Pentecost 6 – "Dealing With Rejection" – Luke 9:51-62 – 6/26/16


“When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.”

rejection1This is the great turning point in Luke’s gospel. Luke has organized his gospel of Jesus Christ geographically. Everything up to this point in Jesus’ adult ministry has taken place in the region of Galilee.

But now Jesus begins to make His way from Galilee to Jerusalem. He’s on a JOURNEY. It’s a JOURNEY that began in heaven and proceeded through the virgin’s womb and through His baptism in the Jordan River. He spent a good deal of time in the region of Galilee in villages such as Capernaum and Chorazin and His hometown of Nazareth.

But the destination had always been Jerusalem. And the timetable was the Festival of Passover. It had been scheduled before there was evening and morning the first day. He was to be the Passover Lamb that was slain for the sin of the world.

The plan is for us to follow Jesus on this JOURNEY to Jerusalem. Actually, as much as it’s possible, we want to JOURNEY along with Him, not as a spectator but as a participant. St. Luke is our tour guide and although he includes more than this, we’re going to make 22 stops along the way including today. The journey ends at the cross, just outside the city of Jerusalem.

Along the way Jesus will encounter lots of interesting people, some with physical issues, some with spiritual issues. He’ll meet some who are jealous, some who are afraid of change, especially the change that He seems to want to bring. He’ll meet some who are weak and some who are strong and some who are caught somewhere in between. And hopefully, at several places along the way, He’ll meet you and me.

So, enough of the introduction. The journey begins. “When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.”

The first stop along the way is Samaria. Continue reading

Posted in Audio Sermons, Sermons - Lutheran - LCMS | Leave a comment

Pentecost 5 – "What Have You To Do With Me?" – Luke 8:26-39 – 6/19/16


I think that you probably feel the same way that I do, the world is going crazy. It’s insane. And I know that every generation since Noah has said the same thing – ‘how much worse can it get?’ And every ‘next generation’ seems to take that as a challenge. And yesterday’s insanity becomes today’s normal at quicker and quicker rate and the spiral spins faster and sucks more poor souls into it and where will it end? And when will it end?

And will God finally say ‘ENOUGH’ and turn His back and walk away and leave us without hope? Because if we were God, that’s what we’d do. But thankfully, “my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Is. 55:8-9)

And so it is that we find our Lord, Jesus Christ, not fleeing but sailing right into the insanity. “Then they sailed to the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee.” Continue reading

Posted in Audio Sermons, Sermons - Lutheran - LCMS | Comments Off on Pentecost 5 – "What Have You To Do With Me?" – Luke 8:26-39 – 6/19/16

Pentecost 4 – "Forgiven Much to Love Much" – Luke 7:36-50 – 6/12/16


It was common practice for the Pharisees of a local synagogue to invite the visiting Rabbi to dinner the night before worship. A good chance for them to get a preview of what Scriptures the Rabbi would be preaching on and formulate some clever questions or additional insights to add that would make them look real “smaht” in front of all the people.

“One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and took a place at the table.”

Law as MirrorAt these pre-Sabbath dinners, the Rabbi was always the special guest and was treated with a special courtesy. But not here. This Pharisee didn’t even extend his guest the common courtesy of a bowl of water for him to wash his feet. Nor greet him with the customary kiss on the cheek. Nor anoint him with some perfumed oil to refresh him and cover the smell of sweat.

The word on the street was that this Rabbi was a “friend of tax collectors and sinners.” (Lk. 7:34) And that great crowds were calling Him a ‘great prophet.’ (Lk. 7:16)

But “FRIEND OF TAX COLLECTORS AND SINNERS” and “GREAT PROPHET” were contradictory terms. There was something wrong about this Rabbi. What seminary did he graduate from anyway?

And yet, this Pharisee invites this Rabbi to come to house for dinner. And as we’ll see, there are others there too. Other Pharisees. Witnesses that will testify to what they hear and see.

Luke gives us none of the chit-chat between host and guest before dinner. He just says that He entered and “he took his place at the table.” Literally, He ‘reclined’ at table. It’s a strange position that you and I probably couldn’t hold for as long as it takes to say, ‘please pass the peas.’ Seated on a cushion, leaning on one elbow, feet extended behind you. (We should appreciate chairs more than we do.)

