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3-17-19 Sermon

Second Sunday of Lent -  Luke 13:31-35

 

O God You see that of ourselves we have no strength. We’re like helpless and vulnerable chicks when compared to the strength and cunning of the evil one! By Your mighty power please defend us from false prophets and from all evil thoughts that may assault and hurt the soul. In Jesus name, Amen

 

At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to [Jesus], “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.”

 

We might get the impression that the Pharisees were concerned about Jesus. They tried to oppose Jesus with all their trick questions, but that didn’t work. In fact, all of their other attempts to undermine, or discredit Jesus, failed. So maybe remembering the name of Herod who had John the Baptist beheaded would give Jesus reason to save His own skin.

 

What the Pharisees didn’t realize Jesus hadn’t come to save His own skin, but that He came to save ours. He would die, but not at the hands of Herod—rather by the hands of His own people, from the holy city, Jerusalem.

No one would take His life, He would lay it down. He would be slain at the hands of sinners for the forgiveness of their sins. His death would defeat death. He would finish what He came to do.

Jesus came to be our refuge - and not only when times are tough, but at all times. And not only the refuge of some, but the refuge of all - even those who would have a hand at putting Him to death. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem . . . How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!

 

A mother hen with her helpless brood under her wings provided the only line of defense for them—even if it meant giving her life. What a powerful visual of the love of God for us!

We are those chicks satan wants to devour! He is the real enemy. That’s why the prophets like Jeremiah warned the people; that’s why Jesus Himself spread His arms, on the cross - that we might find refuge and protection under them; that’s why the apostles took this message of Jesus far and wide.

But then we hear those sad words: and you would not. Jesus wants only to love and protect, to forgive and to save, but many will not have it. Many choose the pleasures of sin without regard to the dangers or consequences, exposing themselves to face death on their own. The evil one lulls us into complacency giving us some kind of false security, only to trap us—waiting to sink his strong talons into us.

Paul tells us: Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. So what is your greatest temptation? Those physical pleasures that seems harmless? Maybe to get even with someone? Drinking? Gluttony? Adultery? Stubborn pride making you think you’re strong enough on your own? What does satan use to lure you out? To those who reject Him, Jesus declares: your house is forsaken, which is not His doing but theirs.

 

The season of Lent is to return to the Lord your God--to hear His Word and seek His forgiveness. In Holy Baptism you were given the seeds of faith and forgiveness, life and salvation. You have been nurtured with the love of Jesus who gave His life for you.

 

God’s forgiveness is for you. His life is for you—to keep you close to Him as we wait for our Savior’s return.

For the LORD will never forsake His own.

So as we gather here today in repentance and faith, gathered under the wings of our Savior, receiving Him who comes for us.

He will not leave you or forsake you. That’s a promise we need, those of us who have no strength. That’s a promise we need, for those of us prone to wander. A promise sealed with the blood of the Lamb of God, who finished His course from life to death, to give you a course from death to life. The LORD God wants to be your refuge and protection now, and your joy forever.

 

The poem says it well: God Does

When you feel unlovable, unworthy, and unclean, when you think that no one can heal you, remember: God Can.

When you think that you are unforgivable for your guilt and your shame, remember: God Can.

When you think that all is hidden, and no one can see within, remember: God Can.

And when you have reached the bottom, And you think that no one can hear, remember: God Can.

And when you think that no one can love, the real person deep inside of you, remember: God Does!   Anonymous