Sermons

Epiphany 4 (Mt 8:23–27)

January 29, 2017
Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

INI + AMEN.

Who Jesus is and what He did are two very important questions. As disciples of Jesus, followers of Him, we understand how important those two questions are—not only for us, but all people. To be a disciple of Jesus means to be baptized and have trust in Him. To have faith in Jesus means more than just being a good person. Way too many people think that’s what Christianity is all about: being nice, good people that God will bless for being nice, good people. Christianity’s not about being good, doing good. It’s more than that. Faith is receiving from Jesus, living from Jesus, striving to be around Jesus. That’s the cycle of faith: being around Jesus to receive from Him and live from Him.

((3. Jesus shows Himself to be God and Savior.))

Why Him? Well, because Jesus shows Himself to be God and Savior. He showed this to His Twelve. Before this He healed many, including that centurion’s servant we heard about last week. Because of this they went to Jesus and cried out, “Lord, save us we’re perishing!” He’s proved Himself Savior by dying and rising. That means He’s your Savior, too. He truly saves all the perishing from whatever ails them: their diseases, whatever may kill them, their death. He saves them from this because He’s saved them from what truly ails them, what truly ails you. It’s the source of all the other symptoms: sin.

Jesus isn’t just some prophet who could do cool things. He’s not some run of the mill religious teacher. He showed Himself to be much more, much more than the disciples expected—more than we expect. ”He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm…the winds and the sea obey Him. Now, you might be able to toss a prophet in the sea, and Yahweh would make a storm stop. But only Yahweh Himself could command the wind and the waves with that kind of authority. Not only that, His death and resurrection prove it, too. Jesus said His death and resurrection would be the proof that He was God in the Flesh. Then He died and rose—point proved.

((2. Where is He God?))

So, since Jesus is God, where is He? Where is He God? He’s not visibly here, and we know why. The Scriptures tell us that He ascended, and so where is He? In heaven. “He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.” Heaven’s our go to answer for where God is, and since Jesus is God, that’s where Jesus is.

But we’ve got another go to answer, too. We learned it in Catechism days: omnipresent. He’s everywhere! That’s part of what it means to be God: to be everywhere. Jesus is God, and so He’s everywhere. When He ascended to heaven, He ascended “far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.” He fills all things, and in Him all thing hold together.

These answers aren’t wrong. The problem is that in someways they’re not helpful. These answers aren’t helpful because if we’re to be honest and truthful, we’d have to confess that God is present in some not helpful places. Let’s take the disciples and the storm in our Gospel text for an example. Their problem wasn’t that God wasn’t there in the storm. The problem is that God is in the storm! What’s He doing? He’s in the storm, the avalanche, the cancer. He’s there: hidden—working and doing things, and He hasn’t told us the whys. So you’ve got an all powerful, everywhere God, you’ve got an all powerful everywhere Jesus, and we then cry out like the disciples, “Lord, don’t you see we’re perishing!” Us, too! He does see, and that’s the problem.

((1. Where is He God and Savior for you?))

There real question isn’t “where is God?” Or even “Where is Jesus God?” The real question is: “Where is Jesus God and Savior FOR YOU.” Jesus can find you anywhere, because He is everywhere, but you can’t find Him everywhere working for you. He does that only where He’s promised to be. His disciples new where to find Him. He “was asleep.” But they knew what He could do, “Lord, save us! We’re perishing!” And He does.

Jesus can find you anywhere because He’s everywhere: on a golf course, in a deer blind, on vacation. But He’s not there FOR YOU. He’s promised that here. There’s no other place in all the earth where Jesus can be found to be “FOR YOU.” The disciples knew where He was “FOR THEM” in our text. They didn’t look for Him out in the storm. They sought the Lord where He was found.

It’s a little different for us now, but we still seek the Lord where He may be found, where He’s promised to be found. Here in His Church, His boat, is where He’s present for us in His Gifts. It’s here that He keeps His promise never to leave you or forsake you. He can’t forsake you.

YOUR GOD AND SAVIOR, JESUS, IS HERE IN HIS BOAT FOR YOU.

And He’s here with you. You’re united to Him and He to you. You’re clothed with Him and His righteousness. He supports you, comforts you with His Word. “He commands His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways,” and with them and all company we evermore praise and sing as we prepare to receive His body and blood.

Jesus is here in His boat for you. Here we live the cycle of faith: being around Jesus to receive from Him and live our life from Him. With His Gifts, more precious than gold, we receive the salvation accomplished for us by death and resurrection. Here He keeps us safe and secure until we reach the peaceful harbor of “the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.”

INI + AMEN.

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