And then, at some point during the meal, “Behold!” “Idu.”

Whenever you hear the word, “Behold” it always means something shocking and unexpected is about to happen, as in, “Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son and you shall call his name, Jesus…” (Luke 1:31) Or “Behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel and said, ‘why do look for the living among the dead, he is not here, he is risen!” (Lk.23:14) Or “behold, I am making all things new.” (Rev. 21:5)

“Behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house…”

“She brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment.”

Who is this woman and what moved her to behave like this? Luke doesn’t tell us who she is or what happened that moved to do the daring thing and her barge in on this dinner just to see Jesus and spend this precious bottle of ointment on Him. We can only imagine.

Whatever it was, it must have been deeply personal and meaningful to her that on seeing him she’s overcome with emotion. She’s bawling her eyes out as she gets down on her hands and knees behind him. Her head is hanging over his dirty feet and her tears are splashing down on them. She has forfeited all sense of pride and self-dignity, and begins to wipe his dirty, wet feet with her hair. And then she opens the alabaster flask of perfume and pours it onto his feet.

“How beautiful the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation…” (Isaiah 52:7)

Jesus has brought her some GOOD NEWS – some Gospel. He has proclaimed peace and brought good tidings and announced salvation TO HER. We don’t know any of the details but we do know that it must have been something very special, very life changing. And we say that only because of the way she is acting here. She’s not acting this way SO THAT Jesus might give her some GOOD NEWS. This is the FRUIT that the gospel bears.

Simon however sees it much differently. “Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw who was touching him, he said to himself, ‘If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.”

There are plenty of cases in the Gospels where Jesus blasts the Pharisees for their arrogance and self-righteousness – ‘white washed tombs full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness,’ for example. But that’s not the way He responds to this Pharisee on this night. He tells Simon a parable in the hope that Simon might turn and respond differently.

“Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, ‘say it Rabbi.’ “A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denari, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon answered, ‘The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.’ And he said to him, ‘You have judged rightly.’

It’s a very short parable. Very simple and straightforward. Not a lot of details to keep track of. Two debtors. One has racked up the equivalent of 100 weeks wages, the other 10 weeks.

100 weeks wages in debt. It’s not too hard to imagine how that might happen. A business failure. A medical emergency with no health insurance. Your house burns down or is destroyed in a flood and no home owners insurance. Just like that, you’re 100 weeks wages in debt. And how will you ever pay that off?

As for the other, I’ll be the average American has at least 10 weeks wages racked up on his credit cards.

But the lender decided to cancel the debts of both.

Simon certainly understands that Jesus is making a comparison between this woman and himself. She is the 500 denari debtor and he is the 50 denari debtor. And although Simon may disagree with Jesus’ assessment of his own debt, he at least appreciates the fact that Jesus is perceptive enough to see that Simon is only 1/10th the sinner as this woman. Or as he would probably prefer to put it, ten times better than her.

But Jesus turns that completely around. He doesn’t disagree that this woman is the 500 denari debtor in His little story. She is. And Simon is clearly the 50 denari debtor in the story. But He turns this Pharisee’s world upside-down by saying that it’s the 500 denari debtor who is in a better position before God than the 50. “Now which of them will love him more?”

“The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” Jesus has caught his host in his own words. “Isn’t this why you showed me such little common courtesy compared to the great love this woman has showered on me, Simon? You’re ‘little sin’ renders you incapable of ‘much love’ because all that you know is ‘little forgiveness.’

“But this woman ‘loves much’ because her sins were GREAT. “Forgiveness” of all her debt means release from the dungeon, HOPE FROM HOPELESSNESS, and a new life, “God loves even ME.” That’s why she treats me as she does and why treat me as you do.”

So Simon, who is in a better position before God? You or this woman?”

“The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” “You have judged rightly.” THE GREATER THE SIN THE GREATER THE FORGIVENESS. THE GREATER THE FORGIVENESS THE GREATER THE LOVE. That’s the way it works in the Kingdom of God.

The way to increase your love is to increase your sin which makes the forgiveness like a banquet to a starving man as opposed to desert after dinner and ‘it’s looks good but I’m pretty full right now.’

