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Isn’t that Delightfully Odd?

July 9, 2017

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Fifth Sunday after Pentecost                         Trinity Lutheran Church

9 July 2017                                                        Murdock, NE

 

 

Matthew 11:25-30

“I praise you Father, Lord of heaven and earth because you have hidden these things from the wise and clever and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.”

 

Incredible! Jesus really is something else, isn’t He? He does and says things that don’t meet expectations. This is quite a prayer that Jesus rattles off to His Father and your Father. It is quite strange to our ears. After all, Jesus praises the Father for what seems to be the abject and total failure of the … GOSPEL! Jesus gives glory to the Father for His obvious inability to impress the shrewdest religious big wigs and temple seminary professors, the brightest bulbs, the sharpest tools in the shed, the most astute and the most adroit when it comes to all things religious.

 

Yes, Jesus gives all honor, praise and glory to the Father for the rejection of His ministry, His message, and His salvific work! Isn’t that something! You’d think Jesus would despair and just give up. Cash in His chips and call it good.

 

He doesn’t. He stays the course. He will continue to preach repentance and forgiveness of sins. He will let no one or nothing stand in His way of doing His Good Friday salvational work on the cross. He comes to save … SINNERS! You can sum up Jesus with this sentence from the epistle in which St. Paul laments his sinful nature: “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God – through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

 

St. Paul gets it. God works in ways that no one ever expects. Here’s how it works. God saves you by killing you and raising you up to new life in the death and resurrection of His Son Jesus! This is a hidden work. Hidden under what appears to be total failure. Complete weakness. God’s work to save sinners is hidden and yet revealed in the Good Friday death of His Son. God’s work, in you His redeemed and baptized children, is hidden and yet revealed under the continual struggle of waging war every day against your sinful nature as the epistle described today. The good that you want to do, you don’t do! The sin that you do not want to do, you do! There is a war going on within each of you who are baptized in Jesus’ name: death vs. life, old Adam vs. Jesus. That’s what baptismal living looks like.

 

The Good Friday royal reign of Jesus over all your sin is not something that is seen. It is to be heard and believed. That’s why Jesus sent me to you. To preach the good news to you and for you that Jesus is the one and only Savior of sinners. He cruciform death means that forgiveness, life and salvation are yours! And what does faith say in response to such preaching? How does faith talk when God gives salvation to sinners through the preaching of the gospel, or in baptism, the absolution or the Lord’s Supper? Faith categorically says: “Amen! Thank you! Can I have more?”

 

Salvation has been revealed and given to you, you little children of faith. Little ones who are nothing but given to by Jesus. When you’re at the refusal point of saying “no” to Jesus and His gifts, to Jesus and His royal reign of salvation on the cross, you’re at the hell point, the damnation point.

 

In Jesus’ day those who knew the most failed to grasp the least. It was among the least, the sinners, the big time sinners, that Jesus was to be found. The kingdom of God, His gracious and merciful reign to save and redeem was to be found in His fellowship with the least and the lost of this world. All this was hidden from the wise in their wisdom and from the clever in all their cleverness. Salvation in Jesus, however, is revealed to “little children.” To the little ones of faith. To the little ones who, as I said earlier, as simply given to by Him.

 

Let’s never forget one of the most powerful sermons Jesus ever preached recorded in the New Testament. He said: “Unless you turn and become as little children, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.”

 

Now, back to the prayer: “I praise you Father, Lord of heaven and earth because you have hidden these things form the wise and clever and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.” The “these things” are the mysteries of God the Father’s reign of salvation for sinners and especially FOR YOU in Jesus His Son. Jesus is the eternal God come in human flesh to save you. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary to rescue you from death itself, that His death and resurrection mean life and salvation to all who receive Him by faith. Oh, yes, “these things” are hidden from the wise and clever, not because they are absent, but because they are really present in Jesus “who is gentle and humble in heart.”

 

Salvation is only FOR YOU in Jesus who promises: “Come to me. Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” The burden that Jesus bore on the cross was your burden. The weariness that He carried was your weariness. The death He died was your death. Receive His yoke laid on you at your baptism and learn from Him. Learn what it means to be forgiven. Learn what it means to have Jesus’ death pay for you life. Learn what it means to live before God in the freedom of Christ’s death and resurrection. In Jesus you have humble and gentle Savior who promises rest and refreshment. He lifts the yoke of the law that crushes you down to death and He sets His gentle yoke of forgiveness on you. Learn it and rejoice in it once again in the Lord’s Supper today. Jesus truly is Savior FOR YOU.

 

 

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