INI + AMEN.
It’s all about Jesus. That’s the Christian faith. That’s what we confess from the Scriptures as Lutherans. It’s all about Jesus FOR YOU. That He saves us by grace alone. He saves us only out of His own love and mercy toward us. We receive this by faith alone. We trust Jesus. He was sent from the Father, conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary. He died FOR YOU. He rose FOR YOU. You trust Him because He did those things, and He did them FOR YOU. This is our faith, trust, and joy, not only as we observe the Reformation today, not only in the good times, but especially in the tragic, horrific, and terrible times. Jesus alone. He’s it. And
JESUS REALLY SETS YOU FREE.
((I. Enslaved by sin and death.))
Yes, JESUS REALLY SETS YOU FREE. We’re not truly free in this life. We live under a delusion of freedom. We might respond like the Jews in our Gospel text: “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone.” “We’re red-blooded Americans. We live in a free society. We’ve never been oppressed by anyone.” We live in that sort of freedom for awhile, thinking we have control. Then our sins get the better of us. We mourn them! Or things happen that show us how out of control we are. This happens in the midst of tragedy we can’t understand and will never understand this side of glory. We can’t rescue ourselves. We can’t free ourselves. We grieve.
We need Jesus—really need Him. Jesus alone. He’s your hope. Jesus alone. He’s your shield. Jesus alone. He’s your God and Savior. And JESUS REALLY SETS YOU FREE.
((II. He does it.))
Yes, JESUS REALLY SETS YOU FREE. He’s the one who does it. He alone! He alone took on sin and paid for it. He alone endured death to defeat it. He alone destroyed the grave by His resurrection. He alone turned the tragedy of His death—God’s death—into the greatest freedom-giving event in history. Jesus’ blood, death, and resurrection pay for sin. “The sin that so easily ensnares us” no longer bars your way to a seat at the heavenly eternal banquet. Jesus’ death and resurrection make death the gateway to eternal life. Jesus’ resurrection shows that even death will be undone on the Last Day.
Yes, JESUS REALLY SETS YOU FREE. He delivers it too. He delivers it into hearts, minds, and mouths. He makes us His disciples. “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples.” He started us on the disciple path in the first place. “Make disciples,” He said. How? “By baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Yes, and whoever is born of water and the Spirit will enter the kingdom of heaven, as Jesus says. His Word strengthens and keeps you there. He brings you into His family. “The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” Jesus brings you into His family, and He brings you to His table: His body and blood given and shed for you. It’s the medicine of immortality, as He says, “Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will resurrect him at the last day.”
Jesus alone: in times of joy; in times of sadness. JESUS REALLY SETS YOU FREE. Free from sin. Free from death. Free to be in His kingdom now and forever. We trust Him. He’s true to His promises. How can He not be? He’s the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and we know Him, trust Him, that He really is the Truth that sets you free. The proof? Once He was dead, but now He’s alive forevermore. He bestows eternal life to all His Father’s children. No matter what. He died FOR YOU. He rose FOR YOU. You trust Him because He did those things, and He did them FOR YOU. “If the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”
INI + AMEN.