Which doesn’t mean that we should SIN ALL THE MORE so that GRACE MAY ABOUND ALL THE MORE and our LOVE INCREASE ALL THE MORE. It means that we should stop pretending and stop kidding ourselves. “If we say that we have no sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.”

While everyone else is trying to prove how much better they are compared to everyone else and they’re not really THAT BAD and at least their not like THAT SINNER, Jesus wants us to see that “there is no distinction, for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” (Rom. 3:23).

It does you no good to dull the razor sharp edge of the Law so that it won’t cut you so deeply. Let the Law INCREASE YOUR SIN. Let it MAGNIFY YOUR UGLINESS. Let it COMPOUND YOUR GUILT, that the FORGIVENESS OF YOUR SINS MAY BE SWEETER THAN HONEY, and that you may LOVE MUCH.

This is what St. Paul is getting at when he writes to the Romans, “The Law was added SO THAT THE TRESPASS MIGHT INCREASE.” How counter-intuitive to fallen man is that?

The Law is there, not as a LADDER TO CLIMB to get closer to God, or as a guide to separate the sinner from the saint. It’s the mirror of God that, if you will look into it HONESTLY, shows us what we really look like before God who is holy and says ‘YOU SHALL BE HOLY.”


This is no CHEAP GRACE against which we have borrowed so heavily. God doesn’t just make an ‘ADJUSTING ENTRY’ in the books and use His divine erasure to rub out the debt that we owe and write in a zero balance due. The debt that we could never repay and that would send every one of us to prison forever was paid in full by God Himself in the life of His only begotten, dearly loved Son, Jesus Christ.

If you want to see YOURSELF BEFORE GOD, and how UGLY you are, just look at Jesus Christ and Him crucified. That is YOUR SIN THAT HE BEARS for you. That is YOUR HELL HE SUFFERS for you. That is YOUR DEATH HE DIES for you. This is YOUR DEBT HE PAYS for you.

“You see this woman, Simon? You want to know why she is acting this way? It’s because she has been FORGIVEN MUCH. But Simon, THE ONE WHO LOVES LITTLE, SHOWS HOW LITTLE THEY HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN.”

“And He said to her, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’

“Those who were there said among themselves, ‘Who is this, who even forgives sins?’ Don’t expect much love from them.

But what about Simon? How did he respond? Luke doesn’t tell us. He leaves us hanging, wondering. How will this go?

And what about us? How will it go for us when He invites us to ‘eat with him’ and serves us His body and His blood, given and shed FOR YOU for the forgiveness of your sins? Forgiven much or forgiven little?

Posted in Audio Sermons, Sermons - Lutheran - LCMS | Comments Off on Pentecost 4 – "Forgiven Much to Love Much" – Luke 7:36-50 – 6/12/16

Pentecost 3 – "A Sermon on Abortion" – Matthew 5:21-22- 6/5/16


Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord, Jesus Christ.

How to begin a sermon on “Abortion”? A ‘sermon’ on ‘abortion’ is neither a political speech on the laws of the land and how they should be changed. Nor is it the protest speech that is heard outside of an abortion clinic. Which is not to say that either doesn’t have their time and place. Just not here.

So, how to begin a ‘sermon’ on ‘abortion’? Let’s begin with Webster and a definition of abortion. “Abortion – the termination of a pregnancy after, accompanied by, resulting in, or closely followed by the death of the embryo or fetus.”

potentialAs it turns out, this is a pretty good place to begin a ‘sermon’ on ‘abortion. “The termination of a pregnancy…followed by the death of the embryo or fetus.” I suspect that that’s a definition that not everyone would agree with. By saying, ‘the death of the embryo or fetus,’ Webster is making an assumption that the ‘embryo or fetus’ was alive – a living being. Not everyone would agree with that.

There are several questions at the heart of the abortion issue, but one of the central questions is, ‘is the embryo or fetus’ that is aborted a ‘living being’ or not. Because if it is, then ‘abortion’ is the taking of a life. And we call that ‘murder.’ Webster defines ‘murder’ as, ‘the crime of deliberately killing a person.’

In all fairness, I highly doubt that vast majority of those who are ‘pro-abortion’ or ‘pro-choice’ are in favor of ‘murder.’ Nor are they arguing that it is a woman’s right to commit ‘murder.’ Let’s go so far as to say that if they actually believed that abortion was ‘murder,’ they would be firmly opposed to the practice.

