Trinity 5 (2014)
Delivered By
Pr. Mark D. Lovett
Delivered On
July 20, 2014
Central Passage
Luke 5:1-11

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

When the Lord Jesus grabbed Peter’s attention, Peter’s reaction was to confess his sinfulness and plead mercy. He got the mercy wrong. He wanted Jesus to leave. But that’s the world’s mercy which is really no mercy at all, as we heard last week. The world always asks Jesus to leave so that it can go on being comfortable in its sin. How does the world ask Jesus to leave – how do we ask Him to leave? By not attending His gathering. By telling our preachers what to preach instead of letting the Holy Spirit preach. By refusing admonition by our brothers and sisters because they’re sinners like we are. In short, we ask the Lord to leave by ignoring His holy word instead of holding it sacred and gladly hearing and learning it.

But Jesus’ mercy is that He doesn’t leave. He stayed and made Peter what he was not. He made him a child of God. He stays and makes you what you were not. He’s made you a child of God.

That’s what the absolution does. It makes you a child of God. The absolution, given most clearly and confidently in Holy Baptism, makes you a child of God. And whenever you are absolved, whenever Christ’s ministers and servants say to you, “I forgive you all your sins,” whenever the gospel promise of forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation comfort you in your affliction and free you from your guilt and shame, you are made and established as a child of God. This is the great love the Father has for us, that we should be called children of God.

The Son of God makes children of God by His Spirit, which cleanses us from all sin and guilt before God our Father. And having been made children of God, we follow the Son of God.

“Come, follow Me,” the Savior spake. Now what does it mean to follow Jesus? Does it mean to become a missionary? A preacher? Does it mean to volunteer more at church or teach Sunday school? Does it mean to carry your Bible around and talk to everyone about Jesus? Perhaps. Perhaps not. Jesus is the Child of God, the Son of God, so we as children of God must be like Him. And the only way we are like Jesus is if we share His Spirit and live by the Spirit.

And the Spirit of God bears witness to Jesus, the Son of God. The Holy Spirit preaches to the world that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, that He is King of kings. So, too, do we, for we share the same Spirit. We preach to the world by attending this gathering, preaching that Jesus is our Lord and that we are His. We proclaim His death until He comes in the future. We worship Him by receiving from Him His blessings and benediction.

We also preach to the world by having mercy. For that is the will of our Father in heaven. Jesus did not come to condemn the world but to save the world. So we, too, as children of God, do not condemn the world by point the world to Jesus that they might believe and be saved. We don’t do this by pointing out how wrong they are or how wicked and evil and ungodly they are, but by pointing out how merciful and kind our Savior is.

Peter was a wicked man. And while our Lord did not deny this, neither did the Lord show Peter all his sins and wickedness. He absolved him. The absolution means that Peter was a sinner. If he wasn’t a sinner he wouldn’t have needed the absolution. So, too, with us. But we don’t dwell on our sinfulness and sins. To dwell on them is to give power to the death and devil whose power is the law.

Now what does that mean, then? That we don’t worry about sinning or falling into wickedness. Not at all! Rather we stay awake and watch. We watch for the Christ who is coming to judge the quick and the dead. And as we watch, the way we watch is by remaining in Him, by hearing His word and receiving His blessings and benediction; by sharing in His Spirit.

The Spirit leads us the way we should go, which is to follow Jesus. We follow Him in showing mercy, we follow him in not condemning but forgiving. And we follow Him by praying to and doing the will of our Father in heaven.

And in doing this, we leave everything. It’s not hard to leave everything. It’s easy because the burden of Christ is easy. The way we leave everything is that we look to nothing but our heavenly Father for all good and provisions; for all that we need for this body and life. Your heavenly Father knows what you need and provides for you all things. Give thanks to Him through Christ Jesus, which is how we follow Jesus, too, and receive from Him all things: even eternal life. For not only do we follow the Son of God in mercy, forgiveness, and obedience to the Father, we follow Him through the grave and into eternal life.

+ In Nomine Iesu +