Exodus 20:1-17

Psalm 19:7-14

1 Corinthians 1:22-25

John 2:13-22



“God’s Law”

 

Grace and Peace to you my brothers and sisters in Christ, Amen.

 

Are laws in of themselves good? Yes, of course, laws in of themselves are indeed good. Now some might say, well are there not bad laws out there? Well of course, but that is not what I asked, for I did not say are all laws good but are laws in of themselves good. Basically, another way of asking is this, is it good to have laws? Yes, for it is terrible to not have laws, laws are good, but not all laws are good.

 

The thing is this, we are sinners, and we are not perfect. We fail and some may have ill intent. Due to these failings that we have, every now and then a bad law is put in place. Now here is the thing, whereas we are sinners and imperfect, is not God pure and perfect? In addition, I ask, is not the foolishness of God wiser than the wisest of men? The answer is yes! God is perfect, the wisest of the wise, void of sin, and all good. Therefore would it not follow that from God there are no bad laws?

 

Laws in of themselves are good, and all the laws God has made are indeed good. There is no such thing as a bad law that proceeds from God for all are designed to help us and guide us and lead us towards perfect and peaceable lives. God’s Law is good.

Now I don’t usually pull from Psalms my message, but today will be different, for today’s Psalm perfectly reflects on the goodness of God’s Law which includes, but not exclusively, the Ten Commandments which we read in our first lesson. In Psalms 19, it reads, “The Law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandments of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes,” and, “the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether,” and, “Moreover, by them is your servant warned.”

 

Out of God’s goodness the Law was provided so that we may understand what is good and what is bad. There are things that are obviously bad and will produce bad things. To walk a life unaware of such things is horrifying. Blissful ignorance may seem good, but it isn’t. Blissful ignorance is like the person who has a life threatening cancer and knows not the cancer that is in them until they die an incredibly early death. Blissful ignorance is like the person who is incapable of feeling pain and thus harms themselves constantly but may not tell because there is no pain. Blissful ignorance is like the person who is never told that they could have received a raised and thus never do. Blissful ignorance is like never being invited to family events and never becoming aware that said events happened. Blissful ignorance is like sinning against your neighbor and/or God and never finding out that your actions are sinful in nature. Blissful ignorance, when it comes to bad things, is not blissful, but, in all reality, incredibly painful.

 

Now darkness loves darkness and hates the light, thus the old Adam in us hates the laws and views it as a curse. We don’t like it when our actions are exposed as sinful. We want to live in blissful ignorance; we want to live in darkness. That’s the thing, blissful ignorance, when it comes to sin, is darkness. Thus we don’t like it when we are told that we have sinned. Our pride bubbles up within us and we act with rage at God’s Law, wanting to hide it so that we can continue acting as if our actions our good. There is no healing, just blissful ignorance.

 

I am reminded of AA, and multiple other help groups, what is the first step to solving a problem? What is the first step? The first step is acknowledging there is a problem. That is the first step, and that much should be obvious because if you never acknowledge it then how will you ever solve it? We need the Law, because it warns us and helps us see the reality of things that are not good. The Law helps us in understanding what is righteous and perfect and pure, but at the same times warns us of what are wicked and imperfect and dirty abominations. The Law is designed to give us awareness.

 

The thing is this; if I was to ignore the Law does that mean that there is no sin? Of course not. Now let’s say that I abolished the Law, does that mean I have also abolished sin itself? Of course not. And before the Law was given to Man, during the time of Moses, does that mean that there was no such thing as sin? Of course not. Sin has always existed, the Law merely points us towards what it looks like to live a sinless life.

 

But here is the problem with the Law, whereas it is perfect and right and pure and the source of our knowledge of what a pure and perfect righteous life looks like, because we cannot perfectly obey the Law, the Law is a curse.

