O give thanks unto the Lord for He is good, His mercy endures forever (1 Chr 16:34). Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church - Winnipeg, MB
Minds and Mouths Opened
Minds and Mouths Opened
Based on Luke 24:36-49
Preached on April 15, 2018
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Fellow baptized saints, this week I wrote a sermon for this morning that walked through the Gospel text from the beginning to the end. It was a good sermon, but I’m not going to preach it this morning. I’m not going to preach it this morning, because these words that Jesus speaks here in these couple verses - need way more attention than we can possibly give them. They could never be preached on enough. In fact, they are every sermon – yes – they are an eternal sermon. My hope today – is that you see how these words of Jesus are the most important verses in the entire Bible, and they are your key to understanding what God is saying to you.
Jesus said, ““These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you - that everything written about me - in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms - must be fulfilled.” Then He opened His disciples minds’ to understand the Scriptures, saying, “This is what is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His Name to all nations.”
This is no meager claim. Do we realize what this means? Jesus just interpreted the Old Testament for us. All the Scriptures for that matter. Everything written about me must be fulfilled. I am the subject of the Old Testament. It was all talking about me. Imagine! Risen Jesus stands before you telling you He is the fulfillment of every Word God ever spoke. All of it pointed to Him. All of it rested on Him. And here He is living, breathing, eating who once was graveyard dead. What do you do?
But the Bible is a big complicated book Jesus. Can you really summarize it for me in a couple sentences? Yes. Let me open your mind so that you can understand. This is what is written. It’s like He’s giving you the answer key to the test.
This is what is written. Two things: 1) the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and 2) that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His Name to all people. This is the message of all the Scriptures. This is the sum total of what God is trying to communicate to us. Imagine if you could take the Bible and put it in a dehydrator – and compress it down to its smallest form – this is what it would say.
Incredible. Do we realize the implications of such a treasure!?! It is the answer to everything. Wondered what that difficult verse is talking about? Wonder no longer. Struggling to understand the parables? Struggle no more. Curious what the mission of the Church is? Here is your answer – from the Lord of the Church Himself – repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His Name. If the specific purpose of the sermon you’re hearing isn’t repentance and the forgiveness of sins – your preacher isn’t preaching Christ – no matter how many times he says the name of Jesus or quotes the Bible. Jesus doesn’t want preaching about how to be a better Christian, or how to live a good life, or how to be a good person. He wants repentance and forgiveness of sins. Repentance (turn back from yourself, from all the “reasons” you tell yourself for why you don’t do what God says) and instead – trust His Good News – He forgives you all your sins in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. That’s where the power is. That’s what the message is. And it saves you.
We could add here – that it doesn’t matter how good the music is, or what kind of feeling you get when you’re there, or how many people attend the service – if the specific purpose of the worship service is not repentance and the forgiveness of sins – that service is not delivering Christ the way the entire Bible teaches should be done.
Everything written about me in the Old Testament must be fulfilled. Everything - written about me - must be fulfilled. Jesus is unearthing layers of divine prophecy that we are not ready for. Can you hear this? The OT prophecies of Christ are not just about telling the future. Simply telling the future is not enough. That future must also be the saving action of God. And the OT prophecies of Christ are not just about foreknowing one piddly event here on earth. Simply knowing that something will happen on earth will do you no good. The event must matter for all eternity. It must be COSMIC. True forever. But here’s the real clincher: Jesus says that EVERY verse of the Bible finds its fulfillment in Him and His COSMIC ETERNAL event – ALL AT THE SAME TIME!
There is absolutely nothing even remotely like this. No other religion even claims to have prophecy that does anything other than predict an event here or there – so what – Christ just opened our minds to understand that ALL the Scriptures, while they certainly predicted an event here or there – SIMULTANEOUSLY ALL point to Jesus and His Rescue of humanity! What do you say to that! All of history! All of it! Was preparation for God to enter human history Himself and do His saving work for the world.
Aren’t you tired of people saying all religions are the same!?!
It’s ridiculous! Comparing Christianity to other religions is like comparing the Sistine Chapel to my kids art work from school. It’s like comparing the Egyptian Pyramids to the kids’ snow fort out back that is nearly done melting. Don’t accept it anymore! Don’t let people walk away thinking there is any similarity to the holy Word of God and the false, satanic counterfeit texts of other religions. This isn’t about tolerance. This is about facts. Historical, provable facts. They are not the same. No. No other religion even dares to claim what Christ says here in these monumental verses before us. He actually wants us to check! Do it! Look! I’ve done it this way on purpose. It’s proof that I am the true God – who spoke the entire plan in advance – revealed over thousands of years – and fulfilled my own thirty year human life!
• The Sign of Jonah – just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth – Jesus said in Matthew chapter 12.
• The Bronze Serpent on a pole – as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life – Jesus said in John chapter 3.
• Isaac – the only son, miraculously born to his father Abraham who makes his son carry the wood for his own sacrifice up the mountain to the very same place where the heavenly Father would sacrifice His Son Jesus in our place!
I could go on – and on – and on. These words are EVERY sermon. This is the eternal Word of God to you. Beloved, He so deeply wants you to hear Him tell you: turn to me, no matter what you’ve done, abandon your dying way. I forgive you – for everything. I want you to be with me. Live with me. And right now, in this very moment as you hear this preacher I sent to preach to you – I am fulfilling this Word in you. Everything written about me - must be fulfilled. This morning I fulfill it in you. Hear my promise. Believe my message. For I’ve done it all for you. In the Name of Jesus’ Amen.
Rev. Cameron Schnarr