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Sunday, August 4, 2013

08042013 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!  Heavenly Father, Your will and Your way are sometimes mysterious to us, whether it is our receiving rain, or trying to find the message You have for us.  May we hear Your Word with the goal being our not only fearing You, but understanding Your love for us is unconditional for all of mankind, including all of us saints gathered here at Emmanuel this morning.  AMEN.

“‘And My House shall be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a Robbers’ Den.”  These words uttered by Jesus after His weeping tears of anguish and sadness over the state of Jerusalem as He looked upon it, stung the people in the temple, just like these words still do for me as Pastor today when I hear me personally as His target audience.  Jesus Words did not have Gospel, hear that again, Jesus Words did not have Gospel, they were the view point of God the Son, Jesus Christ standing in the temple having experienced the place where His Father dwelt being perverted into nothing better than a bank, social gathering place or robbers den instead of a place of worship.

Jesus Christ didn’t apologize for His harshness, because no longer do I nor did the people in the temple understand nor remember the lessons learned by their ancestors that had been driven out into the desert and wandered for forty years.  No longer did they remember clearly the slavery in Egypt, the death of their family members and the destruction of their pride that occurred with their fore-fathers departure from the ‘easy life’ in Egypt.  No longer did the people remember that the same God Who had appeared in a burning bush and called the ground surrounding it Sacred, came and dwelt in the Holy of Holies and Jesus was now taking back the temple, reclaiming it as a ‘house of prayer’, cleansing it and setting back in its proper place God as the focal point and making the temple a place of worship and ceremonially cleansing it as Holy Ground once again.  Jesus Christ didn’t apologize then for reclaiming not only His Father’s Glory and rightful use of the temple, but re-instilling in the people the fear that the people of Israel had lost from their ancestors.

The fear was not in or of a man, but in a God Who had redeemed and loved them.  Let me say that again, the fear was not in or of a man, but in a God Who had redeemed and loved them profusely to safely bring them out of the tyranny of Egypt, walked with them into a land flowing with milk and honey and brought them to a place in time where they now had a temple for God’s Glory to dwell and it would be Holy Ground.  Jesus drove the money changers and self-centered people out to re-instill the fear in the people that their ancestors had.  Whether it was of God’s control of the plagues that were a pestilence to Egypt and finally broke Pharaoh’s will and arm of control with the Angel of Death that took the first born if there was not blood on the doorpost, to the pillar of fire that led the people by night and the cloud by day, to the beginning where the people were led through the waters of the sea parted by a man who had faith and feared a God Who would be with them to the land flowing with milk and honey.  This was not an unhealthy fear, but a fear that was not born of wrath, destruction or death, but a fear that influenced their lives and their decisions in order for God’s Glory to be revealed for them and for us today.

Fear is something that our society has perverted.  Whether it is marriage and the fear to speak the truth of needs of both husband and wife, whether of intimacy or maturity, because we do not want to ‘hurt’ our spouse.  To society where we are afraid to hold our leaders, coaches, teachers, even pastors or parishoners accountable for how they lead or treat one another when it is unchristian or even mean and does not have love as its driving force.  In our Gospel lesson, Jesus had no fear, because He was doing His Father’s bidding.  Jesus had a direction He was headed and it ended at the Cross on Golgotha.  Jesus did not fear the outcome, because He knew the future and what He offers us today around the altar of His precious Body and Blood.

Yet, if we only look for and understand His comments in the temple without the Gospel or the Sacrament not only in mind, but also in healthy fear, we forget God’s gift and the grace He offers to us clearly seen on the Cross of Calvary.  The lens of the Gospel that we need to look through today here from this Gospel is to inspire us to fulfill God’s calling that each of us have heard in the Commandments.  Martin Luther reminds us in his catechism  “We should, fear, love and trust in God.”  For in our fearing God, loving God and trusting God, we will be the recipients of the greatest blessing, eternal life with Him in His Kingdom, where neither rust, nor hunger will exist.  We in His Kingdom will not only be with Him, but live for all eternity basking in the Glory of God sharing in the greatest feast ever prepared.

This is the promise that will be fulfilled for all of us when Jesus Christ comes again.  Jesus weeping, lament and driving the robbers out of His House will be a memory that is replaced by what we receive this morning, His precious Body and Blood given and shed for us for the forgiveness of sins.  Jesus gift given around the altar will not only transform our thinking, but will transform our understanding of God and reform, reshape and remind us of our need to fear God for His Glory to be revealed.  A Glory that is given and shed for all of mankind, including all of us saints who enter His Temple, gather around His table, eat His Body and Blood that prepares and enables us to fear Him because of His love for each of us as shown on the Cross of Calvary for all mankind, including all of us saints gathered here at Emmanuel this morning.  AMEN.
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