"Thou camest to our hall of death" (LSB 834.3) - Christ broke into our sinful world, exemplified in the early months of Jesus' ministry (Gospel reading). Noteworthy: early in the Gospels are many miracles, decreasing in number as He approaches the main purpose: His sacrificial death and saving resurrection (Rom. 5:10). The Greek word for this action, "compassion," sounds like and literally means guts/innards (transliteration: splagchna).In retrospect, this sermon is excellent for Fathers' Day, for a pastor is indeed a spiritual father for his congregation.
Jesus came to be the Good Shepherd, to lay down His perfect life for an utterly sinful people who can never apart from Him live up to God's law's standards. Our sinfulness pained Him - He felt splagchna for us. God no longer holds our burden of imperfection and spiritual harassment above us. Instead, the good news comes precisely to those who are spiritually harassed.
"The laborers are few" - Jesus gives His Spirit to the apostles to preach the world's shortest sermon (10:7). In this world of anti-authoritarianism and informality, Christ named only a few (pastors) to be ministers of the kingdom.
The laborers are worthy of their hire - God promised to care for them. Congregations support pastors who have been sent to them. Messengers needed to take no gold or silver. Shaking dust from their sandals was the ultimate insult. Unbelieving towns' dust wasn't worthy to be even on the messengers' sandals!
The message guarantees persecution when properly preached (e.g. 2 Timothy 3:12). Remember this; Jesus is the only way into heaven, and pastors are to be wise as serpents, yet innocent as doves. Pray that pastors get this wisdom. The Spirit of our Father will give them what to say - no need for pastors' own wit. Do they preach God's word and that alone? Do they preach Christ crucified? If so, good.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Readings: Psalm 67, Exodus 19:2-8, Romans 5:6-15, and Matthew 9:35-10:20 (sermon text).