Monday, August 21, 2017

Sermon on Luke 19:41-48, for the 10th Sunday after Trinity, "He Himself is Our Peace"


·         Palm Sunday entry: meets both praise and rejection. Jesus weeps over the grim consequences of their rejection. Passing up a golden opportunity. As if shooting both the messenger and the doctor who holds the cure.
·         God’s heart—Jesus’ bitter anguish—you don’t know what you’re refusing! He sees a great evil coming upon them, that is now irreversible—the destruction of Jerusalem and this temple. And bitterest of all, was they were bringing this upon themselves by rejecting the things that make for peace. Jesus laments: “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side 44 and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.” (Luke 19:41-44)
·         Peace was presented to them—Jesus’ was God’s visitation to Israel, on earth. But they wanted to destroy Him. (still there were some who hung on His every word—captivated by Jesus). “peace” and “visitation” themes from Luke 1. Zechariah sings of coming Messiah: “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people”… “ because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” (Luke 1:68, 76-79). Also angels at Jesus’ birth came to sing of “peace on earth, good will to men” (Luke 2:14).
·         Ephesians (2:14) says “He Himself is our peace”. But they don’t know the things that make for peace. Blinded to them, rejecting Jesus, wanting to destroy Him. Threat to power and ego, exposing sin, greed. Casting out the money changers and corruption in the temple. Mockery of God. House of prayer, or den of thieves?
·         Bulletin quote asks, do we understand today where our peace comes from? Does Christ find people who want to know Him; His peace? Humbled to listen, and turn? Do we hear, or refuse His Word, when it corrects us for our “new bad habits or negligence?” Still today Jesus is a threat to our power, our ego, our greed. Still today He calls us to conform to His ways, not the ways of the world. But how often do we instead choose the things that make for war, for violence, for hatred, and strife? When God’s Word corrects us, are we confessing those things to God, or do we refuse the message? Does Jesus mourn over us? Find a house of prayer or den of robbers? What’s in our heart? Repenting, or defying Jesus? Following Him with praises, or mocking His teachings.
·         Our country is filled with strife, stoking tensions and inflaming emotions. Ugly riots last weekend displayed hatred, racism, escalating into violence and a murderous act of terrorism. Anger, clubs, fists, and violence ruled the day, instead of respect for life or attempts at peace. “Do we know the things that make for peace?” It seems clear that we do not. Public square, homes, churches, the devil is always ready to stoke conflict and division. People may scoff at the peace that Jesus brings—but so they did on the Palm Sunday Jesus rode in.
·         Peace of Jesus: Forgiveness of sins, His payment for our wrongs; peace the world cannot give, peace with God, ministry of reconciliation to work in us to reconcile with one another. Love, respect, value for life, all the foundations of peace that Jesus brings and establishes. How well have our human solutions for peace worked? What have they brought? Some people blame religion for wars, but Jesus never promoted His mission by warfare, violence, or hatred, and all who do so invalidate their claims and can never truly claim His name.
·         “…Did not know the time of your visitation” Law visitations, gospel visitations. Jesus was on earth to bring Gospel, good news, mercy—but it was rejected. Because of this rejection, Jerusalem would be horribly destroyed, with all its inhabitants. Massive death toll in 70 AD, starvation, in-fighting, siege. All the warnings went unheeded.
·         “But all the people were hanging on His words.” A remnant believed. For them Jesus’ visitation was still gracious and for blessing. Jesus knows we need His peace, His merciful visitation. He weeps for those who reject Him—does not weep for His own death, but goes forward uncomplaining.  Bears our sins, buries them in His grave.
·         Another day of visitation coming: Jesus’ 2nd return—Judgment and salvation. Some for blessing—all who long and hope for His return. Some for judgment, who despise His Word, turn away from peace. He warns that before this return, all sorts of evil must befall the world. And today as we see wars and rumors of wars, and the love of many growing cold, just as Jesus said, our hearts can become burdened and heavy. But Jesus is the one “to guide our feet into the way of peace.” And do not forget that He is still alive! He calls us to cast our burdens on Him, and to lift up our heads for our redemption draws near.  We do not need to be afraid, because all who long for His redemption will find it, and once again we may sing with Zechariah: Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people!  Amen, Come Lord Jesus!


Sermon Talking Points
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  1. Luke 19:41-48 follows just after Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday (19:28-40). Who accepted Jesus’ coming, and who rejected it? (19:37-39). As Jesus faced His coming death on the cross, who was He weeping for? Luke 19:41-42. What was deeply tragic about their rejection? What were they pushing away or refusing? Luke 19:42, 44.
  2. What are “the things that make for peace?” Who guides people into the “way of peace?” Luke 1:77-79; 2:14; 10:5-6; Acts 10:36; Romans 14:17-19 (see also Isaiah 2:4). What kind of peace does Jesus bring? John 14:27; 16:33; Romans 16:20.
  3. Why do we lack peace today? Who blinded the eyes of the people, and why? John 12:37-43. How were some of the people still responding positively to Jesus’ teachings? Luke 19:48. What would it have looked like if the entire response of the people (and leaders) had been positive to Jesus’ coming/visitation? How would they have received His teaching? His cleansing of the Temple?
  4. What horrible fate was coming their way? Luke 19:43-44. What happened in 70 AD was the brutal and total destruction of Jerusalem, and enormous numbers of inhabitants died from war, starvation, and infighting.
  5. What is the significance of Jesus’ phrase in v. 44 about “the time of your visitation?” What “visit” is it talking about? Cf. Luke 1:68, 78; 7:16. What determines whether the “visitation” is for “Law purposes” or “Gospel purposes?” ex. Luke 1:68; Exodus 32:34
  6. How was God’s Temple being corrupted and misused?
  7. Though Jesus is mourning Jerusalem and prophesying destruction, yet He is also the only hope for their salvation, and when He was “destroyed” by the leaders, He destroyed sin and death. How was Jesus’ visitation purposeful and powerful to accomplish all He aimed? What did He accomplish? 

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