Feb 24, Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
Mar 3, Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
᛭ INI ᛭
The Apostles’ Creed confesses who God is. So do the Nicene and Athanasian Creeds. Not just any God, though, but the God we’re told about in the Bible. There is no other God than the One who reveals Himself from Genesis 1 through Revelation 21.
The Creed confesses God the Father. But not because a god is supposed to be a father. Like being called “father” is part of being a god. God the Father is no Oden or Zeus or Jupiter or whatever other god is called “father.” God is Father because He’s the eternal Father of His Son. We confess God the Father of Jesus.
The Creed gives us the right words to confess who Jesus is. The eternal Son of the Father. He is one with His Father in an ineffable, unknowable way. It’s confessable—the Scriptures reveal it—but it’s not comprehensible. Eternally one with His Father, but Jesus is not His Father.
Finally, we confess the Holy Spirit. He proceeds from the Father and the Son. He is the bond, the unity, the communion of their eternal love for one another. The Spirit is not the Father, nor is He the Son, but yet He is one eternal God with the other persons of the Holy Trinity.
One God, three Persons—that’s what God tells us about Himself in the Bible, and so that’s what the Creed says about Him, too, boiling down all the Scriptures into three short, simple Articles.
((2. The 1st Article and what we do with it.))
Tonight we’re looking at the 1st Article. The 1st Article has to do with Creation. The Creed simplifies doctrine of Creation by tying it to the God the Father alone, but the Son and the Spirit are also involved in Creation. We just sang that God the Father “laid the One into the grave, Who built the earth’s foundation.” That’s Jesus. “By the Word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the Spirit of His mouth all their host.”
The 1st Article isn’t just about Creation in the beginning, though. The 1st Article’s cousin in the Catechism is the 4th Petition. So, the 1st Article isn’t just about creating everything. It’s also about preserving everything. It’s about giving “everything we need to support this body and life.” God creates, God preserves, God gives, and we live!
The 1st Article is all around us! We sort of just take it all for granted. We don’t notice it. (So much for “for all this it is my duty to thank and praise, serve and obey Him.”) We also miss it in our text! There are so many gifts of the 1st Article everywhere in Luke 22! (And this is one of the benefits of pairing a Chief Part of the Catechism with the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ!)
“The Day of Unleavened Bread drew near.” No day without Day one of the universe. No bread without the second half of day three and also day four. No leaven, yeast, without day three either. Same with grapes and the wine that comes from them! (Wine is what Jesus means by “fruit of the vine.”) No mount of olives without the first part of day three when dry land was formed.
But also “house, home, body, soul, eyes, ears, all my members, everything for body and life.” “Go into the house, and you’ll be shown a furnished upper room.” They were at a “table” with “cups” and “bread” and whatever else they needed. Jesus healed the servant’s ear. Not to mention that the disciple’s never lacked in their ministry. And Jesus Himself gave thanks and prayed and obeyed His Father’s will. “Thank, praise, serve, obey.”
But there’s another darker part of the text when it comes to the 1st Article. It’s not just what God the Father, through God the Son, in the unity of God the Holy Spirit, does in the 1st Article. No, it’s not just the 1st Article. It’s what we do with God’s creation, and what we do to chase after more of it. Definitely not what the Father wills for you to do with His Creation.
Judas is the picture of that. Judas loved money more than His Lord. Judas set his hand, the hand Jesus created, to take those 30 pieces of silver. The mouth created to “praise and give thanks” was used to betray his Teacher, his Lord, his God a with a kiss. Jesus now now the hands of men, who set their “hearts, souls, minds, and strengths” on destroying their Creator. Just for 30 pieces of silver, bargain price of a slave. Still more valuable than your price. Your bills, banks accounts, and schedules betray you and your true priorities.
