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Jesus Is Coming To Visit Us

June 11, 2013

Third Sunday after Pentecost

9 June 2013 / Rev. Scott Porath

“Jesus is Coming to Visit Us”

 

My Dad always liked to watch “60 Minutes” – and I can remember thinking – what if the doorbell rings and we find the crew of “60 Minutes” standing on our doorstep with cameras in hand, wanting to investigate us!

I think that’s how my Mom used to feel whenever Dad told her the boss was coming to dinner.  You could almost sense the fear settling in.  I suppose I do the same thing when someone stops by the parsonage and I worry what they’ll think if the house is not all in order.  Some people feel this way when the in-laws are coming to visit.

 

In our text for today, Jesus stops by for a visit – and everyone is a bit flustered.  “Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, saying, ‘A great prophet has arisen among us!’, and, ‘God has visited His people!’”

The word that St. Luke uses here for “visit” is the same word from which we get the English word skeptical – in the sense of, “God has come to examine, observe, or inspect His people!”

The Fire Marshal, the Health Department, bosses and in-laws are often “skeptical” when they come to visit – and they can have some pretty high standards.  Can you imagine trying to live up to the standards of our heavenly Father?

“Be holy, as I am holy” – that’s a standard that none of us can achieve.  We’ve all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God – and so it’s no wonder that fear and paranoia set in when we hear that the Holy God is coming to visit!

 

Did you hear what the widow in the Old Testament said when the “man of God” visited her house?  “What have you against me … You have come to me to bring my sin to remembrance and to cause the death of my son!”

Something similar happens when the resurrected Jesus pays a visit to His disciples who are “locked behind doors for fear of the Jews.”  If you had been one of those disciples who boasted that you would follow Jesus anywhere – I suspect your “fear factor” would have been kicked up a notch when the One you abandoned to death showed up in your midst!  Oh no!  What’s HE doing here!  Now we’re in trouble!  Now we’re going to get it – we’re going to get what we deserve!

 

But what does God do when He comes to visit?  He shows us by sending Elijah, “the man of God” – that from the very beginning, God comes in order to give life.  When the God-in-the-flesh-Jesus shows up at Nain – we see that God comes to resurrect us from death to life.  And on Easter, the resurrected Jesus comes – not to give sinners what they deserve – but what He has won for them by taking their sin as His own, and dying its death.

“Peace be with you,” Jesus says when He comes to visit.  Peace be with you – your sins are forgiven.  Peace be with you – you shall not die, but live.  That is why Jesus promises to be with you always.  “I will not abandon you.”  “I will not leave you as orphans” – but I will come to [visit] you – to cleanse you from all sin, and resurrect you from death to life!

 

Is it just me, or have you noticed that a lot of people don’t like coming to church?  Why is that?  One reason is that all are sinners – and sinners are always afraid to stand in the presence of a holy and sinless God – for fear that they’ll get what they deserve.

Some churches, in their attempt to draw people to God – go out of their way not to confront sinners with their sin – so they don’t talk much about sin – they eliminate the Confession of Sin – seeking to make people feel at home, to be comfortable in church.

But God’s Word says that, if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we fail to preach God’s Word which examines the sinner and cuts them to the heart – then we leave sinners comfortable in their sin.

Let me say that another way.  If we don’t preach the Law of God which accuses and condemns the sinner – then it’s like we are telling Jesus to just stay home – don’t bother to visit us with your condemning Law.  And to leave sinners comfortable in their sin – is to leave them dead in their sin.

 

Do you have children or friends who stay away from church?  It may very well be that they are afraid to be where God promises to come and visit – afraid that they’ll get what they deserve?  Simply telling them that they “need to come to church” – only makes them more afraid.

The devil is hard at work to deceive sinners – to convince them that church is not the place for them.  “Those people are just a bunch of hypocrites.  They’re judgmental.  They think they are holier than you … and you know they’re not.”

One way you can love your loved ones is to confess before them that you are a sinner.  Rather than give them the impression that “going to church” is what good people do – show them that church is for dead, damned sinners like you.

Church is where Jesus comes to visit sinners.  Jesus loved the world by coming to visit us in the flesh, to become The Sinner for us – so that we might be delivered from what we deserve.  That’s why He gathers us to hear His Word and to receive His Holy Supper – because this is how our Savior comes to visit us – to cure what ails us.

 

Dearly beloved, “peace be with you.”  Your Savior Jesus Christ comes to you now – touching your death and saying, “arise.”  Today He touches your ears saying – “I forgive all your sins … arise!”  He touches your mouth saying – “for you, for the forgiveness of all your sin … arise!”

 

With sinners from the beginning of time, we stand in the presence of God and glorify Him, saying – “God has visited His people” – God has visited US!  Peace be with you.  Amen.

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