 

The Law demands too much from us. It shows us that if we don’t do this and that we would go into Heaven. It gives us a list of things that are considered sins and we know that God cannot have any sin within Him. It provides a rubric test and a litmus test, but one that equally demands perfection out of us. Such demands are impossible. We can’t perfectly obey the Law, we are failures born with sin already; we are failures born with the inability to love God; we are failures born with the inability to truly know God. Thus, even though the Law is amazing and perfect and a loving guide provided for us by God so that we may live a life void of sin, the Law turns into a curse that we have come to despise and despair over.

 

How can we find hope in the Law? All the Law does is expose to me the very fact that I am indeed going to Hell! What’s the point in exposing my sins, exposing what is bad, if I can’t rectify the issue completely? I’m already doomed to Hell, why give me something else to worry about. In fact, why don’t you just let me live in blissful ignorance.

 

Now least you say that Psalm 19 is too Law heavy, it does concludes with the Gospel, “Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”

 

The thing is this, you are not alone. By yourself, you will fail, but you are not by yourself; you have a benevolent Lord looking over you. Again, the first step to rectifying a problem is to acknowledge that there is a problem, but now that you have acknowledged it how do you rectify the issue? With regards to sin, the problem is exposed by the Law, but the problem is rectified through Jesus Christ who died on that Cross, on Good Friday, so that you may be cleansed of your sins.

 

Let not the sins have dominion over me, let them not control me, but clean me of these sins, free me from the chains of sin, and lead me towards the true bliss that comes from You alone. We cannot make ourselves blameless, sinless, but through the blood of your Son, our Redeemer, we do become blameless, and innocent of our great transgressions, of our sins.

 

So the Law is perfect, and it is good, it is God’s Law by the way, and in addition to the Law it becomes more perfect and fulfilled through the Gospel, through the death of Christ, which provides for us the means of eternal forgiveness. Thus, the Law isn’t as bleak as we may make it out to be. Yes we fail it, but that doesn’t make it bad, it just proves to us that the issue lies with us. Yet, there is no need to despair, for the Law also points us towards the means of forgiveness of rectifying our sins, and that is Christ Himself.

 

When Christ went to His Father’s house and saw that the merchants transformed his home into a den of thieves, for the merchants has stolen His home for their own purposes, Christ was wrathful, and justly so. He made a whip and let his anger fall on all that invaded His home and was using like a market place. He brought the Law down hard on them. And out of their confusion, the intruders asked Jesus, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” Jesus said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The day of Jesus’ death and resurrection is coming. But know this; He did all this for our sake. Lord knows we cannot keep the Law, so he gave us a Son who will die for our sake and then come back in three days for our sake. And by these two actions He will cleanse the temple and all the sinners and thieves in it, sanctifying them in the eyes of God’s Law so that we may present ourselves as blameless and innocent of great transgressions.

 

Let us pray,

 

Dear Heavenly Father, out of kindness and love you provided for us your perfect Law so that we may become aware of our sins and not fall victim to Satan like dumb lambs, but out of greater kindness and love you gave to us your Son to cleanse us of the sins we are now aware of through the Law. Let us not ever come to hate the Law but see the intended goodness of your gift. In your most holy name we pray, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

For the season of Lent, these Wednesdays, we will be reading from Isaiah 52:13-53:12, but only three verses at a time. Today we read:

 

Isaiah 53:1-3

1 Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? 2 For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. 3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

 

Grace and Peace to you my brothers and sisters in Christ, Amen.

In what way was the Messiah supposed to of come? Many believed He would come in majesty and in ah; that this great king would arrive with such might and prowess that all the masses would bow at His name and the Jews would once again rise up, like in the days of David, once again as the high kingdom on the highest of mountains ruling over all other kingdoms. The coming Messiah was to be this, but is that what they received?

Whereas Jesus is indeed great and powerful, that much is undeniable, for He is God, He came as one who was low, humble, a mere teacher, a great Rabbi and prophet at that, but not a great political figure. He was unimpressive, lacking in grandioso, not what they expected.

“Who has believed what he has heard from us?” Well not the Jews, they had their own notion and beliefs on who Jesus was supposed to be. They have ears, but they did not listen to God. They have eyes, but they did observe God’s Word. They have brains, but they choose not to understand God but rather listen and observe and understand what they wanted to believe; making things up as they go and denying anything from God that goes against their ungodly make belief notions of God and His commands and religion in general.

God revealed His arm, His right hand, to them, He revealed His Son, but they did not look. They could not see Christ, they had their own image of Christ planted in their heads, this Christ cannot be their Christ, He doesn’t match their perceived notion of who Christ is supposed to be, so they denied Christ. They did not see Christ, they saw a fake. In fact, they despised this servant. And to this day our culture still despises this servant, Christ, but nothing has changed. We make up our own fake faiths in our own fake culture with our own fake God and fake Christ to satisfy our fake lives that wallow in sin. Nothing has changed.

He was not impressive, majestic, beautiful, pleasing to the eye; He was not what we wanted. We do not desire Him. We desire something else. We don’t want Him. We want our own made up version of Him. And because He came in an undesirable form, He was rejected, He was despised, He was hated. “Give us what we want,” we cry out. We demand that you God, obey us, not the other way around, and give us what we demand. We demand a great king, not this flimsy unimpressive priest. He was a great king, but they couldn’t see it. Today we do the same thing, demanding that God obeys us and give us what want with regards to God’s Word. We want a God who accepts our sins and tells us it’s alright keep on living your sinful lives. We want a God who tells us that our actions are not in all reality sinful. We want a God who is not Masculine, aka the Father and the Son. We want a God who does not think that abortion is murder. We want a God who does not label homosexuality and transgenderism as abominations. We want a God who accepts other religions. We want a God who is alright with racism and bearing false witness such as proclaiming that you are automatically a racist if you are white. In today’s Culture, there are many demands we place on God; demands that God will never deliver. Therefore, even to this day, we have come to despise and reject God and His servant, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

We esteemed Him not; we hide our faces from His brilliance, from the Truth which comes from Him. We hide Him for we wish not to see Him. We are ashamed of Him. We are also ashamed of ourselves. The Jews did not want to see Him any further; they could not dare to be in His presence any further, for every time they laid eyes on Him they are reminded that they were wrong; cannot have that, we have our own pride to protect. We must ruin Him. We must get rid of Him. We must destroy Him. Crucify Him!

Man of Sorrows, what a most befitting name.

Let us pray,

 

Lord God, help us to never come to hate you and to despise the unaltered and revealed truth that comes from and only from you. Give us the grace to accept the truth and to never give into culturally induced rejection and hatred toward you and your faithful servants. We pray in your most holy name, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Genesis 22:1-18

Psalm 6

Romans 8:31-39

Mark 1:12-15

 

 

“What the Devil”

 Grace and Peace to you my brothers and sisters in Christ, Amen.

 

        I know that many of us goes about our daily lives and every now and then we will slip out a curse, or, even worse, say the Lord’s name in vain. It has become such a regularly thing to do that we usually don’t think anything of it. You stub your toe or you hear something outrageous and you may say something that may go along the lines of “Dear Lord” or “Jesus Christ” or “Holy …” In of themselves, just saying “dear Lord” or “Jesus Christ” are good things, I mean I begin prayers every now and then with a dear Lord, and I obviously invoke Jesus’ name quite a bit through our service, to include this one.

 

        No, the problem is using the Lord’s name in vain, or any of His names. To treat His name as an empty prayer or oath, or to treat His name as a curse, are all sinful things, and not minor sins at that. We are talking about God here, your creator, of whom nothing pales in comparison with regards to power and might.

 

        Can you guess how offended he is each time you curse with His name on your tongue and lips? Now some may say, “God, offended! Bah, He’s bigger than such petty things.” He listed, “though shall not use the Lord’s name in vain,” as His third commandment. And if we know anything about sin, we acknowledge that God despises all sin, even this one, which is a direct sin against God Himself. I ask you this; would you use your own mother’s name as a curse? Would you use your own spouse’ name as a curse? Would you use the name of your pet in vain? I hope not. Now who is more important: Mother or God; Spouse or God; Pet or God? Of course God is more important, so treat His name with the respect that is due to Him.

