In our text, Jesus was speaking to His Church and only to His Church when Jesus said, “When The Son of Man comes in His Glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His Glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Jesus is using a parable to describe the difference on Judgment Day between His followers in His Church and unbelievers outside.
He says to the sheep who represent Jesus’ followers “For I was hungry and you gave Me food…” Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed you ….” “And the King – Jesus - will answer and say to them, “Inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My breathren, you did it to Me.”
There’s the key – to Christ’s Church and individual Christian members – it’s all about the relationship.
We are all aware of the hunger that exists in America and throughout the world. When Jesus’ Church responds, it must respond in The Name of our Lord and Savior and as part of our relationship with Jesus – as if responding to Jesus Himself – as we are. The Church that sends its lobbyist to lobby government officials in Washington has absolutely no authority to do so – and usually uses misquoted and misapplied Scripture to promote its partisan positions by trying to pass its own responsibility on to someone else.
The only response The Christian Church as Jesus’ own organization can have to people who are hungry is to give themfood in Jesus’ Name – as our NALC is currently doing in its disaster relief program. It’s part of the church’s relationship to Jesus – something we do in Jesus’ Name.
In fact, there is another even more basic hunger that can only be filled by Jesus Who said “I am The Bread of God Who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. I am The Bread of Life – whoever comes to Me shall never hunger.” “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every Word that proceeds from The Mouth of God”.
God seeks to share that temporal and eternal Bread of Life through believers willing to be God’s conduits. Sharing physical bread without sharing Jesus as the true Bread of Life is sharing the appetizer without the main course – it’s all about the relationship.
Jesus says to the sheep who stand for the believers “… For I was thirsty and you gave Me drink…” I remember an NALC convention Linda and I attended where we received water through a machine that makes polluted water into pure drinking water. The church is donating machines like the ones we drank from to villages throughout the world in Jesus’ name. The church discovered villages where all the water was polluted and the people were thirsty and Jesus’ Church gave them a drink – it’s all about the relationship.
And as with the hunger and the food, there is another even more basic thirst that can only be filled by Jesus Who said "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life." Is there any greater feeling than to have Jesus invite spiritually thirsty people through His Church and its members to the living water of Holy Baptism? In The Name of The Father and of The Son and of The Holy Spirit, Holy Baptism is that spring of water welling up to eternal life.
Jesus said “I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” There are so many, many things in life that can imprison or debilitate us – illness, injury, addiction, hatred, anger – and those greatest enemies of all – sin and death. Jesus is The Answer and calls His Church to proclaim and share Him as The Answer.
We are living at a time in the world’s history when violence is epidemic, when good manners are considered weakness, when speech often descends to its lowest levels and when prejudice and self-aggrandizement are more valued than justice and peace. Again, the only answer is Jesus and about Him His Church too often remains silent. Make no mistake about it – this nation and this world will return to God or will fall into a chasm of our own making.
Above all else, Jesus calls His Church to evangelize – ευαγγελιστής – in our words and in our actions to be proclaimers and sharers of god spel – good news – The Gospel of Jesus Christ. Why? Jesus equips and sends us to go and make disciples of all peoples, baptizing them in The Name of The Father and of The Son and of The Holy Spirit. Go – reach out to everyone as God’s conduit through which to enter into the relationship Jesus offers to us and through us. Make all people disciples – joining us in worshiping Jesus and studying His Word. Baptizing them in The Name of The Father and of The Son and of The Holy Spirit – as Jesus seals the relationship He offers through His Church.
As Jesus’ Church, we do what we do because Jesus calls us to do it and, in His Name, there comes an invitation. Jesus says to His Church – and it is His Church – that the Relationship He established with us at such great cost to Himself is so essential to all we do that whatever we truly do in His Name in that relationship “Inasmuch as we share it with any of His breathren, we do it to Him” – as He calls us to do.
THE PEACE OF GOD WHICH PASSES ALL HUMAN UNDERSTANDING KEEP YOUR HEARTS AND YOUR MINDS IN OUR CRUCIFIED AND RISEN LORD AND SAVIOUR — JESUS THE CHRIST — IN WHOM WE DO AND IN WHOM WE LIVE NOW AND ETERNALLY AMEN.
14th Sunday Of The Trinity Season
August 26, 2018
Dr. Kurt Borows
Pastor, Resurrection Lutheran Church, Catawba Island, Port Clinton, Ohio