying.  Reigning among sinners with these words:  “I suffered, died and rose for you.  Your sins are forgiven.  That’s my promise.” 


In the Name of Jesus.  

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