Who Does Jesus Think He Is?
Holy Trinity Trinity Lutheran Church
May 22, 2016 Murdock, NE
+Jesu Juva +
Wow! Did you hear the sermon that Jesus just preached? You didn’t, did you? If I asked you what Jesus’ sermon was about, would you be able to tell me? I’m afraid that when I read the holy gospel a few minutes ago Jesus didn’t have your undivided. A handful wrestled with children. One or two were nodded off and snored. Some were picking their … teeth. Several were thinking about how worthless and rotten the (substitute) pastor is. (He is, by the way. That’s always a given. Just saying!) Others were daydreaming about day drinking. Some were thinking about … well … God only knows and we’d all be horrified! And you missed what Jesus proclaimed for your hearing.
Well, I’m here to make sure that you hear what preacher Jesus says. I’ve been office-ed and tasked with that at least. So you’d better pay attention. You’d better listen to Jesus. You’d better hear it again. For two reasons.
First, I fear that you are perilously close to losing your freedom to come and hear the words of Jesus. We are witnessing civilizational suicide on a grand scale in our country. Public assembly and the freedom of worship may soon be taken from you by the utopian and intolerant God-within-ers that Zeusianly litigate bedroom and bathroom “fairness” and “tolerance” like lightning bolts from Mount Olympus. While imams are defended, welcomed and praised as the heroes and saviors of Western civilization — while mosques are being built faster than shopping malls with Saudi oil wealth – faithful Christian preachers are demonized as enemies of the state and freedom. They may soon be jailed, sent to re-education seminars, and your church building may be either closed, bulldozed, burned, or remodeled into a museum to tell your grandchildren about how Christianity had to be exterminated from the face of the earth because it was nothing but a religion of bigotry and hate. Or it may be turned into a mosque itself!
Craig Considine, writing recently in the Huffington Post, recently called for all Christians to accept Muhammed as a prophet. Do you think the Huffington Post would ever post an article entitled calling on Muslims to accept Jesus as the Son of God? Of course not! This same Craig Considine compared Muhammed to George Washington, hailed Muhammed as a “universal champion of human rights” and claims that Christianity too practices jihad. And most Christians in America would trust Considine’s words as the gospel truth. What does that say? Hmmm?
I’m afraid that in our decadence, self-complacency and tone deafness to God’s Word, we naively assume that God will always let a congregation and a preacher remain here at (Immanuel) Trinity to baptize our children, confirm them, marry them, and give us a Christian burial. However, before long it may be a federal crime to be a Christian and to worship God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Shortly, you may not be able to find a faithful Lutheran pastor to give you the Lord’s Body and Blood in the near future. It may soon be against the law to be given a Christian baptism, wedding, funeral and burial. So you’d better come to church, have ears to hear, and worship Jesus while you still have the freedom to do so.
Second, you’d better listen because Jesus’ sermon is so audaciously and categorically SALVATIONAL. He pulls no punches. He doesn’t mess around. Why? Because you’re salvation is at stake. Consequently, He asserts total divine power over your greatest and deadliest enemy. And who is that? It’s spelled:
D-E-A-T-H. Jesus promises life and salvation. “Truly, truly I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see / taste death.” Keeping is to trust. Keeping is faith. And that’s the highest worship. That’s when Jesus preaches the clincher. He is God. He is to be trusted. “Truly, truly I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”
Who does Jesus think He is? The LORD? He talks like He’s … GOD! Makes promises like He’s … GOD! Like He is the eternal-before-the-creation-of-the-world-wisdom of God in the flesh! Like when you see Him you see God! Like when you hear Him you hear God!
You don’t have a problem with that, do you? You’re not picking up rocks to start heaving at His head, are you? You didn’t mumble under your breath that preacher Jesus is a half-breed Samaritan heretic, did you? You didn’t assert He’s demon possessed, did you? I hope not. Because He’s not! Drop the rocks. Enough of the mumbling. Have ears to hear!
To hear and believe that Jesus is God and to worship Him as such! There is one God. Three Persons. One in Three or Three in One. Trinity. Triune. The three persons are the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Jesus is the Son, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. Jesus is the only-begotten Son of the Father from eternity.
In His high priestly prayer Jesus speaks of this fact: “And now Father, glorify Me in Your own presence with the glory that I had with You before the world existed,” (Jn 17:5). The evangelist St. John tells you that Jesus is “the Word.” “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.” Jesus, the eternal Word, the only begotten of the Father, took on human flesh and dwelt among us. He is Immanuel, God with us. (Jn 1:1-2, 14; Mt 1:23)
Why? Well, that’s a no brainer! He dwells among you in order do what is His cup of tea. And what is that? TO SAVE YOU! From the wages of sin: death and eternal damnation! Hear Him again. “Truly, truly I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see / taste death.” “Truly, truly I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”
“Never see death!” “Never taste death!” By simply keeping, trusting, believing His word! He promises. What He promises He does. FOR YOU!
For most of you, you have been given the Triune Name in holy baptism according to the Lord Jesus’ mandate in Matthew 28. Now, to be baptized in God’s Name, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit is to be baptized by God Himself! And more! God’s Triune Name is His saving Name. He saves you with His Name that He gives you in holy baptism. His Name is never a nothing. With His Name the holy Trinity, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit gives you Himself!
Did you hear that? HE GIVES YOU HIMSELF! AND ALL THAT HE HAS AND IS! With His Name! No wonder Jesus makes another promise: “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved,” (Mk 16:16).
The Triune God does not live for Himself. That is not how He rolls. He lives and exists FOR YOU! The Triune God does not just have a conversation with Himself. He converses with you! He preaches to you. He does His preaching through the eternal Word, the Second Person of the Trinity, Jesus Himself. “Truly, truly I say to you,” Jesus declares, “if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death … he will never taste death.”
The absolution is His Word too. Crucified and risen Lord-of-All / WORD-made-flesh / God-With-Us Jesus told you today in the absolution that all your sin is forgiven because He died and rose FOR YOU. The absolution is the living voice of Christ. He gives what He promises in that word of forgiveness. In a few minutes He will preach again to you. This time His promise will be hooked with bread and wine. “Eat it. Drink it.” He mandates. And then comes the promise: “This is my Good Friday, Easter Sunday, ascended and coronated at-the-right-hand-of-the-Father-body-and-blood. It is FOR YOU. For the forgiveness of your sins! Where I’m forgiving you your sins you have life and salvation!”
This is absolutely incredible! In Jesus the Triune God is GOD FOR YOU! To save YOU! To give YOU eternal life. God the Father doesn’t count any of your sin against you because Jesus His Son answered for it with His divine blood sacrificed on the cross. It’s true. Absolutely and categorically! You can be absolutely certain.
Why? Because Jesus says so. He speaks. He gives what He says. “Truly, truly I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see / taste death.” “Truly, truly I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”
HAPPY TRINITY SUNDAY!
In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.