Mark 14:1 – 15:47 The Path of Life Leads You through the Valley of the Shadow of Death

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In the name of Jesus. Amen.

Jesus Crucified 1Three men are tried and condemned as criminals. They are sentenced to be hung until they die. Two of them, the two on the outside, are getting what they deserve. But not the man in the center. He is innocent. But all three share the same execution together. They are brothers in death.

We have followed Jesus’ life through the first half of the church year. We witnessed His birth, just like one of us. We heard as He grew to be a man, a carpenter by trade. Jesus shared His whole life with us. He was our brother in everything, except He did not sin. Jesus’ life was in total harmony with God. Jesus had no life apart from God. He was obedient to God in all things.

So why did He die? Jesus came to go through your whole life with you, and this was completed by His sharing physical death with you. He is with you even when your body dies. As these three men on their crosses were made brothers in death, you are too. Jesus put Himself not only next to the two criminals there on Calvary, but also next to you and next to all rebels against God. Jesus goes through it with you.

Jesus really died. Scripture emphasizes this by telling of His burial. In the Creed we say not only that Jesus was crucified and died, but also that He was buried. His corpse was taken down from the cross by Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, wrapped in a piece of linen, and put in a grave. Jesus was buried. And so whenever you put the body of a loved one down into a grave, you know Jesus has been there too. That makes all the difference. In Jesus you see how God does things.

In John 12:23-25, Jesus says, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”

When Jesus said His hour had come to be glorified, He referred to His death. As a seed only bears fruit by dying first, so it was with Jesus. So it is with you. God brings you to that death, to that participation with Jesus in crucifixion (Ro. 6:3-5). As you stand beneath the cross this morning you can say, “As Jesus dies, I die too. From here on out, I will know no life but that which comes from our dying together.”

Jesus dies the big death for you. He carries the awful load of your sin for you. You are spared from your sin by His death for you. Jesus answers for your sin and breaks it’s domination over you. But all this becomes yours only as you die with Him. At the cross, you part company with both your sin and the miserable life that you would make for yourself apart from Him.

The path of life lies only through dying. Jesus’ death was the climax, the crowning glory. It did not appear so, but He committed Himself to the God who brings life out of death.

Baptism 2So your death, your parting company with sin, will seem a loss to you, but it is not so. For when you die, you are cast on God. The God who brings life out of death – only out of Jesus’ death. He died the big death for the sin that separates you from God. With your sin He suffered, with your sin He was rejected and abandoned by God. Sin cannot condemn you again. For the death Jesus died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus (Ro. 6:10-11). Amen.[1]

The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

[1] This sermon is based on a sermon by Rev. Donavon Riley https://thefirstpremise.wordpress.com/2014/04/19/homily-for-good-friday-on-mark-1533-47-the-path-of-life-lies-only-through-dying/

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Mark 10:32-45 – What Do You Want from Jesus?

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Mark 10:32-45

32 And they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. And they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. And taking the twelve again, he began to tell them what was to happen to him, 33 saying, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles. 34 And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise.”

35 And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” 36 And he said to them, “What do you want me to do for you?” 37 And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” 38 Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” 39 And they said to him, “We are able.” And Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized, 40 but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.”

41 And when the ten heard it, they began to be indignant at James and John. 42 And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 43 But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

In the name of Jesus. Amen.

Jesus had called the disciples to follow Him, and here they literally are following. Jesus is ahead of them. moving at a fast clip walking to Jerusalem, and the disciples are behind, amazed and afraid. They sense that something dire is down the road in Jerusalem. Things are coming to a head.

Christ Crucified 1So what does Jesus do? He takes the twelve aside and turns up the heat. “We’re going to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn Him to death and deliver Him over to the Gentiles. They will mock Him, spit on Him, flog Him, and kill Him. And after three days He will rise.” Jesus doesn’t sugar-coat what is about to happen.

James and John don’t like all this death talk, so they try to change the subject to something more comfortable – for them at least. “Let’s talk about heavenly seat arrangements, Jesus. When You sit in Your glory, how’s about You let us sit on either side of You – one at Your right and one at Your left.”

