He Preaches Christ Crucified FOR YOU! Now That’s A Preacher!
Epiphany 5 Trinity Lutheran Church
5 February 2017 Murdock, NE
+ Jesu Juva +
1 Corinthians 2:1-12
My, my, my! Get a load of Pastor Preacher Paul. Unsophisticated. Simple. A hick I suppose. No personal charm. He preaches with no, “lofty speech or wisdom.” He refuses to boast of any speaking skills. Perhaps he was a Mel Tillis, a James Earl Jones or a Tiger Woods, a stutterer. He bullishly maintains that he serves in “weakness.” “Fear.” “Trembling.” Good grief! All the officials in the church would say that Paul’s not a “good fit” for any congregation and that he really should offer his resignation PDQ. After all, everyone knows that a fumbling, bumbling, stumbling Holy Spirit-less pastor like Paul simply can’t grow a congregation, have an exciting youth group, and make the church great again. So, no seminary today would certify him for the ministry. And no congregation in the LCMS would have him.
But you had better! You had better listen to Pastor Paul. You’d better give him your undivided. He’s a great pastor! One of the best! I’m as serious as a heart attack when I say that! Because hidden beneath the hayseed, hick, country bumpkin diction – hidden beneath all the weakness, fear and trembling — is “the demonstration of the Spirit and of power … the power of God.” Really? Yes, really!
Pastor Paul’s preaching of Christ crucified is the Holy Spirit’s cup of tea. The message of Christ crucified is the Spirit’s sine qua non! The power of the Holy Spirit is demonstrated in the simple sermon that proclaims the crucified Jesus. Pastor Paul doesn’t want you to pay attention to him. He wants you to focus on Jesus. Paul the person decreases. So that Jesus increases. Paul will not boast of himself, his skills or personality. He insists that Good-Friday-on-the-cross-Jesus gets preached. Paul is nothing. Jesus is everything! “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.”
That’s the ticket. That’s a preacher. Maybe not what you wanted and what you resist, but it sure is what you need! You need Jesus preached. And not just any Jesus. You need the crucified-with-all-your-sin-in-His-crucified-body-on-the-cross-Jesus! When that kind of preaching is going on, then the Holy Spirit is going on full blast!
NOTHING! NOTHING in the church is to be allowed to overshadow, overtake, distract or diminish from the preaching of the gospel. So Pastor Paul preaches Jesus Christ and him crucified. “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.”
Now let’s push this further. For all it’s salvific worth. What is most salvationly important! Here it is. Listen carefully. Your salvation is at stake. Brothers and sisters, it is one thing for you to say that Jesus was crucified. That’s true. It is an historical fact. No one can deny that. So much so that even the very liberal Christian Bill O’Reilly wrote the book Killing Jesus to document this fact. However, it is quite another thing to say and believe that Jesus was crucified FOR YOU! FOR ME! FOR YOUR SALVATION!
Pastor Paul preaches Jesus that way! All faithful pastors do. Jesus is pure gift of salvation FOR YOU the sinner! All your sin is forgiven. He answered for it all in His bloody suffering and death on the cross. He endured all of God’s wrath against you and your sin as He hung on the cross. He alone is the Savior! The Good Friday One! This is precisely the point of the Bible. Jesus Himself put it this way in the gospel reading today: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets [that’s the OT]; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” In other words, the main content of Scripture is Jesus Christ and him crucified FOR YOU AND FOR YOUR SALVATION.
So together with Pastor Paul I too have sent by Jesus to give you the greatest news you could ever hear. It is Holy Spirit filled and Holy Spirit power. It is this. Are you listening? Good.
Here goes. Jesus died FOR YOU. His crucifixion is His gift of salvation FOR YOU! What He did there He did FOR YOU. He won and achieved salvation FOR YOU on the cross. And now today in the Lord’s Supper, His last will and testament, He bestows the benefits of dying. With the bread and wine He gives His Good Friday body and blood into your mouths.
Brothers and sisters, all this is “secret and hidden wisdom of God” now revealed and given to you. Yes, it’s incredible! God in Christ Jesus gets crucified in immense weakness and suffering FOR YOU. Winning salvation. What He wins He gives. Freely. Completely. Today. Crucified but Risen Christ Jesus physically present in the Lord’s Supper. He too speaks. His words are not lofty rhetoric or super philosophical. But they are the “power of God” spoken to you. It’s His unthwartable promise! “Given and shed FOR YOU for the forgiveness of your sins.”
In the Name of Jesus.