Greatness & Glory
Fifth Sunday in Lent Trinity Lutheran Church
22 March 2015 Murdock, NE
+ Jesu Juva +
It’s not a very long one but it is the third time Jesus interrupts your hectic life with the same old sermon. Yes, that’s right. Same sermon three times. Must be important. It is. Big time. Salvationly important. “We are going up to Jerusalem,” he said, “and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise.”
This is what it takes to save sinners from God’s eternal wrath and the forevermore damnation of hell. It takes Jesus immersing Himself into a Jerusalem, a holy week full of intense humiliation, a divine death on the cross and a resurrection on the third day to save the world, Israel, and you. Three times Jesus has preached it. Promised it.
So stop pulling a James and John. Enough of the power games. The power grabs. Playing king of the hill. Wanting to be in control of the salvation enterprise. Lording yourself over others. “Not so among you,” Jesus says. Instead of asking for seats of power and glory at Jesus’ right and left hands, perhaps it’s time to just be a beggar. To be given to. To simply ask for Jesus to give you the benefits of what He’s preached for the third time, namely, forgiveness and salvation.
Jesus alone does the salvation job. I’m going to say it again. Jesus alone does the salvation job. You, James, John and everyone else are not able “to drink the cup” of God’s wrath against all sin. You cannot “be baptized with the baptism” of the cross. Only the divine Son of Man Jesus can appease and stop God’s wrath against you. Only Jesus can take all your sin in His body, plunged and submerged in it and then answer for it by shedding of His divine blood on the wood cross. After all, His divine blood is what cleanses you – purifies you from all sin.
Greatness and glory in God’s kingdom is the greatness and glory of Good Friday’s wood and nails, the Good Friday Body and Blood hanging on the cross. Greatness and glory is servanthood and self-sacrifice. Greatness and glory is Jesus who in the Jordan River gets baptized as a sinner and then on the cross dies as a sinner among sinners. There Jesus pours out His life into death. There Jesus is numbered with the transgressors. Greatness. Glory. Servanthood. The cross.
Greatness and glory in God’s kingdom is not being lord and master but servant and slave of all. “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.” And Jesus does just that. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many.”
The greatness and glory of Jesus is the greatness and glory of His self-sacrifice FOR YOU AND FOR YOUR SALVATION.
Jesus came not to be served BUT TO SERVE. To give His life to ransom you. Good Friday. That’s absolutely incredible! Mind blowing! Joyfully mind blowing!
Now today. Amazingly Jesus comes again. Not to be served BUT TO SERVE. To serve you His died-for and baptized-into-His-death-sinners with His most holy Body and Blood in the Sacrament.
Do you realize how momentous this is? It appears to be so lowly and so insignificant. Bread and wine. But that’s not all. With and by the power of His Word – the words of institution – Jesus gives you exactly what He says and promises. Still pulling off a Son of Man WHO SERVES.
Serves you with His very Body and Blood that He offered on the cross for your salvation. In the Lord’s Supper He comes totally as SERVANT. Your servant. Giving you the forgiveness of sins He won for you on the cross. “Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.”
Behold, the greatness and glory of God’s kingdom! Jesus serving you His sinners with salvation.
In the Name of Jesus.