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Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || VIDEO
INI + AMEN.
The Lord Jesus comes, and He’s got a message. While He’s on earth, He preaches it. He’s His own messenger. But then He dies, rises, and ascends. His message still needs a messenger. His message always has a messenger, a preacher. That’s the way the Lord set’s it up. It’s not only the way things work in the Church. It works that way in our daily lives, too.
A message has a sender, a receiver, and a deliverer (messenger). It’s why we’ve got the USPS and postal workers. It’s not just snail mail either—email and text messages, too! A digital message gets a digital messenger. The email you get passes through a server. Same with text messages. There’s a tower and a server to pass that message from one phone to another.
Message, messenger, sender, receiver. A confession has a confessor. A message has a preacher. Today we’re given to consider the message the Lord Jesus is sending, the messengers He uses to deliver that message, and the people He’s sending that message to.
((3. The message is the Word of the Cross.))
The message is God’s Word. But not just any Word of God. The family trees in throughout the Bible are God’s Word. Paul lets us know. The message is “the Word of the Cross.” (In fact, the family trees are all about that, too!)
The Word of the Cross is the power of God to salvation for all who believe. The Word of the Cross is the preaching of the Gospel, that Jesus was crucified and raised for you. That’s what Jesus preaches, too! He preaches the need for a Savior, that He’s that Savior, and that He would do His saving by being crucified and raised on the Third Day.
The Word or Message of the cross is the preaching of the cross. Jesus died and rose—for you, for all. “Lamb of God who take away the sin of the world.” This message delivers the cross, into the ears, hearts, souls, minds, and strengths of those who hear and believe. The message of the cross is the hook that the Apostles use to catch men, to draw them to Jesus their Savior.
The message of the cross saves them. It’s foolish, but that word of the cross is the power of God. The cross is the power of God, the salvation of God. “The weakness of God is stronger than men. The foolishness of God is wiser than men.” The death of God is more life-giving than men.
The Gospel, that you are made right with God solely based on what Jesus has done for you, saves you. “The Gospel is the power of God to salvation for all who believe,” as Paul says in Romans. It’s foolish to human thinking, but it’s God’s way of doing things. “Yahweh” wasn’t in “the wind or the earthquake or the fire,” but “the small whispering voice.” “For it pleased God to save those who believe through the foolishness of preaching.” That preaching delivers the benefits of Jesus’ cross to you, the cross where Jesus shed His blood and died for you.
((2. The messengers are the preachers of the Gospel.))
Jesus’ message needs messengers. “It pleased God through the foolishness of preaching to save those who believe,” St. Paul says, and he also says in Romans, “How are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent?” Jesus works that all out, too.
Our readings are full of preachers of the Word of the cross. The Lord always them, even when He was just the promised Savior. It was preached before hand by the prophets, by the likes of Elijah and Elisha. It was preached by Peter and Andrew, and James and John, the rest of the 12 Apostles, and by Paul, too. On down the line: preachers of Jesus who were of Israelite or Jewish descent, of Greek, German, or even American descent!
Throughout time the Lord sends out His messengers, his preachers, to hook people, to draw them to His cross and passion by the message of His cross, which He underwent for them. For you. Jesus sent His messengers throughout time so that you could hear it today. From that first call of the twelve on down to my call today, the Lord Jesus is choosing His messengers, not because they’re all that, but because He would use them as His messengers, His mouth-pieces, His delivery men.
He does all that calling and sending, just the way He did it, so that you, right now, today, would be hearing of His cross for you, that you would be baptized into that cross and empty tomb, that you would eat and drink of the fruits of His cross, His body and blood for you for the forgiveness of your sins. Just like He showed up that particular day in Galilee in Peter’s boat, just like He sent Elijah that particular day to Elisha’s house.
((1. The receivers are those who are being saved—believers.))
And you’re on the receiving end of Jesus’ cross. That’s the whole bit! You who are being saving. He’s saving you, right here, right now today—delivering it! And we who trust Jesus, rejoice in what He does to save us. Rejoice that He is died and risen FOR YOU. Rejoice that He calls preachers FOR YOU. Rejoice that in His saving and sending He’s making sure YOU—yes, even, you—are being saved from your sins by Him, through the Word of His cross—the Word and Gifts that deliver His cross, and the ministers He’s chosen and sent so that you would receive it and believe it.
You don’t want to reject that now, do you? How quickly we would turn away from the Lord’s doing that for us. Sure the Lord saves—Him and you. Why the middle man? He, too, gift from the Lord. The cross point, the Jesus point, that Jesus Himself set up. Hazael, Jehu, and Elisha needed their Elijah. That’s all the Lord’s way and doing. His delivery system to save you.
And you’re not outside the Lord’s doing either. The traditional epistle from 1 Peter 3 bears that out for you. “In your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.” Prepared by the Word of the Cross, filled to the brim with that—heart, soul, mind, and strength—that’s you. Font, Bible, Absolution, Preaching, Body and Blood, Forgiveness of sins. Those prepare you, and they are your hope, too! They deliver Jesus’ cross to you. Jesus’ cross is your salvation.
A message has a sender, a receiver, and a deliverer (messenger). It’s the Lord’s way for you. THE LORD JESUS SAVES YOU THROUGH THE WORD OF HIS CROSS. Jesus saves you through His cross, and He also saves you through the Word of the cross, because that Word delivers His cross to you.
You are saved, justified “when [you] believe that [you] are received into favor and that [your] sins are forgiven for Christ’s sake. By His death, Christ made satisfaction for our sins. God counts this faith for righteousness in His sight.” (Augsburg Confession IV). “So that we may obtain this faith, the ministry of teaching the Gospel and administering the Sacraments was instituted. Through the Word and Sacraments, as through instruments, the Holy Spirit is given. He works faith, when and where it pleases God, in those who hear the good news that God justifies those who believe that they are received into [favor] for Christ’s sake.” (Augsburg Confession V)
The Lord uses you, too, in your vocation. “Prepared,” saved—that’s you through the Word of the Cross. And the catch depends on the Lord. Big or little—it’s Him casting the net, casting the hook. The hook is His cross. There He saved you. But even today, right here, right now, THE LORD JESUS SAVES YOU THROUGH THE WORD OF HIS CROSS.
INI + AMEN.