Sermon for Pentecost 10 – 8.14.22

+ 10th Sunday after Pentecost – August 14th, 2022 +

Series C: Jeremiah 23:16-29; Hebrews 11:17-2:3; Luke 12:49-56

Beautiful Savior Lutheran

Milton, WA

 

“A Peaceful Division”

 

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

 

Adam and Eve were tempted, ate the fruit, disobeyed God’s word and there was division between creature and Creator.

 

Not long after Genesis 3, Cain murdered his brother Abel and the division of the Garden spread to the family.

 

Generations later that sinful division spread throughout all creation so that by Noah’s day, the Lord saw that the wickedness in man’s heart was only evil continuously.

 

Hundreds of years later, after the Red Sea crossing in Exodus, we find Israel dancing and worshiping and reveling in their division before their false god of the golden calf.

 

And on and on the story of Scripture goes. The bible is the story of man’s ever increasing sinful division from God and one another. And yet Scripture is also the story of God’s ever patient, steadfast love to rescue, reunite, and reconcile his people from their own division in His Son Jesus.

 

Knowing this makes Jesus’ words in today’s Gospel reading all the more challenging to understand. Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.

 

Wait a minute, you might be thinking to yourself. What’s Jesus saying? I thought the angels greeted the shepherds at Christ’s birth with shouts of, ““Glory to God in the highest and peace to His people on earth.” Didn’t Simeon declare, “Lord, now you let your servant depart in peace” as he held 40-day old Jesus in his arms? And I seem to remember Jesus greeting his disciples with the word of peace before and after his death and resurrection saying, “Peace be with you.”

 

If you have been listening throughout Luke’s gospel, you would know Jesus brings peace. It has been on the lips of angels and the tongues of His disciples. It is Jesus’ promise to the sinful and the suffering. It’s true, Jesus has come to bring peace. Jesus is the prince of peace. Jesus life, death and resurrection makes peace with God for you.

 

Luke reveals this divisive peace in the crucifixion. Jesus is crucified between two criminals. Both men are guilty of crimes leading to their crucifixion. One wants deliverance and he demands it now. He wants Jesus to be the God of glory who brings him down from the cross. When Jesus does not do it, he does not believe. The other criminal trusts in Jesus. He trusts that the ways of God are beyond our understanding. He humbly asks Jesus to remember him when He comes into His Kingdom. This man, who believes, has peace when dying. Though joined in a common death, these two criminals are divided by peace: Peace in Jesus.

 

The peace He brings is different than the peace we imagine, however. Jesus brings a peace that paradoxically at the same time brings division. Faith in Jesus will divide households. “Father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother” (12:53). There is peace in Jesus, but the peace of his forgiveness; his death and resurrection for you; this peace is also a dividing line.

 

I imagine that for many of us – probably all of us in some way – Jesus’ words hit home. That coworker who scoffs when you say you’re going to church this weekend. The close friendship that grows more distant over time because you know you disagree on matters of your Christian faith and life and their unbelief. Your husband or wife with whom you have dinner table arguments over what you belief and confess in your Christian faith. Your brother or sister who seem to believe very differently from how they were taught the faith. Your son or daughter or grandchild who was baptized, confirmed, and whose faith in Christ now seems, at least to you, to have grown cold. Life seems to have no end of painful division.

 

And if all of that didn’t weigh heavily enough on us, Jesus’ words reveal there’s a deep division within each of us as well. We are divided against ourselves. You are baptized. Redeemed in Christ. A habitation of the Holy Spirit. And yet we wrestle. We struggle. We daily sin. There’s a civil war going on within each of us between who we are in Christ, and what St. Paul and our Lord call the flesh. Our old man or old Adam, as Luther calls us, that dwells within each of us.

 

This is why Jesus speaks these words: Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.

 

As difficult and as hard to understand as they are, Jesus’ words are good and true. For He is going to the cross to make peace for all of our division. Jesus was crucified to reunite what we have divided in sin, to reconcile what sin separated, to restore what sin had broken.

 

The cross of Jesus is the turmoil that brings eternal peace, the division that brings eternal unity. The division Jesus brings is like that of a surgical knife that cuts away a tumor. The Word of God is sharp and accurate, dividing joint and marrow, sinner and saint. It divides us from Sin that dwells in us. Christ’s division is a necessary healing cut. He cuts away the old in order to raise up the new.

 

In a gracious paradox the cross of Jesus brings peace by dividing us from our sin. Where the Son of God is divided from the Father, peace is made for you. Where our works of division only brings further division, Jesus’ work of division on the cross brings peace. This is the fiery baptism of God’s wrath that Jesus longs to accomplish because in his death on the cross he makes peace for you and all of our divisions.

 

Does that mean that our daily interactions with neighbors, that strained relationship with friends, or those divisions in our own families go away? Sometimes, but not always. In this life there will always be division. But it does mean that in Christ, in Jesus’ dying and rising, living in the peace of your sins forgiven you bear Jesus words of peace, and you go into those relationships that are divided with his peace in your heart, mind, and on your lips.

 

So we pray for those divisions in our life. By God’s grace, so far as it depends on us we live peaceably with all. And rest all the more in the grace, mercy, and peace of Jesus from whom you are never divided.

 

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

 

Beautiful Savior

is a traditional Lutheran Church, faithful to God's Word and His Sacraments. We equip God's people to serve, love, and encourage one another as we grow in our personal relationship with Christ. We reach out to the community as beacons of light, sharing the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Savior.

Church Office Hours

Monday - Thursday 8:30am-3:30pm

Friday 8:30am-11:30am

The office is closed on Fridays during the summer months of June, July, and August.

Preschool Office Hours

August - May
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday
8:30am-12:30pm

By appointment only June and July

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Address
2306 Milton Way
Milton, WA 98354
Phone
(253) 922-6977
Fax
(253) 922-6977