S-1336 15SAP/3B 9/09/12 Hymns: (O) #377 v. 1-4; (S) #95; L.S. #377 v. 5-10; #473; 193; (C) #47
Text: Isaiah 35:4-7; James 2:1-10; 14-18; Mark 7:31-37
Theme: “He Comes to Save” (Isaiah 35:4-7)
Question: “Has anyone saved your life?” Armour, SD.
Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Alleluia! The text is from the O.T. lesson: “Say to those who have an anxious heart, ‘Be strong; fear not! Behold, Your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you’” (Isaiah 35:4).
My beloved and His beloved, perhaps you have witnessed an ambulance flashing its lights and blazing its siren on its way to someone in need. As the EMT’s arrive they rush to the aid and rescue of the person in need; ultimately to save that person’s life.
On October 7, 1988 an Eskimo hunter found three gray whales trapped in the Arctic icepack, just off of Point Barrow. Before long hundreds of volunteers from all over the world worked feverishly to save the lives of these California Gray Whales. The US and Russia joined forces to save these 3 whales at a cost of $5 Million Dollars +.
In some cases, the quick action of heroic figures like EMT’s and First Responders can save human life. We also know that from the effort of those who saved the whales, with enough effort and enough money, there are times when salvation can be accomplished. But as we know, that salvation is only temporary. As illustrated by the next story
A marshal in Napoleon’s army—a man who was devotedly and willingly attached to him -- was mortally wounded in battle. As the last struggle drew near and he lay dying in his tent, he sent for his chief. Napoleon came. The poor man thought his emperor could do anything. So he earnestly pleaded with his leader to save his life. The emperor sadly shook his head and turned away. But at that moment, the dying man cried out, “Save me, Napoleon! Save me!” In the hour of death, that soldier discovered that even the powerful Napoleon could not save his life.
What is evident is that the marshal in Napoleon’s army knew that man, no matter how powerful such as Napoleon, President Obama, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and others can’t save man from death, but there is only ONE that can and has.
Isaiah, the Prophet of God, tells us in today’s text, “Say to those who have an anxious heart, ‘Be strong; fear not! Behold, Your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you’” Yes, He is coming to save. But who will be saved? YOU!!! Yes YOU.
Isaiah with soothing words comforts those who have anxious hearts—those who are returning from exile to the land of Promise. The One who comes will do mighty works of healing both physically, emotionally and spiritually. God brings a message of hope, restoration and promise of a new life with these words: “Be strong; fear not! Behold, Your God will come.” This is a most certain promise that will be kept.
Isaiah by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit is instructed to say to them that are of a fearful heart. Of course there is always fear and trembling even among the saints of God. These saints are to be encouraged and assured that God will come to their aid, will avenge them of their spiritual enemies, reward their efforts to serve him, and in the end “save” them. He will come, Himself to save you.
There is only One who can save, and He must do it Himself, and, to do it, He must “come” to us. The words were at once an announcement of the Incarnation, and a promise to every trembling, doubting heart—a promise of direct Divine assistance, of the presence of God-within us, of help strong to save. Just as our sermon hymn reminds us so beautifully today: “From the Father forth He came and returneth to the same, Captive leading death and hell—High the song of triumph swell! Thou, the Father’s only Son, Hast o’er sin the victory won. Boundless Shall Thy kingdom be When shall we its glories see.” (Savior of the Nations, Come TLH 95, vv. 4-5).
The main thought of the prophet appears to be Messianic—the arrival of the One who will set the captives free, open the eyes of the blind, cause the lame to leap for joy and raise the dead. Isaiah is speaking here of the One whom the angel announced about to Joseph saying: “She will bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” (Mt. 1:21) This is the same One whom the angels proclaimed to the shepherds announcing: “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11) and this is the same One which Peter and John spoke of: “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:10). And it is the same message Jesus spoke of Himself saying: “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10).
Beloved, Jesus YOUR Savior came to save. Walk with Him in Galilee and you will see how He fulfilled the words of Isaiah’s prophecy. He opened the eyes of the blind man in our Gospel reading, healed the ten lepers, caused the mute to speak and raised Jairus’ daughter from the grave. He fed the multitudes with fish and bread and calmed their spirits in the hours of sorrow. And…and when Peter walked on water, and saw the strong wind, he was afraid and began to sink. At that moment he cried out, “Lord, save me!” And the Savior stretched out His hands and saved Him (Mt. 14:30).
Yes, our God has come to save and He is saving us today. Through Word and sacraments He still saves the sinner from death. By the power of His Word men and women from every walk of life come to know Him, worship Him and serve Him. These are the ones who will walk with the Savior in the victory parade and sing the new song of deliverance. PAUSE.
A young man was raised in Idaho. His parents were not church goers. But every week, this lad along with his parents would visit his grandpa. Grandpa had a habit; after they finished eating gathered the children around him, gave them a Beaman’s Blackjack gum; and tells them about His Savior and Lord Jesus Christ. This lad heard the story often that He wanted to know more of this Savior that his grandfather spoke of. In time this young man grew up, went to our seminary in St. Louis and became a Pastor. He served and made His Lord’s and Savior’s name known to many. Today, he continues to serve the Savior in our Synod—as the President of a District. You know the man well—Pastor Dale Sattgast.
What a blessing it is when grandparents, parents, siblings and all of us take to heart the words of Isaiah and speak to others about the Savior God who came and still comes to us today. He comes to save you. Remember well faithful saints, you are His witnesses of His healing strength, you are His hands touching the feeble limbs, weak eyes, the speechless, and the hard of hearing...the untouchables.....you are the ones who can share the love of Jesus with all people and make His name known to the ends of the earth. PAUSE.
Precious souls in His sight, on Tuesday, I was at the Specialty Hospital in Sioux Falls to get an epidural for the pain in my shoulder. Every restroom I visited had this sign (show) “Washing Hands Saves Lives.” When I got home and got the mail, we got this book mark (show) “A Decision that Saves Lives”
Certainly; washing hands is a great thing to avoid the spread of disease. To donate an organ is a good idea to save lives too. Many people benefit through these activities. But on a far greater scale, Christ’s hands took all the disease of sin. His hands were laden with every sin of yours and mine until they hung on the cross of Calvary. These are the hands that stretched out to save lives. His blood is what washed our sins away.
Thank God for all people who come to the aid and rescue like caring EMT’s and others who work feverishly to saving lives? But how much more, you and I should thank the ONLY ONE WHO HAS SAVED US, Jesus Christ the One Isaiah spoke about His coming. To the Savior alone be the glory now and forever. Amen.
Now the peace…
SOLI DEO GLORIA