This request is so breathtakingly bizarre. In all the Gospels but especially in Mark, the disciples come across as numbskulls who repeatedly don’t get it. But brutally honest moments like these, where the disciples come across as imbeciles, show that the Gospel accounts are honest. If the apostles were making up some new, fake religion, they would certainly make themselves look better in the stories they told.

Jesus bluntly tells James and John that they are out of their minds and don’t have a clue what they are asking. So Jesus asks them, “Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?”

The cup that Jesus will drink is the cup of God’s wrath against our sin. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prays that this cup will pass from Him. But He finishes that prayer with, “But not what I will, but what You will” (Mk. 14:36).

Predictably, James and John answer Jesus’ question, “Sure, we are able.”

Jesus Crucified 1Can you imagine the look on Jesus’ face as He pauses and says, “Oooookay. I’m in the death and resurrection business, and that’s all I’m into. You will certainly have that. But the issue of who gets to sit where, well, that’s not in My job description. The seats at My right and left when I am in My glory have already been assigned.”

But then the other disciples, showing that they are just as imbecilic as James and John, get mad at the sons of thunder (Mk. 3:17). So Jesus calls a closed-door team meeting.

“Ok guys, listen up. All this talk of power and glory, it’s Gentile talk. You’re working the way the world works. A CEO will call in his vice-president of production and chew him out. The VP will take it on the chin, apologize, and leave the CEO’s office. But once he’s out of there, he’ll turn around and rip apart the first manager he sees. The manager will turn around and get after the shift supervisor and so on and so forth. But that’s not how it goes in My kingdom. If you want to be great, you must be servant of all. Even I came not to be served but to serve. I’ve come to give My life as a ransom payment for many.”

That’s the key to understanding this whole text. When God shows up on earth, it is to serve and not to be served. You see, we’re no different than the disciples; we are just like James and John.

If you think your presence here at church is fulfilling your weekly duty for God, or if you think coming here is about you offering something to God – well, you’re wrong. When God shows up, He shows up to serve. He came to serve you and give His life as a ransom for you.

This is the last Sunday of Lent. Next week, we will watch the fulfillment of Jesus’ ominous talk about going to Jerusalem to be tried, convicted, crucified, killed, and buried. We will see that the only place where Jesus is labeled as “King of the Jews” is when a sign is hung above Him on the cross (Mk. 15:26). We will learn the identities of those who have the honor of sitting on Jesus’ right and left (the same language that James and John use here) – and they are two robbers (Mk. 15:27). And we will see Jesus serving all humanity, giving His life as a ransom.

But go back to Jesus’ initial question to James and John, “What do you want Me to do for you?” and turn it around. What do you want from Jesus? Like James and John, do you want honor and prestige and power? Or do you want Jesus to serve you by giving His life as a ransom for you?

Before you answer that question, ask yourself: What is the greater honor, sitting chummy with the Son of God at a glorious banquet? Or being served by God in the flesh as He gives His life for yours?

Petersen QuoteI was intentionally overly harsh with James and John and all the disciples in this sermon. Calling them ‘numbskulls’ and ‘imbeciles’ is hardly charitable. For all their faults, the disciples are to be admired. Being able to walk with Jesus for those three and a half years was not an advantage over us. Instead, we have a huge advantage over the disciples. We live after Easter, after the resurrection. We can admire the disciples’ honesty. We should be thankful for how unapologetically they portray themselves as foolish and downright evil. But they can do that precisely because Jesus gave His life as a ransom for them. The apostles were confident of the forgiveness and grace of Christ (Rev. David Petersen).

You can be confident of that same forgiveness and grace. Jesus has come to serve you. He has given His life as a ransom for you. The story of Christianity is not about the best and most holy moving up to God. Instead, it is about God moving down to the worst of sinners, about God moving down to you. Amen.

The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

John 3:14-21 – Serpents & Crucifixes

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John 3:14-21

14 “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

In the name of Jesus. Amen.

Thursday morning before I left for work, Naomi made a loving gesture. She handed me a little plastic, pink ring with the shape of a heart. As she gave it to me, she said, “Here Papa. Take this so you can remember that I love you when I don’t see you today.” The ring just barely fits on my pinkie, and it probably looked a little ridiculous to the handful of people who saw it on my finger. I’m sure they wondered why 33 year-old man with a beard was wearing it. But it was a good reminder throughout the day. A quick glance at my pinkie reminded me that my little daughter loved me.

