INI + AMEN.
The Lord gives His Word. He speaks. His Word isn’t off somewhere, in some unknown place, so that you’re left wondering where He is, where His Word is. If He gives His Word, He wants it received, wants it heard, and so He puts His Word somewhere.
((3. The Lord put His Word somewhere.))
His Word was in Eden. Yahweh said, “You may continually eat from every tree in the Garden.” Every tree, even the Tree of Life! That tree gave life. Yahweh Himself called it the Tree of life, and through His Word and Name it gave life to everyone who ate. Besides that, the Lord also put another Word on that tree: “You may continually eat from every tree in the Garden.”
The Lord had another Word though, “But you will not eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, for on the day you eat from it you will surely die.” Yes, the Lord’s name was true: “Knowledge of Good and Evil” delivered, but the Lord’s Word was also true: “You will surely die.” Not, “Drop dead,” but you’ll be given a daily dying, a growing old, a life that is always moving towards a grave and coffin, just as the Lord said.
The Lord put His Word on His Son, too. “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” He came to “save His people from their sins.” He came “to fulfill all righteousness,” to take on the sins of sinners, and give them His own righteousness. So, He went to the Jordan to be baptized by John. Then Father put His Word on His Son: “This is My beloved Son, with Him I’m very pleased.”
((2. The devil wants to take the Lord’s Word away.))
The devil’s plan is simple. Take the Lord’s Word away. That’s what He did in Eden. The Lord had put His Word on that tree: “You shall not eat,” and the devil tempted Eve to remove the Lord’s Word from the Tree. The devil took the Lord’s Word off the tree and put his own word on it: “You won’t surely die.” Eve followed suit. She took the Lord’s Word off the tree, and she and Adam both ate. The Lord’s Word remained, though: They got “Knowledge of Good and Evil,” but they also got lifetime of pain and death.
The devil’s plan doesn’t change with Jesus. He tempts Jesus. He wants Him to doubt the Word the Father had put on Him. The Father had openly said, “This is My beloved Son,” and so the devil says, “If you are the Son of God,” prove it by “turning these stones into bread.” He did it again: “If you are the Son of God,” let God prove it by saving you when you jump off the Temple.
The devil does all this with Jesus not just to get Him to doubt if He’s the Father’s Son, but he wants to take the Word off the Tree again. His first plan, His first tactic is to keep Jesus, the Word, off the Tree of the Cross. “‘Just worship me, and I’ll give you the entire world.’ You don’t need to die to do that.” Take the Word off the Tree and mankind dies. Keep the Word off the Tree, Jesus off the cross, and mankind will perish.
((1. The Lord puts His Word somewhere.))
But the Lord’s Word remains. Just like on the Tree of Knowledge, so also the Father’s Word to His Son. Jesus is the beloved Son. Jesus makes it through the devil’s temptation and goes to the cross. Adam and Eve and you and me fail—daily and much. In our daily life, we’re tempted. The devil always tempts the same way: take the Lord’s Word away from where He puts it. And so the Word shed His blood for you, died for you, endured even more temptation for you on the Tree. No matter how many times He was tempted to “come down,” He didn’t. The Word stayed on the Tree for you.
And now, any sort of unlove for your neighbor, is removing the Lord’s Word. The Lord gives you your neighbor and says, “Love them. Serve them. Care for them. Forgive them.” The devil tempts us to take love, kindness, and forgiveness off our neighbor, and put his own word of anger, resentment, and unforgiveness on them. Something we do daily and much.
And where the Lord puts life, the devil wants you to fast. Where the Lord puts curse and death, the devil drives you to devour. The Lord says, “This is My body and Blood for you for the forgiveness of sins.” The Lord wants you to receive that, and the devil tempts you not to. The Lord says, “I forgive you,” but the devil doesn’t want you to hear it. The Lord wants “all nations” baptized but the devil doesn’t.
If the Lord’s Word is, “Take, eat; take, drink,” then whose word is followed whenever you don’t? Does the Lord want you to receive absolution or not? Who’s trying to have parents delay baptism for their children? Who tricks us into not receiving the Word? The devil is continually trying to remove the Lord’s Word from where He put it. The Lord’s promised life and salvation in His Word, but the devil wants you to have death and damnation. So, the only way to do that is to try to remove the Word from where the Lord put it, remove you from where He put it.
But the Lord’s Word endures. You are a beloved son and daughter in Holy Baptism. We can walk away. Deny it by how we live toward God and those around us, and that ends in death. But the Lord’s promise remains. You can always go to the bank on it. His Word remains “for you.” It is for you. “Body and blood for you for your forgiveness.” You could, of course, not “eat and drink.” You could use your “freedom” that way. But is it freedom? Were Adam and Eve free while they followed Yahweh’s Word or after they rejected His Word?
The Lord gives His Word. He puts it somewhere. He put in Eden. He put it on the Tree. The devil didn’t want that. He doesn’t want the Lord’s Word on the Tree. Adam and Eve follow suit. We follow suit too whenever we remove the Lord’s Word from where He puts it: on our neighbor and on His Gifts.
But His Word endures. It endured temptation: Jesus, the Word, did. He stayed on the Tree for you. And He puts His Word somewhere for you, too. That’s what today’s all about.
THE LORD ALWAYS PUTS HIS WORD SOMEWHERE FOR YOU.
It’s here. Here for you. The devil and his demons don’t like it, but “the Word they still shall let remain.” It’s the Lord’s Word not theirs. The devil just tries to swap it out. The Lord says, “Don’t eat,” the devil says, “Eat.” The Lord says, “Eat,” and the devil says, “Don’t.”
But the Lord’s Word is always here, and He’s put it here for you. He wants you to receive. “Eat and drink,” He says. “This is My Body, given for you; This is My blood, shed for you for the forgiveness of your sins.”
INI + AMEN.