05052019 Easter 3 Sunday Emmanuel Lutheran Export PA

“We proclaim Jesus is the Christ!”

05052019 Easter 3 Sunday Emmanuel Lutheran Export PA

May 5, 2019
“We proclaim Jesus is the Christ!”
Sermon Audio

Last week our mantra from Peter found in the book of Acts was “We bear witness to Christ!”  If like a school teacher looking through the papers of their students Jesus were to grade everyone to determine if all of us were successful, all of us would probably fear seeing our scores.  Yes, we heard Peter’s three imperatives from last weeks Acts lesson of obey God, repent of our sins and witness to Christ, but the reality is all of us probably got busy with life this week. Being worried about our families and the crisis of our day, consumed by our culture and just like the people Peter spoke with that Luke recorded in the Book of Acts their witness was less than a stellar performance.  But Jesus knew this about them and us and this week we encounter an individual in our lesson from Acts who was the poster child for failure, none other than Saul.

If you would have walked around Jerusalem after Jesus death and resurrection, one name among the Jews converting to being followers of Jesus would have been synonymous with fear for those we would now call the Early Christians, his name was Saul.  He was a good Jew and went after the Jewish converts to Christ in order to ‘cleanse’ the Jewish religion of their new message “We proclaim Jesus is the Christ!”

As the Jews heard the Gospel of their salvation and converted because of what Jesus Christ death on Calvary offered them, this new mantra, “We proclaim Jesus is the Christ” radically changed the reality of their lives.  It was not that the law had no place, but that Jesus Christ came and fulfilled the law for them and by extension all of mankind.  No longer was salvation through the sacrifice on the temple mount, but Jesus sacrifice on Calvary was the perfect and ultimate fulfillment of the law and His, Jesus sacrifice set them free from their sins, removed the sentence of death and offered them freedom unheard of by their Jewish customs and faith of their day.  And Saul saw converts as a threat.

So when Saul on the road to Damascus was blinded and he met Jesus Christ and began his journey of confession and receiving the forgiveness that only comes from our Savior, Saul did a complete 180 degree turn and became a believer in Jesus Christ and the Way.  Saul as a good Jew knew the prophecies of the Old Testament. Saul went to temple and was well versed in all aspects of Jewish life. Saul knew that One, the Messiah was coming that would fulfill the law perfectly who was the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Yet, after his personal encounter and experience on the road to Damascus with Jesus Christ, the mantra “We proclaim Jesus is the Christ” flowed from his lips.

Saul had personally encountered the prophecies that had been fulfilled in Jesus Christ.  Jesus Whom Saul met on the road and changed Saul’s heart and gave him a new purpose and a new mission.  Saul, would no longer persecute, but Paul would take up the banner of Christ saying, “We proclaim Jesus is the Christ!”

Today we stand nearly 2000 years removed from Saul’s conversion written for us in the Book of Acts.  We looking in our collective small rear view mirrors see Paul as the prolific writer of the New Testament Epistles.  The letters passed from region to region, instructing all who read them of the salvation Jesus Christ came to offer us and all of mankind on the Cross of Calvary.  Hence why “We proclaim Jesus is the Christ!”  Yet, we are uncertain of what the cost will be for us today.  If we use Paul as our guide, it would be unfair for each of us.

Our world is a failure, but this is why we have hope and fulfillment in our Savior, Jesus Christ.  “We proclaim Jesus is the Christ”, because He is our Savior Who came to forgive us for our failure, in thought, word and deed.  “We proclaim Jesus is the Christ” because He offers us the grace we cannot earn nor merit.  “We proclaim Jesus is the Christ” not in our own strength, but by the grace of God for us and for our salvation and the offer of salvation for the entire world.

“We proclaim Jesus is the Christ” as His children, baptized into His life, death and resurrection.  We who gather here are the heirs of the salvation God offers us through His Son, Jesus Christ.  This is why the book of Acts reveals for us today how Paul not only was converted, but how he and we who gather today can be inspired to lay claim to the message Paul would spend the rest of his life sharing with others and writing to countless others of this new found message, “We proclaim Jesus is the Christ!”.

We who gather today have this same message that “We proclaim Jesus is the Christ” and an additional banner to hold up today.  Our mission statement is our additional banner.  It connects to Jesus Christ and states that we are called to be “Welcoming all in Christ’s Name, Growing together in Faith [and] Sharing God’s love in the world”.  If this mission statement no longer applies to us, then we need to change it.  But if this is the essence of our church, we have the opportunity to lean our collective shoulders into the work we bind ourselves to in our mission statement.  And today we can join Paul’s voice recorded in Acts for us today and lift Christ and our mission statement banner and loudly express our faith in our God as “We proclaim Jesus is the Christ!”  AMEN.