Saturday, June 9, 2018

Pentecost 3 - Proper 5

Pentecost 3 – Proper 5
June 10, 2018
Mark 3:20-35
The Work of Christ

Jesus has defeated the devil and released us from the bondage of sin and death.

Almighty and eternal God, Your Son Jesus triumphed over the prince of demons and freed us from bondage to sin. Help us to stand firm against every assault of Satan and enable us always to do Your will; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever. Amen

Why pray such prayers? They appear so formal. Yet they continue to teach us the reality of our faith. Consider this morning’s Prayer of the day. It teaches us about the work of Christ.
1.       Jesus has triumphed over the prince of demons.
This we affirm every time we witness a Baptism. From our baptismal rite we hear, “The Word of God teaches that we are all conceived and born sinful and are under the power of the devil until Christ claims us as His own. We would be lost forever unless delivered from sin, death, and everlasting condemnation. But the Father of all mercy and grace has sent His Son Jesus Christ, who atoned for the sin of the whole world, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”[1]

Back in the garden the Lord promised our first parents that He would send the Savior. From our Old Testament lesson the Lord asks two simple questions. “Where are you?” and then, “Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?

But the Lord did not allow Adam and Eve to wallow in their misery and filth. He gave His promise of the Savior. To the serpent He said, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.  In the suffering death and resurrection of Jesus Christ Satan’s kingdom came to a crashing end.

2.       Jesus has freed us from the bondage to sin.
Jesus’ battle with Satan would be decided in a way no one could have predicted. Bearing all sin on the cross. The Father condemned His only Son so you would never be condemned. He did this for you. Jesus suffered eternal judgment. For you. When Jesus cried from the cross, “It is finished,” your sin was gone. Satan's only power is to distort God's word. The strong man controls the house. But another kingdom is breaking in. To destroy and plunder. By Jesus’ death - death is defeated. And by a curse. The curse is gone.

Christ now declares, “I forgive all sin.” Christ’s promise defeats Satan. His victory was not a physical contest of biceps and triceps or a contest of wits. He defeated Satan in His weakness..
3.       Jesus helps us to stand firm against every assault of Satan.
Jesus has overcome Satan. Those baptized into Christ have received Him and also His promised Holy Spirit. “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter,” v28 All sins and blasphemies and whatever they blaspheme can be forgiven.

You are free. Christ’s victory over Satan means you belong.

If Satan cannot shake your trust in Christ’s forgiveness, he’ll try to make you feel like an outsider. He will say, “You don’t fit with these people. What you did. Was so much worse. If they knew who you really are. They would march you to the church door. And tell you to leave and not come back.” 

We are susceptible to these accusations. It is our nature to compare ourselves with others. What we fail to see that in comparing we are trying to justify ourselves.

Christ silences Satan with this promise: “You belong to My family.” “And His mother and His brothers came, and standing outside they sent to Him and called Him. And a crowd was sitting around Him, and they said to Him, “Your mother and Your brothers’ are outside, seeking You.”  And He answered them, “Who are My mother and My brothers?” And looking about at those who sat around Him, He said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of God He is My brother and sister and mother.  (Vv. 31–35).

4.       Jesus enables us always to do the will of the Father.
 And what is the will of the Father? “God’s will is done when He breaks and hinders every evil plan and purpose of the devil, the world, and our sinful nature, which do not want us to hallow God’s name or let His kingdom come; and when He strengthens and keeps us firm in His Word and faith until we die. This is His good and gracious will.”[2]  His good and gracious will is that you believe in Christ.
This past week two prominent persons in the public view lost their lives due to suicide.3 They ended their life in disparate despair.   So what could you say to someone. Whose sin was so dark. That that they question God’s ability to forgive? More important. What does Jesus Christ say to you? When you face similar darkness. He says, “I forgive all sin. Your shame your brokenness is gone. I welcome you. You are loved...regardless."
You are free. Forgiven.  And you belong. Christ’s victory over Satan had set you free from sin’s prison. Jesus does the same for you. And all who seek His favor. In Christ, you are free.

Passive Sentences –1%
Reading Level -4.3

[1] Holy Baptism pg.268 Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
[2] Third Petition of the Lord’s Prayer  Luther’s Small Catechism ©2006 Concordia Publishing, St. Louis
[3] Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, who died this past week. Escalating suicide rates have affected nearly every demographic group and place, according to new federal data.

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