THIRD SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY – JUNE 12, 2016
TEXT – LUKE 15:1-10; 1 PETER 5:6-11; MICAH 7:18-20
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting


Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Dear hearers of the voice of the Good Shepherd:


Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers.  The very first verse in the Psalter!  It is the prime description of the Messianic Man – the Man like no other (See Psalm 2).  The Pharisees knew the talk of Jesus as the Messiah.  They also knew the laws demand to keep away from every evil thing (Deut. 23:9).  They knew the wisdom of Proverbs to not go near the house of a forbidden woman (5:9) – to avoid the way of evil – turning away from it and passing on (4:15).  So why, in their people-categorizing way of thinking is Jesus receiving those who lived openly as they should not live?  Why was He eating with those they thought to be evil people?


Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear Jesus.  And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”  Said with venom - their grumbling was ongoing.  So was Jesus’ eating with those whom they thought He should not eat!  Would the Messiah eat with tax farmers – labeled as traitors – notorious for lining their pockets with the hated Roman tax system and even abusing it?  Would the Messiah eat with sinners – a broad group including those of despised trades – of wrong lineage - of questionable morals?


Dear Christians – Jesus here shows Himself to be intensely stubborn and obstinate in a most beautiful way!  He refuses to be told what to do in restraining the Gospel.  He will not be capsized by the law.  He will not tolerate being bound by laws but will be Lord over them.  While He Himself fulfilled all laws, here he is the most obstinate and kind of all when giving answer for the laws demands to poor sinners – sinners wanting to hear His voice – sinners needing to be in table fellowship with Him.

THIRD SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY – JUNE 12, 2016
TEXT – LUKE 15:1-10; 1 PETER 5:6-11; MICAH 7:18-20
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting


Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Dear hearers of the voice of the Good Shepherd:


Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers.  The very first verse in the Psalter!  It is the prime description of the Messianic Man – the Man like no other (See Psalm 2).  The Pharisees knew the talk of Jesus as the Messiah.  They also knew the laws demand to keep away from every evil thing (Deut. 23:9).  They knew the wisdom of Proverbs to not go near the house of a forbidden woman (5:9) – to avoid the way of evil – turning away from it and passing on (4:15).  So why, in their people-categorizing way of thinking is Jesus receiving those who lived openly as they should not live?  Why was He eating with those they thought to be evil people?


Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear Jesus.  And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”  Said with venom - their grumbling was ongoing.  So was Jesus’ eating with those whom they thought He should not eat!  Would the Messiah eat with tax farmers – labeled as traitors – notorious for lining their pockets with the hated Roman tax system and even abusing it?  Would the Messiah eat with sinners – a broad group including those of despised trades – of wrong lineage - of questionable morals?


Dear Christians – Jesus here shows Himself to be intensely stubborn and obstinate in a most beautiful way!  He refuses to be told what to do in restraining the Gospel.  He will not be capsized by the law.  He will not tolerate being bound by laws but will be Lord over them.  While He Himself fulfilled all laws, here he is the most obstinate and kind of all when giving answer for the laws demands to poor sinners – sinners wanting to hear His voice – sinners needing to be in table fellowship with Him.


Lost sheep are not secure spirits – unconcerned about Moses’ voice – giving no thought to God’s anger over their sin.  Jesus’ words here – wondrous words of grace are not an excuse to live as you please.  For lost sheep repenting – the question is not about losing Moses but about being lost from Christ. 


"You see, our whole nature is ready to be occupied with works in order to quiet the law.  This means that the grand delusion of comparative Christianity easily raises its ugly head.  “I’m better than some” – “I’m really nailing this obedience thing and earning my keep.”  The Pharisees were living in that delusion.  They thought they had God in their pockets.  So did the older brother of the prodigal son in the following verses.  That’s one way in which the law’s use is perverted by Satan – comparing to find pseudo-comfort.


But for the lost sheep occupied with works in order to quiet the law the devil perverts the voice of the Good shepherd so that the heart is overwhelmed by the law.  Lost sheep are those who know full well that they have not done what the law requires – nor are they doing it now – try as they might.  They sense that nothing in them is strong!  They sense that nothing in them is holy!  Woe is me!  How will I stand before God?