To prove He loves us, God has given us a sign, a gesture of love – Jesus on the cross. Whatever situation we find ourselves in, we can look to this sign and know God loves us. God in the flesh crucified, hanging on a tree, and lifted up for you is greatest gesture of love ever given.

As precious as Jesus lifted up on the cross is to us, we tend to forget how strange, mysterious, and downright offensive it is. This text, a familiar text, is a good occasion to remember how odd and wonderful and precious the cross is. John 3:16 has become cliché – we hear it so often – but we rarely hear the context.

The full context, of course, goes back to the beginning of John’s Gospel. The Word who was in the beginning with God and was God, this Word became flesh and dwells, tabernacles, among us. The Word of God in the flesh says in v. 14, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up.”

Jesus is, of course referring back to our Old Testament text (Nu. 21:4-9). God’s people were complaining for what seems like the eighteenth time about being out in the wilderness with no water and nothing to eat except that loathsome, worthless food. They seem to forget the fact that God repeatedly, miraculously provided water and that God was daily providing them with manna and quail. But the people still whine and moan and complain.

So God sends serpents among the people. Those serpents bite and injecting their fiery venom of death. This venom causes many of the people of Israel die, but they realize what they have done. So they come to Moses and say, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you. Pray to the Lord, that He take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prays and God tells him to make, of all things, a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. If anyone is bitten, he can look at the serpent raised up on that pole and live.

Now, doesn’t it seem a little rude of God to make the people look at an image of the curse to be healed from their bites? Imagine feeling the poison coursing through your veins, the last thing you would want to look at is an image of the very thing that has caused you this pain.

When something hurts you, you naturally try to avoid it. You have watched your friends and relatives get bitten by these snakes and die in pain as the fiery venom courses through their veins. Now you are bitten. But all God has given you is a bronze image of one of those serpents to look at. Moses says, “Here’s your remedy. If you get bitten, look at this bronze serpent that looks just like the ones that are biting you. Look here and live.”

You would be thinking, “Moses, are you insane? How could that help us? Why would we want to look at an image of the very thing that is killing us and terrifying us?”

But as ridiculous as it sounds, God gave this bronze serpent as a sign of His love and care for His people. Odd? Yes. Strange? Indeed.

But it was God’s sign, God’s remedy. God gave it and attached His promise of life to it. What other cure was there? Nothing. No matter how foolish it seemed, it brought healing and life.

Now, Jesus takes this story and broadens it. Jesus says that God has given one sign of God’s love to all humanity. There is one place to look for healing from the poison of sin coursing through our veins. There is one sign of God’s love. And that is Jesus on the cross.

Just as the people of Israel were bitten with the fiery, poisonous venom of death, you and I and all humanity has the venom of sin coursing through our veins. Only one cure exists – the Son of Man dying on a cross. The only cure for us is to look at Jesus beaten, bloodied, and dying on the cross. Only there do we find forgiveness, life, and healing.

What does God’s love look like? What is the sign of His love? Jesus lifted up on the cross, and nothing else.

John 3:16, maybe the most recognizable verse in the Bible, is one of those verses that can get neglected. We hear it so often that we don’t realize what a beautiful verse it is.

On Friday, Sarah and I went to the jewelry store where we got our wedding rings and had them both cleaned. Our rings are always on our fingers, and they naturally lose their original shine and beauty just because they are always there. But you get them cleaned and they look like new. The same thing can happen with familiar Bible verses.

Today, look at John 3:16 with fresh eyes. Look at fresh and clean. See it from a little different angle to notice the beauty there. Let me tweak the translation a little bit. The little word, ‘so’ can mislead us somewhat. Often, ‘so’ is taken in the sense of “God loved the world soooo much.” But that isn’t what this word means. The Greek word means “in this way.” “For God in this way loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son.”

God gave His Son to the world, to you, lifted up on the cross. This sign of God’s love is universal. Jesus crucified is given to all the world, to you. No one falls outside of this gift of God’s love. God loved the world so He gave His only begotten Son for the world to see lifted up on the cross as the remedy for sin. Jesus, lifted up, suspended between heaven and earth, held by three nails is God’s eternal sign of love for you.

