Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash
Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
᛭ INI ᛭
Alleluia! Jesus Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
We’re covering two P’s today, two words that begin with P. They’re related to each other. One informs the other, makes the other possible. Both Ps come from what Jesus says today in our Gospel reading.
The second P is part and parcel with the title for this Sunday. Easter 6 is called Rogate Sunday, which means “Ask” Sunday. This word (Rogate, Ask) comes from when Jesus says, “On that day you will ask me nothing.” Jesus then talks about “asking.” “You will ask the Father,” petition (petieritis) the Father. Rogate, “ask,” or to give that a P word—pray.
Pray or prayer is the second P word we’ll look at today. So, what’s the first one? It’s the big one, the first one. To put it another way: prayer is with a lower case p, but the first one is with a capital P. It’s primary, makes prayer possible, puts everything in perspective. “Please, pastor, stop saying P words, and tell us already…” Ok, fine… It’s Peace: “I have said these thing to you so that you would have peace in Me.”
((2. The world peddles “peace and safety.”))
“Peace in Me.” Jesus says, but then He continues: “In the world you have tribulation.” That certainly fits. There’s a 24-hr news cycle, and that barely scratches the surface of it all. And that’s the tribulation from all the corners of the world, and that doesn’t even account for the tribulation we experience in our own lives!
The world recognizes this, and the world doesn’t just traumatize us with tribulation. The world also peddles peace, but it’s a farce. It’s empty, vain, meaningless, temporary. The world’s peace doesn’t amount to much. But its the sort of peace we crave. We crave and chase after the sort of peace the world’s peddling, even though its the sort of peace that Jesus doesn’t promise.
The world peddles peace through force, through power. “Peace through strength.” (Per virtutem pax, Hadrian) Bigger army, more peace. “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”
There’s peace through money, through prosperity. If you’re taken care of, your daily needs are met, then there’s nothing to worry about. You can relax, breathe, be at peace.
Jesus told a parable about this: “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”
This gets us to the final way the world peddles peace. Peace through procrastination, through distraction, through entertainment, through pleasure. From all the ways we try to cover up our pain, our sadness, our stress over the world’s tribulation—dull it, if for only a little while—to all the ways we fill our lives with commitments, distractions, obligations. All these are our false gods. The pandemic has laid that bare. The pandemic is tribulation, and our stress increased all the more as things were taken away. Things we cling to so we can make it in the world.
The world peddles peace in so many ways: power, prosperity, pleasure. “Unbelievers seek after such things,” Jesus says. “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?” But all the ways that the world peddles peace come up empty. Literally and figuratively. The money runs out. The vacation ends. The kids move out. The show, the movie, the game, the season ends. The buzz wears off, and the bottle runs dry.
But Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you, My Peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” What the world peddles, Jesus promises. The world delivers empty promises, but Jesus delivers on the promises that He makes.
Our problem with the peace Jesus actually promises and delivers is that we’re looking for the wrong sort of peace, worldly peace. But Jesus is true to His promise. He gives peace, a peace the world cannot give. Tt’s true and lasting. It’s everlasting. It’s eternal. It’s peace in Him. Jesus promises and delivers true and lasting peace.
((1. Jesus promises and delivers true and lasting peace.))
The peace He delivers is the peace He won for us. As He said today in John 16, “I have told you these things so that you would have peace in Me. In the world you have tribulation, but take heart. I have conquered the world.” He conquers everything that is against Him and His Father: sin, death, the power of the devil, even all the temptations and allurements of the world. All of it.
There is now no more enmity between you and God. “For Christ Himself is our peace.” “He made peace by the blood of His cross.” How much is God the Father at peace with you? The death of His Son much! How long is God the Father at peace with you? The resurrection of His Son much!
Jesus has overcome the sin and death of the world by His death and resurrection. He has overcome, paid for, all the times we seek after and cling to all the ways the world peddles its peace: power, prosperity, pleasure. You’re redeemed by the precious blood of Christ, far more costly and precious and eternal than gold or silver or any such thing. Jesus has overcome the wrath of His Father! There is now peace. God the Father is reconciled to you, and that means you are reconciled to Him. There’s peace.
But there’s peace on top of peace! The peace God the Son earned for you, is peace that He promises to deliver to you, and that means it is. There’s peace in His Word, that’s why the Bible was written: “so that you would have hope,” be at peace. There’s peace in His Gifts. Peace flows from the font, as blood and water flowed from Jesus’ side. The Lord’s pastors preach peace. Sermons. The Lord’s pastors bestow peace. Absolution. The Lord’s pastors deliver the very thing that made for your peace: Jesus’ body and blood.
Is God the Father at peace with you? He has to be! Can’t not be. His Son died and rose for you. You’re baptized. You hear and believe the Sermons. You hear and receive and believe the absolution. You read your Bibles. You receive Jesus’ body and blood. These are your peace. It’s a peace that surpasses worldly understanding. It’s peace that endures. It’s the peace Jesus says He delivers. And if you think, “Really? Is that it?” That’s unbelief.
All the peace on top of peace gets us to our final peace, and our second P word. You can have peace at prayer. You really can. Without really believing the peace that I deliver and announce to you today, then you won’t have peace in prayer. For the peace in prayer is rooted not in the prayer itself, but in the peace Jesus won and delivers to you.
The Jesus who died and rose, the Jesus who baptized you, who preaches to you, who forgives you daily and much, who absolves you, who gives you His body to eat and His blood to drink for the forgiveness of sins, is the Jesus who promises: “Whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you.” How could He not? As the hymn puts it: “If for Me He slays His Son, God must have compassion.”
Jesus’ Father is your Father. He will hear, He will forgive, He will hearken—listen and do. Might be unexpected, but what you ask in trust and confidence He will do according to His promises. He will grant what you ask so that you will be saved. After all, He will make “all things work together for good,” for salvation, “for those who are called according to his purpose.” You are so called: “I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
The world peddles peace, but power, prosperity, and pleasure all run out. All the ways we console ourselves do, too. But in this life our peace doesn’t rest on what the world has done for us or can do for us.
OUR PEACE RESTS ON JESUS ALONE.
“He Himself is our peace, making peace by the blood of His cross.” Peace flows from His cross to you. You have it. You have Jesus’ peace. From the Font, from your Bible, from this Sermon, from the Absolution, and from the Supper of Jesus’ body and blood. The Supper delivers forgiveness with God and with each other, peace with God and with each other. “Body of Christ for you. Blood of Christ shed for you.” “Depart in peace,” how could it be any other way?
“The Lord [Jesus] speaks peace to His people, to His saints, but do not let them turn back to folly.” Why would you do that, dear saints of God? Why would you go back to the empty peace that’s peddled by the world?
OUR PEACE RESTS ON JESUS ALONE.
Even peace in prayer. Have to have it prayer. This is the peace for prayer: Jesus’ Father is your Father. You’re baptized. He will hear. He will answer. Be at peace. You are at peace! He sent His Son to get it, and He sends His Son’s peace again and again—Word and Gifts. He’ll hear your prayers, too. Just has to. How much will He listen? Jesus much, always.