 

        On the flip side, whereas I am against curses and empty words of oaths, I’d rather you use the Devil’s name in vain; to sin against the Devil; to make a laughing stock out of Satan. Again I rather you not curse or use empty words, but I am not against turning Lucifer into an eyesore that we mock and give absolutely no respect. Yes I understand you may be tempted to use the Lord’s name in vain, it has become a habit or you are surrounded by others who use the Lord’s name in vain and you might get laughed at if you say something less sinful. It just comes out. Breaking the habit in of itself may turn into an ordeal.

 

        Throughout or lives we will indeed face many ordeals, such as Trails or Temptations. Now with regards to these ordeals they come in various sizes and frequency, their impact can be massive or negligible, their rate of occurrence can be frequent to the point that they become background noise or so rare that they standout like a peacock when such ordeals do occur. They could be acute ordeals or chronic ordeals. Now a lot of the ordeals faced in scripture are the acute type, but most of the ordeals we face are chronic. Now anyone in the medical field would tell you that whereas both acute and chronic injuries and pain are bad, the one to fear is chronic, why because it may become so a part of you that you just accept it and never bother seeking aid. Which is more dangerous to the ear; a loud sudden noise or a not-so-loud pulsing noise? The later because whereas both are damaging, the later can be tuned out and thus lead to worse damage.

 

        Chronic Temptations are bad because we come to accept them in our lives and don’t treat them like things that are damaging. These frequent miniature temptations we have come and go and they slip our mind until they come again the next day, ever so slowly creeping into our lives and influencing our perceptions. The culture is filled with these chronic ordeals, and one such is being tempted to use the Lord’s name in vain.

 

        Now we should not confuse Trials with Temptations. Temptations are a thing of the Devil, Trails, on the other hand, are a thing of God. For example, in today’s first reading in Genesis, God is providing Abraham with a trial; sacrifice your one and only son, Isaac. Abraham listened and obeyed, and almost did what was commanded, but God stopped him and provided him with a ram to replace Isaac. God was tested Abraham, and Abraham proved that he was obedient and faithful.

 

        As for Temptations, there is today’s Gospel, where Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness. Now whereas the other Gospels go into depth on this event, Mark only gives one sentence. It is the shortest retelling of Jesus’ temptation story. Jesus was in the wilderness for forty days, and, oh-yah, he was tempted by Satan. End of story. I can imagine Satan reading the Book of Matthew and nodding his head to the account given of his attempt to tempt Jesus, skipping all the other things Jesus did in the Book of Matthew, and then opening the Book of Mark, reading this one line and saying out loud, “Oh, come on!”

 

        We know that Jesus was tempted, but the act of only giving one line to mention it in Mark’s account is a direct snub in the face of Satan, it is like spitting in Satan’s face and saying there are much more important things to mention. Mark is not giving Satan the time of day here, sure the Devil is mentioned, but ever so quickly; this way Mark could focus on other things. He had better things to do, such as telling us Jesus’ amazing proclamation, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the Gospel!”

 

         There are much better things to talk about, such as Jesus is indeed here, celebrate for time has come for all of Scripture to be fulfilled through the Sacrifice of the Lamb of God which takes away the sins of the world and has mercy upon us; and through His sacrifice has brought the Kingdom of God to us, it is here. All we have to do is repent and believe, have faith, true faith, in Him.

 

        Did Satan succeed in tempting Jesus? No. If Satan himself can’t tempt Jesus, what can? And did not Jesus come for each and every one of you? If Satan could not separate Jesus from you, what can? Nothing! As it says in Romans, “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

 

        Nothing can stop Jesus in fulfilling his mission, not Satan, not anything. He cannot be tempted. Instead, using words from our closing hymn, He is our Mighty Fortress, our sword and our shield victorious. He breaks the cruel oppressor’s rod, and will always win salvation gloriously. He is our champion, elected by God Himself, the Lord of Hosts. And through Him though hordes of devils fill the Land, we tremble not, unmoved we stand, for they cannot overpower us; God’s judgement must prevail. And never forget, God fights by our side and arms us with weapons of the Spirit, and no matter what the Devil does to us and takes away from us, even life itself, the Kingdom is ours forever.

