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Lent 6

by pastorjuhl ~ March 28th, 2012

It is my custom to read the full Matthew Passion, preaching a brief homily and letting the Passion do much of the preaching.

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit

            Today’s Epistle begins with these words, Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus. The mind that we have because of Jesus listens to the triumphal entry and His passion with humble joy.

When our ears hear the Pharisees say to each other, Look, the world has gone after Him, we want to grab them by their hands and say, “Yes, and you should too. Come and see what Jesus is about to do for you. Jesus is Messiah. He’s the One you’ve been waiting for all these years. Yet you say He has a demon. You call Him a wine-bibber and a drunkard. You are angry with Him because He receives sinners and eats with them. Don’t you see that Christ dwells only among sinners?”

That is one big obstacle for many people when it comes to wanting to follow Jesus. They can’t get past the notion that Christ dwells only among sinners. They expect Christ to dwell with people who are holier-than-thou. They expect Jesus not to be with hypocrites and only with those who live up to His high expectations. People see Him as someone to be admired, but only from afar, lest you get too close to Him and risk being ridiculed by people who have the common sense not to get caught up in all that religious stuff. They, whoever they are, are the ones who are holier-than-thou hypocrites whose high expectations fly over the top of Jesus Christ.

The mind given to redeemed sinners in Jesus Christ is one that comprehends and believes that Jesus dwells only among sinners. Jesus becomes a hypocrite in order to die for hypocrites. He humbles Himself to die the death a non-Roman citizen dies in order to give you citizenship with His Father forever. He was forsaken by His Father so that you would have a closer relationship with Him that you ever would with your own family. When Jesus declares, It is finished, it is as He says. The work of salvation, the hopes and fears of all the years as we sang at Christmastide, are met at the Place of a Skull.

You are set free from the waterless pit. The King of the Jews has come to you, speaking peace to the nations. His rule has no end. Paradise is restored to you. This is the mind given you in Christ Jesus. He becomes what you were not, that you become what you were not: forgiven children of God.

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit

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