Sermons

The Visitiation (Lk 1:39–56)

July 2, 2017
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

INI + AMEN.

GOD HIMSELF IS BODIED AND BLOODED FOR YOU. Wait. What? GOD HIMSELF IS BODIED AND BLOODED FOR YOU. That’s what the Christian faith is all about! It’s not whatever we want it to be. It’s not what we think it should be. It’s not cultural impact, governmental change. It’s not some club, not a family-only sort of thing. Not something you do to be considered a good person. It’s not just for people we like, people like us. No, none of that, but only what’s in our Gospel text:

GOD HIMSELF IS BODIED AND BLOODED FOR YOU.

And it doesn’t quite matter who that “FOR YOU” is.((I. He’s bodied.))

But Jesus is bodied. This is God’s love, that He’s flesh and blood. He’s not distant and far off. He’s not disconnected from His creation, not separated from the sinners He graciously desires to save. The Creator, out of His love, becomes the creature. He doesn’t expect us to ascend into the heavenly glories, but He descends from His glories into the human sewer.

That’s love. His love. Your body is His body. He has a body! God has a body, and not that He just showed up one day with it. No, the One who knits all together in their mothers’ wombs was Himself knit together in His mother’s womb. The Blessed Virgin Mary really is, as Elizabeth confesses, the “Mother of Yahweh.” God Himself loves the preborn because He was pre-born. We love them, too, defend them, because our Lord and God went through it FOR US. He sanctifies all stages of life (makes them holy) not just because He makes them, sustains all parts of them, but because He went through them.

When the Blessed Virgin Mary praises, “God, my Savior,” she’s praising the God who’s growing in her womb. GOD HIMSELF IS BODIED. He has a body.

((II. He’s blooded.))

The Lord’s love knows no bounds. He’s not just bodied. GOD HIMSELF IS BLOODED, too! That’s because He bears sin for you. Your sin is His sin. God has sins! Not His own, but yours. Our wanting God’s work to be about something else than saving you. The fact that we really don’t want to love and serve our neighbor. Oh, we may love them a little bit, but to inconvenience ourselves (I mean really inconvenience ourselves) isn’t something that we really do. And even if we end up doing it, we don’t really like to. That’s our sin. Putting ourselves first. We may not always act it out, but the sigh, the moan, the grumble that goes along with service shows we want to be top dog rather than loving our neighbor first, which is pleasing to God.

That’s exactly why GOD HIMSELF IS BLOODED. He’s bloodied. He goes the way of the cross. He bears the penalty that we by our sins have deserved. This is the “strength” that He “shows with His arm,” stretching out His arms, being nailed to the cross for you. This is exactly the way that He’s “God my Savior,” God your Savior, God Mary’s Savior, and God the Savior of the world.

GOD HIMSELF IS BLOODED. Dead FOR YOU.

((III. It’s FOR YOU.))

But that’s not all. GOD HIMSELF being BODIED AND BLOODED does you know good unless He does it FOR YOU, unless He delivers it to you. He bodies you to Himself. He unites you to Himself and His being blooded, He unites you to His death—His resurrection, too! He does this in Holy Baptism. That’s how it’s for you.

He helps you even more, gives you even more. He bodies and bloods you by “filling the hungry with good things,” Jesus’, God’s real body and blood “given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.” This is how the Lord Jesus helps you. He “remembers” and delivers “His mercy,” the forgiveness of sins—cross won, font and altar delivered.

This mercy, this salvation endures. “His mercy is for those who fear him,” who trust Him. Those who don’t trust Him or who walk away from Him or give Him lip service should fear His wrath. We should fear His wrath, too! His wrath over our self-love, which can ultimately, finally, and eternally deliver what we so often live for: me first, me alone; Him not at all. That’s hell: You alone, no God forever.

But the Father’s mercy endures FOR YOU. Nothing you do changes that. It endures because the Son Jesus endures “from generation to generation.” Since Jesus, since God is risen from the dead, there’s no end to the mercy—“from generation to generation,” even forever.

We’re bodied and blooded to our Lord God Jesus, who died and rose for us, but we’re also bodied and blooded together. No more love for self—can’t be! When we’re bodied and blooded to our Lord, we’re bodied and blooded to each other. How can we hold grudges, lack in forgiveness? We can’t. The source of those things is self-love, but Christ feeds us all equally from the bread that’s His real body and the chalice of His real blood giving us real forgiveness of sins which produces in us true and real love toward God and those around us.

There’s no such thing as “inconvenient” anymore. Look at Mary. She went to Judah “with haste” and stayed with Elizabeth for 3 months. She went when Elizabeth was 6 months pregnant with John the Baptizer, and Mary returned home after he was born. True and real fervent or heartfelt love from Mary toward Elizabeth.

GOD HIMSELF IS BODIED AND BLOODED FOR YOU. He’s bodied. Your body is His body. He has a body, just like you! He’s blooded, too. Bloodied! Because Your sin is His sin. God has sins! He’s crucified for them, dead for them, resurrected for them. He bodies and bloods you, too. You’re bodied to Him in Holy Baptism and bodied and blooded with Him in the Supper of His real body and blood. He bodies and bloods us together. True love, real love. Of course it’s this way! Can’t be any other way! When GOD HIMSELF IS BODIED AND BLOODED FOR YOU and to you the only result is “faith toward God and fervent love toward one another.”

INI + AMEN.

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