Judica—Lent 5 (Jn 8:42–59; Heb 9:11–15)

Photo by Mateus Campos Felipe on Unsplash

Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || VIDEO

INI + AMEN.

((5. Oops!: We have earthly problems.))

The problems we’ve got going on today in our world aren’t really our true problem. That’s not to say they aren’t problems. We’re not trying to put our heads in the sand. We don’t live in a world of make believe where we ignore the suffering and problems of this life. We don’t say that this life doesn’t matter.

No, there’s real suffering, right now. I mean there always is, but now we’re experiencing some impact from it. I’m here. You’re there. In fact, this is just a recording. It’s fine, considering the circumstances, but there’s no one here. And the computer screen pales in comparison to sitting in your pew.

But it’s not just church stuff, is it? It’s earthly stuff, too. In-person school’s canceled. Other events canceled. And even if we see people and would love to shake hands or hug, well, we can’t, we shouldn’t—social distancing. And while our community isn’t like New York or other big cities, and we pray that it won’t, we all feel the pressure.

((4. Ugh!: We have an eternal, spiritual problem.))

Now, these earthly problems are really problems, and they affect our daily lives, but they aren’t our true problem. They are symptoms of our true problem, like the pain or swelling that comes with a broken bone. There are deeper problems going on. Our Lord diagnoses them in our Gospel reading. Our true problems have names, and it’s not coronavirus. Our true problem is the devil. Our true problem is sin. And the result of that sin is death, and the result of the devil’s work is also death.

Jesus said, “The devil was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in Him…He is a liar and the father of lies.” The devil worked to bring death where the Lord created life. He brought lies where the Lord gave His Word of truth. He tempted Adam and Eve to eat what the Lord had given for not eating. He turned their ears to his word and preaching and away from God’s Word and preaching.

Turning from God’s Word to the devil’s lies is sin. Rebelling against God to become like God is sin. To be God in God’s place is sin. To join the devil’s side is sin. Sin which leads to physical death, and eternal death. Turning away from God and His Word brought death, as God had warned. Now death is a reality. Something the Lord did not create us to do. Now it is the wages for our sin. The consequence of humanity’s rebellion against our creator.

The devil’s at work still today. His handiwork is easy to spot. He can use fruit and lie to kill Adam, to draw Him away from His Word. Today he’s doing the same thing. Coronavirus has his fingerprints all over it. A disease where the only way to slow it down is to spread out, not meet together. As necessary as that is to love our neighbor, the devil would draw us into despair over what’s going on, or once we are able to meet again he’ll use the newly formed habit of not meeting into keep us away from Jesus’ Word and Gifts. He’ll also use the time apart, no offerings, to bankrupt the preaching of the Gospel and delivering of the sacraments so that they’re silenced.

((3. Aha!: But Jesus is I AM, the HP of the good things to come.))

These are our true enemies, our true problem. Not coronavirus, not death, not economic trouble. They’re just symptoms. The handiwork of the devil to draw us away from Christ, to work ruin among us, that we despair of God’s love and help for us, that we wander away and stay away from God’s Word and Gifts. To keep ears plugged to the Truth and to keep mouths shut, not receiving the medicine of eternal life, Jesus’ body and blood—that’s the devil’s game.

Sound hopeless? It would be, if it weren’t for Jesus Christ, your Savior. Jesus isn’t a nice teacher, a good moral guide, an example of love and acceptance. He’s the Lord God Himself, come in the flesh to put a stop to the devil’s shenanigans. Jesus is I AM, the eternal God. He is “the High Priest of the good things to come.” The One who created the universe, is Lord of the universe, Lord over the devil, too, and that Lord is on your side.

((2. Whee!: JESUS SECURES ETERNAL REDEMPTION FOR YOU.))

Yes, Jesus, the I AM, is your I AM. He works salvation for you, but not just any salvation, not just any redemption. JESUS SECURES ETERNAL REDEMPTION FOR YOU. He buys you back from sin. He rescues you from the devil’s kingdom. He saves you from death. His eternal redemption means there’s an eternal inheritance—eternal life—with Him, instead of hell.

JESUS SECURES ETERNAL REDEMPTION FOR YOU. He came to offer His life for you. His blood cleanses you before God His Father. Jesus washes you in that blood at Holy Baptism. He puts the “It is finished” of Good Friday into your ears through the Word of Forgiveness, whether that’s through a pastor’s absolution or through your receiving forgiveness from one another in Jesus’ name. He feeds us His redemption, His body and blood, which cleanses us before God, forgiveness of sins.

His body on the cross, His empty tomb, His font, His preaching, His Scripture, His forgiveness, His body and blood in the Supper all tell you the same thing: JESUS SECURES ETERNAL REDEMPTION FOR YOU. And this Jesus is the I AM, the eternal God, your Savior. He’s taught us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” Look at His salvation—daily bread is easy!

((1. He delivers eternal life though His Word.))

“If anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.” Jesus promises in our Gospel reading. Those who cherish, cling to, hold on to, trust His Word will live forever, will rise from the dead. They won’t see death. They’ll see Him, face to face, the High Priest of the good things to come.

That’s our comfort. No one can take away the promises Jesus makes to you. He’ll care for you up until the grave, and then, one Day, He’ll take you out of your grave! He has to. That’s the sort of redemption, salvation, He has for you—eternal, everlasting, nothing can take it away. Not the devil. Not sin. Not death. Not a virus. Nothing.

You’ll rise from the dead. He will care for you in the meantime. How could He not care for your body? JESUS SECURES ETERNAL REDEMPTION FOR YOU. The problems we have, of sin, of the devil, of death do not define us. They can’t end us. They can’t end what’s really true: Jesus died for you, Jesus rose from the dead for you, never to die again, and through His Word He delivers that redemption to you, over your forehead, into your ears, into your mouth—His forgiveness, His blood for you.

INI + AMEN.

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