The Ninth Sunday after Pentecost (A)
“At His Invitation”
August 9, 2017
Sermon Text: Isaiah 55:1-5
Grace, mercy and peace be unto you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Dearly Beloved of the Lord,
Holy Scripture is replete with invitations… one right after another… divine ones at that… issued and sent by the Divine One Himself, the Lord God Almighty… He who is King of the universe, the only true God.
And what is truly amazing is that we are the recipients of the same. He sends them to all of mankind… and yet they could not be more personal with God having each of us, individually… specifically… in mind… He who knows us perfectly… who loves us perfectly.
And one of His truly gracious invitations is found here in our Old Testament text recorded by the Prophet Isaiah. In looking at it and reading it over, one can hardly miss the great sincerity, heartfelt desire and eagerness on the part of our Lord God that we accept this invitation.
Why? Because as was said, He loves us so. But also because the Lord knows that refusing this invitation means misery and certain death for us and all mankind. It is that important. It is that serious.
And thirdly, God issues this wonderful invitation because He knows exactly what we need… yes, physically… what we need to sustain these bodies of ours… but more importantly, what we need spiritually to feed our souls. And what we need… exactly what we need… God offers and provides… perfectly and abundantly to our soul’s health, for the refreshing and renewing of our spirit.
“Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” (Isaiah 55:1)
“Come! It is all here for you in Me,” God is saying. “You… all you who hunger and thirst spiritually. Come. Eat and drink and be satisfied, content and at peace.”
Come! It is here for you, free of charge. Yours to have… to partake of… to enjoy… at absolutely no cost or expense to you.
To which many want to know “What’s the catch?” There isn’t one.
Well then, why the wording… “he who has no money, come, BUY and eat?” How does that work? Or that we should “come, BUY wine and milk without money?
How can the one without money still buy? How can something be “bought” and at the same time be “free?”
My friends, the divine invitation that the Lord God offers through the Prophet Isaiah becomes crystal clear and reaches fulfillment in the coming of Jesus Christ and what He did for us on the cross at Calvary.
For it is there that He did away with that which was causing our spiritual starvation and intense spiritual thirst that could not be quenched… namely sin.
It is there, on the cross, that our Savior paid the full price for our sins, canceling them out, blotting them out with His holy precious blood.
Oh, our freedom from sin, death and the devil… our no longer dying from spiritual thirst and hunger came at a cost alright, the highest of costs or prices… but it wasn’t paid by us. It was paid by our Brother… He who is true Man, flesh of our flesh. He took our place. He was our Substitute… and a willingly one at that.
And most certainly, these spiritual things, eternal things, priceless and precious were truly bought without money… without “gold or silver but with Christ’s precious body and blood and His innocent suffering and death” as we say in Luther’s Small Catechism.
After delivering this most loving and gracious invitation in the beginning part of our text, our Lord goes on to ask the poignant question, “Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy?” (Isaiah 55:2)
In other words, why would you… why do you spend money, time, energy and effort on that which is not going to spiritually meet your needs, your true needs… that which will not, cannot satisfy you… truly satisfy and fill you up… fill you with good things, eternal things… but, rather, will only leave you still hungry and thirsty?
It is truly amazing and sad my friends, the billions of dollars and the incredible amount of time, energy and effort that people will put into the pursuit of spiritual happiness and the quest for peace, true inner peace and contentment as well as for enlightenment and strength.
And they never find it. They never have in their possession the genuine things, heavenly things that are nevertheless right there for them and for us… in Christ Jesus. All the blessed things God so wants us to have and to enjoy now and forevermore. And to that end, He lovingly issues this divine plea in our text where He says,
“Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David.” (Isaiah 55:2-4)
Eat what is good… delight yourselves in rich food… that which you and I have the blessed opportunity to do again and again right here in His Holy House… for what the Lord is speaking about… referring to… is His all-sufficient Word and the Sacraments.
The very same divine Word that the Lord God told Ezekiel to take and eat. We read, “And he said to me, ‘Son of man, feed your belly with this scroll that I give you and fill your stomach with it.’ Then I ate it, and it was in my mouth as sweet as honey.” (Ezekiel 3:3)
And it is the very same divine Sacrament that our Lord Jesus speaks about when He told the Twelve and all those who were gathered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.” (John. 6:53-56)
Permit me to share one other passage with you which wonderfully connects the text we are considering in Isaiah to Christ, that which our victorious Lord and Savior shares with us at the very end of the Book of Revelation. He says, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost.” (Revelation 21:6) Same offer. Same invitation some 700 years later.
Amazing. The continuity of God’s Word, His message to us… and the same gracious invitation to us that covers the entire expanse of time and into all eternity.
At His invitation, we come and thirst no more. We come and hunger no more. We come and are filled, full and satisfied. We come and are at peace.
All… at His gracious invitation. Amen.
May the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus, unto life everlasting. Amen.
“At His Invitation” 8/9/17 The Rev. Mark H. Hein, St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Lockport, IL