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The Fourth Sunday after Pentecost

July 7, 2019 Speaker: Murray Keith Series: Pentecost

Passage: Luke 10:1–10:20

†††In the Name of Jesus†††
Pastor Murray Keith
Text: Luke 10:1-20
Date: July 7th, 2019; Pentecost 4; Series C
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
  • I always struggle a bit when I watch Canada’s hockey team playing a country that doesn’t have a strong hockey program.
  • I am happy that Canada is winning, and I feel pride for the skilled Canadian hockey players - but I feel bad for the team being walloped.
  • The most lopsided international hockey game in history was back in 1949 when Canada defeated Denmark 47-0.  That’s almost a goal every minute!
  • But even that mismatch isn’t as great as the one we heard about in our Gospel lesson - lambs against wolves. 
  • A lamb against a wolf isn’t a contest - it’s a bloodbath. That’s not called competition - but mealtime. 
  • Lambs have no defence against the ravenous jaws and sharp teeth of wolves. 
  • They can’t outrun them, they can’t outfight them, there is no negotiating with them. 
  • There is only one thing wolves see in sheep – lunch.
  • So just imagine what was going through the heads of those 72 disciples when our Lord sent them, saying, Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves.” 
  • And then Jesus instructs them, Carry no moneybag, no knapsack, no sandals, and greet no one on the road.” 
  • They will not need those things for this mission Jesus is sending them on.
  • But although Jesus sends the 72 out empty-handed - he doesn’t send them with nothing.
  • He sends them not with their words - but his Word.
  • Not with their authority - but his.
  • He sends them not with their strength - but with his.
  • With these, Jesus sends the 72 not to fight the wolves, but to feed them the Word of God. 
  • They are to preach peace, heal the sick, and proclaim that the kingdom of God has come near.
  • And with that they go. 
  • We’re not told how long they were gone, or the details of their journey - but when they return we find out that in this battle of Lamb versus wolf, the Lamb wins! 
  • All 72 return – not one is lost! 
  • With joy they reported, Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” 
  • Jesus replied, I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” 
  • In other words, this victory is no surprise to Jesus. 
  • As the 72 went out, he was with them every step of the way!
  • While Jesus sent out 72 men, he truly wasn’t sending out 72 lambs - but really only one – Himself. 
  • Where they went, he was with them. 
  • As they fed the wolves God’s Word, he worked through it - forgiving sin, defeating evil, misery, and death.  
  • As Jesus promised, “he who hears you hears me” (Luke 10:16).
  • And praise God that this is still true today - because we all still have that sinful wolf nature that needs to be put to death.
  • Just ask the person whose reputation you devoured with your gossiping tongue. 
  • Or your loved one who you lost your temper with and spoke hurtful words to.
  • And what about all the biting and devouring that now happens on the internet - there we can bear our teeth anonymously.
  • But not anonymously to our Lord, who knows our heart, our mind, and all the wolfish sin we try so hard to hide from others. 
  • Repent. 
  • Repent and receive the forgiveness that the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world won for you on the cross.
  • Receive God’s forgiveness and rejoice that your names are written in heaven. 
  • Rejoice that salvation and peace have been given to you. 
  • Rejoice that you are in the Lamb, and the Lamb is in you.
  • In the end, that’s all that matters and all that lasts. 
  • The peace and life of the Lord endures forever. 
  • He knows what it’s like to be a lamb among wolves. 
  • He felt the fangs and suffered the worst when he suffered and died on the cross for our salvation.
  • But, although it seemed to be a complete mismatch, although it seemed like all was lost when Jesus was placed in the tomb - the Lamb of God could not be defeated.
  • He rose to life again. 
  • The conquered is now the Conqueror. 
  • The devoured is now the Devourer. 
  • The crucified is now the Victor. 
  • Not for himself, but for you - so that you are no longer wolves, but lambs in the flock of our Good Shepherd.
  • And being part of God’s flock means that there are going to be times when the wolves of the world lick their chops over you, and see in you a tasty morsel, delighted that you have given up your fangs for forgiveness, and your claws for the cross. 
  • And they’ll think you are weak and foolish, and you’ll be tempted to take back your forgiveness and take up your fangs and claws and defend yourself. 
  • But at such times, remember who you are in Christ Jesus.
  • Remember that the best way to fight the wolves is to feed them the Word and forgiveness of the Lamb who fights for you, and who is victorious. 
  • Remember that you are not alone. 
  • The kingdom of God has come near to you and you are in the Lamb and the Lamb is in you.  
  • As surely as baptismal water flowed over you, as surely as forgiving words went into your ears, as surely as the body and blood of Christ go into your mouths - so surely are your names written in the Lambs’ Book of Life.  Amen.
The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus unto life everlasting. Amen.

More in Pentecost

July 14, 2019

The Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

June 30, 2019

Third Sunday after Pentecost

June 9, 2019

The Day of Pentecost