       

        So we will face our trials and temptations, some big, others little; some acute, others chronic. But despite what life throws our ways, never forget Our Lord who defeated Satan. Rely on Him, rather than yourself. Believe in Him rather than yourself. And, as we proceed through this season of reflecting and repenting, let us not use the name of our defender in vain, but rather make a laughing stock of our Greatest Enemy, the Loser known as Satan.

 

Let us pray,

 

        Dear Heavenly Father, help us to reflect on you and your never ceasing love which cannot be held back by anything, not even Satan. Help us to reflect upon our own sins which we do commit. And fill us with the courage to lean on Jesus as we struggle against our own temptations. In your most holy name we pray, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Genesis 28:10-22

Psalm 115:1, 9-18

Romans 5:1-11

Mark 8:31-38



“Extreme Sacrifice”

 

Grace and Peace to you my brothers and sisters in Christ, Amen.

 

Let me present to you two scenarios. The first, you see a man pointing a gun at another's head and you know you can save the other, but it will cost you your life. The second, you see a man pointing a water gun at another's head and you can prevent the man from getting soaked, but just like the first it will cost you your life. Now whereas I wish no one to truly die, that is not the point of the two scenarios, the point is such, if you were going to die which of the two scenarios would you choose as for the reasoning for your death? Would you die for the one who doesn't need to be saved or die for the one who does need to be saved? Obviously, we would choose to die a meaningful death, where through our loss of life the life of another is preserved.

 

The reason for this image is because of a confusion associated with Paul's second letter. He writes, “For one will scarcely die for a righteous person.” What does he mean by this? If I was to choose who to die for, either a person who is good or a person who is evil, I would die for the sake of the one who is good, but that is not the point of Paul's words, of God's Word. In our confusion, we may read the letter of Paul to mean that no one would dare give up their life for the sake of someone who is good. In our confusion, we counter the statement and beg to differ. We may say, that quite the opposite is true, who would dare give up their life for an evil person? Well of course Christ would give up His life, and radically so for an evil person. Paul himself says this is so in our second reading, again from Romans 5, “God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” So what did Paul mean when he said that no one would dare die for a righteous person?

 

Let me answer with a question, what was the purpose of Christ's death? Usually when we think of giving up our lives for others we think of dying so that others may not die. In America, there are two primary reasons why people give up their lives, the first is to preserve life, the latter is to preserve God-given freedoms such as the freedom to speak anything no matter how crazy and offensive, the freedom to practice your faith no matter how much the culture hates and disagrees with your faith, such as Lutheranism, and many many other God-given freedoms. Now usually we defend these freedoms primarily for those who are not evil, and I mean evil in a strong sense and not merely evil. But these are all reason for dying for someone. So back to the question at hand, what was the purpose of Jesus' death?

 

He died, to set us free from sin, to cleanse us of our wickedness, to absolve us in the eyes of God the ultimate judge, to make us spotless, to open the gates of Heaven to us, to provide eternal salvation, to make us righteous. He died to make us righteous. That is the purpose of his death, and because that is the purpose why would he give such a death for those who are already righteous? If the purpose of your death is to make someone righteous then you will never dare die for someone who is righteous, yet Christ died for all of mankind. What does that say about mankind? It means that no one is righteous, or at least no one can make themselves righteous. No one has obeyed the Law, all has failed, therefore all are evil, and none are righteous. Each and everyone of us are evil wretched rags, and that is why Christ died for you. That is why he gave himself on the cross. Because no amount of works will ever save you, you cannot save yourself, So Christ went to Hell, died a most horrific death, a most extreme sacrifice so that you wouldn't have to suffer the consequences of your sins. We didn't save ourselves, Christ did, thus the reason why, in our second reading, it begins with the words, “we have been justified by faith,” and again, “Through Him we have obtained access, by faith, into this grace in which we stand,” and again, “we have now been justified by His blood.”

