“The Passion Perspective”

The Sunday of the Passion

“The Passion Perspective”

April 9, 2017

Sermon Text: Matthew 26 & 27

Peace be unto you from the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, Christ Jesus. Amen.

Dearly Beloved of the Lord,

Who doesn’t like a good movie now and then? It is a great source of entertainment. Add some buttered popcorn and a few other goodies and what more do you need?

With some movies, it makes sense just to wait until they can be rented or streamed at home. No big deal. But for cinema spectaculars, they just have to be seen… need to be seen… on the big screen. In some cases, even in an Imax theater. Talk about up-close and bigger than life!

In some of the same ways, my friends, it wouldn’t do it justice if the entire passion of our Lord was seen, viewed, considered via anything less than a way that lets us take it all in… indeed… up-close and true to life… the actual  account of the saving of all mankind as recorded in God’s Word in vividness and detail unsurpassed.

Yes, in Word form and not in pictures or film. In Word form wherein and through the Holy Spirit works and brings the reality of this account to full light in our minds and in our hearts.

Make no mistake about it… what the ears take in can paint a more true to life and detailed of a picture then the eyes could ever do. Anyone who knows a person who is blind knows this to be true. But then add in the all-important fact that it is via the inscripturated Word… the inspired Word… the literally “God-breathed” Word that the Holy Spirit works and acts.

How wonderful this is, but what a major challenge this poses to us and especially new generations who are visual rather than word oriented… any word, let alone the Word.

Still… has it has been and always will be to the end of time… the people of God begin this week by taking it all in…. by right up front hearing it all… the passion of our Lord as recorded in God’s Word, in this case, the Gospel according to St. Matthew.

Why? So that right up front we can take in to our hearts and minds… in one “fell swoop” if you will… all that happens to our Lord… all that is done to Him… all that is said by Him… all that He does and carries out to insure… make sure… of our salvation… our freedom from sin, death and the devil… our complete victory over the same.

Too often, the events of Holy Week can be piecemealed… not that each aspect, every aspect and action of this week is not worth considering on its own… and we shall do just that particularly when it comes to the events that took place on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. But how wonderful it is that we can start this week out with the full picture, with the amazing panorama of the Passion of Christ set firmly in our consciousness.

Can we ever hear it too much… consider it too much? Sadly, quite a few people, including many in the Christian Church would say yes. After all, they already know what happens… what takes place.

Well, so do we! That’s not the point! That’s not the only thing that is important here… namely “head knowledge” or even “heart knowledge” of the passion events. Rather, it is you and me respecting, heeding and obeying our Lord’s call… His command to come and worship… to come and take in… to receive what He, the Lord God Almighty gives to us through the hearing of His Word and the receiving of the Sacraments… namely, the outpouring of His grace and the wisdom, the confidence, the peace and courage from above to continue on “in light” of what we know… “in light” of what God has done for us in Christ Jesus our Savior and Redeemer… our Lord and our King… our everything!

To us… for us… being here now, as well as on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and certainly Easter morning is not an option… or a compulsion… it is rather a joy, a privilege, an honor and downright necessity… something we would never, ever, consider missing.

Why? Because of what we took in today. What we heard today, what was given to us today. Namely, the “Passion perspective.”   That which literally takes our breath away…

… Realizing that it was our sins and eternally lost state… our hopeless and personally helpless state that brought all this to be… thankfully to be…

… Realizing what Christ did for us… endured for us… in our place and for our salvation…

… Realizing what is ours because of it all. Forgiveness… freedom… life eternal.

For too many in our world, these are just words. But not for us. For you… for me… for every Christian man, woman, teenager and child… this is reality. It is our “right now” and also our “forevermore” all because of the love of our heavenly Father and that of His Son, our Savior, who made it so.

May the Lord grant us all a blessed Holy Week. Amen.

May the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus, unto life everlasting. Amen.

“The Passion Perspective”

4/9/17  The Rev. Mark H. Hein

St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Lockport, IL