Sts. Peter and Paul (Mt 16:13–19)

Photo by Stephen Radford on Unsplash

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

INI + AMEN.

Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” And that means one thing: He would “suffer many things from the elders, chief priests, and scribes, be killed, and be raised on the Third Day.” That’s what it means to be the Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One.

It’s not the work of a prophet. It’s not the work of a moral teacher. It’s not the work of just some “nice guy.” No, it’s the work of God Himself, the Son of God, to suffer, to be killed, to be raised.

Many moral teachers or prophets or nice guys have suffered. They’ve been killed. But not a single one of them was raised from the dead. That’s what sets Jesus apart. He is God, and He’s the God who suffers, dies, and rises. His suffering, dying, and rising again proves who He is: “The Christ, the Son of the Living God.”

But there’s something else that sets Jesus apart. What Jesus does isn’t an empty gesture. It’s not some example. It’s not even something for Himself. Jesus’ suffering, being killed, and being raised does something for you. It has to, it is Sts. Peter and Paul day, after all. But we’ll get back to them in just a little bit.

((2. The gates of hell can’t prevail against this.))

“The gates of hell shall not prevail against it,” Jesus says. We doubt Jesus words here. We don’t believe Him. We think that hell is prevailing, that the devil is winning. Just look at what’s happening the world, after all! We believe that Jesus’ Word and His works have no power, that they’ve done nothing, and that they’re easily conquered.

The world is hostile to Jesus, the Son of God. The world hates Him, and it’ll hate you, too, because of Him, because you’re baptized in His name, because you trust Him. We must repent of our unbelief in what Jesus says because Jesus’ church all over the world, the church Jesus gathers by the Holy Spirit, the church Jesus gathers around Word and His Gifts really is well defended.

Jesus died and rose for her, for His Church. She is saved. She is safe. She is secure. Jesus Himself makes sure of that, and not any political ruler or party or government. You are saved, safe, and secure, too. Jesus died and rose for you, and nothing—not the world, the devil, not even hell itself—will get you. You’re baptized into Jesus who died and rose for you, and so it’s all going to be ok. You’re forgiven.

Not only is the Church safe and secure, but hell isn’t at all! Jesus isn’t on defense. All the defenses of the devil and hell have been broken down! Jesus descended into hell to proclaim His resurrection victory. And now the proclamation of Jesus, who He is, what He’s done, shatters the enemy stronghold. “The gates of hell shall not prevail.” They’re knocked down flat, just like Jericho’s. Jesus’ death and resurrection and preaching that He did for you and for all—nothing can stop that at all.

((Transition.))

His suffering, dying, and rising do something. Jesus’ works aren’t an empty gesture. It’s not some example. It’s not even something for Himself. It does something for you. And the Word of Jesus’ death and resurrection is what delivers His death and resurrection right to you.

((1. The message is delivered right to you.))

This is what Sts. Peter and Paul day is all about. They delivered the message that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God. They preached what that means: that He is Savior, that He suffered, died, and rose. And they preach why He did it: to save you and the entire world.

We rejoice in the messengers of God because you can’t have a message without one. Well you could, but then no one would get the message. What good is a confession, even a good one, when no one says it, preaches it, or even tells others about it?

And so we have the Office of the Keys, given to the church, used by the pastor, in order to deliver the message of Jesus, to deliver repentance, to deliver forgiveness. Your sins are forgiven because Jesus is delivered right to you by His messengers: by Peter and Paul in the Scriptures, by baptism, by the absolution, and by the Supper.

Peter’s confession is yours, too. It’s why we confess the Nicene Creed here in Church. It’s why we confess the Apostles’ Creed at home. They not only remind us about what we believe, but they preach Jesus to those around us: “For our salvation He came down from heaven and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate.”

He’s done it for all of us! And what He did is delivered to us. In Word, in water, in forgiveness, in body and blood. And we tell others what He’s done for us. It’s not good enough that people mention Jesus but just think He’s a nice guy or a teacher of good morals or that He’s a prophet or a good example. NO! Each one of us knows who Jesus is and what to say about Him: “He’s the Christ, the Son of the Living God who’s died and risen for me! He baptized me. He’s forgiven me. He gives me His body and blood.” And all those things are for all people, especially for the people who aren’t at church today.

((Conclusion.))

Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” And that means one thing: He would “suffer many things from the elders, chief priests, and scribes, be killed, and be raised on the Third Day.” That’s what it means to be the Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One.

But what He’s done must be delivered to you, and it is! This is what Sts. Peter and Paul day is all about. They delivered the message that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God. They preached what that means: that He is Savior, that He suffered, died, and rose. And they preach why He did it: to save you and the entire world.

Who Jesus is and what He did is delivered to you and for you. Nothing will stop His Word, nothing will stop His Gifts, nothing can stop His body and blood from buidling people up in His forgiveness. Not the devil. Not the world. Repent of thinking otherwise.

Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” He’s your Christ, your Savior. You are saved. You are safe. You are secure. His Word, His Water, His forgiveness, His body and blood say so. “And the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

INI + AMEN.

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