Don’t be afraid. Don’t worry. No need to defend yourself. No need to pull a Peter and strike out with a sword. (This servant of High Priest Jesus likes his ears.) There’s no need to fight over who’s better, who’s stronger, who’s more faithful. Do what Judas never did: “repent and believe the Gospel,” as Jesus preached in Mark 1. No excuses. Confess. You’ll be forgiven. Confess not to be forgiven, to earn it. Confess because forgiving is who the Lord is. It’s what He does!
He forgives you because He’s redeemed, bought you back from sin. Paid for your sins. That’s redemption. Redemption is what the 2nd Article is all about, but the 1st Article actually serves the 2nd Article. We may misuse the gifts of the 1st Article, but Jesus uses those 1st Article gifts for our redemption, our salvation.
((1. The 1st Article serves our redemption.))
Now, how does the 1st Article serve our redemption? In a big way, because the the eternal Son of God took on a body! We heard that in the antiphon for our Psalm: “A body you have prepared for Me.” The Son of God became “incarnate,” enfleshed, took on a human nature. “The Word,” the Son of God, “became flesh and dwelt among us.” Or as we confess in the Nicene Creed, “incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary and was made man.”
Jesus, the incarnate Son, “sweat drops of blood,” in His body, for you. His blood redeems you. (You need a body to have blood.) Jesus was bound for you, beaten for you. “He bears the stripes, the wounds, the lies, The mockery” for you. “crucified, died, and was buried” for you. (“If I make My bed in Sheol, You are there.”) He used His body to serve and to save. He didn’t set His “heart, soul, mind, or strength”—His feelings, His faith, His knowledge, His action—to serve His own interests. But rather to save you. He used His body to fulfill, to do, to accomplish His Father’s Will.
The Father’s will is that His Son saves you, redeems you. “Go forth, My Son,” the Father said, “And Free My children from their dread Of guilt and condemnation. The wrath and stripes are hard to bear, But by Your passion they will share The fruit of your salvation.” “Yes, Father, yes, most willingly I’ll bear what You command Me. My will conforms to Your decree, I’ll do what You have asked Me.” ”You knit me together in my mother’s womb.” “On You was I cast from My birth, and from My mother’s womb You have been My God.” (Ps 22) Incarnate for you. “Not My will, but Thy will be done.” In Gethsemane for you.
Creation doesn’t just serve our redemption in the Son of God becoming incarnate according to His Father’s will. Creation now serves the delivery of redemption, too! He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new [testament] in My blood, which is shed for you.” “Let there be light, and there was light.” “This bread is My body, this wine is My blood, given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.”
The Creed summarizes our Christian Faith, summarizes what the Triune God tells us about Himself in the Bible. He creates us, and created everything for us. He preserves us, cares for us, with the Creation that He Himself sustains for that very reason.
We misuse His Creation. We want created things more than our Creator. Our bills, bank accounts, and schedules betray us. But not Jesus. He is the eternal Son of God. He became incarnate, became man, to save us. He redeems us. That’s what He does. Just what His Father wants Him to do. Whatever the Father wills, that’s what the incarnate Son does.
THE INCARNATE SON ACCOMPLISHES HIS FATHER’S WILL: YOUR REDEMPTION.
In His body He does. Son of God is now forever Creator and Creature. “Agony, bloody sweat, cross, passion, precious death and burial.” Body raised, too. Body come back to life. (Yours will, too.) That’s the promise of Redemption. The redemption that the incarnate Son accomplished according to His Father’s will.
He delivers it, too. Creation serves redemption. Water and Words make your Baptism a life-giving water. The High Priest’s Words through a sinful servant make for your Absolution. His Words through you make for other’s forgiveness, too. And as He said tonight in our reading only, “This bread is My body, this wine is My blood, given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.” Another high point where creation serves redemption.
Just as the Father wants it. Just so Jesus did it. THE INCARNATE SON ACCOMPLISHES HIS FATHER’S WILL: YOUR REDEMPTION.
᛭ INI ᛭