Thursday, March 7, 2013

Sermon March 6, 2013 Mid-week Lent

Title: Jesus Christ reconciles the word unto himself!

Text: Luke 13:6-9

6 And he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. 7 And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Look, for three years now I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down. Why should it use up the ground?’ 8 And he answered him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure. 9 Then if it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’”

Alexander the Great, seeing Diogenes looking attentively at a parcel of human bones, asked the philosopher what he was looking for. Diogenes' reply: "That which I cannot find--the difference between your father's bones and those of his slaves."


Jesus Christ reconciles the word unto himself!

The question or the degree of value that we put on human life differs depending on age and perspective. It seems that for many those who are least able to take care of themselves are the ones most marginalized.

The child in the womb or the elderly in the bed of a nursing home both rely on the care of someone else for their earthly existence. But what really is the difference?

In our gospel lesson in Luke we read:

13 There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way?

Neither, the child waiting to be born or the elderly person, waiting to be called to the slumbers of death, can do much about the situation they are both in at this point. Both are at the mercy of God as they wait for either birth or death.

The truth of these two examples though is that both are under the curse of sin. Should the child be born to life and rise to great stature or die from a miscarriage or be aborted does not enhance or diminish their value in the eyes of the Lord.

In the same way the elderly who remains healthy and productive for their entire life or spend many years in the care of others has no greater or lesser significance in the eyes of the Lord.

You and I who are alive too have value to our loving God … but not because of whom we are or what we do.

The Gospel reading continues:

4 Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem?

Both of these examples that are given by Luke, through inspiration of the Holy Spirit, conclude with the same words.

5 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

These words are meant to be frightening to the person, of any age, who remains comfortable in their sin. The reality of death, from womb to grave and all of life in between, is real and so is the reality of an eternity separated from God and His love for those who resist God’s call to repentance and continue on their own path covered in their own righteousness.

But those who have been called to faith cal joy in the knowledge that:

Jesus Christ reconciles the word unto himself!

Jesus then tells a parable about a fig tree and a man who had planted it. The idea here is that this man had planted it to … bear fruit. He wanted figs and he had found none.


I have a Silver Maple shade tree in my backyard which had provided great shade to my house in the summer. It stopped producing leaves and the shade that had kept us cool in the summer was gone. The tree had died and was of no value.

Prior to the trees death, we had had a few signs. One fall the leaves became a beautiful deep red. We thought it was a good sign but later learned that this was a sign of distress. I took special food and tried to do what I could to help the tree survive. An arborist, who I had come and look at the tree, said that these trees, in a very common way, suffer from a girdled root syndrome which spins a root around itself, eventually choking itself and its food supply, leading to death. There isn’t much you can do about it. But, I said: “Lets leave it alone this year and I’ll feed and water around it and put fertilizer on it and if it doesn’t produce leaves and shade next year … I’ll cut it down.”

Trees that do not bear fruit are of little value to the owner of the property where they are planted.
The truth of this parable though is using only trees and fruit as an example to bring to mind the greater problem and the need of producing fruit in the lives of believers.

Jesus Christ has reconciled the word unto Himself and has called you to faith. But faith that is not fed nourished and strengthened eventually dies and like the fig tree in the parable, without figs, the fig tree is of little value.

You though are of great value.

Jesus Christ reconciles the word unto himself!

He calls you to repentance by his word of Law that shows you your sin. Have you sin which you fall back into daily? Is it great or small? The truth is as we read from our Lord’s lips:
“Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way?

Do you at times marginalize your sin? Do you at times, like me too, see the sin of homosexuality as grievous to the Lord but the sin of gossip tolerable?

Christ will not give up on you. He will dig around you and metaphorically put the manure of spiritual food around you so that you can feed and be filled and produce the fruit that leads to repentance and eternal life.


There is a story of uncertain origin that is a perfect focus for us during Lent and in our spiritual life in this world:

A certain medieval monk announced he would be preaching next Sunday evening on "The Love of God." As the shadows fell and the light ceased to come in through the cathedral windows, the congregation gathered. In the darkness of the altar, the monk lighted a candle and carried it to the crucifix. First of all, he illumined the crown of thorns, next, the two wounded hands, then the marks of the spear wound. In the hush that fell, he blew out the candle and left the chancel. There was nothing else to say.

Source Unknown.

Jesus Christ reconciles the word unto himself!

By the wounds that Jesus took upon Himself at the cross and because of His sinless life and death in your place you are forgiven. Though you die yet you will live. Whether productive or incapacitated, God has called you to faith and will sustain you through the trials of this world.

His love for you will continue to draw you by His Holy Spirit to look to his finished work producing faith that bears fruit in your life as God’s love in Christ produces fruit in you leading to your continued spiritual growth. Christ will feed you through his word and sacraments to life eternal in Him.

Though our bones, like the bones of all born in sin remain the same we have been given eternal life and the true and blessed hope of resurrection one day. We who believe will rise just as Jesus did on Easter Sunday and as Job has said, in chapter 19 vs 26:

And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God,

He is risen and so you too will rise in Him because:

Jesus Christ has reconciles the word unto himself!

In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit.


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