S-1438 2SAP/3A 6/22/2014 Hymns: (O) #123 1-4; (S) #506; LS. #370; #304; #310 (C) #123 5-8
Texts: Jeremiah 20:7-13; Romans 6:12-23; Matthew 10:5a, 21-33
Theme: “Sent Out” (Matthew 10:5, 27-28)
Question: “Have you been sent out on an errand?” Armour, SD
Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen, indeed! Alleluia! The text is from the Gospel Lesson: “These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them…‘What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell’” (Matthew 10:5, 27-28).
Saints in Christ, legend has it that in 490 BC, a young messenger named Pheidippidies, after fighting in a fierce battle with the Persians, was sent on a 26.2 mile run from the battlefield of Marathon back to Athens. His task was to announce that the Athenians had defeated Persians who threatened the very way of life they knew and cherished. According to the legend, he ran the entire distance without stopping. When he arrived in Athens, he burst into the assembly of the leaders and proudly blurted out the greatest news of that day—WE HAVE WON! Then upon making this announcement, he collapsed and died! (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marathon_race).
Now if that isn’t enough to keep you from ever strapping on your cross-trainers and running 26.2 miles just for fun, then nothing will! I can assure you that when I contemplate traveling 26.2 miles, roughly the distance from here to Parkston, the LAST thing I think about is running. I personally just don’t get the draw of running like this! Running great distances is hard work! I have played soccer and I know after running for a long time, my joints and body aches. While I have never felt it, I hear that there is something called “the Wall” that runners hit where their bodies start to rebel against them. With what limited running I do, I am absolutely certain that if I even tried to run HALF a marathon right now, I would meet the same end as old Pheidippidies. PAUSE.
As we look at the text before us today, we see that our Lord Jesus is sending His Disciples out on a mission. While the mission that He sends them on doesn’t sound like Pheidippidies run from Marathon to Athens, the trip that Jesus sends them on will be every bit as grueling! Jesus sends them out on this journey because of the condition of the world. Earlier in Chapter 9 in Matthew’s Gospel account we hear Jesus point out that there is indeed much work to be done in the world. We are told that When He saw the crowds, He had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” What the Disciples didn’t know at that point was that they would be the initial answer to the prayer. The 12 would be the ones that were sent out, running from town to town on a mission to deliver a message: the kingdom of Heaven is at hand!
What is most amazing with this blessed charge by Jesus is this. That God in mercy and compassion is in the ministry of sending. In Holy Scripture we see God’s care for the lost as He sends out His messengers to share the good news. The sending begins soon after the Fall in the Garden. God promised to send a Savior who will crush the serpent’s head. Even as time passes the promise of the One being sent does not diminish. Noah was sent with instruction to build an Arc. He was sent to bring comfort (as his names states) from the burdens that were going on in his world. Through Moses Yahweh sends a message of seeking to Pharaoh saying “let my people go! The sending continues through the prophets.
Isaiah the prophet of God, in midst of disaster speaks gracious words that God will send the “Shiloh” 8:6 (the sent One) to bring about deliverance and hope (vv. 11ff). The sent One will accomplish much for the benefit of the people and on their behalf.
The Shiloah is fulfilled in the life of the heaven-sent Savior, Jesus Christ. In the book of Hebrews Jesus Himself is called an “Apostle” (3:1) that is the “Sent one.” He is the One promised by God and sent by God to bring deliverance and hope. He is the One who will bring comfort and consolation. He is the One who will bring joy and peace. He is the One who will accomplish what no man has ever been able to accomplish—saving their souls and receiving forgiveness.
In love the Father had compassion on His people and sent His Son. Jesus in mercy and compassion for the lost, in obedience to God’s will goes to Jerusalem, to Calvary, to the cross and ultimately to death for the whole world. By His rising from the grave, He announces the victory over our enemies. He declares the Good News of sins forgiven and life with God is given.
Today’s text reminds us of Jesus compassion that the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Therefore, He commissions His disciples and sends them out into the world to tell, teach and testify of His grace for them. These twelve were sent on a mission to go to the whole house of Israel and speak of Jesus—the sent One who has come to earth to be with us and deliver us from the eternal punishment of hell and His great accomplishments.
The Sent One in last week’s Gospel account sent out His disciples to carry out the ministry that will bring us into the fold—the ministry of baptizing and teaching. By the mercy of God we have the Word and water that makes us alive. Through this gift we become apostles sent out one to tell the world Christ’s Good News.
We are sent out to confess the name of Jesus boldly and fearlessly. We, as His 21st century apostles are sent out in the same kind of way to go out to every place and share the sweet message of our redemption.
As God’s people by the working of the Holy Spirit we take up our cross and follow Him so that we seek to share the Good News of His love with those who do not yet know Him. This is our privilege and honor to speak of what we know of our salvation.
As the ones who are sent by Jesus, we are called to be on the front lines telling of the victory we have on account of His death and glorious resurrection. We are sent out to give hope to the hopeless and help to the helpless through the only Savior Jesus Christ. We are sent out to tell the enemies of the cross of the love of the One who died and rose for them. We are sent out to tell the loveless, that they are loved. PAUSE.
In truth there really isn’t any special training you need for this marathon. You don’t need a doctorate in theology or even be ordained into the Office of the Holy Ministry. The only training you need is what the 12 had in the text: time with Jesus in His word and at His table. Then, as you are going about running the marathon of your everyday life, you get to tell others about Jesus with both your words and your actions! And know that you don’t run alone. Jesus runs with you. The Holy Spirit runs within you and there are over one billion others across this planet that are running the same race you are running; and by the Grace of God are sharing the message of victory in Jesus!
This good news that we share is more than just a story. It is not the story that Jesus ran 26.2 miles of Marathon to Athens and then dying. But it is about delivering the news of a great marathon and the One who ran it for us. This marathon is about One that brought Him from heaven to earth. He continued to run this race all the way to Jerusalem and ultimately to the cross. He didn’t burst into the assembly announcing that He won the battle and then died. No! He died first on the cross of Calvary and then burst forth from the grave saying, I have won! The battle is over. I have overcome the world! The victory is real and forever.
Because of the Cross and empty tomb we have all that we need to run the marathon the Lord has called us. There we have the life we need to run. In the Resurrection, the dead are made alive. This is the free gift of God! It is ours to live in and ours to share. St. Paul expresses it well when he reminds the Romans and us But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.
In Christ and His cross we are free. Free to live. Free to run the marathon of the Christian life. And we run because we have the great news of a victory won. And this victory is not mythological like the story around the first marathon. In this assembly I can tell you the victory is ours! This victory is no myth. No, in Jesus this victory is real and it is ours for now and forever! Amen
Now the peace…
SOLI DEO GLORIA