 

We are not saved by works but by faith alone in Him who saves us. For Christ did not save us, forgave us, sanctify us, justify us, make us holy, make us righteous, because we were already righteous. No, Christ saved us, forgave us, sanctify us, justify us, make us holy, make us righteous because we were ungodly, sinners, evil, in desperate need for Christ to shed his blood.

 

This is why we rejoice, we rejoice because Christ made the ultimate sacrifice so that no one would have to die for their own sins. Christ who is the sacrificial lamb, a living sacrifice, is the ultimate sacrifice that could be provided for forgiveness. He is a once and for all Sacrificial Lamb; that is if you continue to have faith in Him or at least come back to Him. It's a good thing he didn't listen to Peter who rebuked Him for even suggesting that He must die. Had Jesus not gave Himself up on that horrendous cross, there would be no forgiveness, no salvation, no keys to heaven, no resurrection. And speaking of resurrection, let me get there, but first, two points.

 

First, as Lutherans, do we not price Law and Gospel? Why do we need both? Is it true that with Christ we don't need the Law? Far from it, for Jesus himself said He did not come to abolish the Law but to fulfill it. Therefore the Law still stands. So why do we need the Law? Without it, the Gospel is meaningless. The Law opens your eyes to the fact that you are a sinner, and that you can't do anything about it because no matter what you do you keep on failing. But the Law also, by pointing out or sins points us also to the means of rectifying our sins, it points us towards the cross. The Gospel has meaning because the Law is pointing us towards it. Remember, Christ died to make us holy, thus we need to realize we are not holy in order to receive Christ's gift of holiness.

 

On top of that, Martin Luther himself tells us that he wishes we all live with contrite hearts, hearts full of sorrow. Why? That sounds just plain old bonkers and depressing. Why intentionally live sorrowful? Why? Because you are a sinner; by yourself, you are unholy and unable to reach heaven. The culture teaches us self-esteem and to lift ourselves up and to prize pride and vain glory. Christ teaches you, through the Law, and so does Lutheranism, to run away from self-esteem and pride and vain glory and to accept reality. What reality? The reality that you are a sinner and a failure, yet, despite that, Jesus gave himself up as a sacrifice, on that terrible tree so that you may receive grace.

 

And second, as Lutherans, our whole theology is centered on what we call the Theology of the Cross. The Cross is the absolute center of our entire theology. All points towards the Cross. Law and Gospel, centers on the Cross. Everything in the Bible is pointing towards the Cross. Even our church calendar points towards the Cross with Good Friday being the center of the church calendar and, I would wager, the most Lutheran of all Church Festivals.

 

This leads me back to the resurrection. Why do we celebrate Easter? Because he has risen! But why is that amazing? Because he was first dead! What gives Easter meaning? Why, Good Friday. It's the same as Law and Gospel. Without Law, Gospel is meaningless. Without Good Friday, Easter is meaningless. Without Jesus' honorable and most extreme sacrifice, there would have been no resurrection. To celebrate Easter but not Good Friday, would be like lifting up the Gospel while shooing away the Law. It would be like receiving God's sanctification while saying we were never, nor are, sinners. It puts to shame Christ's sacrifice.

 

As we proceed through this season of Lent I ask that we do not put to shame Jesus' sacrifice, that we do not shame the Father who lost His only Son to His creation for the sake of His creation. Let us remember that we are sinners; that we are the reason why Christ had to die. And instead of looking away from the cross and its blinding glory, let us face it boldly accept reality.

 

1) We are sinners.

2) We cannot save ourselves.

3) Christ did die.

4) Through faith in Him, and His sacrifice, Salvation is ours.

