John 14:23-32; Acts 2:1-21; Genesis 11:1-9
Vicar Zachary Marklevitz
 
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ. In the account of the Tower of Babel, God punished humanity by confusing their language because He loved them. At that time all the people spoke one language. They refused to obey the Word of God and did not spread out across the earth after the flood. Instead, they migrated from the east and settled in the land of Shinar. In unity, the people wanted to make a name for themselves. They were to work together to build a tower that reached the heavens. Yet, in love, the triune God confused their language and dispersed them over the face of the earth. In God’s own time, He would reveal a unity that transcends all names.


God desires unity. In the eyes of God there is no Jew or Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, slave or free. In faith, “Christ is all, and in all” (Col. 3:11). The building of the Tower of Babel was halted by God in order to later reveal how the Word of God unifies all people. For the Word of God transcends all languages, English, Mandarin Chinese, Russian, Persian, or Arabic, and speaks of a surpassing peace to His people. “Peace” is more than an abstract word. God’s peace is the flesh and blood of the incarnate God, Jesus Christ who was crucified on the cross for us. The peace of God extends beyond human understanding of unity. Human unity is a way for people to supposedly “build up” as one name. God’s way of unity is for His Son to be torn down.


In the same way that Jesus’ disciples anticipated a worldly restoration of Israel, we anticipate a worldly restoration of God’s peace. The disciples thought God’s kingdom would be an earthly kingdom that was built higher and greater than any other kingdom. They were right that God would establish a kingdom that was higher and greater than any other kingdom, but God’s kingdom is not of this world.

John 14:23-32; Acts 2:1-21; Genesis 11:1-9
Vicar Zachary Marklevitz
 
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ. In the account of the Tower of Babel, God punished humanity by confusing their language because He loved them. At that time all the people spoke one language. They refused to obey the Word of God and did not spread out across the earth after the flood. Instead, they migrated from the east and settled in the land of Shinar. In unity, the people wanted to make a name for themselves. They were to work together to build a tower that reached the heavens. Yet, in love, the triune God confused their language and dispersed them over the face of the earth. In God’s own time, He would reveal a unity that transcends all names.


God desires unity. In the eyes of God there is no Jew or Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, slave or free. In faith, “Christ is all, and in all” (Col. 3:11). The building of the Tower of Babel was halted by God in order to later reveal how the Word of God unifies all people. For the Word of God transcends all languages, English, Mandarin Chinese, Russian, Persian, or Arabic, and speaks of a surpassing peace to His people. “Peace” is more than an abstract word. God’s peace is the flesh and blood of the incarnate God, Jesus Christ who was crucified on the cross for us. The peace of God extends beyond human understanding of unity. Human unity is a way for people to supposedly “build up” as one name. God’s way of unity is for His Son to be torn down.


In the same way that Jesus’ disciples anticipated a worldly restoration of Israel, we anticipate a worldly restoration of God’s peace. The disciples thought God’s kingdom would be an earthly kingdom that was built higher and greater than any other kingdom. They were right that God would establish a kingdom that was higher and greater than any other kingdom, but God’s kingdom is not of this world.


In every generation, new towers are built by people in the name of unity. Many times these towers are ideologies given to societies to embrace and bring unity. Each generation reconstructs their tower of ideologies from the foundations of those before them. Today, towers are being built in an attempt to redefine marriage in a way contrary to God’s creation and God’s gift of marriage. This tower, like the Tower of Babel, refuses to obey the Word of God. Yet, this tower of redefining marriage is a cultural battle that is working from the foundations set in place by those who began to undermine the sanctity of marriage generations ago. Even the faithful have neglected Jesus’ words regarding divorce and sex outside of marriage. In response, we are called not to build another tower in reaction to culture, but we’re to call on the name of the Lord for His peace and love and to speak the truth in love. We are not called to build a tower and boast our name or ideology, but we are called to serve and love our neighbor in the name of God and be willing to suffer for it as we speak His word.


We witness towers being built in the name of human unity all around us. In order for these towers to be built, others need to be demolished. Jesus spoke of His peace to His disciples before His ascension. Yet shortly after, the early church faced slaughter and torture. During this persecution 70,000 Christians were killed in a single day. Today, Christians are still killed and slaughtered throughout the world. Christianity isn’t meant to be among other worldly towers to promote its ideology. It also cannot be equated with a political agenda. Christianity proclaims the saving message of our crucified Lord and abides in His words. This is not a worldly tower, but is the Word of God.


Jesus said, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” God gave us His Spirit at Pentecost. In a world confused by many languages, God came speaking His Word to all people. His Word is proclaimed to unify all people to Himself. In sin, we are already unified as people. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23).” No matter how high the towers are built here on earth, this world cannot give us peace. Only God gives us eternal peace.


Jesus came, not to build a tower, but to tear down the temple and resurrect it in three days. He came to tear down the ideologies of man and the false promises of human unity. He came, not with more false promises and failed unity, but true peace and eternal unity with God. “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” God dwelling with you in Christ – as His home. This is true unity.


We cannot have peace by building a tower to heaven, but only by God coming to the earth. We have received salvation by a God that raised His Son on a cross and then tore Him down to the point of death and damning wrath. Death has conquered many earthly kingdoms, but not God’s kingdom. Jesus was raised from the dead and established His eternal kingdom! He unified His people with His Spirit.


On the Day of Pentecost, God’s Spirit began speaking to all nations in their tongues. God was unifying people from all nations to Himself – reversing the curse of Babel! He continues to give His peace to His people. He called us into His eternal family on the day of our Baptism and we have received His name. Now we are called God’s children. As many of us learned by heart, “Baptism is not just plain water, but it is the water included in God’s command and combined with God’s word.” It is the word of God that unifies us with eternal peace.


“Jesus of Nazareth, king of Jews,” was the name that Pilate had written on the cross of Jesus. This Jesus, who gave His body and shed His blood for us, is the same Jesus that we receive. We have been baptized into His name and His death and resurrection. Also, as we are called to the Lord’s Table we proclaim His death and resurrection. In the same way the Apostles were accused on Pentecost to have been filled with new wine, now we are filled with new wine. The wine is the blood of Jesus which was shed for our eternal peace and forgiveness. By the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, We have been called into the heavenly kingdom that transcends generations, cultures, and nationalities. God has brought us as one through His Word. In His Word we have been loved by our Father in heaven. In the name of Jesus. Amen.


Luther Memorial Chapel & University Student Center | 3833 N Maryland Ave | Shorewood, WI  53211
(414) 332-5732 |lmcusc@lmcusc.org

Divine Service: Sundays - 9:00a Mondays - 7:00p Bible Study & Sunday School: Sundays - 10:45a