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Talent-al Jesus; His Talent-al Gifts!

November 19, 2017

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Second-Last Sunday                  Trinity Lutheran Church

19 November 2017                     Murdock, NE

 

+ Jesu Juva +

 

Matthew 25:14-30

 

My! Oh my! I’m going to be quite bold today. And you’re saying: “That’s nothing new!” Ok then! Hang on tight. Here goes. This will be a gospel doozy!

 

In the parable the Master gives His servants talents. Five. Two. One. In the ancient world a talent was about 20 years of wages. So, do the math. 5 talents = 100 years of wages. 2 talents = 40 years of wages. Massive sums! Staggering gifts! Then the Master takes off. High tails it. Then, after a long time He returns. Judgment Day. Day of reckoning. “To settle accounts.” To see what the servants have done with the “talents” or the enormously generous gifts given them.

 

Now let’s cut to the chase. No messing around this morning. I’m in that kind of mood.

 

I propose that the Master in the parable is Jesus Himself. That’s a no brainer, right? Sure. Better yet — and here’s the mind blower – the “talents” He gives to His servants are … none other than the gift of salvation that His Good Friday death on the cross accomplished. Yes, that’s right, the “talents” represent the It-Is-Finished-Salvation that Jesus did for all sinners and for every sin as well as the delivery of that forgiveness in the Word, baptism, absolution and the Lord’s Supper.

 

He’s won salvation FOR YOU.   He’s given salvation to you. Jesus, the salvation He won and the salvation He delivers in Word and sacraments are the “talents,” if you will.

 

Faith receives the salvational “talents” that Jesus gives. Which is to say: faith has good use of Jesus.   Puts Jesus to use for the forgiveness of sins. Uses Jesus against the wily devil and the horrors of hell. Using Jesus for heaven and eternal salvation. Faith utilizes Jesus and His gifts all the more. To use the language of the parable faith puts the “talents” or salvific gifts to good use. Invests in them. Trades in them. Makes even more.

 

That’s the five and two talent servants. They use Jesus properly. Live in and from their baptism by confessing their sins, receiving holy absolution and living a holy life according to God’s Word that also includes love for others simply because that’s what people need in life. They “trade” in the Word by holding it sacred and gladly going to hear and learn it. They hunger to receive the precious body and blood of Jesus in the Lord’s Supper – rejoicing that Jesus gives what He promises: forgiveness of sins (talents”.

 

So it’s a no brainer that when Jesus returns in glory on the Last Day “to settle accounts” He will say to the five and two talent boys: “Well done gentlemen! I have given you my salvation. You have had good use of it. Your faith in me has saved you. Enter into the joy of your master.”

 

The one talent fella had no use of Jesus – either of His Good Friday death or His salvational gifts given in Word and sacrament. He considered Jesus to be a “hard man,” not gracious and merciful. He lived in fear. So he buried the “talental” gift of salvation in the ground – which is to say – he didn’t have any good use of Jesus for salvation on the cross, in baptism, absolution, preaching or the Supper. That’s unbelief. That’s the refusal point.

 

So, it’s a no brainer that Master Jesus says to the one talent man: “Cast that worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

 

Brothers and sisters, if you’re not having good use of Jesus, then today is the time to repent and do better. Seriously. This is no joke. Do not blow Jesus off as if you have more important things to do on a Sunday morning than to go to His divine service to receive His gifts. It is absolutely and salvationally imperative to have good use of Jesus. That’s faith. To receive what He has done. To be given what He gives. Baptism. Absolution. Preaching. Lord’s Supper. Faith says, “Thank you” to these “talents” and then audaciously asks: “May I have even more Lord? To invest and trade with? To have even more and more? You’ll give me more next week too?”  

 

Well, brothers and sisters, St. Paul declares that, “you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.” You ARE aware of that, aren’t you? Of course you are! So, as St. Paul says, “you are not in darkness.” You know and believe the Lord will return in glory on the Last Day. In the meantime as St. Paul says in the Epistle: “you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober … putting on the breastplate of faith and love and the helmet of salvation.”

 

After all, “God has destined you not for wrath BUT TO OBTAIN SALVATION through our Lord Jesus Christ.” So Jesus has sent me to tell you that He died FOR YOU. “Talent-ed” you with His Good Friday salvation! You are to believe in Him! You are trust in Him for salvation just as He promises in His “talent-al” Word and sacraments. So, whether we are alive or buried six feet under when He returns in glory on the Last Day “we will live with Him forever” in heaven. We will enter into the joy of our Master who has the scars of Good Friday still showing. All FOR YOU!

 

In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

 

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