Sermons

Trinity 21 (Jn 4:46–54)

Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

INI + AMEN.

JESUS’ WORD GIVES LIFE. What sort of life? Undending sort of life. Eternal, everlasting life. That’s what Jesus’ Word did for the ruler’s dying son. Jesus doesn’t just turn water into wine, but He and His Word make the sick well, the dead alive, the dying live.

Not just in Cana, here, too. JESUS’ WORD GIVES LIFE. Life to you. Unending life. Eternal, everlasting life. A life given that endures past sickness, death, and grave. The same thing Jesus’ Word did in Cana, it does here for you.

((I. That’s good, because we’re dying.))

That’s good becasue we’re dying. We can’t control it, can’t rule over it. We don’t like to think about the fact that we’re going to die. We certainly don’t live like we’re going to die. We ignore it. We think there’s always more time. We live as if we’re never going to die, like we’re going to live forever.

Living like there’s no tomorrow, living like this is the only life we get is how we fight our fear of death. That means the things gifted to us by God, gifted to us that they would be a gift for those around us through us, those things that we should rule over only “as stewards of God’s varied graciousness”, well, they instead rule us. Things, control, influence drive not only how we treat others, but how we “fear, love, and trust in God.” And it’s certainly not “above all things.” But these things have no lasting life. Oh, it looks like they do, but they don’t. Our flesh is dead while it lives!

The ruler couldn’t control it either. He had life, but his son’s life was waisting away. He needed a different sort of life. A life that his rank, power, and position couldn’t give him. All the riches of his livlihood couldn’t give life to his son. He needed a different sort of life. An unending, everlasting sort of life. A life that endured past sickness, death, and grave. A life he couldn’t buy or supply.

((II. The dying, dead, nobodies are the sorts of people Jesus gives life to.))

Things for that ruler and his son were just the way Jesus wanted them. You see, the Gentile ruler and His dying son are exactly the sort of people, the only sort of people Jesus comes to give life to. When you’ve got nothing going for you, then you’ve got Jesus going for you, and that’s everything. When you’ve got sins, then you’ve got Jesus living perfectly for you, dying for your not, rising to make you right with the Father. When you’ve got death and dying going on in your life, Jesus comes with His life, His resurrection. When you’ve got worry, sadness, pain, then Jesus comes with the peace, comfort, and the consoling message of all that He’s done for you because He loves you.

Jesus even dies and rises for your wanting “signs and wonders” beyond Him crucified and raised, beyond His death-and-resurrection promises. We want miracles in our lives like back then. We want some sort of wisdom and knowledge that will get our act together. (Really, a wisdom that will help us get other people’s lives together for them. That’s just self-righteous, holier-than-thou, churchy finger wagging.) Then we can have a project to take our mind off the fact we’re dying and dead-man-walking. Sadly, we’re no better than the Jews of Jesus’ day. “Jews seek signs. Gentiles seek wisdom. But we preach Christ and Him crucified,” as Paul says.

But when you’re sick, dying, dead, when you’re nothing, no body, when you’ve got nothing (nothing but pain, worry, sickness, sins), then you’ve got no illusions about having anything or anyone else. You know you’re in a no way out situation, a no-win scenario, and then you’re just the sort of person Jesus wants to give life to. Unending life. Eternal, everlasting life. Life given in spite of your sins and screw ups. A life that endures past sickness, death, and grave.

And that’s exactly what Jesus does. Jesus gives life and so JESUS’ WORD GIVES LIFE. Not in Judea, but Galilee. Not in Cana, but Bremen. The Lord isn’t off somewhere. Off in some holier place, even off in heaven far away. He’s a here-and-now Lord, and so He delivers His Word of life in your here and now. JESUS’ WORD GIVES LIFE at the Font. There water delivered the Word of your dying and rising to eternal life because the water and Word put you into Jesus’ dying and rising for you. JESUS’ WORD GIVES LIFE in the Absolution. JESUS’ WORD GIVES LIFE in the preaching and the Word, and so we “do not despise preaching and His Word” because it gives life. JESUS’ WORD GIVES LIFE at the Altar: “My body and blood for you to eat and drink for the forgiveness of your sins.” “And it [is] so.” (Gen 1)

((Conclusion.))

JESUS’ WORD GIVES LIFE. What sort of life? Undending sort of life. Eternal, everlasting life. That’s what Jesus’ Word did for the ruler’s dying son. Jesus doesn’t just turn water into wine, but He and His Word make the sick well, the dead alive, the dying live.

Not just in Cana, here, too. JESUS’ WORD GIVES LIFE. Life to you. Unending life. Eternal, everlasting life. A life given that endures past your sickness, your death, and your grave. The same thing Jesus’ Word did in Cana, it does for you.

Word with Water at Baptism. Word through Pastor at Absolution. Word with bread and wine at the Supper. These all give life to you. The eternal, everlasting, unending sort of life that Jesus came to purchase for you and deliver here and now to you. Water-flowing-from-His-pierced-side sort of life. “The Words of eternal life.” Body-and-blood-for-you life. All of it so you have get-up-out-of-your-casket sort of life.

Jesus gives His life, gives life, and so JESUS’ WORD GIVES LIFE to you forever.

INI + AMEN.

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