Grace, mercy and peace be unto you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. AMEN! Our text for this morning’s sermon is taken from St. Mark’s gospel account the 9th chapter (Mark 9:14-29).
Beloved in the Lord,
“Be bringing him to Me,” Jesus says. He speaks and He acts as each needs Him to speak and to act for them. Jesus is not bound to speak and act the same way to everyone. Though He shows no partiality between persons, He loves each according to their need. Jesus is bound to love. And love tends to the needs of His beloved. And who knows our needs better than He who formed us in the womb, who counts all the hairs on our head, and numbers our days? For the psalmist declares: Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. (Psa 139:16 ESV) Jesus sees. Jesus knows. Jesus loves every one of us – even those far from Him, even those trapped in sin, death, and the power of the devil.
Last week, Jesus knew the mother’s need for her demon-possessed daughter. He spoke and He worked. The mother trapped Him in His Word and her daughter was immediately set free from the demon. Jesus also knows the need of this father. He knows your needs. And as we hear in our text this morning, He speaks and He acts as we need – not always as we like or even as we want – but always as we need and always for our good.
Speaking to this father Jesus draws both father and son nearer to Himself. “Be bringing him to Me” He says. As if to say, “Come near, come close. Let me see. Let me hear. Let me love as you need to be loved.” This is the intention of God’s Word for you and for your sons and for your daughters, that you would be bringing them to the love of Jesus.
You see, having brought his son to the disciples this father thought he was bringing him to Jesus. “I brought my son to you . . . having spoken to your disciples that they should cast out the demon, but they could not.” The problem was that no one actually brought the boy to Jesus. The man took him to the disciples and the disciple’s failed to bring him to Jesus either in person or in prayer. They did not pray like the syrophoenician woman. They did not believe. Thus, theirs is a failure of faith. The original sin kept them from God’s Word and God’s Work which in turn kept the boy in the domain of the devil.
Now I ask you, beloved, what need have we that is greater than the hearing of God’s Word and the returning unto Him our praise and thanksgiving? The question sounds simple but the answer is difficult to put into practice. Thus too many these days are raising children deaf to God’s Word and therefore also mute – unable to speak His praises. Without God’s Word we are lost, our children are lost, our communities are lost. Lost to God and lost to one another we find that we are living in the domain of another – the Devil’s. Lost to God and lost to one another we find that we are lost in sin. Lost in sin we are trapped in death. Sin, death, devil – all go together, all are part of our lives, all are enemies of Christ and His kingdom.
Jesus says, “be bringing him to me.” So, where have we been bringing our children? Where have we been bringing ourselves, our husbands, our wives, our loved ones? We have no problem bringing our children to the doctors when they are sick or in need of a regular check-up. We have no problem bringing our children to school. We have no problem bringing our children to soccer practice, or whatever sporting event we have chosen for them. We have no problem bringing them to band, or dance class, or 4-H, or boy scouts, or to the cabin for the weekend, or any other entertaining event that happens upon our schedule! But we do struggle to devote our children to Jesus – regular worship, regular bible study and Sunday School, regularly hearing and receiving of the Word and Works of Jesus. We make every effort to ensure that our children are “well rounded” in the ways of the world, but the Word of God, the worship of our creator, is all too easily set aside, rescheduled, or surrendered. Making God’s Word and Worship a priority is not the same as making God’s Word and Worship THE priority. If it’s just a priority, then it’s one of many priorities and equal to all priorities. If equal to all then it is of no great consequence if it is neglected. However, if equal to all, then either everything, being elevated and equated to our God, has become our God, or our God, being brought low, has become synonymous with everything. And if God is everything, then He is nothing to us. And the Devil has us trapped once more.
Beloved, Jesus doesn’t want us trapped by the devil. Jesus doesn’t want you trapped in the ways of the world. When He descends the mount of transfiguration, Jesus descends into the midst of the muck and mire of our world, the world that has elevated so many things over and above the word and works of its creator. Into the midst of this broken world Jesus comes and doing so He invades. He steps foot on enemy territory. Jesus marches into the devil’s domain and brings the brilliance of His light to the dark corners of our world and our hearts. Men love the world and the darkness and their sin. But Jesus loves you more than all of that. Jesus loves you more than His own life. Therefore the Light has come into the darkness to save us from the darkness of our sins.