This is why even ‘pro-choice’ and ‘pro-abortion’ supporters become less and less ‘pro’ as the fetus reaches a certain age. Why? Because at some point it becomes a ‘living human being’ and to end it’s ‘life’ in such a ‘premeditated’ way would constitute ‘murder.’ And no one is ‘pro-murder.’

This is why ‘ultrasounds’ are so effective. When a woman and a man who may have been considering an abortion sees the baby and its development as a ‘living human being’ instead of just ‘fetal tissue’ it’s a game changer. Continue reading

Posted in Audio Sermons, Sermons - Lutheran - LCMS | Comments Off on Pentecost 3 – "A Sermon on Abortion" – Matthew 5:21-22- 6/5/16

Trinity Sunday – "Do You Believe In God?" – 5/22/16


ibig--i-believe-in-god-77705146If I were to ask you this morning if you believe in God, I’m sure that you would all say, ‘yes.’ If there are any atheists in the congregation this morning, I apologize for lumping you in with the rest of us theists.

For all who said, ‘yes, I believe in God,’ I say, ‘that’s great. So does the devil. So do the Muslims, the Mormons, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Unitarians and the Jews.’ And so do your boyfriends and girlfriends and friends and neighbors and coworkers who are none of the above but who don’t hesitate to jump into religious discussions, because after all, they believe in God.

As the Psalmist says, “The fool says in his heart, ‘there is no god.” (Ps.14:1; 53:1) And no one wants to being a fool.

So, what I really should have asked you this morning is not, ‘do you believe in God,’ but, ‘what God do you believe in?’ And it’s at that point that all of the happy unity that we THINK WE SHARE with all BELIEVERS quickly becomes an argument about ‘who’s got the REAL god and why it really, really matters.

But then again, who’s to say? Maybe it really, really DOESN’T MATTER. Maybe all gods are basically the same, and all religions are basically the same, just different roads that all lead to the same place. Different strokes for different folks. For the sake of peace and harmony, let’s all ‘agree to disagree.’

That of course is a long way from saying what WE just said, “Whoever will be saved shall, above all else, hold the catholic faith. Which faith, except everyone keeps WHOLE AND UNDEFILED, without doubt he will perish eternally.” The “catholic faith” is then spelled out in great detail. “And the catholic faith is this, that we worship one God, in three persons and the three persons in one God, neither confusing the persons nor dividing the substance…” etc. etc. etc. And then we concluded by saying, “This is the catholic faith which, EXCEPT A MAN BELIEVE FAITHFULLY AND FIRMLY, HE CANNOT BE SAVED.” (Athanasian Creed). Continue reading

Posted in Audio Sermons, Sermons - Lutheran - LCMS | 1 Comment

Pentecost – "The Particular Work of the Holy Spirit" – Acts 2:1-21 – 5/15/16


PentecostHolySpiritOf all of the great holidays on the church’s calendar, the Day of Pentecost may well be the most mysterious of them all:
On Christmas, we celebrate the birth of a baby. We know all about that. Happens all the time.
On Good Friday, we celebrate the death of that same baby now a man. Death is something that we’re very familiar with.
On Easter we celebrate the resurrection of that man from the dead. A bit more mysterious maybe but we see it all the time, particularly around this time of year as the flowers and grass and leaves that died in the winter come to life again in the spring.
On Ascension we celebrate the bodily ascension of our Lord out of sight. But we’ve gotten so used to flying by now.

But the day of Pentecost? What are we to make of that? The SOUND “like a might rushing wind” that’s all sound and no wind and comes from within the “house where they were sitting.” “Tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.” And a fisherman preaches and the crowds shouts, ‘SAVE US.’ And 3000 are drown and die while they’re still alive and are raised from the dead before they’re buried.

It’s all pretty mysterious. How do you explain it?

That was the question of those who were there. ‘And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, in good Lutheran style, “what does this mean?”

Some wanted to take the MYSTERY out of it by giving a perfectly rational explanation. “They are filled with new wine.” Ever notice how often we try to take the ‘mystery’ out of the ‘mystery.’ We’re always trying to EXPLAIN things and solve the MYSTERY. Because if it remains a MYSTERY, then we have to admit that it just might be bigger than we are, and we don’t like that. Explaining it gives us some sense of control over it.

