06242018 5 Aft Pent 4 Aft Trinity Sunday Emmanuel Lutheran Export PA

“We should have no fear, because of Jesus!”

06242018 5 Aft Pent 4 Aft Trinity Sunday Emmanuel Lutheran Export PA

June 24. 2018

“We should have no fear, because of Jesus!”

Sermon Audio

One of the clear admonitions from Martin Luther for Pastor’s is our individual need to not feel above anyone we minister to in or for the church.  So clear is his admonition, I’d like to use his own words from the Small and Large Catechism preface to begin this morning. Luther writes in the Small Catechism, “I beg you all for God’s sake, my dear sirs and brethren, who are pastors or preachers, to devote yourselves heartily to your office...teach the catechism to the people, and especially to the young.” SC (6)

He continues in the Large Catechism, “But for myself I say this: I am also a doctor and preacher; yes, as learned and experienced as all the people who have such assumptions and contentment.  Yet I act as a child who is being taught the catechism. Every morning--and whenever I have time--I read and say, word for word, the Ten Commandments, the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, Psalms, and such.  I must still read and study them daily….I must remain a child and pupil of the catechism, and am glad to remain so.” LC (7-8)

This clearly hits me square between the eyes and is meant to help hold my feet to the fire, since I am responsible for the souls of all who come worship and commune here at Emmanuel.  This admonition could and should clearly illicit great fear in me. Yet, the fear comes not only because I am human, but because, even in the Commandments and the explanation of the Commandments by Martin Luther, the word ‘fear’ is used in every explanation.  For fear believe it or not is not necessarily a bad thing, but should be when we are speaking of God and His relationship with us, it should be a ‘healthy fear’.

For the disciples in our Gospel lesson this morning, they had fear, but their fear wasn’t about relationship, it was because they thought their earthly lives were in danger from drowning.  The boat Jesus was in was being tossed, turned and filled with water from the storm. Just like the ‘storms in life’ we heard about last week and experienced this week, this caused great fear within the disciples.  It was natural, they thought their earthly lives were in danger, so they did what was natural, they feared and they woke up Jesus. Yet, what they should have realized and we should today as well, “We should have no fear, because of Jesus!”  

You see, Jesus Christ, born of the Virgin Mary, Who walked among the people of God and wanted the people of His time to understand that the fear they had felt from Old Testament times of a God Who clearly showed His power, was not the full preview of God that Jesus came to reveal.  Jesus came to reveal and help the people understand, especially the disciples and by extension each of us today that fear should not only be natural, but can help we God’s children focus our faith in a way that can enable us to trust God more. When we face things that make us fear, whether relationships or even for our very lives, the devil wants us to doubt God and clearly and explicitly doubt what God can do.  Such as when we are in a car accident, face life challenges like broken bones, surgery or cancer or events that cause us to doubt and wonder if God is listening and cares for us. What God wants us to remember each and every day of our lives is that “We should have no fear, because of Jesus!”

God wants us to engage Him through the gift of His Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ and use the fear that we feel as a healthy means to point us in the direction to have a proper ‘healthy fear’ and ‘healthy relationship’ with God.  It is not to drive us to doubt, but enable us to use the muscle of faith given to us in our baptism and fed here today with the Word of God and His precious Body and Blood and stand and not allow fear to leverage us away from God, but bring us closer to Him, His Son and His promises for us and for our salvation for all eternity.

Martin Luther was a great proponent of showing this battle with fear that he himself felt.  Other Christians have been as well, whether martyrs for the faith who stood in the face of the eminent loss of their lives.  Or other individuals who held firmly to the faith. What each of them clearly demonstrated was this belief that, “We should have no fear, because of Jesus!”

We have heard from one of these individuals this morning.  Nearly two thousand years before Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the prophet Job endured some of the greatest trials that could be endured by any individual.  These trials came with great purpose, because, God, our Father saw in Job not only the resolve, but the trust of His Father in heaven that can and should provide for us today a model for our lives.  Martin Luther said of Job that this book “is written for our comfort”. The story is well known, but what is most telling is that Job had no fear. Job lost his children, his home, his family, his riches and all that he had.  But instead of falling into the trap of the devil and allowing the devil to drive him away from God, Job trusted God and His promises and knew God would redeem whatever occurred, whether the loss of family, riches, abilities and anything he had or owned.

God fulfilled His promise in the coming of the Savior of the World and Job provides for us today the best model how he championed in his life what we can take to the bank today.  Job had no fear, he only had faith in His God and looked every situation and every trial he encountered with firm resolve not to allow fear to overcome him. In essence, Job looked beyond the horizon of his life to the manger and the Cross and looked without fear to His Savior, Jesus Christ.  For we who gather here today, it is our opportunity as well to look back to the manger and the Cross and firmly believe that “We should have no fear, because of Jesus!”  AMEN.