The Second Sunday after Pentecost (C)
“The Blessing In It”
June 23, 2019
Sermon Text: Isaiah 65:1-9
Peace be unto you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Dear Friends in Christ,
Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together? When a project comes together? Or when the plot of a movie comes together, fits nicely together… all of its parts with no loose ends?
Then you gotta love God’s Word… Holy Scripture… that comes together, holds together, fits perfectly together like one beautiful tapestry… so many threads interwoven making one glorious picture of God’s love for us in Christ Jesus.
Such is seen in our first appointed reading for today even though it would first appear that the picture before us is all about God’s wrath being poured out, His judgement meted out upon what the Lord rightly declares to be “a rebellious people.”
He is talking about the children of Israel right? Yes, but also about the children of Adam and Eve and that, as you know, includes everyone… to a person. It include you and me.
Through the Prophet Isaiah, the Lord Almighty vents His frustration and His righteous indignation… His divine outrage… and this in regard to all that He has lovingly done and sought to do for His people and how they act toward Him.
“I was ready to be sought by those who did not ask for me; I was ready to be found by those who did not seek me. I said, “Here am I, here am I,” to a nation that was not called by my name. I spread out my hands all the day to a rebellious people, who walk in a way that is not good, following their own devices; a people who provoke me to my face continually.” (Isaiah 65:1-3a)
To such people… to those who remain opposed to God… to His Word… to His will. To those who refuse to turn from their sinful ways… obstinate ways… the Lord simply and perfectly sums up what is in store for them… what He will do to them. He declares, “I will not keep silent… I will repay.” (Isaiah 65:6)
We need to hear that, my friends, and let it sink in that there will most certainly be the day of reckoning… the day of judgement. It is sobering as it should be… as we should be… sober and vigilant in light of the times in which we live… in light of Christ’s imminent return to judge the living and the dead.
In our text, the Lord God Almighty no sooner declares the wrath to come and, as if with the same divine breath, speaks of mercy, declaring that “for my servant’s sake” He will “not destroy them all.” (Isaiah 65:8)
The Lord speaks of the salvation that will just as certainly be there for the remnant of His people… those who remain faithful… those who, even though they have strayed, repent and return to their God and this, again and again and again.
And it is interesting the divine analogy God uses here, for it is one He will employ throughout the glorious tapestry of Holy Scripture. You know it well… namely the good fruit that will come from the faithful few and this
juxtaposed to no fruit or bad fruit born by the vast majority of people who have lived or will ever live.
In a cluster of grapes ready to be harvested, one will invariably find some that are rotted, others shriveled up, along with the good fruit… the good grapes from which new wine is made with the rest being discarded… destroyed.
“Thus says the Lord: ‘As the new wine is found in the cluster, and they say, ‘Do not destroy it, for there is a blessing in it,’ so I will do for my servants’ sake, and not destroy them all.’” (Isaiah 65:8)
God will not destroy the good fruit… any and all of His servants who bear good fruit… you… me… and this, only possible in Christ who is the vine to Whom we are connected… ingrafted through the Sacrament of Holy Baptism. Christ the vine through which righteousness flows and is ours.
God will not destroy the good fruit… all who bear good fruit… and this in the working of the Holy Spirit who makes it possible for us to bear good fruit… to be the “blessing in it” … the good grapes in the innumerable clusters which make up all of mankind.
We are the blessing, my friends. Something that we do not hear too often… a blessing in this world even though those of this world would consider us to be anything but. Those who consider us a curse… a pariah.
We are a blessing because God has made us so in Christ Jesus and only through Christ Jesus. Indeed, we are blessed to be a blessing to others as we love and care for others… as we point them to Jesus… as we point them to the cross and what our dear Lord bore upon it… what our dear Lord paid upon it… what our dear Lord won upon it… our salvation and that of the whole world.
Thanks be to God and to Him alone the glory. Amen.
May the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus, unto life everlasting. Amen.
“There is a Blessing In It” 6/23/19 The Rev. Mark H Hein, St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Lockport, IL.