The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist in Residence

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Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Third Sunday after the Epiphany, 2015. Matthew 8:1-13.
Healing by the Word of God




The Third Sunday after the Epiphany, 2015

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/bethany-lutheran-worship

Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Time


The Hymn #44 Ye Lands 2.41
The Confession of Sins
The Absolution
The Introit p. 16
The Gloria Patri
The Kyrie p. 17
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 19
The Epistle and Gradual 
The Gospel 
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn # 264 Preserve Thy Word 2.55

I Will - Be Cleansed

The Hymn # 249 Isaiah Mighty Seer 2.75
The Preface p. 24
The Sanctus p. 26
The Lord's Prayer p. 27
The Words of Institution
The Agnus Dei p. 28
The Nunc Dimittis p. 29
The Benediction p. 31
The Hymn #45 Now the Hour of Worship 2.95

KJV Romans 12:16 Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. 17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. 18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. 20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. 21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

KJV Matthew 8:1 When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him. 2 And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. 3 And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. 4 And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them. 5 And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, 6 And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. 7 And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. 8 The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. 9 For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. 10 When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. 11 And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 13 And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.

Third Sunday After Epiphany
O almighty and everlasting God, mercifully look upon our infirmities, and in all dangers and necessities stretch forth Thy mighty hand, to defend us against our enemies; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.



Jesus Says, I Will. Be Cleansed
KJV Matthew 8:1 When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him. 2 And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. 3 And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.

As Luther noted, this leper had nothing but faith in Jesus the Savior. He did not arrive at faith on his own, but by hearing the report (Romans 10 quoting Isaiah 53) or sermon. 

Faith comes by hearing the report. When multitudes followed Jesus, they saw the miracles He performed and heard His majestic preaching. They spread this around rapidly, as all reports do. The leper heard and believed.

When people asked Jesus, He answered. The framing of this question is good to remember. The leper said, "If you will it to be..." The leper promised nothing because he had nothing. The lepers in the New Testament are examples for us, because the Old Adam wants to drive a bargain, to swap good works for a an answer to prayer. But there are no good works for a leper to do, in that age, in that society. 

No one came to Jesus asking and was turned down, so this is the emphasis of the first miracle. Jesus said, "I will - be cleansed." And the leprosy was erased. If you have any disease that marks the outside of the body, then the thought of that instant healing is a wonder in itself - no chemicals, no radiation, no electric burn, no cutting.

And it symbolizes our forgiveness. If it is your will, forgive my sins. Jesus says it is His will. "Be cleansed."

At the center of all genuine worship is repentance and forgiveness. God erases what only God can. 

Without faith, no one can discover this peace. Some lose their faith and repeat the words, to make a good impression. But God knows the counsels of the heart. Pretending faith is not faith, and God hardens those who retreat from His blessings. 

Last night and in class this morning (online - you were not up yet), the question arose. What is the relationship between faith and good works. The Calvinists and Roman Catholics combine faith and good works. Rome says good works must be added to faith for (partial) forgiveness. They call that Fides Formata, faith formed by good works. The Calvinists say, "The gift of salvation is a demand (for good works)," as stated by Karl Barth, the adulterous Swiss commie apostate.

But Jesus said, the good tree must bear good fruit. And that good tree is the person who has faith in Christ. This is how the Gospel works, and it is the reason why seminar students should garden until they understand that. Good plants necessarily bear fruit, according to the design of Creation. We take that for granted, but it is still true. 

We were created for good works, as Ephesians teaches, but that does not happen apart from faith. If someone is lacking in good works, he should ask himself if he is truly repentant. Lack of contrition hardens the heart until no faith is left. That is why some go through the motions and say the words, but do not mean it. This attitude is the source of so much suffering in the apostate mainline denominations, which the Lutherans have joined in heading down the drain - all the established Lutheran groups, sad to say.

4 And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.

When Jesus commanded the leper to go to the priest, He was ordering the healed man to take the Gospel to the priest, to give that priest a chance to believe, to see with his own eyes. This is another example of God's grace, to offer salvation and peace to someone who might be blind to the Gospel.

5 And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, 6 And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. 7 And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. 

Here is an example of another emphasis or lesson in the miracle. The first was about the leper's complete lack of outward merit in receiving a miracle. He only had faith.

This was a very important Roman officer, supposedly a pagan, who came to Jesus asking for a miracle for his servant. This centurion had heard the report (Romans 10, Isaiah 53) and believed. Therefore he asked in faith and Jesus offered to come to his house.

Jesus did this knowing what was in the heart of the centurion. He had complete faith in God's Word and understood the unlimited power of that Word. This power is taught throughout the Bible, but no longer grasped in any sense by the fallen away Christians, who ape the faith without having faith (John Lawrenz, John Brug, the entire Church Growth business enterprise). 

I do not ask if the morning rain will have any effect. I know it will. Nothing could be better for the seeds I planted. They will grow because of rain falling. And they will provide food for the eater and seed for the sower. I have potentially thousands of seeds in that  future harvest.

So the centurion knew this about God's Word. Perhaps he read the Greek Old Testament, since educated Roman knew Greek quite well and had access to literature. At any rate, God's Word belongs to God and no one else. So the centurion compared God's Word to his knowledge of command. This should give you goose-bumps.

8 The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. 9 For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.

This is the comparison often found in the Old Testament, the lesser to the greater. If it is true of the lesser, it is also true, or even more true of the greater. Like the leper, he has nothing to offer. He is not even worthy to have Jesus in his home. But he knows this. Just as he can issue an order without even seeing a soldier, and it will be obeyed, so can Jesus issue a command and it will be obeyed.

10 When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. 11 And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 

Jesus marveled at this soldier's faith, but He also said this as a warning. Although many will come from outside of Judaism, those who should inherit the Kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness, where they will suffer enormously.

13 And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.

As in other miracles, Jesus only had to say the Word, and the miracle took place that moment. So it is when anything we take before Him in faith. He answers. It is His will, and He will provide a remedy in the best possible way and time. We ask in trust and receive in trust, knowing this to be true.