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Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sermon 08122012 10th Sunday After Trinity

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer.  AMEN.

Let us pray, Lord Jesus Christ, it is clear from our Gospel that You wept over Jerusalem and what was occurring that clearly went against the teachings of Moses and the Prophets.  You possibly are crying because of what is occurring in our world, our country, and even our church.  Though You are at the Right Hand of the Father, send Your Holy Spirit to cleanse our hearts, souls and spirits with the salve of the Gospel so that Emmanuel, Your House of Worship may be a House of Prayer.  And enable all of us gathered here this morning to hang on Your word spoken to our hearts in order that we can lay claim to our baptism into Your life, death and resurrection for all of us Saints gathered here at Emmanuel this morning.  AMEN.

In the blockbuster movie ‘Avengers’, Loki the intergalactic villain of Norse God legend, made a pact with an alien race to enslave the planet earth.  After stealing the eye of a noted scientist to get a crucial piece of ‘space metal’ necessary for the creation of an intergalactic worm hole, Loki demands a group of people to bow down and ‘worship’ him.  However, in true heroic fashion, out of nowhere Captain America drops in and challenges Loki’s belief that he is a god.

In the same way that Captain America challenges Loki, in our Gospel this morning we are told about Jesus Christ cleaning house and taking names in Jerusalem.  The beginning of our text states, “when He drew near and saw the city, He [that is Jesus] wept over it.”  This was Jerusalem, the place where He had been presented as a child for purification according to the Law of Moses.  It was the place where when 12 years old and at the time of the Feast of Passover He was found among the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions.  The synagogue is where Jesus had preached the Good News about the Kingdom of God and what would be fulfilled.  So Jesus was not unfamiliar with Jerusalem, the Holy City, but this time, Jesus as prophet saw that the leaders were blind to the revelation that He, Jesus Christ was the coming Messiah.  Jesus wept because He could see the crowds shouting for His death. Jesus wept, because He saw His disciples who were with Him currently scattered in the Garden when He was betrayed.  Jesus wept, because He knew His destiny was to endure the scourge of the soldiers, the jeers of the Jews yelling for His crucifixion.  Jesus wept, because He knew He would have to carry His own Cross to Golgotha.  And Jesus wept, because He could see His own lifeless Body upon the Cross paying the ultimate price for our salvation.

Jesus wept, because His next statement was nothing but truth.  “If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace!  But now they have been hidden from your eyes.”  This is profound.  The truth of Jesus preaching, teaching and guiding had been hidden from the disciples eyes.  They were not prepared for what the consequences would be.  They believed Jesus entrance into Jerusalem would herald Him as King.  It would, but not the King they expected.

Jesus continues, “For the days will come upon you when your enemies will throw up a barricade against you, and surround you and hem you in on every side, and they will level you to the ground and your children within you and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.”  There will not be peace, there will not be a time of freedom from the troubles of the land.  The day is coming and in fact is here where God Who is present with the disciples, Who performed the miracles of water into wine, calming the sea, walking on water and raising the dead has come among the disciples and the people and visited them and they did not and could not recognize Jesus Christ as the coming Messiah.

Jesus then enters the Holy City of Jerusalem and entered the temple, basically His second home, where the Glory of His Father dwells.  Remember the Israelite people had carried the Ark of the Covenant while wandering the wilderness and King Solomon, David’s son had built the Holy Temple.  And what does Jesus do, “begins to drive out those who were selling saying to them, “It is written, AND MY HOUSE SHALL BE A HOUSE OF PRAYER,’ but you have made it a ROBBERS’ DEN.”  Jesus is here not only cleaning house, but invoking the prophet Isaiah in that the temple is to be a ‘house of prayer’.  But the scribes, Pharisee’s and high priests have allowed God’s Holy Temple to become as Jeremiah says in prophecy and now is fulfilled in Jesus day, a ‘den of robbers.’  So Jesus restores the temple to its Holy purpose of a ‘house of prayer’.

And Luke writes, “And He [that is Jesus] was teaching daily in the temple;”.  Jesus God’s only Son, born of the virgin Mary was now preaching and proclaiming the Gospel that would be fulfilled of His sacrificial death on the Cross of Calvary for which He, that is Jesus was the fulfillment.

But, Luke continues, “but the chief priests and the scribes and the leading men among the people were trying to destroy Him”.  They wanted Jesus dead, because Jesus Christ preaching this salvation Gospel was bad for their business.  The scribes and Pharisees were not being honored the way that they were used to.  The scribes and Pharisees saw Jesus Christ and the salvation message of the Gospel as a threat against the Law as they interpreted it.  Their claim as teachers of the law was as children of Abraham and Moses and inheritors of the Law passed down from generation to generation, with all the sacrifices of meat, offerings of money at the temple and the best places to eat and drink and the honorable position at all functions.  But this Jesus Christ was a stumbling block to them and had to be removed.

Yet, Luke continues, “and they could not find anything that they might do, for all the people were hanging on to every word He [that is Jesus] said.”  They could not catch Jesus speaking against the Law or the Prophets and could not find any wrong with Him.

The reason they could not find any wrong is that Jesus Christ came not to abolish the Law or the Prophets, but in complete and utter fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets.  Through His sacrificial life, death and resurrection, Jesus Christ suffered for the entirety of mankind from His betrayal in the Garden to His hanging from the Cross in order that we might be saved through Him, freely and without any expectation.  And the scribes, Pharisees and the Jewish Council were blind to what Jesus true purpose was here on this earth.

But, why is this story and fulfillment of Isaiah and Jeremiah’s prophecy important for us today in Goodland, KS.  It is important because, we today are adrift in a sea of useless and evil information and deception that bounces and buffets us daily from the truth found in God’s Word.  We believe what is on the television screen, the newspaper, mass mailings, emails on the computer or movie theater more than we do God’s Word.  We prove this when we watch television, play on facebook or even work ourselves overtime all in the name of a better living, all the while neglecting the Word of God and its teaching in our homes.

Jesus in cleansing the temple calls each of us today to cleanse our hearts, souls and spirits of what binds us on a daily basis.  Jesus Christ is calling us like in the Close of the Commandments that Martin Luther wrote to ‘fear His wrath’.  God is warning us that like with the Jews in Jerusalem in the temple that had made His Father’s House a den of robbers, He is coming and in prophetic warning, is trying to get us to turn from our sinful ways.  For it is ironic, Jesus warned the Jews in this very passage and they did not heed His warning He was trying to give them.  Not 50 years later after Jesus death the Jewish Holy City of Jerusalem was pillaged and plundered.  The Holy Temple that Solomon had built was torn down.  The place where Jesus cleansed the temple by overturning the money changers tables was destroyed.  All because the Jews would not listen to Jesus and return to God and making His House a House of Prayer.

My question to you today is, Will you listen and heed the Gospel Message Jesus Christ is speaking to you today?  Will you listen and heed the Gospel message of His salvation of and for all of mankind freely and without cost?  Or will you once you leave these four walls of Emmanuel turn a deaf ear to the Gospel of salvation of Jesus Christ?  Will you believe in Jesus Christ as the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets?  Will you be changed by the Gospel and as the explanation of the close of the commandments says, “Therefore we should fear His wrath and not act contrary to them.”  And hear God’s message to us that “promises grace and every blessing to all that keep these commandments.  Therefore we should also love and trust in Him and willingly do according to his Commandments.”  Are you listening and ready to heed God’s call and make your hearts and homes, souls and spirits the temple of God and a place of prayer?  For God is calling each and every one of us saints gathered here at Emmanuel this morning.  AMEN.
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