TENTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY – JULY 31, 2016
TEXT: LUKE 19:41-48; ROM. 9:30-10:4; JEREMIAH 8:4-12
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting


To all those at Luther Memorial Chapel who are loved by God and called as saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Dear hearers of the Word made flesh:


With all its posturing about the greatest threats facing you the Democratic National Convention did not get it right.  With all of its posturing about the greatest threats against you, the Republican National Convention did not get it right.  It is not terror and border security, nor is it our climate and energy security.  It is not lack of money for education because some aren’t taxed enough nor is it not over-regulation and taxation by big government.  It is not threats against Christians nor is it threats against those who oppose Christianity.  These and others are issues in the world and in our nation at this time.  But they are of no comparison at all to the greatest threat against you.  As you seek to be a good citizen and sort through political confusion and corruption, do not be misled to think that earthly politics will change the deepest threat against you.  That threat is the same whoever the earthly ruler is.  Neither convention’s platform included this threat, but then no political platform ever has.  While human hearts constantly search for a secular Messiah, none will ever deal with what ultimately matters. 


What ultimately matters for every human being is that which makes God in the flesh weep!  The real and deepest threat to mankind is eternal death – lacking the peace God brings to this troubled earth in Jesus Christ.  That’s what He was bringing to fulfillment as these words were loudly raised to Him on Palm Sunday - Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!  Peace in heaven and glory in the highest (Lk.19:38).  These words were fresh in his ears and When Jesus drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace!  But now they are hidden from your eyes.  Dear Christian, Jesus sees your need as so much deeper than one election or even the existence of one country.  Heaven and earth will pass away but my words will not pass away (Mt. 24:35). 

TENTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY – JULY 31, 2016
TEXT: LUKE 19:41-48; ROM. 9:30-10:4; JEREMIAH 8:4-12
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting


To all those at Luther Memorial Chapel who are loved by God and called as saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Dear hearers of the Word made flesh:


With all its posturing about the greatest threats facing you the Democratic National Convention did not get it right.  With all of its posturing about the greatest threats against you, the Republican National Convention did not get it right.  It is not terror and border security, nor is it our climate and energy security.  It is not lack of money for education because some aren’t taxed enough nor is it not over-regulation and taxation by big government.  It is not threats against Christians nor is it threats against those who oppose Christianity.  These and others are issues in the world and in our nation at this time.  But they are of no comparison at all to the greatest threat against you.  As you seek to be a good citizen and sort through political confusion and corruption, do not be misled to think that earthly politics will change the deepest threat against you.  That threat is the same whoever the earthly ruler is.  Neither convention’s platform included this threat, but then no political platform ever has.  While human hearts constantly search for a secular Messiah, none will ever deal with what ultimately matters. 


What ultimately matters for every human being is that which makes God in the flesh weep!  The real and deepest threat to mankind is eternal death – lacking the peace God brings to this troubled earth in Jesus Christ.  That’s what He was bringing to fulfillment as these words were loudly raised to Him on Palm Sunday - Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!  Peace in heaven and glory in the highest (Lk.19:38).  These words were fresh in his ears and When Jesus drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace!  But now they are hidden from your eyes.  Dear Christian, Jesus sees your need as so much deeper than one election or even the existence of one country.  Heaven and earth will pass away but my words will not pass away (Mt. 24:35).


When Jesus drew near and saw the city, he wept over it…These were not quiet tears as at the grave of Lazarus.  Here He breaks out in loud, sobbing tears – with strong emotion crying out for His people – Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! 


Peace is what God began to speak to His fallen creation in promising the male seed of the woman to bruise our adversary’s head.  Peace is what God put upon His people through Aaron’s benediction (Num. 6:26).  Peace Offerings were central to the Old Testament sacrifices – God’s sacramental bestowal of peace.  The Psalms proclaim (God) will speak peace to his people, his saints, but let them not turn back to folly.  Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him (Psalm 85:8-9).  The prophet Isaiah proclaimed the birth of a Son – the Prince of Peace in whom the increase of peace would have no end (Is. 9:6-7).  He then proclaimed the one crushed for our iniquities – upon whom was the chastisement that brought us peace (Is. 53:5). 


Now that One – the Prince of Peace – was visiting them in the flesh.  His word, His work, His forgiveness are the things that make for peace.  Yet with visible emotion Jesus sobbed, “But now they are hidden from your eyes.  For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you…because you did not know the time of your visitation. 


The Prince of Peace was with them in the flesh – teaching – healing – forgiving – but they did not know the time of their visitation.  They presumed that they were in good standing with God because of their heritage and their good works and their good intentions.  They were comfortable and were quite pleased with their circumstances and standing with God – the very same that circumstances and standing with God that Jesus was weeping over.


Last week in Adult Study we recalled that our confessions teach that the fruits of original sin include not only unbelief and idolatry but also presumption (Smalcald Articles III, 1, 2 – KW p. 310).  Yesterday’s reading from I Samuel (15:23) revealed God’s tearing of the kingdom from the hand of King Saul for his disobedience.  The text states that presumption is as iniquity and idolatry (From Hbr “Pasar” – to display pushing).  Saul presumed to change God’s command because of the desires of the people – he disobeyed God’s Word in the pretense of sacrificing to God. 


