Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
What does [the Seventh Petition] mean? We pray in this petition, in summary, that our Father in heaven would rescue us from every evil of body and soul, possessions and reputation, and finally, when our last hour comes, give us a blessed end, and graciously take us from this valley of sorrow to Himself in heaven.
INI + AMEN.
There’s evil afoot in our reading tonight. Great evil! Evil against the Creator of everything “good” and “very good.” Jesus never did anything evil and always did good. Now, He suffers all sorts of evil, unimaginable evil. He doesn’t just suffer bodily—beating, crucifixion, an so on. No, He suffers under the weight your sins, my sins, the sins of the entire world, too!
Jesus taught us to pray the Word of this Petition. Through Him we’re “commanded to pray in this way.” He probably prayed it, too. Not only because why teach something you don’t do yourself? But also what does He pray twice in the Garden of Gethsemane? He prays “Thy will be done.”
((A. Jesus’ prayer goes unanswered.))
But here’s the thing about Jesus’ prayer. It goes unanswered! The Son receives the evil of the Romans, His own people, the religious leaders. He suffers God’s wrath over sin. He suffers the Law’s condemnation. He receives the evil of your own sin. Yes, He claims all of it as His own. But still: Jesus prayer goes unanswered.
((B. Jesus suffers all sorts of evil.))
Jesus was hardly delivered from evil. He wasn’t rescued “from every evil of body and soul, possessions and reputation.”
He received evil in His body. He was beaten. He was crucified. He was given “wine mixed with gaul” to drink. He received evil in soul. He was abandoned by His Father: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
He received evil in his possessions, too. What possessions? He had none. During His ministry, He didn’t even have a place to lay His head. He really just had the clothes on His back, but now, even those were taken from Him. “They divided His garments by casting lots.”
Reputation? Completely thrown under the bus. That’s a big chunk of what we hear about when Jesus was crucified. Just listen again:
39 Those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads 40 and saying, “You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.”
41 Likewise the chief priests also, mocking with the scribes and elders, said, 42 “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him. 43 He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him; for He said, “I am the Son of God.’ ”
44 Even the robbers who were crucified with Him reviled Him with the same thing.
Besides all that, did Jesus receive a blessèd end? That’s also part of this Petition: “We pray in this petition…that our Father in heaven would, when our last hour comes, give us a blessed end.” Was that Jesus’ end? Is that what He received? Not for Himself, but for you it was. It’s called “Good Friday,” after all. His end is your blessedness, your salvation. Or, to use the language of this Petition, His end is your deliverance.
Yes, Jesus’ didn’t receive an answer to His prayer. Yes, Jesus received all sorts of evil. But that’s what Lent, Good Friday, and this 7th Petition are actually all about.
JESUS RECEIVES EVIL SO THAT YOU WOULD RECEIVE HIS DELIVERANCE.
((B’. We receive all sorts of Jesus’ deliverance.))
Jesus’ non-deliverance, JESUS receiving EVIL is your deliverance. It really is! And YOU RECEIVE that DELIVERANCE. Again and again, Jesus delivers His deliverance, His salvation and forgiveness to you. He just won’t stop doing it. He can’t stop doing it! He’d have to be dead to stop delivering it. And that can’t happen. Not ever again! He died and rose.
Now you receive that death and resurrection. That’s His deliverance for you. He dies and rises you. He enlivens you. That’s all His deliverance. Over and over and over again. Washed over you through Baptism. Put into your ears through Peaching. Planted into your mind through His Word. Placed into your heart through His Absolution. Fed into your strength through His crucified and raised body and blood.
Jesus has a deliverance for your heart, soul, mind, and strength. He received all the evil to do it. Yes, JESUS RECEIVES EVIL. YOU RECEIVE HIS DELIVERANCE. And His deliverance is yours no matter what happens in this life. No matter what evil might befall you in this life: physical, spiritual, mental—doesn’t matter! Your Baptism into Jesus remains. His forgiveness is the truest thing ever spoken about you. His body and blood are yours! You’ve eaten and drunk, so they have to be yours. Can’t take any of that from you no matter what!
((A’. Our prayer is never unanswered.))
So, now that you’re delivered, saved by Jesus, and now that you’ve received His deliverance, your prayer to your heavenly Father is never unanswered. Your heavenly Father “tenderly invites” you to pray “deliver us from evil.” He hears that prayer. He can’t not! You’re baptized, washed in Jesus’ cross-and-empty-tomb deliverance. It really is yours. No matter what happens!
In the Litany tonight, we’re going to pray “good Lord deliver us” from “sudden and evil death.” Another way of praying “deliver us from evil.” But this evil death isn’t what we define as evil. Because our end, no matter how it happens in this life, is always blessed. That’s becasue JESUS RECEIVES EVIL, and you RECEIVE HIS DELIVERANCE. And so your death is always a deliverance, is always blessed. Because an evil death is one where you die without Jesus, without trusting Him.
Why would that be your end? Can’t be! Not in Jesus. He bore the evil end for you. His deliverance is yours. So, pray for it! You’re heavenly Father gives it and will continue to give it. Your death, no matter what, is but the doorway to eternal life with your Father, your Jesus. The Spirit, Jesus, and your Father make sure of that in Jesus. In fact, no matter how or when you die, your Father is answering this petition. He can’t not answer our 7th Petition. We’re His baptized children!
JESUS RECEIVES EVIL. He really does. “Evil of body and soul, possessions and reputation.” His “last hour” came, and it looked like an evil not blessed end. It was evil for Him, but not for you. His end was your blessing, your salvation, your deliverance.
Of course, it was! JESUS RECEIVES EVIL SO THAT YOU WOULD RECEIVE HIS DELIVERANCE. You do! Font, Word, Pulpit, Forgiveness, Body and Blood. Again and again, Jesus delivers right to you His deliverance. And baptized into Jesus, because of Jesus, your heavenly Father hears and answers this Petition to your benefit. No matter when or how your “last our comes” you will receive a “blessed end.” All because of Jesus.
What does this mean? We pray in this petition, in summary, that our Father in heaven would rescue us from every evil of body and soul, possessions and reputation, and finally, when our last hour comes, give us a blessed end, and graciously take us from this valley of sorrow to Himself in heaven.
He does deliver you, save you. He’ll take you to Himself. He loves you Jesus much, after all. In fact, JESUS RECEIVED EVIL SO THAT YOU WOULD RECEIVE HIS DELIVERANCE, and you have.
INI + AMEN.