Sermon — Pr. Tony Sikora — Seeing the Lamb amidst a World of Lost Loves

In the Name X of Jesus.  AMEN!

Beloved in the Lord,

Seeking to See Jesus

Steadfast Sermons GraphicThe streets once busy with pilgrims have returned to the normal holiday traffic.  The pilgrims have made their way into the city in order to find the lamb for Passover.  At Passover Israel was redeemed by the blood of the lamb.  At Passover will Israel be redeemed once more by another Lamb, God’s Lamb.  The children have sung their Hosannas.  Glory, Laud, and Honor filled the air as the Man of Nazareth journeyed to Jerusalem.  And now the rocks cry out.  Now the hearts of a people once hardened by idolatry seek after Jesus.  The Gentiles come after Him.  “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.”

Where do they find Him?  Where is Jesus when He is needed?  He is in the temple teaching the people.  He is in the house of God doing the Father’s bidding, teaching the people, proclaiming the Word. Those who seek after Jesus must seek Him in His Church where He works His Wonders through His Word. Thus we, like these gentiles seek after Jesus here in this place.  We gather in God’s house where Jesus has promised to be for us to redeem us, deliver us, grant us the remission of our sins on account of the blood of the Lamb.  For our life is not unlike the lives of those in our text.  It is not unlike the lives of those around us; the lives of our families, our friends, our neighbors and our even our enemies.  We are like these gentiles – we would see Jesus, we would sit at His feet, listen to His Word and receive His good gifts as He wills to give them.

Loving One’s Life

But would we love such gifts above all things?  Jesus knows our heart better than we know our heart, for the human heart is ever and always an idol factory.  We love the wrong things for everything we love is connected to and flows from our love of self.  We love our life and we don’t want to lose it.  We love our self and we don’t want to deny it.  No, instead we would justify it. We would excuse it.  We would cover it over so no one, especially God, could see it.  Our life, what we say, what we do, what we think and believe, our existence, our very heart is shamed by sin – sin we do and sin we have.  We’ve become so comfortable with sin that we’ve grown to love it.

Yes, beloved we love the wrong things and we deny the wrong things, denying the wrong things we defile the right things.   We love sex and defile the marriage bed.  We love a pleasurable life and we deny life to children.  We love fun time and avoid our vocations ignoring our responsibilities.  We love money but not our neighbor.  We are attracted to lights that burn out but steer clear of the light of the world.  We hide in the shadows and love the darkness. For men loved darkness rather than light for our works are evil.  So, we reject rebuke and we covet flattery.  We hurt and we harm because we don’t love enough to help and support.  We gossip and we slander because we don’t love enough to defend and protect.  We covet and we scheme because we don’t love enough to be content, to surrender what we do have, to live by God’s gifts. Yes, beloved, loving the wrong things we deny God and defile ourselves.  We justify our sin and refuse our Savior.  We stumble, we fall, we hurt and we will die – forever if we don’t repent.

Like these gentiles we seek Jesus.  But it is a dangerous thing to find Jesus, to follow Jesus.  Jesus bids us to die and to rise again with Him, to take up our cross and follow Him.  He would have us love the right things and be honored not by the world, or our friends, or our even our family, but honored by HIM. Therefore He says, “whoever loves his life will lose it.  And whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternity.”  Loving the wrong things we lose the things eternal.  Therefore we must lose the wrong things, surrender our sins, give them up, cast them out and off through repentance lest we lose the eternal things, and therefore our life forever.  For life that endures unto eternity is neither within us to keep nor to love but is found outside of ourselves in Jesus, in His word, in His Church.  It is found and it is given as a gift.

