August 9, 2015
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS
Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS
INI + AMEN.
“The good and gracious will of God is done even without our prayer,” this is something that we learn first as children, but we continue to learn and study it our whole lives. Jesus in our Gospel lesson today tells us about God’s will for you. We see it in eating and drinking: “I am the Bread of Life. The one who comes to Me shall never hunger, and the one who believes in Me shall never ever thirst.” The problem with seeing God’s will there is us. We get in the way. So many Christians are consumed with this question. Maybe some of you are. We’ve all wondered about it. So
3. What do we think God’s will is for us?
This question about God’s will for us is all a matter of focus. Where do we look? Do we look to God’s Law, the Ten Commandments? “The Law is a mirror that accurately depicts God’s will and what pleases Him.” It is the only infallible rule of how we should live our lives, not just some of the time or when we feel like, but all the time. The Law says have complete faith and trust toward God and complete selfless and fervent love toward one another. Is that Law of God the final word of God’s will for your life? If it were, we’d be in a whole mess of trouble because we don’t love God completely as we should especially in the difficulties of life, and because we don’t have a complete and heartfelt love for those around us as we should.
So, if the Law doesn’t do it for us when it comes to God’s will, where else can we turn? So often we look to our own lives to determine God’s will for us. If I want to do something, and I get to do it obviously that’s God’s will, right? But what if that thing that I want to do is against God’s Law? The World says one thing—you’re fine, just do it. God says the opposite. But looking to our lives to determine God’s will for us is problematic. It’s all fine and good when things are going well. When that happens, you might think, “God obviously has good-will towards me.” But what about when bad things happen? Does God then have bad-will towards you? That’s what we like to think.
When it comes to figuring out what God’s will is for us, we don’t look to His Law, and we don’t look at ourselves and our lives. Both those ways land us in trouble. We need to look to Jesus. “He is the Author and Perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame.” We look to Jesus, always Jesus. Why? As we find out in our text:
2. The Son came to do the Father’s will.
That’s what Jesus says again and again in our text today. Jesus, the Bread of Life, says, “I have come down from heaven not to do My will but the will of Him who sent Me.” “The Son obeyed His Father’s will, Was born of virgin mother; And God’s good pleasure to fulfill, He came to be my brother. His royal pow’r disguised He bore; A servant’s form, like mine, He wore To lead the devil captive.” Jesus’ doesn’t do His own will. His will and the Father’s will are one in the same, even as Jesus is “one substance with the Father.” As He prayed at Gethsemane: “My Father, if it’s possible, let this cup pass from Me, but not as I will but as You will…My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, let Your will be done.” In spite of all that Jesus felt, saw, and would suffer, He is His Father’s Son and does His Father’s will.
The Father’s will is salvific. That’s what Jesus tells us—twice! “This is the will of Him who sent Me: not to lose any He has given to Me, but I will resurrect Him on the Last Day.” “This is My Father’s will: Everyone who looks upon the Son and believes in Him has eternal life, and I Myself will resurrect Him on the Last Day.” He came and fulfilled God’s most Holy Will, His Law, for you. God’s will is that Jesus would endure the cross for you. You will not be lost, but you will be resurrected on the Last Day. All those whom the Lord holds in His nail-pierced hands will be resurrected to eternal life. “The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” Life will reign and win the victory over all death. It must—He must! He rose from death, and as He says “I am the Bread of Life.”
This is why we must look to Jesus. This is why we need to come to Christ. Jesus didn’t just come to do the Father’s will, but
1. God’s will for you is found in Jesus.
This is why the Father, through the power and working of the Holy Spirit drags you to Jesus. The Father won’t loose you. He’s sent the son to make sure of that: “This is the will of Him who sent Me: not to lose any He has given to Me.” The Father drags you to Jesus. That’s literally what Jesus says. “No one comes to Me unless the Father, who has sent Me, drags Him.” You are brought to the living and life-giving Jesus. He takes you up in His arms through His watery Word and His written Word. But it’s more than even that. You’re brought to Jesus to feed on Him. “I am the Bread of Life…This is the Bread come down from heaven, that anyone may eat from it and not die. I am the living Bread come down from heaven, if anyone eats from this bread, He will live forever, and the Bread which I will give is My flesh given for the life of the world.”
And so today you’re brought to Jesus in the Supper as He is given to you. The Lord gathers us for this very purpose: to eat of the Bread of Life. “He has preordained his Word and sacraments as the regular means and instruments for drawing people to himself. It is not the will of either the Father or the Son that people not hear the proclamation of his Word or have contempt for it, nor should they expect to be drawn by the Father apart from the Word and sacrament.” (SD XI: Election.76) You are drawn to eat the flesh given for the life of the world. You are drawn to drink the blood shed for the life of the world. Jesus says to each of you who eat and drink today: “I am the Bread of Life. The one who comes to Me shall never hunger, and the one who believes in Me shall never ever thirst.”
“Whoever eats this bread and drinks this cup, confidently believing the word and promise of Christ, dwells in Christ and Christ in him and has eternal life.” That’s really God’s will. Listen again to a refrain that Jesus kept returning to in our text: “I will raise him up,” resurrect him, “on the Last Day.” That’s a good summary for God’s will for you. That’s what Jesus says.
GOD’S WILL IS FOR YOU TO BE RESURRECTED ON THE LAST DAY.
Yes, we see God’s will for us in Jesus, the Life-giving bread. We see it in bread, in eating and drinking. For in this eating and drinking today we are “strengthened and preserved body and soul to life everlasting.” We are strengthened by it “in faith toward God and fervent love toward one another.” Here “He strengthens and keeps us from in His Word and faith until we die. This is His good and gracious will.”
INI + AMEN.