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Jesus & The Kingdom of God!

February 3, 2013

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Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany                              Trinity Lutheran Church

3 February 2013                                                    Murdock, NE


+ Jesu Juva +


St. Luke 4:31-44


The kingdom of God rule on the earth is in full gear.  Full throttle!  An all out, no holds barred, full steam ahead royal reign of the Lord!  Yes, that’s right, you heard me!  God reigns.  In your midst!  Hiddenly!  In, with, and under the Preacher named Jesus!  In fact, if you’ve been looking for God, wondering where in the world He is, look no further!  He has rolled up His sleeves, taken on flesh and gone to work!  Full bore!  In Jesus! 


Not to be served!  But to serve!  Not to receive!  But to give!  God lives for you not for Himself!  He is not curved in on Himself.  He lives outside of Himself for your benefit and for others. 


Divine Service!  That’s what Jesus is all about!  FOR YOU, for me and for the world that is so devastated and decimated by our sin!


So He’s nimbly off to Capernaum!  Spreading around – bestowing – dishing out heaping portions from the spiritual wealth of His reign!  Jesus cranks up the kingdom of God in the synagogue — by teaching.  Teaching authoritatively!  He doesn’t quote famous rabbis, church fathers or synagogue authorities to make His points!  He doesn’t quote synodical resolutions, bylaws or biblical commentaries.  He categorically and audaciously teaches the Scriptures as:  “Thus says the Lord!”  Or:  “This is God’s will!”  Or as we heard last week:  “This Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing!”  As if He’s the author and content of the Bible itself!  And He is!  For you and for your salvation!


His preaching and teaching of God’s Word, therefore, is an all-out assault and attack on the devil and a rescue of those possessed by him!  “In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, and evil spirit.”  Who knew?  Never saw that coming!  Amazing!  The synagogue member, as far as we knew, was just a “normal” citizen of the community, the neighborhood and the synagogue!  A good father, faithful husband, and hard worker.  The neighbors all called him a “quiet man.”


Not anymore!  Now he’s yelling at the top of his lungs!  When Jesus shows up, the demon that hiddenly and silently possessed the man, screams bloody murder!  As a spokesman for all demons!  “Ha!  What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth?  Have you come to destroy us?  I know who you are – the Holy One of God!” 


The demon has Jesus nailed!  He certainly is the Holy One of God!  He certainly has come to defeat Satan and his minions!  And to free those who are imprisoned under Satan’s warden-ship! 


All that will climax on Good Friday!  The day, when hidden under what looks like a gigantic Satanic victory, is really Satan’s inglorious defeat!  The day Satan’s head gets bashed in!  In the event of the Christ’s death on the Cross!    


Until then, what will the Preacher Jesus do?  Consecrate a communion host and put it on the possessed man’s forehead?  Put in a call to the Vatican?  Send text to St. Louis?  Beg for help from Seward? 


No.  He speaks!  He’s in charge!  A word from His mouth!  “Shut up demon!  Quiet!  I’ve heard enough out of you!”  And then Jesus barks out more orders:  “Come out of him!”   His words do what they say!  “Then the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him.”    


Jesus reigns!  Satan doesn’t.  Jesus rules – with a word from His mouth!  One little word from Jesus sends Satan reeling!  Who knew?  Now you do!  Amazing!  God reigns for this man in Jesus.  He is rescued from the clutches of Satan as Jesus opens His mouth and speaks His divine efficacious word! 


Then the Kingdom of God reign leaks out in a very unlikely place.  Peter’s house!  With a most unlikely person!  Mother-in-law!  Peter’s wife’s mother!  St. Peter married?  Who knew?  Now you do!  Amazing!  Mother-in-law is very sick with the flu!  Dangerously high temp!  Severely sore throat!  Relentless cough!  This could lead to Mother-in-law’s death!   


Will you help her Jesus?  Cheer her up a little?  Give her something to think about? 


