Cyber Lutheran - Christian Broadcasts, On-line Church
Home | Activities | Beliefs | Contact Us | Links | Mission | Pastor | Preschool | Sermon | SermonArchive
BETHLEHEM LUTHERAN CHURCH: | Mason City, Iowa USA | Pastor Mark Lavrenz

Jul 9, 2017  SERMON ARCHIVE

Sunday Sermon - Pastor Lavrenz Stained Glass - Communion

Grace, mercy and peace to you from God our Heavenly Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, AMEN

The text for our meditation today is the Gospel Lesson for this 5th Sunday after Pentecost, Matthew 11:25-30. There we read these words:

At that time Jesus declared, "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

We begin in the name of Jesus, AMEN

I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was Your gracious will.

When Jesus says "little children" in this Gospel, He is using a Greek word that does not speak about a child’s age or size, as would "infant" or "adolescent" or "teenager." When He says "little children" here, Jesus is using a single word that means "legal minors" or "people unspoiled by experience" or "people unable to be held responsible."

"Little children"; legal minors unspoiled by experience and unaccountable for their own actions: This is truly a magnificent Word from God, one that will comfort you and console you, no matter what you have experienced in your life. Jesus calls you and every Christian "little children" in this Gospel.

With this Word, Jesus wants you to know and never to doubt that your heavenly Father now considers you a minor, unspoiled by experience and unable to be held responsible for what you have done. Perhaps you should even think of this Gospel as a baptismal Gospel, because it gives you a very such good way of thinking about your Baptism:

1. In Baptism, God washed away from you the soil of your life’s experiences, along with whatever wisdom or maturity you might foolishly think you have accumulated over time.

2. In Baptism, God changed your status. He made you into a legal minor in the court His own divine Law. By the power of your Baptism you are now someone who cannot be held responsible for his or her own actions. SOMEONE ELSE now bears that responsibility FOR YOU: Jesus is the Lamb of God who took away the sins of the whole world, even yours.

Stained Glass Baptism Window

I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was Your gracious will.

Jesus says two words in this Gospel that are absolutely essential for you, if you are to see yourself as one the "little children"—one of those legal minors—He is speaking about. The two essential words for you are "these things." Listen again: "I thank You, Father… that You have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children."

What are "these things" that God the Father has hidden from the wise and revealed to little children legal minors? In order to know what Jesus means by the words "these things," you have to go backward a short distance in Matthew’s Book.

Just prior to today’s Gospel, Jesus had been talking about the way the most people regarded both John the Baptist and Jesus Himself. John and Jesus are the "these things" in today’ Gospel.

"Among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist," said Jesus (Matthew 11:11). Yet most of the people who listened to John’s preaching considered themselves to be wise and understanding. Because they thought themselves so wise and understanding, these people did not believe John was a prophet. They thought John had a demon (Matthew 11:18).

Who believes that John was a prophet? According to today’s Gospel, "little children" do. Those people who are yet unsoiled by experience and unable to be held accountable for their own actions—they believe John was a prophet. "I thank You, Father… that You have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children."

So here is the first test that you can use to see if you are one of the "little children" in today’s Gospel: Do you believe John the Baptist was a prophet sent from God? Only "little children" believe such things. If you believe John was a prophet, you therefore may be confident that you are one of the "little children" in today’s Gospel.

As they treated John, the so-called "wise and understanding" likewise treated Jesus. They did not believe Jesus was the Son of Man, the Promised Christ prophesied of old. Just prior to today’s Gospel, Jesus said that, because "the Son of Man came eating and drinking… they [the so-called wise and understanding] say, ‘Look at Him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!" (Matthew 11:19)

Who believes that Jesus is the Son of Man, the Promised Christ sent from God the Father? According to today’s Gospel, "little children" do. Those people who are yet unsoiled by experience and unable to be held accountable for their own actions—they believe Jesus is the Son of Man. "I thank You, Father… that You have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children."

So here is the second test that you can use to see if you can consider yourself to be one of the "little children" in today’s Gospel: Do you believe Jesus is the Son of Man, that is, the Promised Christ who is also the source of your forgiveness and life? Only "little children" believe such things. If you believe Jesus is the Son, you therefore may be confident beyond all doubt that you are one of the "little children" Jesus is speaking about in today’s Gospel.

Stained Glass Confirmation Window

"Little children": your Lord Jesus have a very great blessing for you in this Greek word that means "legal minors" or "people unspoiled by experience" or "people unable to be held responsible."

When Jesus calls you a little child, He is not talking down to you or speaking diminutively to you, as if it were a bad thing to regarded in this way. When He calls you a little child, Jesus is cleansing you and releasing you from your burden and responsibility. With the word "little children," Jesus is setting you free from your life’s experiences and He is tearing you away from whatever wisdom or maturity you might foolishly think you have accumulated.

I say it again: When Jesus says "little children" to you in this Gospel, He is using a Greek word that does not speak about a child’s age or size, as would "infant" or "adolescent" or "teenager." When He says "little children" here, Jesus is using a single word that means "legal minors" or "people unspoiled by experience" or "people unable to be held responsible."

My eyes have been filled with sights that I now wish they had not. Perhaps yours have, also. My hands have performed actions that make me wish I never had a pair of hands. Likely yours have, too. My mind has gone places and my body has experienced things that are shameful even to remember, much less to admit.

Listen to what Jesus calls you here in today’s Gospel: "little child." With this Word, Jesus wants you to know that you now are someone who has been unsoiled and unspoiled by experience. Jesus’ powerful Word and His miraculous Baptism continually cleanse you of your sins and they wash away your experiences. Because you are baptized by Jesus, you now stand right next to Him (Matthew 19:13) young and innocent and naïve and even inexperienced.

Today I celebrate my twentieth anniversary of ordination into the pastoral office. Big Whoop! While I would like to think that I am older and wiser—maybe even a tad more mature—today’s Gospel teaches me not to be fooled by wisdom and understanding.

The wise and understanding do not get it! Only "little children" do. Neither your experience nor mine will improve our Christianity.

Only God’s revelation of Christ Jesus in His powerful Word can do that. Only God’s miracle of Baptism can give us any wisdom that matters. Only God’s miracle of Holy Communion can open our eyes to know and to understand all the more Jesus and His ongoing care for us.

Christ Is Risen.

Luther Rose

 

Christ Is Risen
Go to top