O give thanks unto the Lord for He is good, His mercy endures forever (1 Chr 16:34). Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church - Winnipeg, MB
Jesus in your home
Jesus in your home
Based on Matt. 4:12-25
Preached on January 26, 2014
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Fellow baptized saints, something is happening in our beloved Canada. Canada - a country that was once publicly Christian, but is now publicly dark and getting darker. No, I don't mean dark in the eyes of the world, the world still thinks Canada is great. After all, it is a great place to live. I mean according to the light of the Gospel. We all know that Christ and His Gospel are not welcome in public anymore. But nothing could have made that more evident than this case in Quebec that is being appealed to the Supreme Court. It goes like this: Can a private Catholic school teach ethics and religion from a Catholic perspective? The Quebec courts have already said No. We will wait and see what the Supreme Court of Canada says.
But we shouldn't be surprised by this. For what this deepening public darkness shows us is something we should already be focused on, something that Christ has already shown us in our Gospel reading today: We don't need our government to publicly approve of the Gospel, for Jesus starts His teaching in your home. Jesus didn't ask the religious leaders if He could heal the people, He went into their homes and healed them.
St. Matthew writes, "He went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom." Synagogues were places for reading and studying the Scriptures and were often found in private homes.
So Jesus wasn't found teaching in the courts (until His own death trial, of course). He wasn't found teaching on the mountainside until the crowds couldn't fit inside the buildings. Jesus was found teaching in the home. Jesus wants to be in your home. He wants your home to be a place for reading and studying His Word.
But we see this throughout the Bible, don't we? Jesus is constantly going into people's homes. Remember Zacchaeus up in the tree. Jesus said to him, "Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today." Can you believe it? He wasn't even invited. Or think of Nicodemus whom Jesus visited at night to teach Him about Holy Baptism, and our favorite John 3:16 verse. Or perhaps Mary and Martha, Jesus was even willing to create division between sisters in order to teach in their home.
But there is nothing surprising about this, is there? Jesus being in your home. Think about it. Where did you first hear the Name Jesus? And where do you want your children, or your grandchildren to hear about His death and resurrection? Will you wait until Sunday morning from 10- noon? Will you hope that in that brief time, what the length of a movie, that they will get to know Jesus they way they should? Heaven forbid!!
Christ makes His Word available right in your home, where you spend most of your time, and watch most of your movies. And that is where you want Him the most, isn't it!? Where His peace and healing and forgiveness are so desperately needed. In your family.
For that is what Jesus does in these homes He visits in Galilee. He teaches. He heals. He serves everyone who comes to Him, overcoming every type of illness they might bring. He is God's servant. His Son. Yet He serves even you.
Because let's face it. You aren't faithful in your prayers, and your Bible study. And neither am I. Your home is not full of the Spirit every day, and neither is mine. We are just like the people in Galilee, surrounded by darkness and sickness. Shadows and death. We ARE the people Jesus comes to rescue. The people He comes to save. And despite our worst failings, and our bitter unfaithfulness He still forgives us. You are forgiven.
But this is the message of Epiphany - it is the message of this season - for Epiphany is a time in the Church for mission and witness - a time when we look at Jesus' teaching and healing for us - and a time when we are reminded how we are to push forward this same word - this word spoken by the prophet John, and echoed by our Lord, this Word now sounded here in our midst - Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand - He has granted you repentance unto life. And it is for everyone.
And here in the simplicity of our text, Jesus shows us where this begins - it starts in the home - your home - You speak it to your spouse or parents or children, and they speak it back to you - I forgive you - I'm sorry - Jesus makes your home a place of healing with this same message of reconciliation and good news - Repent, the kingdom of heaven is at hand. But that means it must be heard in your home - that means your ears must hear it, and your lips must speak it - and your heart must study it. Meditate on it, roll it around in your mind as you marvel over it. You don't deserve it, but God loves you regardless.
Read the Word outloud with your family. Make the faith a family first. Make it a part of what it means to be in your family. Praying for one another outloud. Confessing to one another those temptations that got the better of you. But most importantly, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom - the truth of Christ's eternal reign over your heart and mind, especially in the face of these failures. Christ will hold up your home. His Word is your fortress and your shield, your eternal refuge and safe place. Speak it to protect your family. Speak it to comfort your family and hear it. Jesus will always love you.
Just as there was in Galilee - there is a bright light in Canada - a light that warms your kitchen table and shines forth from your house. It is the Word of God, written and spoken and pondered in your home. It is Jesus Christ, present in your house in His Word, that He might bring you to His house and His table by it. Present that His fame might spread from your home to others, as it did in these opening days of His ministry here on earth. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not overcome it. May the light of God's mercy in Christ be in your hearts and on your tongues. Be in your home and the homes of all those you visit. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Rev. Cameron Schnarr