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A Double Play – Baptism & Lord’s Supper

August 19, 2018

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Pentecost 13                                            Trinity Lutheran Church

19 August 2018                                        Murdock, NE


+ Jesu Juva +


Mark 10:13-16; John 6:51-69

Baptism of Briggs Franklin Harms


A double play today! First, Mark 10, the gospel reading from Holy Baptism’s liturgy. Second, John 6, the gospel reading from the divine service. The double play features Jesus receiving children into His salvific kingdom reign through baptism and the baptized receiving the Lord’s Supper. From the Lord’s own words. Are you ready? All right. Here we go.


“Assuredly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” Adults, did you hear that? To enter the kingdom of God you have to be like a little child. A little baby! Adults are doers. Workers. Try hard-ers. The little babies don’t do anything. They are simply cared for. Served. Ministered to. BINGO! That’s how one gets saved! Not by works! But by being served, ministered to and cared for BY Good Friday JESUS! “Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child [simply by being given to by Jesus] will by no means enter it.”


Faith trusts what Jesus says and promises. Therefore Jesus categorically states: “Let the little children come to me.” Why? Well, He says why! “For of such is the kingdom of God.” In other words, He died for them too! So, unlike the disciples in Mark 10, Travis and Tina trust Jesus and what He says. They trust that Jesus is God and Savior not just for the adults but also for the children. Jesus Good Friday-ly died for the babies too. So, Travis and Tina brought their little boy to Jesus for His baptismal blessing. So that Jesus would take Briggs into His crucified arms and nail-scarred hands and give him His divine and salvific name as well as the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit at the baptismal font.


Yes, Briggs entered the kingdom of God today! Not because Briggs did anything. Not because Briggs made Jesus the Lord and Master of his life! Not because Briggs gave Jesus his heart and life! It’s just the opposite. When He was Good Friday-ly crucified on the cross Lord and Master Jesus gave His divine life and His divine heart into sacrificial death for this little boy’s salvation, for all and FOR YOU. Jesus came not to be given anything by anyone. Jesus took on flesh and blood at Bethlehem in order to salvationally serve and then to give His life at Calvary as a ransom for many.


So yes, today, in baptism, Briggs was GIVEN the Good Friday reign of Jesus precisely as Jesus says: “as a little child.” A DO NOTHING little child. A little child that can only be given to! That can only receive what Jesus says and bestows! In Mark 16:16 Jesus promises: “whoever believes and is baptized will be saved.” Jesus has used little Briggs to exhibit salvation by faith alone. Briggs did nothing. Jesus did and gave everything. Faith only speaks of that which it is given. The baptism of Briggs Franklin Helms confesses precisely what Jesus says: “Assuredly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”


Now to John 6! “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and I will raise him up on the last day.”


No wonder then that in Holy Baptism’s liturgy Travis, Tina as well as the godparents promised to work towards Briggs’ “faithful reception of the Lord’s Supper,” (Holy Baptism, LSB 269). After all, the baptized eventually are to be fed and nourished unto eternal life and resurrection of the body by eating Christ’s flesh and drinking His blood in the Sacrament of the Altar. “Faithful reception of the Lord’s Supper.” You promised that for Briggs!


Did you notice that in John 6 Jesus moved from speaking about “eating” to “feeding.” Literally the Greek word is “to chew” or “rend with the teeth.” Jesus is not speaking metaphorically or symbolically. He is a flesh and blood Savior of flesh and blood creatures. Jesus is bone of our bones and flesh of our flesh. The Word became flesh. So, the Bread that Jesus gives for the life of the world is His flesh. The flesh conceived in the Virgin’s belly. The flesh laid in a manger. The flesh circumcised on the eighth day. The flesh totally obedient to the law. The flesh stapled violently to the cross. The flesh that atoning-ly bore all sin and all its damnation on Good Friday. The flesh that assumed room temperature and was laid in a borrowed grave. The flesh that was raised from the dead and was glorified at the right hand of God the Father. Whoever feeds / chews on this bread, this flesh, whoever drinks of this blood, has life! The life of Christ – the enfleshed Word – the Light and the Life of the world!


Christ’s incarnate, crucified, raised and ascended flesh and blood are the medicine, the antidote to your sin and death. His flesh and blood are the medicine of immortality. Why? Well, it is because He gave His flesh into the Good Friday atoning sacrificial death to answer for all your sin! All your sin, the world’s sin, my sin – was damned in His crucified flesh. His Good Friday blood was sprinkled, spilled and poured out as the new covenant blood through which God Himself promised to “forgive their sins and remember their iniquities no more,” (Jer. 31:34).


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So, in the Lord’s Supper, the baptized and instructed are given Christ’s body and blood with the bread and the wine. It is because Jesus says so. Travis and Tina, this is what you want for Briggs.


In the Lord’s Supper Jesus intimately communes with you His baptized. His fellowship with you His baptized in Holy Communion is His promise that goes like this: “I died FOR YOU! To save you! You’re so precious to Me that if you were the only person in the world, I still would have died on the cross to redeem you. The death I died on that Good Friday was for all and most especially for you. So, take and eat. Take and drink. Taste and see that I am good. Salvationally good FOR YOU!”


At the end of His John 6 sermon people decided that Jesus was way too much! Over the top! Too controversial! Too dangerous! So they stopped following Him. At that point Jesus turns to His twelve, His church and asks them: “What about you boys? Are you going to leave too? Is my preaching too offensive and scandalous to you too?” Peter speaks for the twelve and declares: “Lord, to whom shall we go? Where else are we going to go? You have the words of eternal life.”


That’s fabulous! Faithfully fabulous! Even when the Lord’s words sound absolutely insane, totally crazy, Peter knows they are the words of eternal life. Even when Christ’s words stretch our reason and imagination to the absolute breaking point, Jesus has the words of eternal life. No one else does but Jesus!


So, just like in John 6, so today the Lord’s Supper is an intense exercise of the baptized believer’s faith IN JESUS AND HIS WORDS! All you have are His words! You have to take Him at His word. “This is my body. This is my blood.” No explanations! No equivocations! Only His words! Words that are Spirit and Life! Words of eternal life!


Words that speak to your spirit born of the Holy Spirit in baptism as God’s children. The Lord’s Supper is a place where Jesus teaches you to trust only in Him and what He says. After all, one of these days, each of us, like some of our brothers and sisters in Christ this past year (the Jones family, the Vogler family, the Kupke family, etc.), will have to stare death and the grave in the face AND ALL YOU WILL HAVE TO CLING TO ARE CHRIST’S WORDS!


So, let me wrap us this sermon with His Spirit and Life words: “Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me.”


You take your faith in Jesus – you take His body and His blood — with you wherever you go in this life. To your work, to your home, TO YOUR GRAVE! And Christ’s promise to you who believe and are baptized is this: “I will raise him up on the last day.”


You can bet the farm that Jesus will do it! He has the words of eternal life and His bodily resurrection from the grave on the third day to prove it.


Briggs, Happy Baptism Day! We all look forward to your eating Christ’s flesh and drinking His blood in the Lord’s Supper. Food – bread and drink for the journey. To the promised land of heaven!


In the Name of Jesus.

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