22 April 2014

Given and Poured Out for the Whole of You

It is in both body and soul that Jesus has suffered and died for you, and in both body and soul that He is risen from the dead and lives and reigns eternally as your true King and great High Priest.

He is not a disembodied spirit, nor any sort of ghost, but glorified and perfect Man; the new and better Adam; the Head of His Body, the Church, which shares His Resurrection and His Life.

That is the Resurrection that is preached to you.  That is the Holy Gospel.  The Jesus who is with you is the Savior of your body as well as your soul and spirit; the Savior of your flesh and blood, your bones and sinews, along with your heart and mind, your thoughts and emotions.  To all of “you,” to all that you are, He speaks Peace; and with His Word, He does and gives what He says.

His Cross and Resurrection have wrought forgiveness of your sins, not only your sinful thoughts and sinful words, but all your sinful actions, too.  For as you sin with your heart and mind, with your mouth and your body, so does He forgive you all those sins and grant His blessed peace and rest and saving health to your heart and mind, your ears and mouth, your soul, and your body.

Why, then, are you troubled?  And why do doubts arise in your heart?  Why do you gasp and groan and shake with fear?  Is this not the Savior you expected, whom you have longed for, and prayed for, and waited for many a day?  Or, were you wanting, instead, a Jesus who would calm your spirit and grant peace to your heart and mind, but who would leave your mouth and body alone, so that you might be free to live your own life in the world?

Well, forget that fabricated, New Age nonsense sort of “Jesus.”

The crucified and risen Lord, Jesus Christ, does grant peace and rest to your heart and mind, your soul and spirit; so all of these belong to Him, too.  But He is also the Author and Giver of Life to your body, which likewise belongs to Him by rights.  And this Life He grants to the whole of you by His Word, which you hear with your ears, believe in your heart, and confess with your mouth.

Where you have refused to listen, repent with your ears.

Where you have doubted and questioned and refused to believe, repent with your heart.

Where you have refused or failed to confess the Word of Christ, His Cross and Resurrection, repent with your mouth: confess your sins, and confess your faith in the risen Lord Jesus.

And where you have dishonored His holy Name with your body, and where you have failed to love and serve your neighbor in his body, repent with your body, and live henceforth by faith and love.

But don’t suppose that you’ll pull it off or manage it on your own.  You won’t.  You can’t.  It is surprising, actually, how many Christians suppose themselves to be superior to and more capable than the Lord’s chosen Apostles.  But, no, the Spirit of the Father is bestowed upon you by the preaching of the Word of Christ.

It is by that preaching, which is the preaching of repentance for the forgiveness of sins in Jesus’ Name, that Christ Jesus Himself comes to you and dwells with you and grants you His Peace.

His Word does and gives what it says, just as the Holy Scriptures of St. Moses, the Psalms, and the Prophets preached Christ in days of old, and were perfectly fulfilled with His coming in the flesh.

His Word of the Law and the Gospel calls you and brings you to repentance; which is to say that He thereby turns you around, away from your preoccupation with sin and death, and He brings you into faith and life in Him.  Because His Law exposes your sin and puts you to death for it, and His Gospel forgives you all your sins and raises you up to the life everlasting in both body and soul.

His Word likewise puts His Body and His Blood into your hands and mouth and body, so that He lives and abides in you, not as a disembodied ghost, but as the One who is your Brother in the flesh, true God and Man, your Savior.

In this Holy Supper, everything is fulfilled and accomplished, just as it is written, and just as it is preached.  For this true Body and Blood of Christ in you is the down payment and surety of your own resurrection on the last day.  With these, all your sins of thought, word, and deed are forgiven, and you are preserved, body, soul, and spirit, steadfast in the true faith unto eternal Life.

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

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