Sunday, June 28, 2020

Pentecost 4 - Proper 8

28 June, 2020
Matthew 10:39 


Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. Matthew 10:39

Decatur, Indiana. Our fair city. Is the home of the world's first monument dedicated exclusively to peace. Lady peace stands in the yard of the Adams County Courthouse. [1] 

This little known fact is quite compelling in light of the Savior’s words from our Gospel for today. He speaks quite plainly; “I did not come to bring peace by a sword.” 

Jesus calls upon His disciples to take up the cross and to lose themselves in His cause. King Ahab called Elijah the “troubler of Israel” because he demanded justice and obedience to God. 

Christ was a troubler in His day. — He cleansed the temple, broke the Sabbath law of the Pharisees by healing on it. He challenged the religious leaders for their hypocrisy and bigotry. 

In our day Jesus is the troubler of our society. He is not content with a status quo based on injustice and falsehood. When conditions are evil, Jesus comes not to bring peace but a sword — of conflict, fighting, dissension. 

Out of this conflict will come genuine peace when truth and justice triumph. Jesus will have no part in the violence of our day because it is the product of hatred. Controversy and conflict result when truth challenges falsehood. When right faces wrong. And love opposes hatred. 

Though He was born the Prince of Peace, Jesus shocks us when He says He did not come to bring peace but a sword. Peace is not always possible. There are times when conflict is inevitable. 

We live in a “What’s in it for me!” kind of world. Where we are tempted to focus on what we can get rather than what we can give. 

Businesses use accounting gimmickry to persuade people to pay more for their stock than it is worth. 

Executives bail themselves out on Golden Parachutes, leaving behind broken businesses, ruined investors, and abandoned employees. 

Politicians make decisions based on re-election considerations rather than the good of the nation. 

Young people may be persuaded to go to college, not to become productive citizens, but to make more money and to have more fun. 

Jesus tells us that such behavior is ruinous in the long run—such people will lose their lives. We see it even in the short run. 

Truly contented people are those who are who live for something larger than themselves. The self-absorbed and self-centered person strives for happiness but achieves only broken relationships and unfulfilled dreams.  Jesus promises that it will be quite different for those who “loses his life for my sake” (v. 39). 

To hate means to love less. Jesus here invites His children to love human relationships less as they love Him more. 

The meaning of the word “life” may be expressed thus: ‘He that is anxious to save his "temporal" life, or his comfort and security here, shall lose "eternal" life. . . . He that is willing to risk or lose his comfort and life here for My sake, shall find life everlasting, 

Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Matthew 16:24-26) 

It seems to be a paradox. To seek to find it is to lose it. To lose it is to find it. But this is exactly what 

St. Paul teaches, "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Paul reminds us to "consider yourselves; reckon, count upon the fact to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus" (Romans 6:11). 

The Father's solution to our sin problem was to crucify us with Christ. As far as the Father is concerned we were there in the grave with Christ and we rose into newness of life with Him. This happened in Baptism. 

Now we are joined in an intimate union with our Lord and Savior. Remember, in Baptism you died to sin. Christ bore the penalty of the law on our behalf, and rose from the dead. The moment you were born again in Baptism you were identified with Christ's death and resurrection. You are no longer under the law, but under grace. 

Luther observed, "It is impossible for a man to be a Christian without having Christ; and if he has Christ, he has at the same time all that is in Christ. What gives peace to the conscience is, that by faith our sins are no more ours, but Christ's, upon whom God has laid them all; and that, on the other hand, all Christ's righteousness is ours, to whom God has given it. Christ lays His hand upon us, and we are healed. He lays His mantle upon us, and we are clothed; for He is the glorious Savior, blessed forever. [2]

The psalmist cries, "Plead my cause, and deliver me: quicken me according to thy word." Psalm 119:154 

Christ is the advocate of his people, their Redeemer. Who is mighty, and thoroughly pleads their cause against the accusations of Satan. He defends their innocence from the slander and slurs of wicked men; all designed to smear you and rights their wrongs, and redresses their grievances. 

You are promised that you have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous. David knew that he is helpless unless the Lord takes his side. He is like a defense attorney who pleads your case for you. 

Christ your Savior works on your behalf, pleading to the Father for pardon, mercy and grace. Jesus set the example. He did not come to do His own will, but the will of the Father who sent Him. 

The cross of Jesus stands as the greatest example of selflessness in the history of man. "He was rich, yet for our sake He became poor, that we through His poverty might know the riches of God.” (2 Corinthians 8:9) 

If a person actively “finds(Present tense) his life, he “shall lose it(Future tense). But if he actively “loses(Present tense) his life in the name of Christ, then he “shall find it.” (Future tense) 

Put simply, what you do now has a direct impact on your future. Place your trust in Christ. 

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peace_Monument_(Decatur,_Indiana)
[2] History of the Great Reformation of the Sixteenth Century in Germany by Jean Henri Merle d'Aubign√©
Christ is the Door copyright © Ed Riojas, Higher Things

Words –1,137 
Passive Sentences –10% 
 Readability – 77.8% 
Reading Level – 5.7 

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