Epiphany 3 (Mt 8:1–13)

January 22, 2017
Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO


I know you trust JESUS. You do. Then you’ve got your doubts. Whether it’s stuff in your own life, the lives of those you love, or just the general unpleasantness of the world that we sometimes have to endure, that stuff makes us doubt JESUS’ love for us, makes us doubt how our heavenly Father feels about us, and maybe even makes us question the truth of our faith. But I’ve got news for you, dear friends. When up is down and down is left, when the rocky turns stormy, when the storms gather, there is something—or rather someone—who is Way, who is Peace, who is the Light for your path: Jesus. He’s the Truth in the midst of uncertainty.

But I want you to know something else. Those things are certainly true, but there a bit abstract, not tangible. JESUS is more than just Truth. He’s trustworthy. You can put your trust in Him. He won’t let you down—not in the end. He’s your Savior. The Savior of all. In all times, but especially in hard times, He’s someone you can trust, have faith in.


((I. Jesus is trustworthy.))

We don’t have to doubt. You don’t have to wonder what JESUS is going to do. We all know why He was sent from His Father, and we bend the knee to the Father, as JESUS Himself taught us to pray, “Thy will be done.” This is what the leper prays to JESUS when he worships Him: “Lord, if you are willing, I can be clean.” “The good and gracious will of God is done by itself without our prayer, but we pray,” as the leper did, “that it may be done among us also.”

Now, “God’s will is done,” as the Catechism teaches us, “when He breaks and hinders every evil plan and purpose of the devil, the world, and our sinful nature, which do not want us to hallow God’s name or let His kingdom come, and when He keeps us firm in His Word and faith until we die. This is His good and gracious will. His will is to save. “I will, be cleansed,” He says to the leper.

We don’t have to be timid, even when we pray, “Thy will be done.” We pray all things with the confidence that they will be answered. How confident can we be? How about bold enough to boss JESUS around? That’s the centurion’s faith. He’d heard the reports of what JESUS was doing, and he knew why JESUS came.

So, he shows up looking for JESUS to heal his servant. JESUS says that He’ll come right away and heal him, and then the centurion says, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” JESUS says, “I’ll come.” The centurion says, “No, don’t come, JESUS. Do this for me. I know your marching orders. Do this for me.”

What magnificent faith! JESUS was trustworthy. The reports had laid Him out as such. The centurion, a follower of Judaism, knew JESUS’ Messiah marching orders. That He’d come to bind up the broken, centurions and their slaves included!

((II. He’s the Savior of all.))

JESUS truly is Savior. He saved, cleansed, the leper. He saved the slave, too! We can be confident of it. He didn’t just walk around healing people. He said that He came to “give His life as a ransom for many,” that He would “suffer many things, be killed, and on the third day be raised.” And that’s what He did. People who do what they say they’re gonna do are called trustworthy. JESUS by His actions proved that He’s not only trustworthy, but that He’s also Savior.

“Yeah, pastor, but He didn’t save me from my problem. He didn’t fix it. He didn’t heal. What then, pastor?” Well, JESUS is Savior, and He certainly can heal when He’s not “there.” “Only say the word, and my servant will be healed. To the centurion JESUS said, ‘Go; let it be done for you as you have believed.’ And the servant was healed at that very moment.” He can do that. But He likes to heal in a different way.

“A leper came to him and knelt before him.” “I will come and heal him.” He likes to heal and save “face-to-face.” He does this, you know, through doctors. But He does it this way Himself. God’s “good and gracious will is done…when He keeps us firm in His Word and faith until we die.” Because then, we see JESUS face to face. We see Him who died and rose for us. On that day, He will wipe away every tear from our eyes. On that day there is no more death or mourning or crying or pain because JESUS is there. On the day when a saint stands before JESUS, there is the perfect and eternal healing that He gives.

How do you know? Well, He rose from the dead! How do you know? He’s true to His promises, to His promises given in Baptism, in His Supper, in His Absolution. “He saved us through the washing of rebirth.” “If the pastor forgives, they are forgiven.” “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise Him up on the Last Day.” In these promises, these tangible promises, JESUS prepares you to see Him face to face.

JESUS is trustworthy. He does what He says. He suffered, died, and rose again, just like He said. His promise is that He will save and heal. Maybe not in this life, but certainly in the life to come. Because of His great promises, promises that are continually given in His Word and Gifts, our faith in Him is maintained. He maintains us. He sustains us. We can be bold. Then one day He will keep His final promise: “I will raise you up.” That day, at that very moment, you will be healed—not just for a little bit, but forever. JESUS is true to His Word. He’s trustworthy. JESUS IS A TRUSTWORTHY SAVIOR FOR ALL. His empty tomb, His Font, His Keys, His Word, His body and blood prove it.


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