Peter squashes their perfectly rational explanation by adding MYSTERY on top of MYSTERY. “This is what was uttered through the prophet Joel: And IN THE LAST DAYS it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh…”

Did you catch that? Joel said that “God said I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh… IN THE LAST DAYS.” So, the Day of Pentecost is the big kick off to the ‘LAST DAYS…’ When you see the SPIRIT POURED OUT ON ALL FLESH, God is wrapping up the work that He completed on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Continue reading

Posted in Audio Sermons, Sermons - Lutheran - LCMS | Comments Off on Pentecost – "The Particular Work of the Holy Spirit" – Acts 2:1-21 – 5/15/16

Easter 7 – " Jesus Prays For The Church" – John 17:20-26 – 5/8/16


The setting for our gospel reading this morning is, once again, the Upper Room. Just to give you an idea of the significance of what takes place in the Upper Room, we note that John devotes 5 full chapters of his gospel to it. That’s over a quarter of his gospel, devoted solely to the couple of hours that Jesus spent with His apostles in the Upper Room. And John doesn’t even spill any ink on the institution of the Lord’s Supper, knowing that Matthew, Mark and Luke have already covered that thoroughly enough.

John records what Jesus said. It’s all teaching and final instruction. Until we come to the 17th chapter. Still set in the Upper Room, John begins this chapter by telling us that the teaching and final instructions are done. He writes, “When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said…”

Before leaving the Upper Room to go the garden of Gethsemane for His eternally scheduled appointment with Judas and the soldiers and the High Priest, and Governor and the cross and the tomb, HE PRAYS. We call this pray that Jesus prays His ‘HIGH PRIESTLY PRAYER.’ Here we see our HIGH PRIEST praying to God the Father.

First, He prays briefly for Himself. “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son that he Son may glorify you…” (17:1)

And then He prays for “THEM.” And the “THEM” includes His apostles who are in the Upper Room with Him. Continue reading

Posted in Audio Sermons, Sermons - Lutheran - LCMS | Comments Off on Easter 7 – " Jesus Prays For The Church" – John 17:20-26 – 5/8/16

Ascension – "The Ascension of Our Lord" – Luke 24:50-52 – 5/5/16

There is much about this Christian faith that is entirely unreasonable. Christians are asked to believe certain things that are hard to believe. For examples, virgins do not conceive and have babies. Crucified men who have had a spear plunged into their heart don’t rise from the dead as fit as a fiddle three days later. And human beings don’t fly without the aid of wings or propellers or jet engines.

The unbeliever laughs. And who can blame them really? But every Sunday and at lots of other times, you and I say, “I believe it.” “I believe in Jesus Christ… born of the virgin Mary… He rose again according to the Scriptures… and ascended into heaven…and comes again to judge…”

What kind of mind hears stuff like this and says, “I believe it?” It is the mind that the Scriptures call the “renewed mind.” The unbeliever calls it a crazy mind. But we say, “Thanks be to God that He has renewed my mind so that I may believe the unbelievable and find real hope in such incredible claims.”

Martin Luther says, “The more reason dwells on [the ascension], the more it seems that it is not true. For human reason cannot grasp it; that a man of flesh and blood has gone up into heaven and become a Lord over all creatures and has equal power with God. Many barely believe such things of God not to mention a human being. Therefore, in matters of faith, which treat the divine nature and will and our salvation, close your eyes and ears and all your senses and only hear and diligently pay attention to what and how the Scriptures speak of it.”

In other words, it’s perfectly okay to relax and believe the unbelievable about Jesus Christ simply because “the bible tells me so.” Don’t worry if this sounds childish or even naïve. Jesus has so completely turned the wisdom of this age on its head, that it is the little child who sets the standard for us all to emulate. Continue reading

Posted in Sermons - Lutheran - LCMS | Comments Off on Ascension – "The Ascension of Our Lord" – Luke 24:50-52 – 5/5/16

St. Philip and St. James – Apostles – "Show Us The Father" – John 14:8-14 – 5/1/16


Today, we ‘honor’ two of the apostles of Jesus Christ. Well, maybe ‘honor’ isn’t quite the right word. You ‘honor’ someone for something ‘honorable’ that they have done, like we ‘honor’ those who have served in the military or we ‘honor’ someone for inventing something or discovering something or doing something that made this world a better place to live.

