Sundays:  Pastor's Class 9:00 AM
               Divine Service 10:30 AM

Wednesday: Pastor's Class 10:00 AM
                   Divine Service 7:00 PM 

Private Confession: By Appointment

Delivered Into The Hands Of Men

September 22, 2018

Verse: Mark 9:30–9:32

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Christ Lutheran Church
Cleveland, Ohio
September 23, 2018
by: Rev. Dean Kavouras

Pentecost 18
Delivered Into The Hands Of Men

They left there and traveled through Galilee but Jesus did not want anyone to know it because he was instructing his disciples; telling them that the Son of Man is to be delivered into the hands of men who will kill him; and having been put to death he will rise again after three days; but they did not understand what he meant, and were afraid to ask him. Mark 9:30-32 

They say that when a lamb and a wolf sit down to lunch, the menu has already been decided.

That was the case with Jeremiah in today’s Old Testament lesson. He knew there was trouble afoot. He knew the message the LORD gave him to preach was stirring up men’s basest passions, and that a plot was in the works. But what he did not know, until the LORD revealed it to him, is that he was its object!

Jesus, on the other hand, did know! Jeremiah was spared, but Jesus was not.

He “came down from heaven” and “was made man” in the full knowledge of the troubles that awaited him here. The Man of Sorrows (Is. 53) knew beforehand of the rejection, torment and violent death he would suffer. But still he came. Came to be “delivered into the hands of men” who would rain down the full storehouses of human wickedness upon his Sacred Head.

But like Jeremiah before him Jesus, too, committed his case to the LORD, “Father into your hands I commit my spirit,” (Luke 23:46) and God raised him from the dead! He will do the same for you, so commit your case, whatever it may be, to God who is your Helper, and who sustains your life. (Ps. 54)

There are two pieces to the puzzle of human existence: one we can account for, and one we cannot. We are well aware of the danger, trouble and sorrow that are part and parcel of this life.

Ever since “sin entered the world, and death through sin” (Romans 5:12) humanity has been trying to put the djini back into the bottle. We have tried every imaginable method to gain peace and prosperity, but the struggle has been anything but peaceful. It is marked, rather, by jealousy, anger, outbursts of violent passion and murder as St. James notes in today’s Epistle.

But nothing works no matter how many smiling faces run around the city on RTA buses telling us to: take their advice. No one feels any safer or saner today than people did back in the day, but even if they do it is only a vapor that quickly passes away. (James 4:8)

Now enter Jesus who was “delivered into the hands of men.” The Lamb of God who was “handed over for our trespasses and raised again for our justification.” (Romans 4:25) Now enter Christ “the power of God and wisdom of God.” (1 Cor. 1:24) who did not die by the whim of Pontius Pilate, the greed of Judas, the jealousy of the Jews or the violence of the Romans – but as St. Peter teaches us, “by the definite plan and foreknowledge of God” (Acts 2:22)

What no man could do God did “by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin. He condemned sin in the flesh in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 8:3-4)

Yes, this is God’s plan, a gentle Savior to redeem violent people and redeemed we are! Redeemed we stand! And so: Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.” (Acts 16:31)

But there is something else we learn from today’s lessons, namely the secret thoughts of Jeremiah’s persecutors. “Let us destroy the tree with its fruit (“bread” in the original Hebrew)! Let us cut him off from the land of the living, that his name be remembered no more.” (Jer. 11:19)

But it did not work! Because God raised Jesus from the dead, and still delivers him into the hands of men today. Not to die again! But to give us life! To give us Rest. To give us calm. To place the full benefits of the Lord’s suffering and death into our hands, and into our troubled hearts today.

Yes, it was the wish of Jeremiah’s detractors, and the Lord’s enemies as well to cut him off from the land of the living, so that his name should be remembered no more.

But Jesus gave a Testament before he died!

THE New Testament in his blood so that we should “do this” (the thing we are doing by our assembly today) “in remembrance” of him till “moons shall wax and wane no more.” (TLH #511)

But let us be sure we know what these words mean. “Remembrance” is not simply mental exertion. It is that but not only that. We should remember Jesus at all times, and in all places. It is our Christian duty to read, mark, learn and inwardly digest the Holy Scriptures so that by them we might have hope. (Romans 15:4).

But when God hands over Jesus to us in the Sacrament, when he gives us his Flesh and Blood to eat and to drink … we are doing far more than recalling a past event: even if that event is the turning point of all history; Fountain of all joy; and Source of all Peace!

In Holy Communion, to state the obvious, the Baptized Commune with the Holy One of God. With Jesus the “Lord of Glory who has bought us with his life blood as the price.” (TLH #442) As we eat the Bread and Drink the Cup we are touching, as it were, the hem of Jesus’ garment because it is in these that he is “dressed” among us today.

And as the bleeding woman was instantly healed of her long standing disease, even so bleeding women and bleeding men are still made whole today! When we “touch the Word of Life” (1 Jn 1:1) with our lips the cancer of our sins is put into remission, we are purged of corruption, and made as immortal as Jesus whom we here receive!

When God gives Jesus over into our hands we are made Gentle like he was Gentle. Only don’t mistake meekness for weakness, because we are anything but that!.

Instead we are made strong with Divine Strength! Stronger than our low desires, cooler than passion’s fires, mightier than the endless stream of temptation put before us by the culture: because to be a friend of the culture is to be an enemy of God. (James 4:4) And we are NOT that!

But rather, like Abraham, we are Friends of God. Children of God. People of God. “The people of his pasture and the sheep of his hand.” (Ps. 100)

Now go in peace, your sins are forgiven! Amen.