 

Let us pray,

 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, We are sinners, and because of our sins we were doomed to Hell, yet you forgot us not and graciously gave up your one and only true Son on the Cross, to die for our sake, so that we would not die for our sins but live eternal life. Help us to cherish this gift and to never shame the ultimate sacrifice that you and your Son gave for our sake. In your most Holy name we pray, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

2 Kings 2:1-12a 

Psalm 50:1-6 

2 Corinthians 3:12-4:2 

Mark 9:2-9 

“From Baptism to Transfiguration” 

Grace and Peace to you my brothers and sisters in Christ, Amen. 

How many of you remember my sermon on the Baptism of  our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ? On that day, which kick  started the season of Epiphany, we read in the Gospel how after  Jesus was baptized the heavens opened and the Spirit  descended like a dove and voice was heard, proclaiming, “You  are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” The sermon I  gave not only reflected on this revelation provided by God the  Father, but also on others who had their own epiphanies, such as  the wise men who journeyed to see this Christ Child and Peter  who, through the help of the Father, proclaimed Jesus was Christ. 

The Sermon was all about epiphanies, whether our own or of  those in the Bible, reflecting on the fact that the only reason why  we get these Aha moments, realizing that Jesus is Christ is  because God the Father and/or Holy Spirit revealed this to us.  Peter proclaimed that Jesus was Christ not because of the flesh,  but because God the Father revealed this to him. And we, as  Christians, proclaim that Jesus is Christ not because of our own  abilities, but because of the Holy Spirit which fills us with faith and  understanding. In the Small Catechism, Luther writes, “I believe  that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus  Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Ghost has called 

me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and  kept me in the true faith.” So, whereas we are incapable by our  own devices, through the help of God we are capable of  proclaiming Jesus is Christ, of having our own Epiphanies. 

This is what the season of Epiphany is all about, having our  own aha moments, remembering the time when the lightbulb  clicked within us and how the Holy Spirit gave us the ability to  have faith in God, and how as Christians we are instructed by  Christ to be instruments providing the Holy Spirit to those who  have yet to have their own epiphanies. It is also for this very  reason that we begin the Season of Epiphany with the Baptism of  our Lord when God the Father proclaims for all to hear, “You are  my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” 

Now what is interesting about that sermon I gave is this, I  said, “To those listening, to those who witnessed this event, God  is practically telling them, ‘Listen, this is my Son.’” Why is that  interesting? Well, let us read today’s Gospel, particularly verse 7,  “And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the  cloud, ‘This is my beloved Son; listen to him.’” Listen, this is my  Son… This is my beloved Son; listen to him. To be frank, that was  not intentional, yet it is remarkable how we began the Season of  Epiphany with God the Father proclaiming, “You are my beloved  Son,” therefore it is only befitting that we conclude the Season of  Epiphany with God the Father proclaiming once again, “This is my  beloved Son; listen to him.” 

Once again, God the Father is revealing to us, not just to  Peter, James, and John, but through Scripture also us, that Jesus 

is indeed His Son. We cannot believe this on our own, therefore  we need the revelation which comes only from God to provide for  us what can only be a miracle. The miracle of proclaim Jesus is  the Son of God. God the Father is revealing this to us once again,  and just like the baptism of His Son, God the Father reveals this  in an equally, in not more fantastic and amazing, fashion. 

With the Baptism He revealed His Son by parting the  heavens, and descending His Spirit like a dove and proclaiming  for the whole crowd, and there was a crowd, to hear. Now, as for  the transfiguration, though there was no crowd, that is not  necessary for, even Jesus said not to reveal what happened until  after He has rose from the dead. But what did happen? The was a  cloud that brought with it the Father’s proclamation, the  appearance of Moses and Elijah of all people, and one more  thing… what was it? Oh! How could I forget; the transfiguration of  our Lord! Where Jesus, “was transfigured before them, and his  clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could  bleach them.” 