Entering the darkness He enters also into death. The wages of sin is death. You and I, we have sin and we will die. But Jesus doesn’t want you or your children to die. Jesus doesn’t want you or your children to live in the darkness. Jesus doesn’t want you or your children far away from Him entertaining yourselves to death. Thus, His coming to us, to speak and to act, requires His entering the deep darkness of death for us and our children. He comes to take away sin, to destroy the works of the devil, and plunder the grave. He comes offering Himself for you, your children, even the whole world. He offers His beard to be torn out. He offers His face to be bruised. He offers His brow to be crowned, His hands to be pierced, His back to be lashed, His blood to be shed, His life to be given. He is crucified with criminals for criminals. He does not come to judge but to be judged, not to kill but to be killed. Jesus is unlike the gods of this world whose false prophets and their descendents riot and murder and plot and war against their fellow man. NO! Jesus is not like the god of Islam nor his murdering, blasphemous, prophet. Jesus is not like Zeus. He is not like the Baals or Molech or any other god. He is the God of salvation, the God who suffers, dies and rises again to deliver His children from the consequence of their sins, to save you and your children from death and hell. Thus He is the God of Love. For love gives what is needed to save His beloved. Love gives His own life for your life.
Therefore, with Jesus there is no “if”. Jesus is not only able to deliver He is willing to deliver. There is no “if” and thus there is no doubt. The world is full of doubt and uncertainty. If our God is just like the world, just like any other imagination of men, then we will doubt and be uncertain. His Words and His Works must not be equated with the words and works of sinful mortals. Jesus is crucified, dead and buried, but He is also risen from the dead. He is God in the flesh. His Word and His Works accomplish what they say. No doctor, no politician, no economist, no man’s words can work like the Savior’s. Thus we who are called Christian, who have been baptized into the Word and Works of Jesus, we are to be believing the Word and Works of Jesus today, tomorrow and forevermore!
“Lord I believe, help my unbelief” says the father in our text! Truly this father is more pious than any in our midst today. He makes a good confession and faith cries out for the Word and Works of Jesus. You see, beloved, faith is not our creation. Faith is not our doing but is a gift created and sustained only the by the Word and Works of God. Without such Words faith dwindles, fades, falters, fails. FAITH NEEDS THE WORD! Thus it’s as though this father were praying, “Lord I believe, give me more of your blessed Word that my faith may be strong and my heart brave in the face of devils and demons, madmen and murderous rioteers! Lord I believe, grant me crumbs or prepare feast in the presence of mine enemies! Lord I believe, forgive me where and when I fail. Let only your Word by my joy and my life. Lord I believe help my unbelief that I may be sure and certain of your great love for me and my children. Open my ears and let loose my tongue that with my “mouth I may confess Jesus is Lord and with the heart believe that God raised Him from the dead and be saved!”” (Romans 10:9)
Beloved in the Lord, when Jesus says, “be bringing him to me” He is calling both father and son, parent and child, husband and wife, Jew and Gentile, male and female, slave and free, you and me, nearer to Himself that together we might hear the Word of the Lord and be saved from this wicked and perverse generation. Let us not surrender such great and powerful words for the fleeting pleasures of the flesh. Let us not exchange the free forgiveness of our sins for the costly indulgence of this world. Let us not chase after Hollywood stars when the Light of the World is come to scatter away the darkness of our hearts. Let us be bringing our children to Jesus that He might touch them, baptize them, exercise them from the power and dominion of the devil, and build them up for service in His kingdom. “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (Col 3:16 ESV) Let us worship and let us praise the creator of the World, the God of our Salvation; even Jesus the Crucified One! Let us listen with open ears and let us sing with liberated tongues! Let us be bringing one another to Jesus, today, tomorrow and forevermore. For to whom shall we go? He has the Words of eternal life. AND We need HIS WORDS. AMEN!
The peace of God which surpasses all human understanding keep your heart and mind through faith in Christ Jesus. AMEN!