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Soldiers: Instrument of the Lord

May 26, 2013

Memorial Cemetery Service                             Trinity Lutheran Church

26 May 2013                                                        Murdock, NE


+ Jesu Juva +


Luke 7:1-10


You’d think Preacher Jesus would ignore the Roman centurion’s request to heal his deathbed sick servant.  Not only is he Roman, he’s also a soldier.  Double whammy!  Two strikes against him!  At least as most people keep score!


Not so with Jesus.  He’s come as Savior not just for Jews but also for Gentiles – yes, even Romans, soldiers, servants and all!  So, off goes Jesus to answer the 911 pastoral emergency call.


As Jesus gets within sight the centurion sends out friends to meet him.  The message from the Roman soldier gets delivered:  “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof.  That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you.  But say the word, and my servant will be healed.  For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me.  I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes.  I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.’”


That’s when Jesus explodes with utter amazement!  He turns to the gawking crowd and proclaims:  “Look here folks!  I have not found such great faith even in Israel!”


Then the messengers return home.  Jesus never went inside.  And the servant is OK.  Well.  Recovered.  Healed.  Amazing!  More astonishing is revealed in what Jesus said.  “I have not found such great faith even in Israel!”  A Roman centurion believes in Jesus!  Who would have ever imagined?  That’s the biggie miracle!  The miracle of all miracles!  That someone / anyone at all believes in Jesus!  And here a centurion!  Faith that cried out to Jesus for help!


You too believe in Jesus.  If there are some of you here today who do not, then I tell you here and now:  “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.”  In fact, I’ll throw out what Jesus Himself says:  “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved but whoever does not believe will be condemned,” (Mark 16:16).


Faith in Jesus cries to Him for help.  24-7-365.  Or like in the years … say … July 1914-November 1918; December 7, 1941 (“a date that will live in infamy”) until 1945 and up to today in which our country faced and faces enemies that seek to destroy us and the life God has given us.  We call to Jesus for help.  And how does He answer?


One of the ways is that He provides soldiers – on the ground, in the air and on the sea.  Some of them are buried here, others at Normandy, still others whose bodies were lost at sea or whose bodies were not able to be recovered from Korea, Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan – bodies that could be properly honored and buried.


Soldiers are the Lord’s instruments to keep peace.  To justly keep evil people in check or to fight them and their armies to create an earthly peace that is just.  Like when King David and his army fought against the Philistines or when Emperor Charles V fought against the Muslims.  Soldiers are to do their vocation honorably and faithfully.  Soldiering is not about private revenge.  It is public redress.  This is their service of love for their country and for the benefit of her citizens.


Faithful soldiers are the Lord’s answer to your prayers for help when our country is under attack or in grave danger.  For those who have served loyally and with honor, let us give our utmost thanks to Jesus.  And let us wait patiently for the resurrection of the body on the Last Day especially as we stand in the cemetery.  Jesus promises it.  He is the Firstfruits of them that sleep.


In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.


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