Dear Christian – repent – for presumption is also present with you!  Jesus never ceases being a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense to the king on your inside – your sinful nature.  Things are so twisted in there that even your zeal for God can be a generic zeal.   Religious passion can be reduced to - I’m on your side Lord – I want good things for myself and my children and others.  In these decaying and hostile times I’m concerned about my church and my country and I’m doing my part – as much as others.  Such thinking is pursuing a law that would lead to righteousness – and you will never succeed in reaching that law.  That’s presumption – not faith.

 

You see the people Jesus wept bitterly for presumed that they were on God’s side and that all was well with them.  They had no lack of information concerning God’s word and will and no lack of confidence in doing their part.  But – being ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.  That is to say - they were not troubled by their real sickness – by their lack of obedience to God – by their turning back from His ways.  They kept on like a horse plunging headlong into battle – saying “what have I done?”  They did not know how to blush!


Do you know how to blush before God?  You are right to be troubled by what you have done and left undone.  Consider what Jesus did on the other side of His tears at this time.  He entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a den of robbers.”

 

Are you troubled over your own prayers in this house of prayer?  Do you ever think that perhaps there are too many prayers in this house of prayer – that we should be more quickly done and on to other things on Sunday?  Do you ever go through the motions of worship and prayer – with mind not really set on what the risen Christ is doing here?  Do you truly pray here – for God’s holy Name – for His kingdom first, not an earthly political one, for your pastor – for your fellow Christians – for those with us from other lands – for our troubled country and this troubled world – for yourself?  Give ear to my prayer, O God, and hide not yourself from my plea for mercy!  You are right to be troubled over your prayers – to know how to blush.  Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh (Luke 6:21).  Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep (6:25)

 

Are you ever troubled about money in the church as was Jesus?  Here Jesus was angry for what was present that should not have been – buying and selling – and how easily the church’s worship is misled for perceived barter or gain.  But Jesus speaks elsewhere about money that is rightly brought to His temple praising the widow who gave 100%.  Are you ever troubled concerning the treasure God lets you manage – with the cheerful, generous, percentage you return for the things that matter forever – the things that make for peace – the things Jesus gives.  Give ear to my prayer, O God, and hide not yourself from my plea for mercy!  You are right to be troubled over your management of what God sends your way – to know how to blush.  Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh (Luke 6:21).  Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep (6:25) Punishment will come to those who despise and disrespect God’s Word and the Word made flesh it proclaims.  That is punishment you deserve – as do I – and so we have confessed again today.


God help us so to confess – putting to death our presumption – our quietly assuming that we are doing enough – sometimes inwardly irritated that Christ perhaps asks too much.  This very year Christians are being driven from their homes and martyred for confessing Christ – and yet we can convince ourselves that we are the burdened ones.  Jesus’ bitter weeping shows the tender mercy of His heart toward you and toward all and He would use even crosses to serve our good – even crosses brought on by government – even crosses brought on by the enemies of Christ.  


Politics won’t ever meet your greatest need or that of your neighbors – but Jesus does!  Eternal death is the real and great threat – and He who wept for others for this reason is never recorded as weeping for Himself.  This is true even when He faced our death and eternal punishment.  He did not heal the wound of His people lightly – but with His own lifeblood.  His shame was the full nakedness of what we lack before God’s holiness.  His color was not the pink of blushing for His own sin – but the pale ashen color of death in suffering for our sin.  He did not say, ‘peace, peace’ when there is no peace but by purchasing for us sinners peace with God by the blood of His cross.  Upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace.


Now your vindication comes from His presence.  Today you still have the privilege that Jerusalem had in the day of her visitation!  The risen Christ wasn’t weeping on Easter morning when He said to His hemmed-in disciples – “Peace be with you.”  He lifted the siege of sin and death and hell!  The Prince of Peace wasn’t weeping some days later when He commanded your baptism in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Of the increase of His peace there will be no end and that holds even at His table on this day for with His body and His blood He bestows His forgiveness and His peace on you.   


The Prince of Peace comes to visit you in the flesh.  By His gift of faith you know the time of your visitation.  You, even you, know the things that make for peace.  You are right to cast your burdens on Him.  You are right to hide in the shadow of His wings.  From His presence your vindication comes!  That is essential because your enemies still come also and are at work to surround you.  Always it’s Satan – tempting and accusing.  Oftentimes it’s this proud world with empty promises and pursuits.  Sometimes it’s your conscience that throws up siege works – hemming you in on every side - letting nothing in or out.  At the last it will be death – tearing you down to the very ground. 


In a little while it will be over with us here on this earth – we will be laid to ruin.  We will see the wisdom of the Psalmist’s cry – My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death have fallen upon me.”  But even then, Christ’s visitation stands for you – for He will go with you through death’s dark shadow land.  He keeps you as the apple of His eye – even then.  He rescues your soul in safety – even then.  Whoever believes in him will not be put to shame because Christ is the end of the law for righteousness for everyone who believes.  Soon the night of weeping shall be the morn of song. 


In the meantime, God help us then to love our neighbor – also in the political realm – praying for our leaders - being responsible as citizens.  But in the process – God protect us from majoring in minors and trusting in princes.  The greatest threat against you and all others is the same whoever the earthly ruler is.  That threat is answered only by Him who loves you and gives you peace the world cannot give.  You, even you, know the things that make for peace. 


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