“The Spirit of the Lord is Upon Me…so Why?”
† In Jesus Name †
As you give your lives as a living sacrifice to God, as you are equipped by the Holy Spirit’s gifting in your lives, never forget that for you as well is the grace, mercy and peace of God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ!
The Burden of the Call
We So want to see the evidence – to know it has been fulfilled!
It always amazes me, how the man made schedule of readings God is able to use. The Sunday I am preaching to those apostello’d – those sent not just by the LCMS but by God to share His message – the gospel reading is about Jesus taking up the burden of His being apostello’d – of His being sent.
Not that you and I have the same burden as Jesus did – or even that of the original 12 plus Paul – but we do share in that burden – you are as surely sent here as God sent them. Whether you are GEO’s or doing life… err lifetime missionaries or accompanying spouse – or the children – you are all here because God has brought you here.
We look at Jesus taking up His burden as the primary, the first apostello. As He reads the prophecy that points out this very thing in Isaiah – hear these words, not just descriptive of His call – but of your call – because you are united to Him.
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
The year of the Lord’s favor – the year, when God descreed every debt cancelled, that every bill was paid in full – that everything is restored to its rightful place- including us. The year of jubilee.
I know when I left the University I worked at – to enter “full-time” ministry, I thought of all those things happenin – all the people that would come to know Jesus, all the wonderful – even miraculous things that would occur – and how God’s people would praise Him… as they saw His love.
But then the questions arise
Who are you – anyway?
We even may think they are out to crucify you
If they are – so what?
That was 15 years ago – nearly 20 if you count my time as a “part-time” minister. Gonna be a little honest – I think more of my time has been like Jesus’ first service and sermon. So excited to share God’s call to everyone to enjoy the freedom of Christ.. and I quickly fade as people start questioning me – and while they haven’t picked up stones yet……
It seems like that sometimes – not enough eyes that are blind to the gospel open them – or those who hear that they are free from the bondage of sin, stay in the familiar cells that they have become comfortable to – afraid of venturing out into the reality of God’s love. Some have questioned me – not the – “aren’t you Joseph’s son”, but the same question, who are you to tell me I am a sinner in need of God’s grace?
I have to admit – I look at myself far more often than the message I am entrusted to bear. I don’t always hear it for myself first, and so I find myself condemned in the eyes of those I am called to bring it to, those who it is so evident that they need it.
I end up feeling crushed – I end up wanting to go home – to find a little cabin in the mountains of new Hampshire, on a nice quiet lake with a awesome internet connected, and finish out my life canoeing, playing piano and guitar and World of Warcraft.
IT is then, that the law has afflicted me… and I need to be comforted by the very message I bring. Having talked to a number of folk since I landed in Asia ten days ago, I am not the only one.
We have to know the news we bring… just not know – but know. We have to hear it from Him!
As good LC-MS Lutherans – we may have heard the phrase once or twice about proper Law and Gospel tension – Afflict those comfortable in their sin, comfort those afflicted by their sin.
I get the feeling that most of you are as in need of that comfort as I am. Ou wonder why wasn’t there 100 baptisms or even ten, or just one, to witness recently. You want to blame someone, lest you have to blame yourselves. Our “Leaders” are really easy targets. If only they would… then I could see the kinds of results I thought I would.
We who serve in the temple – so need to stop and remember that we are the temple – that God’s spirit is with us here – wherever here is. The love we want people to know – we need to meditate on it, dwell in it, rest and be strengthened by it.
When we want to go on our way – to escape the crowd as Jesus did we need to realize He went on His way for us, and indeed through us! As He walked through that crowd, the way He went, the way He chose to go on, was to that cross to did for us, that we could die with Him in baptism, that we could rise with Him.
That is why I am so greatful to end my stay this way – serving you – calling you to remember what I have failed to remember so many times. That while we share Christ’s calling, we aren’t Christ. The work doesn’t depend on us, or those holding us back. No one can separate us from His love, for we are His called one, His loved ones.
When I proclaimed your sins forgiven, and when you proclaimed mine forgiven, did you hear that? That you are cleansed of all your sin and all unrighteousness?
When we pray together the Lord’s prayer – do you hear yourself correctly addressing God as your Father? Do you hear what Jesus has taught you to ask for, to pray for, knowing it is the Father’s will to give you all these things?
When you hear the words “for you” during the words of institution, do you get that it is for you… you?
Know this – you have been called and sent into… called and apostell’d to this place. But you haven’t been sent alone, you have been sent with Him – not just His message – but with Him.
For you are His, as the song said – bought with the precious blood of Christ.
So as you serve – as you are tempted with loneliness, know that is never true… but you are in Christ… with Christ…
And he is keeping, guarding your hearts and minds in the glorious peace of God, the peace that goes beyond understanding, the peace that is the Father’s.
The peace that is yours.