Sermon for Lent 5 – 3.17.24

+ 5th Sunday in Lent – March 17th, 2024 +

Series B: Jeremiah 31:31-34; Hebrews 5:1-10; Mark 10:32-45

Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church

Milton, WA

 

“The Lenten Journey”

 

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

 

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ. The Lenten season is a journey.

 

For the disciples it was a journey that began in fear, but ended in joy and boldness. But you wouldn’t know that by reading today’s Gospel from Mark 10. At this point on the Lenten road, all they can think about is the destination – Jerusalem. “Why go there, Jesus? Everyone wants you dead. Jerusalem is nothing but trouble.”

 

They’re so consumed with their own quest for about glory, greatness, and God’s kingdom that they misunderstand that God’s glory, greatness, and kingdom are found in the death of His Son.

 

Lent is a journey for each of us too. And many of us, like the disciples, are afraid. Fear of the world we live in. Fear of the uncertainty of an election year. Fear of chaos in places like Haiti or the southern border. Fear of crime, disease and disasters around the world and in our neighborhoods and cities.

 

And if the sinful world around us doesn’t cause us to pray, “Lord, have mercy,” then the fear of our own sinful flesh certainly does. On this Lenten road, we also carry the baggage of despair. Doubt. Built. Shame. Sorrow. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death. I will fear no evil.

 

Lent is a journey. Not an aimless wandering. Not an evening stroll down the beach. The road goes ever on to Good Friday. Jesus sets his face. There’s no delay. No time for site-seeing or recreation. Jesus must go.

 

Jesus journeyed in life to serve you. Jesus journeyed to death to serve you. Lent is Jesus’ journey for you.

 

Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death and deliver Him to the Gentiles; and they will mock Him, and scourge Him, and spit on Him, and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again.

 

Lent is a journey. But the disciples weren’t alone on the road. Jesus was walking ahead of them.

Jesus was with his disciples – amazed and afraid though they were. He knew where the road was headed: his dying and rising; this would change them. Jesus went before them, as he goes before us, to carry our burdens of fear, guilt, and death to the cross.

 

You are not alone either. Not in Lent. And not in your fear, sorrow, or despair, doubt, or death.
Jesus has gone ahead of you on the road. Jesus has gone there and back again, through the grave – yours and mine – to life. Jesus is with you, afraid and sinful though we are. His dying and rising changes you too.

 

Like any journey, conversation breaks out along the way. James and John: Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.

 

You have to appreciate just how awkward this conversation is. One moment Jesus describes his death in chilling detail, and the next James and John are chasing glory and greatness. They don’t get it. They think it’s a march to greatness, like the road to the Final Four. They think Jesus’ glory will finally be unleashed and God’s kingdom will be established in Jerusalem.

Of course, it’s easy to read the Gospels, knowing the end of the journey, and wag our fingers at James and John. “What’s with these guys? How thick can they be? Come, on James and John; yeah, come on; get with the program.”

 

Guess who’s not wagging his finger in this story. Not Jesus. Sure he corrects them, but patiently. No, the accusatory fingers come from the other 10 disciples. They were indignant. Probably because James and John asked Jesus what they wanted to first.

James and John, however, had no idea what they were asking Jesus. We’re not all that different. to our own blindness. So often, in our fears, we don’t know what to pray for as we ought. And even when we do, it’s still got our sinful handprints all over everything. Like James and John, our problem goes deeper.

We want greatness. Glory. God’s kingdom. But we want it all on our own terms, not God’s. My will be done. My kingdom come. Our self-serving sinful nature wants nothing to do with the cross and everything our own greatness and glory.

You do not know what you are asking. Jesus tells his disciples.

“Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized,”Jesus asks them. “We are,”. They still have no idea what they were saying or what Jesus was talking about. Jesus’ cup and baptism are his death. Jesus drinks the cup of God’s wrath and the poison of our sin, down to the last drop. Jesus’ cross is a baptism of judgment. Jesus is drowned in the flood of God’s wrath. Jesus is immersed in our sin and death.

The disciples will share in the cup and baptism of Jesus’ suffering and death. All but one will be martyred for the faith. Indeed, all who are called Christians share in the cup and baptism of Jesus’ suffering and death. But even here, Jesus’ words aren’t really about his disciples. It’s about his journey to the cross. A journey where we see God’s greatness and glory finally revealed for us in the most shocking and surprising places: the crucifixion of Jesus. Want to know what greatness looks like. Jesus points us to his cross, to his death.

For whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.

Jesus lives to serve you. Jesus dies to serve you. Jesus  became the last one to make us the first in line. Jesus gave his life, to give you life. This is where Jesus leads us during our Lenten journey, just as he did the disciples. To Jerusalem for you. To the cross for you.

 

Jesus journeyed in life to serve you. Jesus journeyed to death to serve you. Lent is Jesus’ journey for you. A journey he still makes for you this day. In this place. In his house. In his word. In his body and his blood. There is greatness and grace and forgiveness for all our delusions of grandeur all given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. Here is sacred food for your journey in this life. And this season.

Lent leads us to Palm Sunday and shouts of Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the Name of the Lord. Hosanna in the Highest.

Palm Sunday leads us to Holy Thursday: This cup that is poured out for you is the new testament in my blood which is shed for you for the forgiveness of your sins.

Holy (Maundy) Thursday leads us to Jesus’ hour of glory – Good Friday. It is finished. Fulfilled. Accomplished. For you.

Good Friday leads us to Easter: to unrestrained rejoicing. Christ is risen for you.

That’s the destination. But for now, the journey. And the road ahead. And the Lord Jesus is with you all the way.

 

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

Contact

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