O give thanks unto the Lord for He is good, His mercy endures forever (1 Chr 16:34). Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church - Winnipeg, MB
Here I Come
Here I Come
Based on Luke 13:31-35
Preached on March 17, 2019
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Grace, mercy and peace to you from God our Father, and from His Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Fellow baptized saints, don’t you just love this text? I mean, could the Lord have given us any better text for this Lenten season - as He struts straight for Jerusalem to wage war with our Sin and Death? No, this is perfect. Jesus marching to the cross. Jesus worshipping the Father. Jesus setting His sights on Jerusalem where prophets go to die.
Ah, but there’s some powerful people who don’t want Him there. The religious leaders. The Pharisees. They are like us – our old Adam - its fine for there to be a Jesus – and He can even rule over parts of the land – parts of me - like the edges, the outskirts - but I don’t want Him coming to the temple. I don’t want Him taking over the very center of me, taking control of my life, my time, and all the things I want – like actually being the king of everything I desire – no I’m afraid of what that would mean. I’m afraid of what I would lose. I don’t want to give up that last guarded place that is all mine.
It’s funny, in a sad way, because the Pharisees don’t have much, but still they don’t want to lose what little control they think they have. You see they know - You can’t have a popular prophet coming and stirring up the people. There’ll be riots. Unrest. And then Pilate and Herod will come down hard. Take away what little freedoms remain.
But this Jesus is coming and so they do everything they can to stop Him, including invoking the name and authority of the foreign king that rules and oppresses them. It’s like when we resist Jesus because of our sinful desires – the ones that oppress and rule over us – we name our selfish wants and the authority of our wanting to try and keep Jesus from those blocked off places in our hearts. Can’t let Jesus in there, because I want, because I want, because I want…
“Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” What a cheap lie! Herod doesn’t want to kill Jesus. All Herod wants is to see a couple of miracles. No. This is their move. Tell Jesus the oppressive king wants to kill Him so He doesn’t come to Jerusalem.
It would work on you. It would work on me. We threaten death, because we don’t want to die. It terrifies us. And we run away. Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill You. Ok. Don’t have to tell me twice.
But it’s a lie. What lies do you tell yourself to keep Jesus from entering deeper into the center of you – to have His way with your life? What are you afraid to lose if you let Jesus in closer? What have you deceived yourself into thinking you control that would somehow be worse off if Jesus got involved?
This is the joke. The Pharisees aren’t in control. Pilate is. Herod is. And you’re not in control either. Sin is. Your desires tell you what to do. They rule you. Your own personal Herod. They are in charge of you – and you have a real hard time doing differently than what they say – Ugh – I don’t want to. Yeah, really free – really in control – especially when you face the fact that your desires are the same as everyone else’s! They are predictable. Same Herod. Same old Adam who doesn’t want Jesus taking over. You’re not in control. You can’t do anything unless those sinful desires let you, but you still tell yourself “at least their mine.” But that’s not even true – it only feels like it. They’re old Adam’s. And now they’re totally exposed.
So we try to bargain. We try to negotiate. And when our bargaining doesn’t work we threaten. We threaten death. And we invoke the full authority of the king. What will Jesus do? Will He back down? Will He run away in fear like the sinner is hoping? What will Jesus say to this scheming tyrant?
“Tell Him I’ll be there in three days.” This is how its going to go. Prophets die in Jerusalem, don’t they?” Jesus is not afraid. He knows what He’s walking into. In fact, this is the plan. He’s not afraid to lose His life, that’s the reason He’s coming. He’s not afraid to lose control, that’s the reason He’s coming. Because this is what His Father wants. Because He trusts His Father above. He’s not going to lie to Himself. He’s going to march straight into the heart of the problem.
That’s our problem by the way – Jesus is courageously marching into our problem. Our problem is that we would not be gathered. Our problem is that we run away. Hide. Grab fig leaves to try and cover our shame. We are the ones who lie to ourselves. Blame everyone else. Follow our own selfish desires. Not Jesus. He follows His Father’s desire. And that holy desire happens to be that you - dear one - are saved from yourself by this champion Jesus who willingly walks wanting to take your punishment. Tell Him I’ll be there in three days.
“Look, don’t you see - your house is desolate” – you are not in charge. You have no king who fights for you – you are ruled by another.
But here I come – and you will see me coming as king – when the people say “Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord” I’m the king. I’m coming closer. I’m getting involved. I’m putting Myself into the center whether you like it or not. You need to lose the power you think you have. Look down on it. Despise it. Turn your back on it. Because it is enslaving you – it is your slavery - but I come to set you free. Not with swords and clubs. Not with force and coercion. Not by pushing and pressuring. But with grace and mercy and peace – by emptying myself of power – setting aside my control – sacrificing my freedom in order to draw you to Myself on the tree. I’m the king who rules hearts and minds by these things – and there is nothing you’re going to do to stop Me. So let Me in. Open wide those places within yourself where you have resisted Me, and let Me in - to cast out the demons, cure your insides and finish my work of death and resurrection within you. I promise. I am working new life for you. I’m freeing you from those selfish desires and securing a kingdom of everlasting righteousness, innocence and blessedness. Trust Me. I’m coming.
Beloved, this very morning He is coming as King over you. He graciously invites you to His banqueting table, that He might feed You this forgiveness - in the same flesh He gave up to His Father on the cross. He holds it out to you – to free you from your false desires – to rule over your heart and mind giving it new, holy desires. To free your tongue to say “Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord – my King – my gracious saving King – who marches Himself into the center of me in both body and soul. Come, see me die, see my love for you in action. “I’m gathering you here. My wings are out. Come hide beneath. Let me feed you and keep you safe until My kingdom comes in glory. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
Rev. Cameron Schnarr