Monday, October 20, 2014

Sermon for the Feast of St. Luke, Evangelist: "The Doc is In"

Feast of St. Luke, Evangelist

October 19th, 2014 (observed)
Isaiah 35:5-8; 2 Tim. 4:5-18; Luke 10:1-9
In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

In many ways, St. Luke picks up his Gospel account where the prophet Isaiah leaves off. Listen to Isaiah’s words again…

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
6 then shall the lame man leap like a deer,
and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.

Sounds like a medical transcription report. People can’t see. Can’t walk. Can’t speak. Diagnosis. Prognosis. Treatment. Isaiah depicts the Lord as a divine physician, as the Healer of the Nations.

And so does St. Luke, who we commemorate today. The Good Physician whom Isaiah foretells, Luke records in his Gospel. From Luke’s perspective, the moment Jesus is born in Bethlehem, the sign on the stable door where Jesus is born reads: “The Doc is in”. Jesus fulfills Isaiah’s prophecies. Jesus heals the blind. Jesus opens the deaf ear. Jesus tells the lame to get up and walk.. And Jesus speaks peace, because he is the peace of God in human flesh.

And that’s why he instructs the 72 in Luke 10 to say, “Peace be with this house” as he sends them out as apostles of his peace. Jesus gives his peace won for us on the cross. Reconciliation with God. This peace forgives sin. This is the peace he sent the 12 and then the 72 out to proclaim. This is the peace that Luke writes about in his Gospel. Jesus is a physician of peace.

Now peace may be the last thing on your mind when you go to the doctor’s office. You may not find the medical waiting room a very peaceful place. Oh sure, it might be painted with soothing colors, decorated with toys, magazines, or TVs. But for many, a trip to the doctor causes anxiety, fear, and loathing.

But not so with Jesus, the Good Physician of body and soul. There’s no white coat syndrome with Jesus. No need to fear your Savior. Yes, he knows your history. He knows you are sick. He knows you are a sinner. He knows you are unclean. But none of that stops Jesus. You are precisely why he was born, why he lived, suffered, bled and died.

Yes, your sin causes you fear – and well it should. We can’t say, “But…I’m not quite dead yet”. We’re dead in our trespasses. Cold and lifeless on the operating table. But what is greater, your fear and doubt or Jesus’ cross? Your sin or Jesus’ death that atones for your sin?

Jesus walks in to the waiting room of our fallen world to breathe our poisoned air, and to take our disease of sin and death upon himself, to restore your life forever. The Doctor dies for the patient in order to bring you back from the dead. Jesus becomes the curse of sin for you in order to give you a clean bill of health. All of your sin and death are quarantined in Jesus’ body on the cross. It all dies with Jesus. You are forgiven. You are restored. You are at peace.

And the more we examine our lives, the more we see our sinful condition; and the more we realize we need healing. We need peace.

But in order to get the proper treatment, we need the proper diagnosis. And that’s one of the reasons we give thanks to God for His servant Luke, the evangelist. Luke’s job is to bring Jesus to you through God’s living and active Word.

God’s Word is the scalpel of Jesus, the Good Physician. And he’s an expert Surgeon. With precision his law cuts you and “kills” you, in order to heal you and make you alive.

Each commandment is an accurate incision of the Law.
We have not feared, loved, and trusted God above all things.
We have failed to use God’s name properly and call upon him in every trouble, pray, praise, and give thanks.
We have despised God’s word and preaching.
We have not honored our father or mother or other authorities God has given us.
We have not helped our neighbor in support of their physical need.
We have not led a sexually pure life in all we say and do.
We have been dishonest and poor stewards of our possessions and income.
We have not spoken well of our neighbor and explained everything in the best and kindest way.
We have coveted more things and people than we can even remember.

The diagnosis isn’t good. In fact it’s terminal. But Jesus does not delight in torture or punishment. Jesus, your Good Physician cuts with the Law in order to heal with the Gospel. He kills you in order to make you alive. The Lord heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds (Ps. 147:3). All of those commandments you have broken, Jesus has kept for you.

Jesus perfectly fears, loves, and trusts the Father for you.
Jesus called upon God’s name for you.
Jesus heard and spoke the Word of God for you.
Jesus honored father and mother and all authorities for you.
Jesus helped his neighbor in ever time of need for you.
Jesus led a sexually pure life, void of lust and desire and sin, for you.
Jesus was a faithful steward of all God’s creation for you.
Jesus explains everything about you in the kindest way he can, through the lens of his suffering and death. Not a commandment broken for you. All your sickness of sin, Jesus has made his own.

Strange as it sounds, Jesus your Good Physicians turns the scalpel on himself. He stands under the two-edged sword of God’s Word for you. He bears the Law for you. Keeps the Law for you. Suffers the punishment of the Law for you. All so that he can heal you. Jesus is bruised for your iniquities. And by his wounds you are healed.

Jesus is the Great Physician that Luke, the beloved physician, was called to write about and proclaim.

“Peace be to this house”. The 72 give as they receive. Jesus gives them peace. The same peace of God that comes to us in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, all given to us in Luke’s Gospel.

In Luke 2 the angels sang:
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased.

Simeon held the 40 day old peace of God in his hands and declares he can depart in peace.

Jesus entered Jerusalem on his way to the cross amidst the cry: “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

Jesus makes peace between God and man by his death on the cross.

Jesus spoke to his disciples as he appeared before them resurrected from the dead: “Peace be with you”.

But don’t think that Jesus’ peace is absent from us today. He is not. Thanks to Luke and the other evangelists. Thanks to the 72. Thanks to faithful pastors who are also sent. The peace that Jesus won for you on the cross by shedding his blood, by dying your death, by rising again – all of that is given to you here.

Christ’s Peace be to this house. Peace be with your house. Rejoice! This doctor makes house calls!

Christ’s peace is here. We sing it and say it around the Altar: “The peace of the Lord be with you always”. The peace of Christ comes to you here. Take and eat: Christ’s body. Take and drink, Christ’s blood. Here is the medicine of immortality, an antidote for your sin.

The peace Jesus gives is no placebo. It is real. Tangible as bread and wine, water and words. It is not temporary like our vain efforts at peace. Jesus does not appease sin and death. He destroys it. And in Jesus’ death you live. Jesus takes on your sickness you are restored. You are made well.

And so today we give thanks to God for Luke, the Evangelist. For Luke’s accounts of Jesus’ life and ministry and for Jesus’ life in the life of the Church in the Book of Acts. But most of all we give thanks to God for Luke, the beloved physician, who points us to the Great Physician of body and soul, Christ our Lord.

For today, the same promise given by Jesus to the 72 also comes to you.

 ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ Peace be with you…and all who dwell here.

A Blessed Feast of St. Luke to you all…

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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