Christ Crucified the Power and Wisdom of God FOR YOU!
Third Sunday in Lent Trinity Lutheran Church
8 March 2015 Murdock, NE
+ Jesu Juva +
1 Corinthians 1:18-25
Baptism of Brantley David Lambert
Well, brothers and sisters, today you are given to see and to receive what many of your nice, polite, genteel, incredibly intelligent, smart, gifted, bright, philosophical, intellectual friends, relatives, co-workers, professors, teachers and fellow students call utter foolishness, sheer stupidity, inane idiocy and a colossal waste of time.
Those who have no use for the “power and wisdom of God” that you witnessed at the beginning of the service and all throughout the divine service are in grave spiritual danger. Most people in the world, many in our communities, families and unfortunately I fear even some in our congregation, have no use for the “power of God” and “the wisdom of God.”
It grieves me immensely. I have unceasing anguish in my heart for such people who may be “perishing.” Why? Because I fear it will all end hellaciously for them. If you thought the wrath of God was intense the day Jesus showed up at the temple in Jerusalem, made a whip, kicked everybody out of the temple courts, knocked over the tables and hurled the coinage all over the floor, you haven’t seen anything yet. Just wait until the Last Day when Jesus says to those who have no use for the “power and wisdom of God” – “the message of the cross” in their earthly lives. He’ll say to those who would not use Him as Savior for the sin: “I don’t know you … Depart from me you who are cursed into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels,” (Matthew 25:12, 41).
So be warned. Don’t let the apparent weakness of God’s “power” and the apparent silliness of God’s “wisdom” be a stumbling block or scandal for you. Yes, I’m the first to admit it, the “power” of God looks so puny. The “wisdom” of God appears to be so harebrained. 10/11 Lincoln, KFAB or WOWT Omaha never send reporters here for their lead story let alone any story on a Sunday morning. After all, nothing big or world changing let alone life changing ever happen here, right? Right?
Well, … no!
The full-blown “power” and categorical “wisdom” of God is manifested here at Trinity, Murdock. Right before your very eyes. Right under your noses. Within earshot. Every Sunday. And God’s divine power and wisdom are FOR YOU!
The Epistle emphatically declares that God’s power and wisdom is Jesus. But which Jesus? One that you make up for yourselves? A Jesus that Time magazine or the History Channel preaches? No, the real deal Jesus! Immanuel – God with us — “crucified” Jesus that hangs stone cold dead on the wood of the cross. Dead as a doornail Jesus. Graveyard dead Jesus. Cadaverous Jesus. No other God than that dead man Jesus on the cross!
“We preach Christ crucified,” St. Paul declares. Christ crucified for sinners! And so do I! That’s why I hope you put up with me year in and year out. Real sinners are in desperate need of the real Savior. No real Savior – no real salvation. So “we preach the power and wisdom of God: that’s Christ crucified.” FOR YOU! FOR YOUR SALVATION!
Yes, for you and for your salvation. The death of Jesus on the cross is FOR YOU. For Brantley David. For all sinners. The Good Friday It Is Finished work of salvation accomplished on the cross is FOR ALL! Jesus saves His people from their sins.
That’s precisely why Jesus emphatically teaches: “Let the little children come to me! Don’t you dare keep them away from me! Bring Brantley to me. Bring all your children to me. Do not hinder or prevent them from me because I am their Savior. They are sinners that need me just as much as the adults. The kingdom of God, that is to say, my Good Friday divine reign on the earth is for all sinners. Salvation is what I dish out. What I bestow. My giving. Totally.” (Mark 10:14-15).
In Holy Baptism Jesus lorded His Good Friday death over Brantley’s sin and the damnation that his sin deserved just like He did in your Baptisms. Or to put it another way, Baptism bestows the forgiveness of sins. Or to use the language of 1 Corinthians the Good Friday “power and wisdom of God” are given to sinners as pure gift in Holy Baptism.
Again, I warn you, don’t let the outward simplicity or plainness of Holy Baptism fool you into thinking or believing it’s a nothing. I know, all you saw today was water poured on Brantley David’s head. However, with the water God gave Brantley His divine Triune Name. God’s Name is never a nothing! With His divine Name God gives His gracious presence to sinners in order to be God for them, i.e. to save them!
So today, with the giving of His Name in Holy Baptism, Jesus Himself, applied His most holy and precious Good Friday blood to Brantley David to purify and cleanse him from all sin. All the original sin he inherited from Adam. All sin he has committed since his birth.
So, in Acts 2 the apostle Peter preaches Christ crucified and risen from the dead for all sinners. When the people ask Peter what they need to do, he leads them to be given a gift from the Lord. Can you guess what that is? That’s right. Holy Baptism! “Be baptized,” he declares, “every one of you in the Name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit,” (Acts 2:38).
Did you catch that? When you’re baptized your sins are forgiven. Forgiveness IS salvation! Salvation IS forgiveness! In addition, when your sins are forgiven you are also gifted with the Holy Spirit – you’re enlivened, you’re born again (John 3:5); you are a new creation in Christ. Peter says that these divine gifts given in Holy Baptism are “FOR YOU and for your children and for all,” (Acts 2:39). Seeing the wisdom and power of God in the preaching of Christ crucified and Holy Baptism, 3,000 sinners that day received the gift of Holy Baptism into Christ’s all atoning and all forgiving Holy Spirit-filled death and resurrection.
The divine name, Christ’s Good Friday forgiveness, and the Holy Spirit – SALVATION – is “for you” “for your children,” and “for all.” Given in Holy Baptism. Incredible!
Christ crucified saves sinners. Holy Baptism saves sinners too. How? Well, because Jesus bestows His saving Good Friday and Easter benefits in Holy Baptism. Remember, what 1 Peter 3:21 promises: “Baptism now saves you … through the resurrection of Jesus Christ who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand – with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.”
Did you hear that? Baptism saves you – saves Brantley David – because the Good Friday Jesus is the risen and ascended Jesus who lords His death on the cross over everything for your salvation’s sake. In other words, Crucified and Risen Jesus sits and reigns from the Father’s right hand to give, in Holy Baptism, to Brantley David and all of you the very salvation that He won FOR YOU on the cross. Salvation is the “power and wisdom of God.”
Christ crucified. We preach Christ crucified. We baptize according to Christ’s mandate in Matthew 28. It all looks like foolishness. But you know better. It’s all the power and wisdom of God FOR YOU and for your salvation. Just as Jesus Himself promises: “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved,” (Mark 16:16).
Happy Baptism Day Brantley David! Brothers and sisters, happy living in and from your baptisms. It is the power and wisdom of God for your salvation.
In the Name of Jesus.