A quick question about this transfiguration of our Lord; did  Jesus became more perfect at that moment? Jesus transfigured  into a cleaner and more perfect radiant white signifies His deity,  His divinity, His Godliness. But did he become more perfect, more  divine, during the transfiguration? Is he not already perfect,  sinless, wholly God? Yes, he is! So did he become more perfect?  No. So what happened? Was his perfection, which he already  had, revealed through the transfiguration? Was his transfiguration  a variation of God’s revelation?

To the disciples, during their daily activities, Jesus must  have seemed to them to be a mere human. The Holy Spirit did  reveal many things to them, and it is obvious that Jesus was at  the very least a great prophet. Yet His persona was, well, very  human. And that was intentional, but because of the folly of  human reason, every now and then the disciples became forgetful  of who Jesus really was. They had their share of epiphanies, but  without the Holy Spirit continually revealing to them that Jesus is  Christ, their views of Jesus will revert back to before their  epiphanies. Before the transfiguration, Jesus appeared as a mere  human, but through the transfiguration the perfection of Jesus’  divinity was revealed. And it was this revelation that terrified the  three disciples and made them talk, and look, like shell shocked  bass fish, not knowing what to say, only to blurb out, “Rabbi, it is  good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and  one for Moses and one for Elijah.” I can imagine how the  disciples, as they walked down the mountain, mumbling to  themselves, how idiotic they must have sounded and wished they  said something better. 

I’m almost reminded of the many examples, whether real or  fictional, of young teenagers talking to their crushes and how they  say some of the most ridiculous things. You know what I’m talking  about? You get so flustered, and you have no clue what to say,  you can’t find the words, and you tell yourself just spit something  out, and in the end you end up embarrassing yourself. It happens  to the best of us, were we get shell shocked with a most amazing  yet terrifying opportunity and feel that we most absolutely have to  say something. That is what happened to the disciples. Here’s  Moses, Elijah, and Sparkles Jesus. What do I say, what do I say? 

Let me make a tent for you… huh. Lucky them, God the Father  saved them from their own embarrassment, and proclaimed his  message, though the disciple’s words must have made Moses’  and Elijah’s day. Oh, well of all the things you could have said,  

that is, well, most interesting. 

After this proclamation, the cloud, the prophets, and the  radiance of Jesus disappeared, and all was back to normal. 

Epiphany is coming to a close, but that does not mean we  should stop proclaiming the good news, assisting in the  epiphanies of others, and thanking God for the epiphanies we  ourselves have obtained. Let us not forget the message of  Epiphany, but instead proceed throughout the rest of the church  calendar proclaiming for all to hear Grace of our Lord Jesus  Christ. 

This year of all years, this is a message we need to hear, a  reminder that no matter what happens, Jesus is still Lord, that He  still watches over you, and His Kingdom will have no end. This is  also a message that those who do not know Christ need to hear,  so that they too may have a light in their lives despite the dark  gloom that overshadows us today. And in years to come, no  matter what we face, good and bad times, times of struggle and  times of complacency, that we forget not that Jesus is Christ, and  that we not only hold firm to our epiphanies, but also assist in the  epiphanies of others. 

There will be many more storms we will face. And whereas I  have no clue what the future holds, do not lose hope. Never lose 

hope. For God knows the future, and I have faith that God will  lead us through every storm we may weather, for through the  cross we know of God’s never ending desire to continually save  the world through His only beloved Son. 

So we may choose to walk the path of the discouraged, or  we could walk the path that leads towards everlasting life, faith,  hope, and love. The path that has indeed been revealed to us by  God the Father and God the Holy Spirit; the path, the way, the life  which is God the Son, Jesus Christ Himself. He is the way, let us  never forget this, but let us continuously be reminded of this  revelation. 

Let us pray, 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, you have revealed to us your Son in  his most perfect splendor through the transfiguration, that Jesus is  not just some mere Man, but that He is indeed your Son, God the  Son. Help us to never forget this, and guide us through your Spirit  so that others may so too realize the divinity of Jesus. We pray in  your most holy name, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

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