Jesus crucified is God’s eternal sign of love to show you that God is not out to condemn the world but to save the world through Jesus.

Whatever you are going through, this is God’s one and only sign that His love for you does not change based on how you are doing at any given moment.

When times are good, look to Jesus crucified for you. When you are upset with God, look to Jesus crucified for you. When you feel the pains of sin and death, look to Jesus crucified for you. Look to the Son of God lifted up on the cross as the remedy, the salve, for all your woes, all your pains. Look to Him dying on the cross so that you not die but have everlasting life. This is God’s eternal sign of His love for you. Amen.

The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

John 2:13-22 – Protect This House

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John 2:13-22

13 The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. 15 And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. 16 And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.”

18 So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” 19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” 21 But he was speaking about the temple of his body. 22 When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.

In the name of Jesus. Amen.

“His disciples remembered that it was written, ‘Zeal for your house will consume me.’”

Jesus has a mean side. “Gentle Jesus, meek and mild” – not so much here. This is more like, “Aggressive Jesus, scrappy and contentious.”

Jesus Clears the TempleAfter seeing the merchants selling their oxen, sheep, and pigeons and the money-changers, Jesus assembled His homemade whip. And out He drove them – the sellers, the animals, and the money-changers. Imagine the sounds – animals howling, people yelling, whip cracking, tables flipping, coins clanging to the concrete. A scene like this is more akin to a child throwing a temper tantrum than a religious teacher restoring reverence to a place of worship.

But Jesus didn’t have a choice in the matter. Zeal consumed Him. God’s Temple, God’s house was being destroyed. This was something that had to be done. Jesus had to protect His Father’s house.

But why did it have to be done? Prayers were being made, sacrifices offered. How was what they were destroying the Temple? After all, the merchants and money-changers were offering a service.

God had instituted the sacrifices, and sure it was reasonable for someone from Bethlehem, Nazareth, or Capernaum to bring their own sheep or ox to Jerusalem for a sacrifice. But what about the faithful who lived in Turkey or Rome? Getting to the Temple was difficult enough. Bringing an ox or a sheep or even a pigeon was a burden. It’s much easier to bring money with you, buy the animal at the destination, and sacrifice it. The priests recognized this. And they, as stewards of God’s house, had sanctioned it.

The merchants and money-changers just made everything more convenient. And, quite frankly, there wasn’t anything wrong with them making a profit as they did it. The merchants were simply running a business. No sin in that. Everyone has to make a living. They were simplifying worship. But just because something makes worship more simple, doesn’t make it right.

The problem wasn’t what they were doing – it was where they were doing it. The sale of sacrifices had been going on for a long time, but it had occurred outside the Temple on the slopes of Mount of Olives. Apparently, Caiaphas, who was high priest in Jesus’ day (Lk. 3:2; Jn. 18:24), was the first to allow the merchants to set up shop inside the Temple.

The vulgarity of what they were doing was that, through their indifference and complacency, they turned the house where God freely gave forgiveness into a house of business, a house of transactions. God’s forgiveness should never be connected with making a transaction. The place where God extends mercy to His people gratis should never be a house of business, trade, and enterprise. Through complacency, God’s people were destroying God’s house. Their indifference was the catalyst for the decay and destruction of the Temple that had taken forty-six years to build.

But they didn’t see it that way. They were still offended at Jesus’ action, Jesus’ zeal. So they ask Jesus for a sign. But notice that John doesn’t say that the religious leaders, the Pharisees and Sadducees, demand Jesus give a sign to authenticate His authority. It was all the people. “The Jews said to Him, ‘What sign do You show us for doing these things?’”

Passion of Christ on the CrossJesus replies, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” But, in saying that, Jesus had moved the metaphor. He was speaking about the temple of His body.

As important as the Temple building was to Jesus, the Temple was pointing to something even more important – Jesus Himself. Jesus is the place where God’s glory dwells. “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (Jn. 1:14). Jesus is the place where the perfect Sacrifice for all sin, for your sin, was offered to God. The Jews will get the sign they demand, but only in Jesus’ death and resurrection. Jesus had authority to drive the merchants and money-changers out because He is the resurrected One.

Jesus’ zeal for God’s house consumes Him – in fact, it destroys Him. Jesus’ zeal for God’s house came at a great price.