Lost sheep don’t know how to look for home.  When sensing their condition they often just stand and bleat.  Their bleating is well voiced in our Introit (from Psalm 25)…I am lonely and afflicted…Lord for you I wait…deliver me…Lord…pluck my feet out of the net…Lord let me not be put to shame.  When painful troubles of life refuse to be silenced – when we are ashamed - when a conscience is darkened in fear and anguish – when death is close at hand – the devil will dispute about your sins in order to push you into despair!  This truth Christians must learn all their lives.  The lost sheep is first of all me – poisoned by the noxious weeds of this world.  The lost sheep is first of all me – inwardly turned – easily cast down – often confused.  To one in this state and in response to the grumbling of the Pharisees Jesus answers with grace - profound grace - pictured grace - proclaimed grace!


“What man of you (Jesus paints the Pharisees as shepherds)…does not…go after the one that is lost until he finds it?”  And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.  And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ 


This is the most beautiful picture of God’s grace in Jesus Christ!  It is too cheerful for anyone to rightly paint or capture with words.  The voice of the Good Shepherd reveals His heart to be one of overflowing longing and desire for us.  The very carrying He describes happens even now as He preaches to us.


See how stiff-necked and obstinate Jesus is in this most beautiful way!  He seeks sinners in the face of the strongest opposition.  See how He thinks of you!  Because of sin Christ is not about to throw you out but is at work to rescue and restore you again by grace.  He is the Shepherd who seeks and carries you home. 


The feet of the One carrying you crushed Satan’s accusing head as He carried the sins of the world to the cross.  The shoulders of the Shepherd carrying you are the shoulders bearing the burden of our restoration with God on the arms of the cross.  “We all like sheep have gone astray.  We have turned – every one – to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all (Is. 53:6).  Do not fear that perhaps He does not receive you.  He came into the world to save sinners (1 Tim. 1:15). 


That you are in His flock today is because Jesus carries you along by His mercy!  Here is genuine comfort!  Here is joy for the heart!  In Jesus you have everything.  And when the law afflicts your conscience seeking to take you captive you may tell it to go away.  Dr. Luther said it this delightful way…“What counts before this judge, before whom we are now disputing (meaning the conscience), is not what I am and should do or not do, but what Christ is, gives and does.  We are now in the bedroom, where bride and groom should be alone, where it is improper for you (meaning the law) to enter or say anything.” Luther’s Works, American Edition – Vol. 78 – pp. 133-134. Much of this sermon’s substance comes from that good resource).  Christ alone is to rule in your heart and conscience with His baptism and gospel.


Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression?  He says “Rejoice with me for I have found my sheep that was lost…Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.  Is this not golden?  Is this not the living hope to which we have been born again through the resurrection of Jesus Christ?  Dear Christians – cast all you anxieties on him, because he cares for you.  Beloved of God – learned to be impressed with this delightful picture.  The Good Shepherd has stooped down and taken you on Himself.  He has in fact baptized you into His very death that just as He was raised from the dead you too might walk in newness of life.  The meaning here is not primarily that you always behave in a certain way but that you live under a new reality.  That is to say – you are released and freed to walk in the new reality of being carried on the shoulders of the risen and ascended and interceding Christ. 


With His word He seeks for you.  With His Word Jesus finds you.  With His Word Jesus carries you in repentant faith.  At this all heaven rejoices.  Is it not a wonder that the angels of God rejoice not in the splendor of this world but over one sinner who repents – over you?  Such a great gift God has worked and continues to work in you!  Therefore you also may rejoice…in the Lord…always!  Therefore you are always right to pray and speak an give generously that others be brought into the Good Shepherd’s flock – from all nations, tribes, and languages – from our land and other lands.


Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers.  But his delight is in the law of the Lord and on his law he meditates day and night.  The first two verses of the Psalter.  The Messianic Man in the flesh – was not standing in the way of sinners in our text but rescuing them from their sin.  He did this by delighting in the law (the Torah – that is the full will – the law and the gospel) of the Lord.  Jesus fulfilled it by obeying all that God commands.  Then He fulfilled its just punishment by suffering all that sinful mankind has merited.  Now- Victor even over death – He fulfills it by delivering His forgiveness to you.  It is precisely here - within this gracious plan of salvation that Jesus is seen to be intensely stubborn and obstinate in this most beautiful way.


He refuses to be told what to do in restraining the Gospel.  Having fulfilled all laws He is the kindest of all when giving answer for the laws demands to poor sinners – sinners who desire to hear His voice – sinners needing to be at table with Him.  Against all opposition – even in the face of an appalled conscience - He lays them on His shoulders and carries them home.


After you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.  To him be the dominion forever and ever.  Amen.

Luther Memorial Chapel & University Student Center | 3833 N Maryland Ave | Shorewood, WI  53211
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