Trinity News and Sermons

10/05/14 Sermon Bullets

  • As we begin to move toward the end of the liturgical year, which comes on November 23 this year with Christ the King Sunday, more and more of our lessons will focus on “the end times” – when Christ Jesus will return – as we say in our creeds – “to judge the living and the dead.”
  • Especially in Matthew’s gospel, this judgment can seem rather harsh. It can lead one to fear and trembling rather than comfort in a loving Savior.
  • Today, Jesus tells a parable that speaks about how the children of God have treated God’s servants – the prophets and ultimately how they will treat Jesus. The prophets, who always spoke God’s word, calling the children to be faithful to the covenant – to love God above all else and to show that love by serving each other, and especially the “widows, orphans and sojourners” – spoke words that were not always comforting to the hearers – words of challenge, judgment and condemnation of the behavior of the children of God.
  • For this, they were ridiculed, suffered and sometimes were put to death.
  • Jesus also is calling for faithfulness to God above all else, especially in the way we treat each other and “the least of these.” In his ministry, he comes up against the religious leaders of his day – and they cause his suffering and death. He predicts this through the parable.
  • As the gospel lesson states: When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they realized that he was speaking about them. They wanted to arrest him, but they feared the crowds, because they regarded him as a prophet.
  • Of course, we know the story – eventually Jesus was arrested, suffered and died because he challenged the status quo – understanding that covenant with God was NOT being kept.
  • Today’s lesson has a most amazing paradox to it. In the parable, Jesus says that the tenants say to themselves, “this is the heir; let’s kill him and we will get his inheritance.”
  • This is exactly what happened in the case of Jesus. The tenants, not just the religious rulers of Jesus day, but sinful humanity caused the death of the Son of God. Our sin put Jesus on the Cross. Lest anyone wants to place blame for God’s greatest gift of love being rejected and the death of Jesus of Nazareth being the end result of that rejection – it is you and I who are the guilty party!
  • Jesus died, because I am a sinner. As that wonderful Good Friday hymn “Ah Holy Jesus” sings: “Who was the guilty? Who brought this upon thee? Alas, my treason, Jesus, hath undone thee. ‘Twas I, Lord Jesus, I it was denied thee; I crucified thee.”
  • And, as St. Paul clearly states in our second lesson for today, we can know Christ and the power of his suffering and resurrection. In other words, we do inherit what the Son of the Great Landowner has.
  • Because Jesus died in our place, and is raised from the dead – all that he has by virtue of being the Son of the Most High God is given to us – not because we are so good, but because God is so loving.
  • This is grace, unmerited, undeserved, flowing to us in abundance.
  • How amazing and crazy is this? We, who reject God’s love by the way we live in our sinful condition; we, who kill the Son every day that we insist on going our own self-serving way; we inherit the gifts of the Great Landowner?
  • YES!
  • Paul tells us that the Cross of Jesus is “foolishness” to the wise. And so it is. From our worldly perspective this parable of rejecting the prophets and their message – of not being faithful to the covenant with God – of killing the Son of God and yet still getting the inheritance is just incomprehensible. It won’t hold up in court. It is almost impossible to get our heads around it.
  • But that is the kind of God we have – One who loves us so much that God is willing to give EVERYTHING in order to keep us in relationship with him.
  • This is the new covenant in Christ’s blood which is given for you and for all people, for the forgiveness of your sin.
  • This is our God. This is the Lover that we have.
  • How can we respond to such love? Overwhelmed by this generosity that we will NEVER experience from a worldly perspective – we respond by being faithful, by living up to the covenant, by loving God with our whole being – by serving each other.
  • “Were the whole realm of nature mine, that were a present far too small; love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.”