But it’s hard to think about the apostles of Jesus Christ like that – at least before the day of Pentecost. Jesus doesn’t choose them to be His disciples because they possessed some particular skill or gift that would be beneficial to His ministry.

In fact, if anything, the gospels seem to go out of their way to present the apostles as men who are particularly inept and unqualified for discipleship. These 12 men show a propensity for asking bad questions, saying the wrong things and demonstrating acts of cowardice and even betrayal for financial gain.

If they are due any ‘honor’ at all, it is simply that Jesus Christ called them by the gospel and invited them to be His disciple and follow Him. “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide…” (John 15:16)

At His ascension into heaven, (which we will celebrate this Thursday evening at 7:00pm), Jesus will commission these 12 men minus Judas to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Mat.28:19-20). That’s quite a burden of responsibility that He places on them. Them who have shown little to no evidence that they are able to do what He is sending them to do.

But it is neither the skill nor the character of these men that Jesus is counting on. He will send the Holy Spirit to them. And on the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit “will guide them into all truth” and send them out to preach and teach and baptize, AND HERE WE ARE TODAY, “members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.” (Eph. 2:19-20).

So, today we honor 2 of the 12 simply for the fact that Jesus choose them and taught them and the Holy Spirit sent them. Continue reading

Posted in Audio Sermons, Sermons - Lutheran - LCMS | Comments Off on St. Philip and St. James – Apostles – "Show Us The Father" – John 14:8-14 – 5/1/16

Easter 5 – "Enduring Our 'Little Whiles'" – John 16:16-22


The scene is the Upper Room on the night when He would be betrayed. The timer that God set before the creation of the world was ticking down to its final hours. It was time for the Son of God to atone for the sin of the world and reconcile all things to the Father by giving His life as a ransom for many.

“A little while, and you will see me no longer and again a little while, and you will see me.” ‘So some of his disciples said to one another, ‘What is this that he says to us, ‘A little while and you will not see me, and again a little while, and you will see me,; and ‘because I am going to the Father’? So they were saying, ‘What does he mean by ‘a little while?” We do not know what he is talking about.”

There will come a day when they will go, “Oh yea. Now I get it.” And all the confusion and all the doubt and all the “we don’t know what he is talking about,” explodes in wonder and awe and joy. But until then, they must endure their ‘little while.’

From the Upper Room they will go to the Garden of Gethsemane. While Jesus sweats drops of blood in prayer, they will sleep. High Priests and soldiers led by Judas will invade the Garden and bind Him and take Him into their custody and – they will see Him no longer. But their ‘no longer’ will last only ‘a little while.’ Three days.

Wouldn’t it be nice if all of our trials and troubles and pain and suffering was over and done with in under 72 hours? It begins on Friday night. It’s all over by daybreak Sunday morning.

If only we knew how long “a little while” lasts – we could endure it, we could manage it. No matter how bad it might be, if you know how long it’s going to last we can be patient and wait. But patience and waiting is hard when you don’t know how long “a little while” lasts.

The Psalmist cries out to God, “HOW LONG, O Lord! Will you forget me forever? HOW LONG will you hide your face from me? HOW LONG must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? HOW LONG will my enemy be exalted over me?” (Psalm 13:1-2). It is as though if only he knew HOW LONG, then he could wait patiently and endure it faithfully.

All of us are faced with our own “little whiles” throughout our life. Luther writes, “Here on earth, Christians experience an ever-recurring alternation of ‘a little while and again a little while.’ Now it is dark night; soon it is day again. Therefore the lamenting does not have to last forever, even though it seems and feels that way when we are in it.”

behind_the_mask_iii_by_dinemizThere has been a movement afoot in the church for quite some time that has tried to deny these ‘little whiles’ of pain and suffering and despair that we believers experience from time to time. It’s movement that has been around at least since the days of Job. It says something to the effect that if you were a ‘real believer’ and if you had ‘real faith,’ then you wouldn’t experience these ‘little whiles’ of suffering and grief and depression. Continue reading

Posted in Audio Sermons, Sermons - Lutheran - LCMS | Comments Off on Easter 5 – "Enduring Our 'Little Whiles'" – John 16:16-22