The Hour has Come

This gift is free to those who believe, but it is not free from cost.   Jesus says, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.”  The grain of wheat is going to die and be buried.  There is a harvest to be had.  That harvest begins with Jesus.  He is the first fruits of the great harvest from the dead.  The cost for the gift of our redemption is Jesus.  Jesus must die.  He dies for the sins of the world.  In Jesus’ death and resurrection our God proves Himself to be both just and justifier.  He is just in that He punishes sin, our sin, in the death of His own beloved Son.  And through His death, on account of His blood, we who are sinful, we who are sinner, are made clean, are justified, are set right with God.  The blood of bulls and goats and lambs and heifers was not enough but pointed to the death of the one Lamb, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the World, both Jew and Gentile, slave and free, male and female, infant and elderly, you and me.

Thus when Jesus rode into Jerusalem that fateful Sunday morning He rode in as a Lamb.  When all Israel was gathering to select their lamb, take the lamb into their homes and then sacrifice the Lamb on Thursday, Jesus was offering Israel and the world Himself.  Jesus was losing His life to save what he loves the most – humanity, you!  Your salvation was the joy set before Him that He would endure the cross despising the shame.

Your constant comfort was His goal.

Your endless exuberance His objective,

your everlasting existence His aim,

your perpetual peace His aspiration,

your ceaseless singing His plan and His purpose,

It was your perpetual presence in the New Jerusalem that He sought, that He died for, that He rose again on the third day to make certain.

Yes, beloved, the gift is free to you and me and all who believe and are baptized, but the gift was not free for Jesus.  The gift is covered in blood, the gift is the blood, and with the blood of Jesus comes the life of Jesus.  And the life of Jesus lives to God, lives forever, never dies again.  For death no longer has dominion over Jesus and if death no longer has dominion over Jesus then death no longer has dominion over those who are in Christ Jesus!  Death has lost its sting. The grave has been rendered impotent.  And the Law has no more bite!

Losing One’s Love

Thus beloved, you are called to repent!  Do not love the wrong things and hate the right things.  But love the right things and hate the wrong things.  There is such a thing as godly hate, hate for sin and death and devil.  Hate the things that would lead you away from Christ, outside of His church, and far from His voice.  Hate your sin and repent.  Sin separates, hurts, and harms us, our neighbors, and it grieves the Holy Spirit.  Sin leads to death and eternal death if un-repented.  Therefore love the right things and hate the wrong things.  Love the Lord your God!  Draw near to His Son in His Church and listen to His Word.  His Word is the voice of His heart for you.  His Word is the medium of His mercy for you.   His Word is the way, the means, the vehicle by which HE comes to you, forgives you, washes away your spots, stains and blemishes.  His Word brings you to Him and Him to you. His Word bathes you in the blood by the water and the Spirit.  His Word enters the ears to get to the heart.  His word crushes stone hearts and resurrects hearts of flesh.  He Word brings light and therefore also warmth to the heart, not for self, but for God and for neighbor – for the Lord above, His grace here below and the neighbor who is beside us.  His Word quickens and redeems.  It strengthens and keeps.  Its preserves and protects those who receive it with faith.

Follow Where I am

Beloved in the Lord, this Word of Jesus is not a wandering word, its not a lost word, or a word that happened upon by chance.  No!  This Word is a Word that is set in a place, located, manifested, announced and promised.  This Word is in His Church.  Thus, we who would be like these gentiles seeking after Jesus are called to be where Jesus is.  For Jesus says, “if anyone serves me he must follow me and where I am there will my servant be.”  Where is Jesus?  Jesus is in His Church with His Word and Sacraments.

It is noteworthy beloved, that though the gentiles in our text sought to see Jesus, asking Philip – who asked  Andrew who told Jesus – we are never told they actually got to see Him.  So it is with us on this side of eternity.  We would see Jesus – it is the desire of all who believe.  But we are not given to see Him- not yet.  That hour is yet to come.  Now, on this side of eternity we see with our ears.  We walk by faith and faith follows the Word.  Where the Word of Jesus is there is Jesus delivering His people . . . and THEREshall we be . . . by grace . . . through faith.  AMEN!

The peace of God which surpasses all understanding keep your heart and mind through faith in Christ Jesus.  AMEN!




The peace of God which surpasses all understanding keep your heart and mind through faith in Christ Jesus.  AMEN!


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