S-1324 4SAP/3B 6/24/12 Hymns: (O) #3; (S) #496; LS. #314; #204; #308; (C) #46
Text: Isaiah 40:1-5; Acts 13:13-26; Luke 1:57-80
Theme: “The Perfect Plan.” (Luke 1:63-66).
Question: “Do Your Plans Always work out?” Armour, SD.
Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Alleluia! The text is from the Gospel lesson: “And he asked for a writing tablet and wrote, ‘His name is John.’ And they all wondered. And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God. And fear came on all their neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all the hill country of Judea, and all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, ‘What then will this child be?’ For the hand of the Lord was with him’” (Luke 1:63-66).
Dear children of the heavenly Father, no matter how hard we try, in our fallen world, our plans go awry. We end with the perfect spouse, only to discover a week before retirement your husband has stage “4” cancer. You raise a lovely family, but one of your children is killed by a drunk driver. You and your wife are expecting a child. When she goes to the Dr. for her 3 months checkup the dr. tells you: “Sorry, you just had a miscarriage!” You send your son to BB camp, only to receive word that he tore his ACL. You are planning on taking a cruise with your bride and the phone comes, mom just passed away. You are taking a family vacation to the Black Hills, and just when you are about to reach Kadoka, the engine blows.
Sometimes our plans fail because the leaders we look to let us down and disappoint us. Often the leaders we campaign for, vote for, and pray for fail for the same reasons we do. They at times betray us because they only tell us what we want to hear.
All of us have seen our best-laid plans fail. Ultimately, all of these failures can be traced back to sin, both ours and that of others. Our dreams can go unrealized and our hopes can be dashed for so many reasons.
In our broken and sinful world, pain, disappointment, unfulfilled plans are a reality of everyday life. And the saying is very true of Murphy’s Law: “If anything can go wrong, it will go at the worst possible moment.” Isn’t this the story of our lives? SURE IT IS!
Not only ours, but even those who serve God. In Today’s text, we read of a man whose plans never came to fruition. Zechariah a righteous man in the sight of God, had married a lovely young woman—Elizabeth. They longed for the day to cradle an infant in their arms, but that reality never came to be. There plans of being parents never occurred. Disappointment, heartache, shame and pain fills their hearts and lives. They are now old and their plans and dreams are hopelessly dashed. PAUSE.
On a very specific evening when Zechariah was on duty in the Temple offering the sacrifices he had a visitor—the Angel Gabriel came to him with God’s plans for a child that he and his wife would have in their old age. But because of sin, Zechariah didn’t believe that God’s plan would work.
Zechariah was told that he would have a son and should call him John. But he doubted God’s plan for him and the nation of Israel. And with this announcement that meant that the Messiah—the long expected Savior finally would come since John would be the forerunner announcing the Kingdom of God has arrived.
Zechariah is no different from us. He is man—a sinful man just like the rest of us and he must have thought that God had forgotten His promise to send the Savior. Life experience had taught him that the best of plans don’t always materialize. And therefore, he came to the conclusion this plan of God would NOT happen, not now and for sure not with him.
Because of this, (you know the story well) Zechariah was struck speechless for the duration of the pregnancy. During this time, this priest had a lot of time—quiet time to watch before his very eyes the beginning of what he thought would never take place.
But God used this time to teach this old man a lesson, that God never forgets His promises. That God’s plans always work out. That God’s plans to human eyes may appear slow and not coming, but don’t think that way—God’s timing is not like our timing. He doesn’t run on earthly clock but heavenly. Furthermore, Zechariah had time to think both of his son’s name, “John” which means “The Lord has shown favor,” and his own name, which means, “God remembers.”
What is it that the Lord remembers? Praise God that He doesn’t remember our sins. Thankfully He doesn’t keep record of our wrong. No, our merciful and loving God remembers His gracious covenant plans and fulfills them in due time—to bring about the salvation of mankind. PAUSE.
Nine months had passed and now Elizabeth gave birth to a son and the time came to give him a name. Everyone thought he should be called like his father, but neither Elizabeth nor Zechariah agreed to that. Finally, he asked for a writing tablet and wrote the name the angel gave him—John. At that moment his tongue was loosed and he began to praise God for fulfilling His plan.
Don’t you love this story? Finally, the plan came to be as God intended them to be. We love it when God’s plans come together. We love it when our plans come together. PAUSE.
This past Thursday, another plan came together for the Miami Heat as they played against the Oklahoma, Thunder. Under the guidance of coach Erik Spoelstra and their MVP star LeBroan James the Heat defeated the Thunder and won the NBA championship.
In Miami there was great joy for LeBroan, his team mates and the rest of their fans. Celebrations ensued way into the next day because their hard work, their plans of winning the championship became a reality on Thursday June 22, 2012.
Likewise, there was great joy in the town of Judea as these two elderly people held in their bossom their bundle of joy—John who would become the Baptizer—All because of the mercy of God. But of a greater joy was the grandest plan of all time that the long expected Messiah would finally come. The Messiah would come to Redeem His people.
Just at the appointed time, the plans of God became a reality. Jesus came to Bethlehem’s manger as God’s Son and Mary’s Son. He lived the perfect life that mankind failed to live. Jesus suffered and atoned for all the sins of mankind, who had failed to keep God’s perfect Law when He gave His life as the atoning sacrifice on Calvary’s cross.
According to the Master plan, Jesus rose from the grave on the 3rd day to demonstrate His might and victory over the enemy-death and satan and sin. And He also promised that at the right time He will come back to take us to be with Him in His Kingdom. PAUSE.
Where is your life like Zechariah today? Does it appear the plans that God has for you and your life have gone off track? I know that we have those moments. Every sinful human being does! And yet the promise of God to you is the same as it was to Zechariah and Elizabeth. God doesn’t forget you. He never leaves you. You may not like His timing or methods, but He is there for you. He delivers you where you need to be, when you need to be there according to HIS timetable. We have nothing to fear. Our call is to trust the Master and His plan. It will all work out in the end
Today, we, like Zechariah lift our voice to praise God for His wonderful works of making His plans being fulfilled. Today, in your hearing you will see this plan unfolding, your sins are forgiven you, you receive blessing in the sacrament and are sent out to share of the Perfect Plan of God for you and your neighbor.
By the grace of God, Zechariah was taught that God’s plans are the perfect plan. May we take our Bibles, study them and learn them to see how all of God’s plans are perfect for us—for now and for always. Amen.
Now the peace…
SOLI DEO GLORIA.