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The Blood That Speaks

March 23, 2017

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Wednesday of Lent 3                                          Trinity Lutheran Church

22 March 2017                                                      Murdock, NE

 

+ Jesu Juva +

 

Hebrews 12:22-34 / Blood That Speaks

 

As Jesus stands before the high priest His enemies thirst for His blood. They want Him dead. Capitally punished. They’re all in for the death penalty when it comes to that Jesus! They want to be rid of this troublesome preacher once and for all. “Let His blood flow!” PDQ! They get what they want. Very swiftly Innocent-Son-of-God-Servant-Jesus gets convicted, sentenced and crucified. His blood is shed.

 

Like innocent and faithful Abel who was brutally murdered by his unfaithful brother Cain, Jesus dies as a guiltless victim. From the ground Abel’s blood cried out for vengeance. Revenge. Retaliation for his brutal murder. Not the blood of Jesus! His blood preaches forgiveness. Pardon. Mercy. The blood of Jesus pronounces pardon from heaven. Jesus’ blood gives gracious access. Heavenly access.

 

As the text declares, you have come to “the blood for sprinkling that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.” This is quite astonishing! It is the essence of the divine service. The divine service is all about receiving the gift of Christ’s holy-precious-Good-Friday-blood in the Lord’s Supper. After all, it is only through His divine blood that you have access to heaven, the millions upon millions of angels in joyful assembly, the universal church, God the judge, the faithful departed and Jesus Himself.

 

Yes, all of you that are baptized believers have total and complete access to the sprinkled blood of Jesus that speaks the better and eternal Word of forgiveness, life and salvation.

 

This really is remarkable. Noteworthy. Amazing. After all, in the Old Testament ONLY THE PRIESTS were allowed to approach God and officiate in the divine service of the temple. Before they could officiate they had their bodies sprinkled with blood at their ordination into the priesthood to cleanse them from impurity and to make them holy. The right ears of the priests were smeared with blood, so that they could hear the holy word of God; the thumbs of their right hands were smeared with blood, so that they could handle the holy things of God; the big toes of their right feet were smeared with blood, so that they could walk on holy ground. And then blood mixed with the holy anointing oil was sprinkled on them and their vestments to consecrate them. In this way God shared his holiness with them. They could only approach God as long as they remained clean and holy. Sprinkled with the blood.

 

But now, through the sprinkled blood of Jesus you have access to the heavenly Jerusalem. And each of you can do what no priest ever did in the Old Testament. You can approach God the Father in the heavenly sanctuary and serve there together with Jesus. Jesus has not just sprinkled your bodies with his blood; he sprinkles it on your hearts, your conscience. Amazingly, he gives you his blood to drink in Holy Communion. And that blood speaks something eternally good to you and FOR YOU. His divine blood does not speak of vengeance and banishment, as the blood of Abel did to his brother who had murdered him. No, it speaks of grace and pardon and acceptance.

 

By giving you his life-giving blood to drink, Jesus cleanses you entirely from the sins that you have committed as well as the sins that have been committed against you. Through his blood He shares his own purity and holiness with you. He makes you as holy as he is holy. Holy through and through. His blood consecrates you as holy priests for service with the angels in the heavenly sanctuary. You can therefore approach God the Father boldly and unafraid, because you have been sprinkled with the blood of Jesus. You can bring others and their needs to your heavenly Father, even as you mysteriously bring him and his blessing to the people around you as you go about your daily work.

 

So, where are you as you come to Holy Communion in the diving service? Heaven. With all the angels, archangels and all the company of heaven. You come to an extraordinary place that makes you extraordinary people. You are people who live double lives as citizens of heaven here on earth. Your ordinary life with its everyday routines is but the façade of something far richer and deeper and more expansive, for you are holy people who live heavenly lives on earth. Wherever you go, the Triune God goes with you. Wherever you happen to be, you have open access to God’s presence. So no matter how ordinary you may appear, you are all secretly extraordinary people engaged in a truly extraordinary project. You are holy people because you, on Sundays, are involved here and now in the divine service together with Jesus and all the angels. That makes you and everything that happens to you far more significant than you could ever imagine.

 

What joy to have the privilege of worship and to live as in God’s presence while you go about your daily business! With the blood of Jesus you are holy as Christ is holy! To him be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.

 

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