INI + AMEN.
JESUS HEALS AND EXALTS. He did for that man with dropsy. He HEALS AND EXALTS you, too. It’s why He came. It’s why He was born, was crucified, died, and was buried. It’s why He establishes His Gifts: His Baptism, His Absolution, the Supper of His body and blood. It’s why He moved all of human history so that this place would be right here, right now, so that He could exactly that—HEAL AND EXALT.
((I. Jesus does it as free gift.)
JESUS HEALS AND EXALTS as free gift. He doesn’t wait around for us to ask for it. He didn’t wait for that man with dropsy either. Jesus just “took him and healed him.” So, also you. He simply was born. He simply baptized you. He still gives and gives—no conditions with Him. There was no condition for the man with dropsy: JESUS HEALS AND EXALTS him. Jesus gives that man a place at His eternal wedding feast.
We don’t get that. Our Old Adam wants conditions. He craves them. He doesn’t do free gift from the Lord. He rejects it for his own project. And because we’ve still got him around our necks, we, too, can’t wrap our heart, soul, mind, and strength around the unconditional nature of Jesus and His healing and exalting.
Why not be for free gifts? It’s simple, and it’s why the Gospel is foolishness to the world. The Gospel is for losers, and no one’s fighting to be in that line! Jesus is for those with nothing but sins, for those who are nothing but sick, dying, selfish, and sinner. JESUS HEALS AND EXALTS people like that.
“Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” The Old Adam will use any means necessary to exalt himself against God’s free gift of healing and exalting. The Lord says be like that man with dropsy. “Yeah, I’m not going to do that,” says your flesh.
Or your flesh will say or add all sorts of conditions and qualifiers he can do. He’ll even use humility! I’ve confessed enough, sincerely enough, I’m humble enough. And suddenly your humility is used to exalt yourself as compared to others or to how you were before. “I’ll get better.” “I won’t do that sin as much.” Hasn’t stopped you before. “Well, I’m sorry I can’t be good like them.” Playing the victim, isn’t true humility.
For all such false humility of the Old Adam, for all Old Adam’s exalting, there will be no healing or exalting. The free gift can be rejected, living as if the Lord’s Sabbath, His Word and Gifts are of no real importance for being a Christian. There’s Hell not healing for that. Eternity apart from Him not exalting, giving you forever how you acted towards Him in this life.
((II. This is the true purpose of the Sabbath.))
But the true purpose of Jesus, the true purpose of the Sabbath is delivered in our text. JESUS HEALS AND EXALTS. He exalts those who are sinners, who have sins and by His gracious working claim only that. He does it by being humble in your place. He is humble to the point of death, even death upon the cross for you. He moved all of human history to do that for you. He was raised from the dead for you, too. Not only that, He really moved all of human history for you to receive it, and in he beginning He created the Sabbath day, a day for His Word, for you, too.
JESUS HEALS AND EXALTS you today. It’s free gift. He gives you a spot at His table to feed you with His body and blood. You can’t get a higher place than that! He says, “Friend, come up higher,” “take eat, take drink, my body and blood given and shed for you for the forgiveness of all your sins.” Here is healing and exalting, and the promise not only of forgiveness, but the promise of eternal healing and exalting. He will resurrect you from the dead flawless, sinless, deathless forever.
You could reject it. Reject His body and blood for you and for others. Reject the place at this table He moved all human history to give you. Reject the place at His eternal supper that this Supper of His body and blood delivers and promises. Reject Him, His Word, His Gifts. There’s a Commandment about that. And it’s a damnable sin to not cherish His Word and the Gifts of His body and blood. And doing other commandments doesn’t make up for it.
But He really did move all of human history to deliver it right here, right now. Just like He was right there, right then for the man with dropsy. What did Jesus do for him? He healed and exalted him, gave the man a place at His eternal table. So also you. JESUS HEALS AND EXALTS you. He’s here today to that. He wants you to be at His table, not just forever, but right here, right now, receiving His body and His blood that HEALS AND EXALTS you.
INI + AMEN.