Posted by: St. Mark Lutheran Church | February 28, 2010

Sermon on Luke 13:31-35

You Will See Jesus Again

In the name of Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh.

At that time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to him, “Leave this place and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill you.”  He replied, “Go tell that fox, ‘I will drive out demons and heal people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.’ In any case, I must keep going today and tomorrow and the next day—for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem!  O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!  Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

Jesus is incredible.  Nothing stops Him.  Last week we saw that the Devil, hands-down Jesus’ toughest, wiliest, most fearsome foe, had no ability to stop, derail, or give pause to Jesus.  40 days of his worst achieved nothing.  We’re not surprised to see these less fearsome opponents fail.  Not only do they fail to get Jesus off message, they elicit from Jesus a powerful Lenten thought:  YOU WILL SEE JESUS AGAIN.

The Pharisees want nothing more to do with Jesus.  He’s been preaching and teaching His way from Galilee to Jerusalem.  Currently, He’s somewhere in northeast Judea, or across the Jordan River in Perea, the territory of Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great.  He’s going through the cities and villages, preaching the good news of the coming kingdom of God, and most recently, let people know that God the Father will one day close the door to salvation, so, make every effort to enter now.

Perhaps it’s in response to teachings like this, teachings that deny the effectiveness of what the Pharisees teach, that they come to Jesus whispering plots and death threats.  We have a hard time believing they’re sincerely worried about Jesus.  These guys have wanted Jesus’ head for some time.  For now, just His backside will do, so life can return to normal.  So, they announce that Herod’s gunning for Him.  It could be true.  Herod fears Jesus, because he thinks He’s John the Baptist back from the dead.  Perhaps it’s baloney, but for these Pharisees Jesus has only one message:  “You will see me again, whether you like it or not.”

“You’ll see me again, because I’ll reach my goal.”  ‘I will drive out demons and heal people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.’ In any case, I must keep going today and tomorrow and the next day – for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem! Not the Pharisees schemes, not Herod’s machinations, not Jerusalem’s rejection, not anything stops Him from His goal – offering His life as a ransom; rising up from death to bring us to God!  As He said, Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days. He fulfills Isaiah’s awe-inspiring words:  The Sovereign Lord has opened my ears, and I have not been rebellious; I have not drawn back. I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting. Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame. It’s our Palm Sunday song, Ride on, ride on in majesty!  In lowly pomp ride on to die.  Bow your meek head to mortal pain, then take, o Christ, your power and reign.

“You will see me again, because I have gathering to do!” O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! Jesus came to gather sheep.  Sadly, they would not, they refused.  But still, He came and preached.  Luke tells us, as we heard in Wednesday’s passion lesson, that during His final days in Jerusalem, He was teaching the people in the temple courts and preaching the gospel. He taught those conspiring to kill Him and those who killed Him.  He taught in that city responsible for the rejection and murder of prophet after prophet.  Because He longed for them.  He wanted them to know, “I will be pierced for your transgressions!”  Though they wanted no part of Him, wanted Him gone, He refused to go quietly and showed Himself to them, even, especially, on the cross.

“You will see me again at the end of the age.” Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’ Immediately, Jesus announces that He would not come to Jerusalem until it was His time.  These words, Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, were shouted to and about Him on Palm Sunday.  But so many, even then, did not see Him.  Jerusalem, in every way that mattered was desolate.  The priests and scribes, the Pharisees and Sadducees, so many of the people did not get it.  They would not see.  They were not willing.

And so His words echo down through the centuries.  This desolation Jesus speaks of isn’t just His physical absence during these weeks of ministry.  It points to and includes the absence of the gospel from the place.  It points to and includes the destruction of Jerusalem to come at the hands of the Romans.  It points to and includes the rising and the revelation of the Papal Antichrist, who sits in God’s Temple, the Church, opposing God, exalting himself, and leading the masses astray with his signs, miracles, wonders, and delusional teaching, leading millions to perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved, and finally, it points to and includes that short season when everything falls apart, when Satan is unleashed, when faith seems to have disappeared from the earth, when the son, the moon, and the stars fall from the sky and all is desolation.  Except He returns.  He comes in glory, and everyone sees Him, even those who pierced Him.  And some shout, “Blessed is He!”  But so many run, for they spent their lives shouting something else, too busy doing something else.  But they cannot help it, they will see.  They will see Jesus again.

Just as much as Jesus spoke to these Pharisees, He’s speaking to you:  “You will see me again!”  Because He has reached His goal.  The third day has come and gone.  He rode on to Jerusalem, in lowly pomp, to die.  And He took up His power again and reigns.  The Conqueror of Death is the Lord of the Universe.  And He’s at work gathering His chicks under His wings.  He’s set His Church a task.  The demon-driving out, the healing He did, was preparatory to the Church’s work of exorcising and healing with the Gospel.  We have this message proclaimed to us and this message to proclaim.  And that message is simple:  He who came, He who died, He who rose, He is coming again.  The End of Days is upon us.  Everything looks so desolate now.  4 billion Christ-haters seem to rule the world.  Of the 2 billion Christians, so many seem unfaithful, half of them under the sway of that Antichrist in Rome.  Even among us, there seems to be nothing but desolation.  Yet He’s coming.  And what will He find?

Will He find that this Jerusalem, His Church, St. Mark, your heart, like the Jerusalem of His day, that place which ought to love Him the most, is the place where He’s loved the least?  Will He find a group of cowards who refuse to preach boldly and live faithfully?  Will He find people hiding from the Herod’s of this world, overwhelmed by those enemies of the cross of Christ and their persuasive messages of peace, prosperity and worldly living, having forgotten that their destiny is destruction?

Or, will He find a people fired up by the resolution of their Savior, marching next to Him today, tomorrow, and the third day, a people who say, like Jeremiah, “Do with me as you will,” a people who know that the Antichrist and all God’s enemies will be knocked over with the breath of Jesus’ mouth, a people who know that all enemies of Christ plot in vain, a people who know that today and tomorrow Jesus does His work, and on the third day, Judgment Day, He reaches His goal, calling up the dead from the graves, calling us to His side, sweeping us up into heaven, a people who know that we have been given citizenship in this heaven already so that we can stand firm in the Lord?  Because nothing stops Jesus!  Nothing!  Not Pharisees!  Not Herod!  Not the Devil!  Not Death!  Not Antichrist!  Not rejection!  Not anybody!  Not anything!  You will see Jesus again!  Amen.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: