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Jesus Is Lord!

April 10, 2016

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Third Sunday of Easter                                          Trinity Lutheran Church

10 April 2016                                                            Murdock, NE

 

+Jesu Juva +

 

Revelation 5:(6-7), 8-14

 

The world of the late 1st century and the world of the early 21st century have many similarities with varying degrees. For example, the moral is immoral. The immoral is moral. The church and Christians are despised and blamed for the disintegration of society. Christians are considered enemies of the state and discriminated against.

 

But here is one of the biggest similarities. The temptation to idolatry is the same today as it was when John wrote the Book of Revelation around 90 A.D. In John’s day the earthly politicians, authorities or rulers made audacious claims for themselves. Pretending that they were little deities – little saviors – little gods – claiming to have better words than God — asserting that their deeds were salvific. Promising a kingdom of God on the earth. Requiring peoples’ worship. The church to which John wrote had to oppose such idolatry. She must not compromise the first three commandments. Salvation was at stake.

 

Nothing new under the sun. Same claims by the governing authorities and rulers of today. Acting out of bounds. Governing not like limited creatures but rather as boundless and all-powerful deities that deserve your undivided and total worship. Their words are infallible and divine — better than God’s on everything from the redefinition of marriage to the absolute denial that a baby in the womb is a human being without constitutional rights. If you cross or oppose these contemporary make-believe divinities in any way whatsoever … well, you open yourself to the full force of their verbal and physical rage and fury. What will the church do? She must do what she’s always given to do: confess that Jesus alone is Lord and God and worship Him as such. The church of the 21st century must not cave or compromise this confession even if she suffers immensely for it. Salvation is still at stake.

 

So I ask you. What can you hang to? Believe in? What really matters in life and death? What doesn’t? What is true? Certain? Sure? What is ultimate? What saves?

 

Is it mighty Rome? All powerful – all everything — invincible Rome? Rome’s military, political and economic power appears to be the only game in town – in the world – in the universe. Rome deliciously appears to be salvific – salvational! Rome promises utopia. Rome guarantees the kingdom of God on the earth. Emperor Domitian categorically and audaciously proclaimed himself to be divine – god over all. The coins of the day had Caesar’s face minted on them with this caption: “lord and god.” Savior Rome and savior Caesar! The two were the same. Divine. Alone worthy to receive worship and praise. At least that’s the way it appears.

 

Not so fast my friends. Revelation 5 preaches just the opposite. Revelation 5 reveals the ultimate truth. Unmasks Rome’s deceitful idolatry. Despite all appearances Caesar is not lord and god! Despite all her claims and promises, Rome is not salvific or salvational! The slogan on the Roman coins is a bald face lie. Well, if Caesar Domitian is not “lord and god,” then who is?

 

Shocker of shockers: Jesus is! Yes, that’s right. Not Rome, but Jesus the slain-on-the-cross-Good-Friday-But-Risen-Lamb! Hang on to Him. He is who matters most. He is certain. He is sure. He alone is the Lord. He alone is the Savior of the world. Your Savior. No one else is!

 

He died for you and for all. And this is precisely how He reigns over everything as the one true God FOR YOU. He lords His death and resurrection over all sin, every sinner, death, Satan and hell.

 

Let me put it another way. Revelation 5 preaches Good Friday Jesus as the center. His Good Friday death is the most important day in the history of the world. The day that Jesus died on the cross determines everything! Absolutely all things!

 

That’s why Jesus takes the “scroll” from God the Father’s hand. The “scroll” that only He can open. “Scroll” in the Bible is a symbol for God’s plans for the world. God’s plan – God’s purpose — is salvation FOR YOU and for the world through the Good Friday Lamb who was slain, Jesus. Again, on whom can you count? Hang on to? Who is Lord and God? Jesus! Only Jesus! His death on the cross is the key to all the plans and purposes of God.

 

So, Revelation 5 proclaims that all history is to be understood in the light of the cross. There on the cross God reveals His power in weakness. He saves the world in His Son’s death. God reveals Himself as He hides in the bloody dead flesh of the Lamb. The victory is won! Good Friday determines all of history: the past, the present, and the future. Jesus is Lord! He alone!

 

Therefore, Revelation 5 teaches that the cross uncovers the meaning of all history. History is a redeemed history! All this world’s pain, misery, and suffering does not have the last word. Jesus does. That is why Jesus takes the scroll as the Lamb who has been slain. That is how He is the Victor – the King of kings and Lord of lords! His death for all sin, for every sinner, helps you understand that what looks like a God-forsaken world is really a world in which God has redeemed what He created. And He’s bringing it all to a blessed end: a new heaven and a new earth, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.

 

No wonder then that all heaven with the millions upon millions of angels breaks out in worship. Worship of Good-Friday-Slain-But-Risen-and-Coronated-as-King-of-the-Universe-Jesus! “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. … Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive 1) power and 2) wealth and 3) wisdom and 4) strength and 5) honor and 6) glory and 7) praise.” Did you count with me? Seven ascriptions of worship! Seven – the number of perfection. Perfect worship. OF JESUS! Not Rome! Not Caesar.

 

THIS REALLY IS GOOD NEWS! Jesus is the Savior. He is Lord and God. No one else is! So the worship just keeps piling up. Worship upon worship by all His hangers on. John hears “every creature in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea and all that is in them,” worship the Father and His Good Friday but risen from the dead Son Jesus as Lord and God. “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power for ever and ever! The four living creatures said, ‘Amen,’ and the elders fell down and … WORSHIPED.”

 

Worshiped the Lamb. So you too today – His hangers on. The highest worship is faith. Faith that is passively given to. The Lamb Himself gives you His Good Friday Body and Blood with the bread and wine with His promise from His mouth that you are forgiven. Or as truth of the praise in Revelation 5 puts it: “You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” Yes, the Lamb’s IT IS FINISHED reign of the cross is extended even now among you and in the world through the Sacrament. In the Sacrament He reigns on the earth as Lord and God FOR YOU. As you believe that, you give Him the highest worship.

 

In the Name of Jesus.

 

 

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