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Who Do YOU Say That I Am?

March 1, 2015


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Second Sunday in Lent                    Trinity Lutheran Church

1 March 2015                                      Murdock, NE

+ Jesu Juva +
St. Mark 8:27-38

Baptism of Kipton McCoy Justus


You, Kipton or the Twelve couldn’t be asked a bigger question by Jesus. It’s the salvation at stake question. How you answer His question will determine how Jesus treats you on the Last Day when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.


“I know what people think,” Jesus says, “They’ve got all kinds of opinions about me. Clueless really. Can’t connect the theological dots. It’s what you expect from John Q Public. But I want to know what you believe. What about you,” Jesus asks, “WHO DO YOU SAY THAT I AM?”


Peter pipes up. He’s not shy. He speaks for all the Twelve. Just like TJ, Jen, the godparents and all of you here today spoke for little Kipton McCoy when I asked what he believed about Jesus right before his baptism. Peter confesses the truth. “Jesus, you are the Messiah. You’re the Savior. The Promised One.” “God bless you Peter,” Jesus declares, “You didn’t figure that out on your own. But my Father revealed this to you in my Baptism at the Jordan, my authoritative words, and by my compassionate and merciful deeds.”


So far so good. Jesus is the Christ. He is the Messiah. That’s what you’d expect a disciple of Jesus to say.


It’s at this point that Jesus expands on what it means for Him to be the Messiah. That’s when things get really interesting. And scandalous! Jesus puts a very unexpected twist on His Messiah-ship. His Christ-ship. Check it out. First, He links His being the Christ, (which He is), with another important Old Testament title that is reserved for God Himself.


The title is: “the Son of Man.” In His sermon Jesus categorically calls Himself “the Son of Man.” This is really huge! Fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy huge!


While Israel was as good as dead in Babylonian exile, the prophet Daniel was given to see “one like a son of man.” And this “one like the son of man” was given all divine authority, glory and sovereign power. All the nations and peoples of every language worship the “one like a son of man” and his “one like a son of man” kingdom or reign on the earth is indestructible and it endures forever.


Jesus applies this divine title to Himself when He calls Himself, “The Son of Man.” It is the Old Testament title of full-blown, full-blast divinity. It is the title of the omnipotent God who will make everything right in the end. Only Daniel 7’s “one like a son of man” is to be worshipped and adored. No earthly power can stand in Daniel 7’s “one like a son of man’s” way!


Got it? Tracking with me here? Good.


So let’s review. Jesus is both the promised Christ and the divine all-powerful, reigning-forever, worshipped-by all Son of Man. Nice! It’s all going quite swimmingly.


However, what He does as the Son of Man is just the opposite of what you or anyone ever expected. I better let Jesus say it. His sermon goes like this. “Listen up boys. I have something very important to teach you. Give me your undivided. Let me be clear. The Son of Man must … suffer many things … and be … rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again.”


What was that I just heard? Oh, it was your jaw! It just hit the floor, didn’t it? You’re speechless. Totally taken aback!  Startled. “Suffer? Rejected? Killed?” That’s just crazy talk! Unthinkable foolish words. Shameful! Has Jesus lost His Messianic mind? Is He a few cards short of a deck? If Jesus is the almighty, all powerful, divine Son of Man, then it’s simply out of the question that He suffer any setbacks, be rejected and get killed! That just can’t be!


Peter agrees. So it’s apostle Peter to the rescue! Time to “save” Jesus from all this nonsense. After all, the Christ, the Daniel 7 “one like a son of man” (remember that’s the divine Son of Man) cannot suffer, cannot be rejected and He most certainly cannot be killed. So Peter takes the lead and speaks for all of us. Takes Jesus aside. Gets right in the divine Son of Man’s face and rebukes Him.


It goes like this: “Jesus, I hate to say to it but you’ve forced me to. I’m ashamed of you Jesus. I’m embarrassed by your sermon. People will talk. Not only about you but about all of us who follow you. We’ll all be laughing stocks, fools, idiots, dangerous to society if we take all this talk of your suffering and death seriously. We’ve got reputations to uphold and lives to protect.   We have the potential to gain the whole world if we play our cards right. We’re not going to let you ruin all that.”