What about today? Well, the metaphor moves again. The Temple pointed to Jesus’ body, and now the Church – that’s you, believer – the Church is the temple of God. 1 Cor. 3:16-17 says, “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.”

Jesus’ zeal for God’s house consumed Him. Jesus’ zeal for you consumed Him. He was destroyed for you. The Jews did destroy the temple of Jesus’ body, and Jesus raised that temple. Jesus protected that house, and Jesus will protect this house. He will protect you, His church, His temple. Amen.

The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Romans 5:1-11 – Peace

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Romans 5:1-11

1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we boast in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. 6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

In the name of Jesus. Amen.

This text is simply laying out what Jesus has done for you. While you were weak, while you were ungodly, while you were still a sinner, while you were an enemy of God – Christ died for you. Jesus didn’t die for anyone righteous; He didn’t suffer for anyone who is good.

Jesus died for you who are fighting against God. Jesus died for rebels raging against their Creator. That is me and that is you.

We imagine our problems are one of a thousand earthly problems. Scripture says that we are not even capable of knowing or diagnosing our real problem (Ro. 7:15). We invent other problems then call them all our real problems. That is why we need God’s Word to tell us again and again that our real problem is hatred of God. And not just that, you need God’s Word to constantly tell you that Jesus’ blood and death rescued you from your hatred of God.

Jesus has rescued you from the real problem that you didn’t even know was your problem. And it worked!

How do you know it worked? The evidence that it worked is not seen when you are somehow more moral, or a little better each day. You don’t see that it worked because you are happier or you ‘experience’ Jesus more and more – whatever that means.

You know the cross actually did what Jesus said it did by the fact that the Father raised Him out of the grave three days after we killed Him on that dark Friday afternoon.

In our Gospel text (Mk. 8:27-38), we see Jesus saying He is on His way to Jerusalem, on His way to rejection, on His way to suffering, on His way to death. In all four Gospels, we see a Jesus who is determined to go to the cross. I forget who, but someone has said, the Gospels are accounts of Jesus’ Passion with really long introductions. True, true.

There is no Jesus, the good teacher. There is no Jesus, the miracle worker (even though Jesus actually did those miracles). There is no Jesus, our example. There is only crucified Jesus. If you do not know Jesus as God-in-the-flesh crucified for you, you don’t know the Jesus of the Gospels. And any sermon or teaching about Jesus that isn’t about crucified, dead, and risen Jesus is no Christian sermon.

My problem and your problem isn’t that we feel guilty before God. Our problem is that we are guilty before God – whether we feel it or not. You and I, all of us, we stand justly condemned before God.

The verdict is in. “Guilty.”

The sentence has been pronounced. “Death.” There is no possibility of appeal. We sit on death row waiting for the judgment to fall.

But then, Scripture steps in and declares that judgment fell already. Two-thousand years ago, your death sentence was carried out. Jesus stepped in between you and your enemy. Jesus, the Son of God, stepped between you and God, your enemy. Jesus shoved you out of the way to safety. He bore your sins in His body. Jesus, who knew no sin, became sin for you.

Jesus didn’t die for those who needed a little convincing that God really loved them. Jesus didn’t die for those who want to improve their life, career, marriage, or work habits. Jesus died only for God’s enemies. Sin makes you a God-hater. Jesus died only for those who hated God. Jesus says “The light has come into the world, and people (that’s you and me) loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil” (Jn. 3:19).

Only those who are sick need a physician. Only sinners need forgiveness. Only those who are dead need a resurrection. If you don’t need forgiveness or resurrection, if you don’t need peace with God, than Jesus has nothing to offer you that you don’t already have.

But Jesus has come for you whether you like it or not. God has demonstrated His love for you God-haters. Jesus has brought God’s love to you. Jesus has washed you in His life. He feeds you His love. He has made you His own child. Therefore, you now have peace – peace with God. The peace you have with God is all because of Jesus’ action, Jesus’ doing, Jesus’ dying for you.

You have peace with God and access to God because you stand in grace. You stand in Jesus. You stand where God pours His love into your hearts. Here, at this altar, in this bread, in this wine is Jesus. Here, God’s love is poured on you. Be at peace. Amen.

The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.