What Humility! What a Salvation!
Sunday of the Passion Trinity Lutheran Church
20 March 2016 Murdock, NE
+Jesu Juva +
Loads of joy today. The Lord Jesus has for Himself a church. “I will build my church,” is His promise. And “not even the gates of hell can prevail against” His church. Quietly and without much fanfare He’s gathered a group of believers, thirteen in all, around His pulpit and altar to receive His gifts. Grace, Elijah, Taylor, Jaxson, Josh, Monte, Lynae, Dustin, Lita, Caleb, Noah, Justin and Joey. Thirteen more of His hangers on. Baptized and taught according to His bidding. Culminating in their confirmation today and their first communion as Lutheran Christians.
This is the Lord’s work. It is all His giving. It is a miracle.
What Jesus does FOR YOU and for your salvation is really incredible. Absolutely amazing. Astonishing. He humbles Himself to save you from death and eternal damnation. No wonder you’re one of His hangers on too.
“Made Himself nothing,” the text says. Emptied Himself. Laid down His royal robes. Took off His signet ring and crown. Rolled up His sleeves, got up from His heavenly throne and buried His divinity deeply in our humanity. The Lord of all became servant of all. He came not to be served BUT TO SERVE AND TO GIVE HIS LIFE AS A RANSOM FOR MANY.
Imagine an earthly king setting down his crown, stepping off his throne and becoming the lowest of his servants. Imagine the CEO of the largest company giving up his Manhattan office, his personal secretaries, the reserved parking space, the limousine, golf club memberships, nine figure salary with all its perks and benefits and putting on the janitor’s bib overalls to sweep and mop floors and scrub the sinks and toilets. Imagine Bill Gates stepping down from Microsoft to roto-rooter plugged up sewer lines or Warren Buffet resigning from Berkshire Hathaway to bus tables. Imagine those scenarios and you still don’t even come close to the self-emptying of Son of God Jesus when He stepped down from His heavenly throne to SAVE YOU from the eternity of hell.
Jesus traded His throne for a virgin’s womb, a manger crib, a borrowed donkey, a cross, and a tomb. He took on your humanity, your flesh — your blood. He became bone of your bones and flesh of your flesh. The Lord of all became the carpenter from Nazareth, the Man of Sorrows, the Suffering Servant.
“And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
Son of God Jesus took the death sentence or the capital punishment that you deserved. God’s Law says: “The wages or paycheck of sin is death,” and “the soul that sins will die.” Jesus was innocent. Governor Pilate knew that and he said so three times. Barabbas, the murder and terrorist, was the sinner. But it’s Barabbas that goes free. Son of God Jesus gets hung on the cross between two capital criminals.
This is how far God goes to save you. This is what it takes to rescue you. Behold, the wide embrace of God FOR YOU. Jesus comes down from the glory of heaven to make His dwelling among you. He rides to His own death on a borrowed donkey. He suffers injustice, mockery and brutal beatings. He permits Himself to be crucified. He prays for those that repeatedly called for His crucifixion and for those that drove the nails into His body stapling Him to the wood. This is the depth of God’s love FOR YOU. Behold His commitment and His passion to make you His own – to free you from sin and death.
Here is what you are worth to God if you ever should doubt or feel that your life is worthless. Remember, the self-emptying, the humbling, the obedience and the death of the eternal Son of God Jesus on the cross. That’s how much all the people you live with and worship with are worth to God: the perfect, humble and obedient life of God’s Son.
It is humbling to be loved like that, isn’t it? To be loved to death by God? To be died for by God’s Son? It bows the head. Folds the hands. Bends the knee. Sheds the tear. It is the end of justifying yourself and living only for the self. It is the end of pride, pumping up the ego and hurting others. It is the beginning of living by faith in Son of God Jesus and sacrificial living to help others in love.
The humbling death of Son of God Jesus on the cross is the great leveler. It levels the great and the small, the rich and the poor, the powerful and the powerless, the wise and the foolish, the famous and the infamous. All are loved by God in one act of humble obedience unto death.
All are baptized into Jesus’ death in the very same way – the infant, the tweener, millennial, adult and senior citizen. All are forgiven with the same words. All eat and drink the same Body and Blood. All are joined together in one Body, members of God’s family, His church. All have the same Jesus put into them and all are put into Him. All confess the same Lord Jesus. All have the same share in His perfect obedience, His humility, His death, His resurrection and His glory.
Son of God Jesus emptied Himself so that you are filled with His glory. Son of God Jesus humbled Himself so that you are exalted. Son of God Jesus became obedient to death on the cross so that death cannot overcome you and so that you have eternal life. Son of God Jesus reached down in humility – ALL THE WAY DOWN – to make you His own. To bring you into communion with the Father and the Holy Spirit. And in His humility He brings you into communion with one another.
This is what is yours in Son of God Christ Jesus.
In the Name of Jesus.