“So I’m putting my foot down Jesus! I won’t stand for your gobbledygook! You’re absolutely mistaken Jesus. I have better words than yours. A suffering Son of Man? A rejected Son of Man? A dead as a doornail Son of Man? Never! Ever! Got that Jesus?”


Whew! You’re relieved. You agree. You too are ashamed of Jesus, aren’t you? You’re glad Peter takes his Daniel 7 theology seriously. Pleased that Peter stood up for himself and caringly looked after Jesus, took charge and set Him straight. Got to have Jesus be the Christ, the Son of Man, in the almighty and powerful Daniel 7 way.


Well, get ready to have your jaw hit the floor again. Jesus looks at all of the apostles and you. In full view of everyone He takes Peter to the verbal woodshed: “Get behind me Satan!”


Really? Jesus didn’t say that, did He? He did! Jesus calls well-meaning and well-intended Peter “Satan!” And rightly so!


After all, Satan is frantically trying to prevent and derail Jesus from crushing his devilish head in a Passion Week, a Good Friday and Easter Sunday. He tried it earlier face to face after Jesus was baptized in the wilderness. Now Satan hides behind the kind and pious mouth of an apostle! If Jesus listens to Peter, then you don’t have a Savior. You’re still in your sins, Satan is your lord and damnation is your destiny if Jesus doesn’t’ suffer, get rejected, killed and resurrected from the dead Jesus. In addition, Kipton McCoy’s baptism into a Good Friday-less and non-existent Easter Sunday Jesus would be an absolute nothing! A colossal waste of time.


So, we’re back to the Jesus question: “WHO DO YOU SAY THAT I AM?” In other words, which Jesus do you confess? Which one do you believe in? Which Jesus you confess and trust matters. Eternally! Either for hell or for heaven!


The only Jesus that saves sinners like you, Peter, Kipton and a whole world full is the almighty, all-powerful, divine Daniel 7 Son of Man Jesus who paradoxically goes all the way down into utter humiliation and shame, intense suffering, disheartening rejection, ruthless death and then bodily rising from the dead!


Again, only this divine Jesus saves you His sinners. In the Good Friday and Easter Sunday Jesus, God demonstrates his own love for you. Really, He does!


Do you struggle to believe that God could love you? After all, aren’t you, as a sinner, God’s sworn enemy? Sure you are. Don’t you deserve, as a sinner, God’s eternal wrath? Of course you do. However, between you and God stands “one like a son of man” Jesus. And His Good Friday wounds are showing. They’re raw. And deep. With His bloody wounds exposed He exercises His Good Friday all authority and all power forgiveness over your sin.


Incredibly, while you were sinful enemies of God Jesus died FOR YOU! You are justified, saved, reconciled by His divine blood shed on the cross. St. Paul puts it this way in today’s Epistle: “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.”   In other words, He died FOR YOU!


So too for Kipton McCoy! Jesus died for him too. Jesus didn’t leave him out of His “It Is Finished” work. All sinners are precious to Son of Man Jesus. His divine blood counts for all sin and for every sinner. So, freshly risen from the dead, Jesus sees to it that the divine forgiveness He won and achieved on the cross gets delivered in Holy Baptism to the sinners for whom He died.


That’s Matthew 28 in which Jesus mandates that all nations be baptized in the Triune Name: Father, Son and Holy Spirit! To be baptized in God’s Name is to be baptized by God Himself. Baptism is God’s gift for sinners. It is divine service. With His Name the Holy Trinity rolls up His sleeves and gives to the baptized, like Kipton McCoy, all the Good Friday and Easter Sunday salvation that Son of Man Jesus accomplished according to the Father’s will and in the power of the Holy Spirit.


So, who did you say that Jesus is? What is your confession? Today we have the joy of confessing Him, like we did at Kipton’s baptism today, to be the Jesus who suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried, descended into hell but on the third day rose again from the dead. That’s the Jesus that saves You. Because He did it all FOR YOU, for Kipton and FOR YOUR SALVATION.   Blessed are you for making such a confession of Jesus. Now and for the rest of your lives.


Happy Baptism Day Kipton McCoy! Happy living as a died-for disciple of Jesus always confessing His saving Name!


In the Name of Jesus.


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