Jubilate Sermon–John 16:16-22
St. Peter Lutheran Church
St. John 16:16-22
April 29, 2012
“The Rhyme on the Door to Heaven”
Brothers and sisters in Christ, dearly loved by Jesus:
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
- 1. According to Paul Gerhardt’s hymn:
Whereon this rhyme immortal is found in script of gold:
Who there my cross has shared finds here a crown prepared
Who there with me has died Shall here be glorified.
- 2. That rhyme, or the thought behind it, we should learn and sink in our hearts. The devil seeks to overwhelm us with sadness and despair and destroy our confidence that we have been given eternal life. And if he can’t destroy it, he at least wants to steal all joy from us.
- 3. But we should know that when we are Christians and are baptized into Christ’s death and resurrection and have the promise of the forgiveness of sins, our suffering—particularly the pains of the soul, the feeling that we are rejected by God—are not signs of God’s rejection, but instead a necessary part of the Christian life—signs that we are Christians.
- a. Being pushed to the breaking point as a Christian—we should expect it. “Who there my cross has shared finds here a crown prepared…who there with me has died shall here be glorified.”
- b. Illustration—Elijah/broom tree
Elijah calls a drought because of Ahab’s wickedness. 3 years later, he has a showdown with priests of Baal—fire comes from heaven, priests of Baal slain. Rain comes. But then Ahab’s wife Jezebel sends a note to Elijah that she is going to kill him.
So Elijah journeys for a day into the wilderness “and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he asked that he might die, saying, ‘It is enough now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.’ And he lay down and slept under a broom tree. And behold, an angel touched him and said to him, ‘Arise and eat.’ And he looked, and behold, there was at his head a cake baked on hot stones and a jar of water. And he ate and drank…” twice “and went in the strength of that food forty days and nights to Horeb, the mount of God.”
- c. The point is we are walking in a way that human beings do not have the strength to walk—we are walking by faith in Christ. We are called to live with the certainty that we have eternal life. We are called to lay down our lives for our neighbors, forgive our enemies…do things that human beings cannot do, but the Lord can.
- d. When you have been a Christian and have suffered to the point where you are too tired to go on, and you say, “Enough, Lord. I’m ready to die,” you aren’t alone. This is the way it is for all who cling to Christ, for Elijah, the apostles, Luther, the faithful pastors who baptized and confirmed you, and for us too.
- e. We are saved without works…and yet we are being transformed into the image of Christ so that we are full of good works.
- f. This means death. Dying to the old way of living and becoming like Christ.
- g. How do we naturally deal with those who irritate and hurt us?
- h. How does Jesus deal with those who hurt him and hate him?
- i. Now you see why we have to die.
- 4. Jesus says: A woman who is giving birth has pain, because her hour has come, but afterward she forgets the pain for joy that a child is born into the world. So also you.
- a. The disciples—pain when Jesus died.
- b. But Jesus’ enemies rejoiced.
- c. The world still rejoices that it can’t see Jesus.
- i. The world hates Jesus.
- ii. Jesus warns us of judgment; those who would be save must flee the world, and this is to suffer what he suffered.
- iii. The world rejoices that Jesus is in heaven; rejoices when it no longer has to pretend to listen to His word, rejoices when Christians are without joy and confidence.
- d. But the disciples received joy when He rose. It was the new birth of the human race, the beginning of the new creation.
- e. Our hour of suffering is particularly when we can’t see Jesus—when He appears to have died, to have left us, to have forsaken us.
- f. He will give us joy at His return.
- g. But also like Elijah He refreshes us now.
- i. Gospel.
- ii. The bread and wine, the body and blood.
- 5. “My hour.”
- a. Jesus called the cross his hour.
- b. He says that his hour—his passion, is also the disciples’ hour. When he dies, they are full of grief. Because really Jesus’ death is our death.
- c. When we suffer as Christians, we are experiencing the cross. Jesus’ hour was dying for the sins of the world. Surely he has carried our griefs…
- d. When you experience this, it is not in vain. You are sharing in His hour—as you did in Baptism—that you might share His glory, His crown.
- e. And this is not only if you can say that you don’t sin. We share in Him by faith, not works.
- a. He does not intend for us to live with no joy.
- b. His resurrection is our joy, because it means that whatever we suffer will not destroy us because He has cancelled our sin.
- c. Joy does not mean no pain.
- d. But it means that the pain is not the end.
- e. We have joy under the cross because we already have the victory.
- f. Joy vexes Satan.
- g. Don’t try to fake joy—just cling to Christ’s promise that he swallowed up death and your sins—no matter what happens, or how you fail, or how you feel.
- h. Then feelings of joy will come.
- i. Then the new man that came forth from the grave in victory after allowing his enemies to do their worst—he will show himself in you.
- j. He will do amazing things, and make you one who gives self up for enemies.
- k. And this is where joy is found, because then we live not in ourselves but in Christ.
Rejoice! Alleluia, Christ is risen!
The peace of God…
- Under the Broom Tree. (javaman56.wordpress.com)