The Third Sunday after the Epiphany (Series C)
“Done! Then, Now, Forever!”
January 27, 2019
Sermon Text: Luke 4:16-30
Grace, mercy and peace be unto you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I’d like to begin this message mentioning something that happened this week. And I do so because, as you will see, it fits perfectly into… and is incredibly connected to… today’s Gospel lesson.
Quite frankly, if we as Christians do not hear it from the pulpit, we cannot expect to hear it in public. If the called and ordained servants of the Lord are not saying something… anything… can we expect something… anything different from lay servants of the Lord… from you and all the faithful?
You probably know what took place this week in both the State of Illinois and New York State and the further condoning… the giving of additional rights and provisions for the killing, murdering and dismembering of unborn children… babies in the womb… human beings… in some cases right before their birth.
They cheered! They applauded, giving the passing of this demonic legislation a standing ovation. Let that sink in… as well as what it means… what it will lead to.
But really, what is it to us? Additional screams that we will never hear. Intense pain that we will never feel. Nameless children who will never see even one birthday, their own birthday, because they are no more.
We live in an advanced society? A civilized society? A HUMANE SOCIETY?
Oh, there is a group by that name, but it is all about protecting animals… all about preventing cruelty to animals. Let that sink in… animals having more protection and being of greater concern than people… including the youngest among us… as well as the oldest… as well as those with mental and physical challenges… any and all men, women, teenagers, children and infants who are deemed expendable and their continuing to live… their continuing to be cared for… as being inconvenient and burdensome.
What a sick country we live in! What a sick world we live in… that which we are part and parcel of to varying degrees. And in regard to the carrying out of atrocities… our silence… our lack of any action… makes us complicit in it all.
And a person dare not use the excuse that he or she is not the one doing the killing because you know what? They are also not among the ones trying to stop it… lifting even a finger to stop it… opening their lips to stop it… standing side by side with others to stop it. They are not the ones… among the ones… speaking up and out against it.
Doing so could cost one a job… cost a promotion or additional prosperity. It could cost relationships… cost an election. No one needs the hassle… the grief.
How is it with you? Truth is… to a person… all of us are called to repentance in regard to our sins… our shortcomings on this topic and countless others. How we have failed the Lord and our fellow man! How we have sinned in thought, word and deed by what we have done and also by what we have left undone. What we have failed to do.
Our Lord goes home… he returns to his hometown… to Nazareth… and “as was His custom” He goes to temple. He goes to the synagogue on the Sabbath. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah is given to him. He unrolls it to the exact place He is looking for… the exact place He knows is there… being, Himself, the embodiment of the Word… the Word Incarnate. The exact place where it says,
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
The Spirit of the Lord is upon Him… upon this Jesus of Nazareth. The Third Person of the Holy Trinity anointing the Second Person of the Holy Trinity… the very Son of God… anointing Him as the one… the only One… to end the madness and the sadness in this world brought about by sin… brought about sinful people and their sinful ways… their sinful actions and even, their sinful legislation.
You see my friends… even though we have every right and… more than that… the divine responsibility to call out sin… to expose it for what it is… we do so never forgetting who we are by nature… “chief of sinners.” We never forget that the call to repentance comes to us… starts with us.
And we never forget that our Lord Jesus Christ was sent to preach Good News, thankfully, to us… we who are so often poor of spirit, weak and weary in fighting the good fight of faith among so many who are faithless and who hate us. They hate our God… they hate His Word, His ways and His will.
To us, Christ comes and proclaims that in Him there is peace and comfort, true solace and the strength to carry on… to continue on… fighting earthly battles with the wonderful knowledge that the war has certainly been won… that there on the cross Christ liberated us once and for all from captivity… that of sin, Satan and death.
And as with us, so with all people… every person… our Lord comes and proclaims these very same things… including to those who may have had an abortion, performed an abortion, voted to approve abortions… those who stood and cheered… those who stood idly by and did nothing to prevent or try to prevent evil from happening. For this… for all sins there is forgiveness… in Jesus.
Forgiveness for those… his own hometown neighbors and friends… who will take Him to the brow of a hill and try to kill.
Forgiveness for those who sentenced Him to death… for those who drove the nail marks into His hands and feet… for those who hoisted Him up on cross… for those who spit on Him… cursed and mocked Him. Forgiveness to all. Forgiveness for all.
I just love the text before us this morning. I really do. I love how our Lord matter of factly got up, read this amazing portion of Sacred Scripture in which is promised the Savior of the world. Finished reading. Rolled up the scroll. Handed it to the attendant and declared matter of factly to all, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” I am sure you could have heard a pin drop.
It was a matter of fact… a divine fact… eternal fact. This Scripture fulfilled. Done… there and then… now… forever. The promise kept in Jesus Christ who will preach Good News to the poor then and continues to do so now and throughout time to us and all people.
Oh, how we long for it. To hear again… be reminded again and again that we are forgiven… that we are free of our bonds… all that weighs us down. It is Jesus who declares this to us. It is Jesus who made it so.
Dearly beloved of the Lord, in just a matter of weeks we will enter the Lenten Season which culminates with the holiest of weeks. And it will be then that we hear again an amazing statement of fulfillment as Christ our Savior matter of factly declares from the cross, “It is finished!”
It was done… our salvation won… then… now… forever. With all of the ample opportunities the Lord provides to us, let us share the Good News! Amen.
May the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus unto life everlasting. Amen.
“Done. Then, Now, Forever ” 1/27 /19 The Rev. Mark H. Hein, St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Lockport, IL