Shockingly, Kingdom of God Jesus does the unthinkable!  He does what no respectable man let alone any serious rabbi would ever do!  He goes to her!  To her bedroom!  To her bed! She’s very precious to Him!  He’s there to serve!  To help her!  He’s there – totally — with all that He is and all that He has – FOR HER!  She has his undivided!   


He gets right over her — bends close to her — and speaks!  Authoritatively!  Categorically! There He goes again!  As if He’s the boss or — the Lord!  See the pattern?  Just like with the poor possessed man in the synagogue service He has a word with the influenza!  Reprimands the fever!  Censures it!  Scolds it!  “Fever Flu!  Get out of her!  I forbid you to harm Peter’s wife’s mother no more!” 


And sure enough, the flu-ish fever departs.  “Left her.”  For Jesus reigns!  He lords His reign over dear Mother-in-Law through the Word that comes from His mouth! 


Well, there’s more as the sun goes down.  Peter’s little house becomes the house of the Lord!  Where the Lord came not to be served to serve.  Divine service!  He’s there – totally — for others too!


So the sick and possessed come by the cartload!  All the rejects!  All the cast a-ways!  All those living in the shadows of society!  Can’t keep them away!  They come out of the woodwork!  When they find out that, in the person of Jesus, God is for them rather than against them, the house bulges at the seams!  Filled to the rafters!  Sin and Satan are losing their stranglehold.  Sin and Satan have lost!  And the biggest secret of all is out!  Let out of the bag!  THIS JESUS – THIS PREACHER – HE TRULY IS THE SON OF GOD! 


Yes, the epiphany or the revelation is that this Jesus who authoritatively speaks is the Son of God!  His Word does what it says!  What it promises!  At the end of Mark’s Gospel the centurion who sees Jesus die proclaims this truth again:  “Truly this man was the Son of God!”  Indeed!


They beg Him to stay.  But He’s off!  Aslan the lion-like!  More divine service to do!  More preaching!  “‘I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.’  And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.” 


Opening up His divine mouth!  Speaking.  Teaching!  Holding forth!  Preaching the good news of God’s kingdom!  That’s His cup of tea!  That’s His modus operandi


Still to this day!  Now He’s at Trinity, Murdock!  For you He is God!  God for you this Jesus is!  Who died for you!  Bore all your sin in His Body!  Buried it all in the black hole of His tomb!  Never to be remembered by Him!  Seriously!  He refuses to pull out the skeletons from your closet! 


Risen from the dead, Kingdom of God Jesus, has good news for you! 


You are very precious to Him too!  Your sin is forgiven!  Satan is a defeated enemy!  So too is death!  Illnesses and sicknesses in your life don’t have the final say!  Jesus the crucified and risen Lord does!  


He rebukes all your enemies!  They have no say so!  They have no power!  Jesus is Lord!  He lords His Good Friday forgiveness over you today!  This means you have salvation!  It’s His gift to you! 


Proof of His being God for you is His Body and Blood in the Sacrament.  You are very precious to Him.  So He comes to you!  He gives what He speaks.  And promises.  “Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins” He declares to you.


In that forgiveness Jesus is physically present with all His divinity rebuking your sin!  Scolding it!  Reproaching it as the Lord that He is!  Saying:  “Sin, you don’t belong to these sinners anymore!  I took all their sin!  It all belongs to me!  And I answered for it all!  See my scars!  So get lost!  Don’t ever try to condemn these folks again!  I’ve forgiven and forgotten their sin!  The whole lot of it!”   


Who knew?  Now you do!  Christ’s forgiveness is the whole enchilada of salvation!  Where there is the forgiveness of sins, there is life and salvation.  That’s why He instituted the Lord’s Supper!  So that “ the good news of the kingdom of God” gets preached into your ears and hearts!    


The very good news is this:  you are forgiven!  Saved!  For Jesus’ sake!  He says so!  His forgiveness gives salvation to you!  Now and forever!    “That is why I was sent,” Jesus says.  Amazing!    


In the Name of Jesus.     



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