Mar 10, Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
Mar 17, 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, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—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.
Tonight, “we get to know the second person of the Godhead, and we see what we have from God over and above the temporal goods mentioned [in the first article], namely, how he has given himself completely to us, withholding nothing. [Now,][the 2nd] article is very rich and far-reaching, but in order to treat it briefly…we shall take up one phrase and in it grasp the substance of the article so that everyone may learn from it, as we [just] said [in the Small Catechism], how we are redeemed. We[’re going to] concentrate on these words, ‘in Jesus Christ, our LORD.’” (LC II §26)
((2. What does it mean that Jesus Christ is Lord?))
Talking about this is very important, not only for the sake of what we believe, but it’s actually at the heart of our reading tonight. Jesus is falsely accused of many things, but the charge that stuck was the truth. He was called “Christ,” “Son of God,” even “King of the Jews.” He was mocked as a prophet: “Prophesy! Who struck you?” They “blasphemed” Jesus in many ways. (Things so horrible, Luke didn’t even record them!) “Blasphemed” means the religious leaders mocked God as God to His face. That Jesus is Christ, is God, is Prophet, is King, is all summarized in the phrase “I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord.”
So, what does it mean that Jesus is Lord? Or that He has become and is my Lord? That’s what we just said from the Small Catechism. “It means that he has redeemed and released me from sin, from the devil, from death, and from misfortune. Before this I had no lord or king, but was captive under the power of the devil. I was condemned to death and entangled in sin and blindness.” (LC II § 27)
“For when we were created by God the Father and had received from him all kinds of good things, the devil came and led us into disobedience, sin, death, and all [evil]. As a result, we lay under God’s wrath and displeasure, sentenced to eternal damnation, as we had merited it and deserved it. There was no counsel, no help, no comfort for us until this only and eternal Son of God, in his unfathomable goodness, had mercy on us because of our misery and distress and came from heaven to help us. Those tyrants and jailers have now been routed, and their place has been taken by Jesus Christ, the Lord of life, righteousness, and every good and blessing. He has snatched us, poor lost creatures from the jaws of hell, won us, made us free, and restored to us the Father’s favor and grace. As his own possession he has taken us under his protection and shelter, in order that he may rule us by his righteousness, wisdom, power, life, and blessedness.” (LC II § 28–30)
((1. What does it mean that Jesus redeems?))
Lord means Savior, but what does this redemption entail? What’s it all about? What does this mean for you? That’s laid out clearly in our text.
Jesus had no reason in Himself to die. Pilate said it four times, in slightly different ways: “I find nothing in this man that is worthy of death.” And truth be told, neither did the Sanhedrin. So many false witnesses. Nothing. Nothing except Jesus’ own claim, which His works, His miracles, His signs, proved: He was the Christ, the Son of God.
Yes, Jesus had nothing in Himself, in His own person, that was worthy of death. But yet, He did have everything put on His shoulders that deserved wrath, death, judgment, hell. He had all our sins. Yours. Mine. The sins of the whole world. They were piled onto Him, poured into Him. They were imputed to Him. Fancy word. They were all charged to Jesus’ account. So much so that Paul says, “God made Jesus, who knew no sin, to be sin for us, so that we would become the righteousness of God in Him.”
Jesus’ blood, God’s blood, for Jesus is God—God’s blood is the payment for all human sins again Him. Whatever offends God is paid for by God. Free for you. Costly for Him. This is redemption. That Christ “purchased and won me from all sins, from death, and from the power of devil.” “Holy, precious blood.” “Innocent suffering and death.” His for you.
He pays your penalty. “Sweet swap” as Luther would call it. Jesus took all your sins, and gives to you, for free, all His righteousness. He takes our place at Calvary. A picture of that is Barabbas. Jesus, the Prince of Life, takes the place, the penalty, the punishment—temporal and eternal—of a rebel guilty of murder. So it is with each sin, every sin, that you do daily and much.
This is how Jesus saves you, redeems you. That’s how He’s your Lord. Now He would rule you, keep you in the faith, keep in His salvation, keep you believing in Him. He does this through His Word and Gifts that deliver His sweet swap to you. That task, however, is the Work of the Spirit, and that’s all laid out for us in the 3rd Article of the Creed. So, more on that next time.
God does the dying, God does the saving. There’s nothing of you that does it. The only thing we contribute to our salvation is our sin, our resistance, and even our works. But you aren’t Lord. You aren’t God. We confess that we aren’t, but our actions against others prove that be just a front. No, Jesus is Lord, God. He is your Lord. Not to condemn you. Unless, of course, you don’t want “His love”—His redeeming love—“to have its way with you.” But “the Son of Man came not to condemn the world, but that the world would be saved through Him.” That includes you. You believe in Him, don’t you? But that’s not why you’re included. No, you’re saved, you’re redeemed because
JESUS CHRIST IS YOUR LORD, THAT IS, YOUR REDEEMER, YOUR SAVIOR.
JESUS CHRIST IS YOUR LORD, YOUR REDEEMER, YOUR SAVIOR.
“Let this be the summary of [the 2nd] article[. This] little word ‘LORD’ simply means the same as Redeemer, that is, he who has brought us back from the devil to God, from death to life, from sin to righteousness, and [He alone] keeps us there. The remaining parts of this article simply serve to clarify and express how and by what means this redemption was accomplished—that is, how much it cost Christ and what he paid and risked in order to win us and bring us under his dominion. That is to say, he became a human creature, conceived and born without sin, of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin, so that he might become Lord over sin; moreover, he suffered, died, and was buried so that he might make satisfaction for me and pay what I owed, not with silver and gold but with his own precious blood. And he did all this so that he might become my Lord. For he did none of these things for himself, nor had he any need of them. Afterward he rose again from the dead, swallowed up and devoured death, and finally ascended into heaven and assumed dominion at the right hand of the Father. The devil and all his powers must be subject to [Christ] and lie beneath his feet until finally, at the Last Day, Christ will completely divide and separate us from the wicked world, the devil, death, sin, [and every other evil].” (LC II § 31)
Or to put it even more simply: