Monday, December 1, 2014

Sermon – Hosanna: Getting It Together

Hosanna: Getting It Together

Advent 1, Year B
November 30, 2014

Mark 11:1-10; 1 Corinthians 1:3-9; Isaiah 64:1-9; Psalm 80:1-7

 

The Lectionary for this First Sunday of Advent, in Year B of the three-year cycle, selected these four texts for us today.

 

Today we are going to “get it together” in three ways:

 

  • What unites these four texts? Why does the Lectionary have them together?

  • The word “Hosanna” is a single word, but it says two things. What are the two meanings of “Hosanna,” and what joins them together?

  • How are the two Advents of Christ, his first coming and his second coming alike? How are they different? Looking toward his second coming, what is the Hosanna factor in our lives?

 

Law and Gospel

 

It all comes together through Law and Gospel.

 

The Law is the Word of God telling us what we should do, and pronouncing judgment and condemnation when we fail to do it.

 

The Gospel is the Word of God telling us how Jesus fulfilled the Law, including paying our wages of sin, which is death, for us, setting us free of the Law’s condemnation.

 

The Holy Spirit uses the Law to show us our failure to please God, and more than that, our inability to keep the Law as we should. We can be moral people in a civil sense. For example, we can withhold our hands from stealing. Nothing is compelling us to be bank robbers. If we rob the bank, it won’t work to say, “The Devil made me do it.” But even our best morals do not make us spiritually righteous before God. We cannot achieve spiritual righteousness. When the Spirit strikes our hearts with the Law, when we despair of our own efforts to be spiritually righteous, we cry out, “Save us.”

 

The Holy Spirit uses the Gospel to show us who Christ is, what He has done for us. The Gospel proclaims that God, for Jesus’ sake, forgives us all our sins, makes us right with God, and gives us the promise of eternal life. When the Spirit comforts and consoles our hearts over our sins by these promises and declarations of salvation, we cry out, “Praise the Lord in the highest.”

 

Hosanna: Law and Gospel

 

Both of these responses to the Word of God, the response to the Law, and the response to the Gospel, are contained in one word of the Gospel text today, the word “Hosanna.”

 

This they quoted from one of the set of Psalms used each year at the time of the Passover, called the Hallel, Psalm 113-118.

 

In Psalm 118:26, we see the saying the people in our Gospel text used, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” In the verse before that, v. 25, we see, “Save us, we pray, O Lord!” The word there translated as “Save us, we pray” is Hosanna. One commentator says it means, “Save, we beg.” It is a begging prayer, when people realize that they are spiritual beggars, when they know they are poor in spirit.

 

Hosanna is the cry of sinners in despair of themselves under the Law, “Save us.” It is the cry of confession and repentance. It is an acceptance of guilt causing the trouble we are in. It is the response of people convicted by the Law and in broken contrition.

 

But it also is the cry of people believing that God will save, that He is saving. Those Psalms and many other places in the Old Testament tell that the son of David will come to rescue Israel from its oppressors. This crowd is expressing what sounds like faith that Jesus is the King to sit on David’s throne and deliver them from the Romans. The Pharisees certainly took that to be what the crowd was saying. Luke’s account shows us this, 19:39, when the Pharisees called for Jesus to rebuke the crowds for their expression of faith the he was the Son of David, there to deliver them. Jesus answered, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.”

 

So Hosanna also is a shout of praise for a delivering King, for faith that salvation has come.

 

In one word, Hosanna, we hear contrition and faith, repentance and belief, the hearing of the Law and the hearing of the Gospel.

 

Together: the Old Testament Lesson

 

In our Old Testament lesson for today, we see from the first verse a cry of Hosanna in its first sense, it’s sense under the Law, “Save us, we beg.”

 

V.1 - Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains might quake at your presence.

 

Here they cry for God to show up, to do mighty works and terrify their enemies, on their behalf, as v. 4 says, “Who acts for those who wait for him.”

 

What is the problem? Why are they under their enemies? Why do they need deliverance? V. 5 – “Behold, you were angry, and we sinned; in our sins we have been a long time, and shall we be saved? “

 

Shall we be saved? See the despair. See how struck down they are in their conscience and despondent they are about what their sins have brought upon them.

 

Look how this conviction, contrition, and despair goes on verse by verse:

 

6 We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
7 There is no one who calls upon your name, who rouses himself to take hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us, and have made us melt in the hand of our iniquities.
8 But now, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.
9 Be not so terribly angry, O LORD, and remember not iniquity forever. Behold, please look, we are all your people.

 

All this is the work of the Holy Spirit using the Word of the Law to convict of sin and judgment, and bring the cry of confession.

 

Together: the Psalm

 

Our Psalm for today is in the same vein. It goes on and on in a beggarly misery:

 

2 … stir up your might and come to save us!
3 Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved!
4 O LORD God of hosts, how long will you be angry with your people's prayers?
5 You have fed them with the bread of tears and given them tears to drink in full measure.
6 You make us an object of contention for our neighbors, and our enemies laugh among themselves.
7 Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved!

 

All this is the cry of Hosanna, “Save us, we beg.”

 

Philistines, Syria, Babylon, and Rome

 

In our Old Testament Lesson and Psalm for today, the Israelites sought deliverance from their worldly enemies. At various times they were subjugated by the Philistines, the Syrians, and the Babylonians. At the time of our Gospel text for today, they were again under such foreign rule and domination, this time by the Romans.

 

No doubt the crowds knew that the past slaveries came upon them for sin. No doubt many of them were confessing that the current domination by Rome was a judgment for sin. It is hard to tell however, whether the deliverance they were seeking was from anything more than Rome.

 

You and I today are not under a political dominion of a foreign power. We do not suffer under Philistines, Syrians, Babylonians, or Romans.

 

Devil, World, Sinful Self, the Law

 

But were it not for the Gospel, we would be under the dominance that caused them to be under those tyrants. Their true enemies were the Devil, the world, and the sinful self. Even the Law became an enemy because, though the Law in itself is righteous and good, even though it is what we should do, because the Law by the flesh was weak. In the weakness of our flesh, the Law could only make matters worse.

 

Look how terribly the Old Testament Lesson and the Psalm for today end. The Isaiah text shows how bad it is, even when they are confessing sin, “7 There is no one who calls upon your name, who rouses himself to take hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us.” All the Law can do is bring a person to give up, to abandon hope, to quit even calling upon the name of the Lord. At that point, they do not even cry, “Hosanna,” “Save us, we beg.”

 

That’s where the Law leaves you.

 

The New Testament Lesson

 

And that is why we have still one more text. We need one.

 

Our New Testament Lesson today brings us the second Word of God, the Gospel, when it talks about the second advent, the second coming of our delivering King, the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Notice v. 7, “As you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

 

The Israelites were waiting for the Lord to be revealed. The Jews were waiting for the Son of David to be revealed, and we are waiting for the revealing of the Lord Jesus Christ in his second coming.

 

The two advents are like because in both of them, we are waiting for the revelation of Christ.

 

But they also are different, because after the first coming of Christ, the Gospel was brought into the open. The Gospel always was there in the Word of God. In both the Old and New Testament, God speaks both words, the Law and the Gospel. We see Job say, when in a suffering and distress every bit as bad as what Israel suffered in our lessons for today, “I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth.” Job 19:25. Job waits for Christ, as the Jews did, and as we do. But in the New Testament, this Word of the Gospel, that always was there, is brought into predominance.

 

As we wait, we have the blessing of the Gospel. V. 8 says Christ, “will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” This guiltlessness is not because, under the Gospel, we are not still sinners. We still sin. But we also are declared righteous in God’s sight for the sake of Jesus our substitute. This is the objective justification that comes to us from outside ourselves by which we are guiltless. V. 4 speaks of “the grace of God that was given you in Christ,” which is the forgiveness of all our sins.

 

As we wait, we are blessed by spiritual gifts. Paul says, v. 7, “you are not lacking in any spiritual gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

 

As we wait, v. 9, “God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” Our faith may waver, but God is faithful, and his faithfulness does not waiver. His faithfulness reaches far back and far forward. He said, Matthew 25:34, “‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”

 

Paul speaks to us in Ephesians 1,

 

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.

 

The Hosanna Factor Today

 

The cry of Hosanna was not only for the Jews in the Old Testament. It was not only for the day Jesus rode into Jerusalem. It is for us today. The cry, "Save us, we beg," is our cry. The cry, "Hosanna in the highest," is our cry.

 

This is the first reading of Advent because we remember how the Israelites waited for centuries for the coming Messiah to save them from their oppressors, and how we’re getting ready to celebrate the coming of Christ at Christmas to save the world, and His quickly coming again on the Last Day. But we also remember how He comes to us and saves us, personally, each week as He has promised through His Word and Sacraments. We sing it in every Divine Service in the Sanctus.

 

Here is the Hosanna factor in our lives until He returns:

  • That we daily return to our baptisms, by daily confession and repentance.

  • That we daily believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

We daily cry, “Save us, we beg,” and “Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord.”

 

Sin and salvation. Law and Gospel. Save, we beg, and Praise to our Savior. Hosanna. Amen.

 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

How Jesus Fooled the World

Sidney Herald religion column published November 30, 2014

 

Messiah is a person foretold in Hebrew prophesies. The prophets spoke during more than 1000 years. Each added specifics to who Messiah would be.

 

To fool the world, all Jesus had to do was fulfill a few hundred prophesies. Let’s look at a sample.

 

Jesus was choosy about his parents, to make himself a descendant of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah and David.

 

He was fussy about the year he was born, the one foretold by Daniel.

 

He was picky about where he was born, the little town of Bethlehem, population 500-600, smaller than Culbertson. He had the Roman Empire slap on a tax at the right time to drive Joseph and Mary there when he would be delivered. That placed him among one to two dozen boys born there per year.

 

He hired the wise men who visited from the east through a temp agency. He ordered his own star in the sky marking his birthplace from the Sears Roebuck catalog.

 

A prophet said Messiah would be called out of Egypt. Another said that during his infancy, mothers all around would weep for their dead children. So Jesus enlisted King Herod, in an effort to get rid of Messiah, to kill off all baby boys up to two years old. That drove his mom and dad to flee for safety to Egypt and left mothers all around weeping.

 

A prophet said Messiah would be called a Nazarene. So after Herod died and the family was returning from Egypt, he talked Joseph and Mary into moving to Nazareth.

 

Those prophetic fulfillments already narrowed it down to Jesus being the only man in history who could be Messiah, but Jesus was an over achiever. He kept up the act through his life and even after his death.

 

He got Judas to betray him into death. He fixed the price of betrayal at 30 pieces of silver. He got Judas to throw down the silver pieces in the Temple. He got the Jewish leaders to use the 30 pieces to buy the potter’s field.

 

Since Jews executed by stoning, the Romans came in handy again. Jesus used their governor, Pontius Pilate, to execute him by crucifixion, as prophesied. Pilate was so accommodating, he executed Jesus with two thieves, and he placed Jesus between the thieves, as foretold.

 

The soldiers killing Jesus helped him fulfill prophesies surrounding the cross. They gambled for his clothes, offered him gall, pierced his side, and, though ordinarily they would have broken his legs with bats so he would die before the Sabbath started, oddly, they did not break his legs.

 

Joseph of Arimathea buried Jesus’ body in his own tomb, so Messiah, though poor, was buried among the rich.

 

Why believe Jesus? It’s not the best reason, but one reason is, it’s too much work not to. I don’t have the brain power to refute all these prophesies and fulfillments. This Jesus is the Messiah who has power and authority to forgive your sins, and He’s willing.

 

 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Focus of Life is "None of the Above"

Focus of Life

The focus of life is, "none of the above."

 

The Pagan and secular worlds say we have three options for emphasis in our lives:

 

1. Doing.

 

2. Being.

 

3. Thinking (or believing).

 

Which is it? None of the above.

 

They overlook the fourth option:

 

4. Receiving.

 

Yes, receiving.

 

The Doer is God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

 

God creates. The Father creates us, and He creates the rest of the creation for us. Pagans and secularists say this is too self-centered, but since God is love, He doesn't seem to think it is so self-centered for him to create creation for us, nor for us to be occupied with receiving it. Check out Luther's explanation of the First Article. You'll see it there. God is for you.

 

God redeems. The Son becomes incarnate. The Son lays down his life. No one takes it from him. He works blood atonement on the Cross. For whom does He do this? He invites you to say, "for me." In the words of Luther's explanation of the Second Article, you can say, "Jesus is my Lord, who has redeemed me ... purchased and won me ... that I may be His own." God is for you.

 

God sanctifies. The Holy Spirit is the holifying, sanctifying, the making-holy Spirit. Holiness is not just an inert attribute or property of the Spirit. The word Holy in the name Holy Spirit says what the Spirit DOES. He makes holy. He calls, He gathers, He enlightens, He sanctifies you, and the whole Christian church on earth. God is for you.

 

God delivers. He delivers justification, faith, and regeneration by the Word using water. He delivers his true body and blood by the Word using bread and wine. With the blood received in your mouth, He delivers to you what the blood was shed for, the forgiveness of sins. In the Word and Sacraments, God is Immanuel, God with us, who visits with consolation for sin and joy in salvation. God is for you.

 

True Worship. The true worship of God is to receive his gifts.

 

And the difference between this faith and the righteousness of the Law can be easily discerned. Faith is the latreiva [divine service], which receives the benefits offered by God; the righteousness of the Law is the latreiva [divine service] which offers to God our merits. By faith God wishes to be worshiped in this way, that we receive from Him those things which He promises and offers. (Apology of the Augsburg Confession, IV.49)

 

Focus. Immerse your life in his gifts, and don't worry, you'll have all the doing, being, and thinking anyone could use. We cannot do, be, or think rightly without his gifts. But mostly, you will have life, and that abundantly and eternally, as a reception by faith of gifts from our Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier, the God who is for us and gives us his greatest gift: Himself.

 

 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

You Are Nominated for the King's Choice Award

Sidney Herald religion column published November 16, 2014

Hollywood royalty. Millions watch them in theatres. More millions watch them when their movies are on television. Still more watch them receiving Oscars, Golden Globes, Emmys, and People’s Choice Awards. In those pageants, the media rank their glory by what they wear, who their designers are, who does their hair, and who arrives with whom. They are royalty, so they go from glory to glory.

Not so with the King of Kings. Jesus is a strange king. He kept voluntarily hiding his glory. He hid his royal glory by his birth in poverty, life of suffering, crucifixion, and death. In burial, the hiding was complete. To feel the weight of his humiliation in burial, it helps to recall the prominence of his Kingdom in the Gospel.

The Gospel is called the “gospel of the kingdom.” John the Baptist and Jesus announced the kingdom. The Twelve and the Seventy taught the kingdom. Between his resurrection and ascension, Jesus taught the kingdom. He sent out the Apostles to teach the kingdom. The end comes after the kingdom is preached in the whole world.

The Beatitudes begin and end with the kingdom. The kingdom is what most of Jesus’ parables are about. In them, He repeatedly says, “The kingdom is like.” Jesus says to seek the kingdom first. The purpose of being born again is to see the kingdom, and the purpose of being converted is to enter the kingdom.

Jesus entered Jerusalem in the style of a king. He was crucified as King of the Jews. Soldiers mocked him with a crown of thorns. People mocked him, saying if He was a king, He should come down from the cross and save himself. The repenting thief on the cross asked Jesus to remember him when Christ came into his kingdom.

The hallmark of kingdoms is their glory. In a doxology sometimes added to the Lord’s Prayer, we pray, “For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory.” As King, Jesus was entitled to glory. With the prominence of his Kingdom in the Gospel, we could expect a display of glory. Instead, He was buried in dust.

The Bible pictures dust as the opposite of royal glory. The Lord said to King Jehu, “I lifted you out of the dust and made you ruler over my people Israel.” (1 Kings 16:2) In Hannah’s prayer, she said, “He raises the poor from the dust … to set them among princes and make them inherit the throne of glory.” (1 Samuel 2:8)

Instead of going from dust to throne, Jesus went from throne to dust. He buried himself in the grave we deserved, to give us his glory. He “calls you into his own kingdom and glory” (1 Thessalonians 2:12) He is “bringing many sons to glory.” (Hebrews 2:10) In the resurrection they “will receive the unfading crown of glory.” (1 Peter 5:4) Through the word of his burial, you are nominated for the King’s Choice Award, his gift to you.


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Jesus' Senior Picture Was Not in the Newspaper

Sidney Herald religion column published October 19, 2014

 

I redesigned my Dad’s ’69 Chevy pickup. From a stop sign on a side street, I pulled into an intersection entering a 4-lane avenue. Wham! I hadn’t seen that car to my left. The officer gave me a date to appear. Wearing my Sunday suit, I walked 20 blocks to court. The judge asked, “How do you plead?” “Guilty.” “Your fine is $40.” In 1970, that was a pile of money for a high school junior. The judge wanted it all, now. I didn’t have it. My imagination conjured severe consequences.

 

The judge’s laser-targeted eyes shifted from me to something behind me. I looked where the judge looked. My Dad had followed me to court. He had been sitting quietly in the back, but now was coming forward with a check already made out. His love for me was showing.

 

The next year, our class was supposed to submit our senior pictures to the newspaper. Local businesses sponsored them in the graduation edition. Dad was the manager of a business that was going to sponsor mine. Through neglect, I failed to get my picture to the paper. When the edition came out, Dad was deprived of showing his regard for me. He suffered.

 

God the Father likes to show that He loves his Only Begotten Son. At Jesus’ baptism, He said so everyone could hear, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” In Christ’s transfiguration, the Father said it again and added, “Listen to him.” Jesus always was aware of his Father’s love. (John 11:41-42; 15:9; 17:23-26; Mark 12:6; Luke 20:13)

 

But in his state of humiliation, Jesus passed through five steps: birth in poverty, life of suffering, crucifixion, death, and burial. In that fifth step, one of the things that made it a humiliation was that the Father's love for him was silenced.

 

In Psalm 88, Jesus speaks ahead of time about his burial. He said, “Is your steadfast love declared in the grave?” (v 11) It is not declared. The grave silenced the Father’s love. Jesus was deprived the honor of love’s declaration, and the Father was deprived of showing his regard for his Son. They both suffered. Instead of a senior picture in the newspaper, Jesus went to the grave. Burial humiliated Christ because dust hid the Father’s love for him under wrath for our sin. The Psalm says,

 

I am counted with those who go down to the pit;
Adrift among the dead,
Like the slain who lie in the grave,
Whom You remember no more,
And who are cut off from Your hand.
You have laid me in the lowest pit,
In darkness, in the depths.
Your wrath lies heavy upon me,

 

Derek Kidner says, “There is no sadder prayer in the Psalter.” For our sin, Jesus descended from the bosom of the Father to burial and banishment by his Father. He did this to bring us to his Father. “Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God.” (1 Peter 3:18) Through the burial of Christ when the Father was silent about his love for him, the Father openly declared his love for us. In our burials, we have the hope of the resurrection. Through the humiliation of his body being buried, we shall be raised in glorified bodies.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

What Did Jesus Have To Lose?

Sidney Herald religion column published August 10, 2014

 

Winston Churchill was visiting New York the day after the stock market crash of 1929. The noise of a crowd outside his hotel woke him. “Under my very window a gentleman cast himself down fifteen stories and was dashed to pieces, causing a wild commotion and the arrival of the fire brigade,” he wrote. Over the following weeks, investors committed suicide by shooting and overdose.

 

A loss of riches, if great enough, can make people sorrowful unto death. Jesus experienced this in Gethsemane. He “began to be sorrowful … very sorrowful, even to death.” (Matthew 26:37-38).

 

The Greek word translated “sorrowful” is lupeo. This word has various uses. A repeated use in the Bible relates to riches, loss, and poverty causing sorrow. Jesus told the rich young ruler, “Sell all that you have … and come follow me. Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.”

 

Paul used the word when writing about persecutions and deprivations the apostles suffered. They were “as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.” (2 Corinthians 6:10)

 

Jesus was born and lived in poverty. What riches could he lose in Gethsemane? What treasure could be so great that losing it would make him sorrowful to death?

 

His treasure was in the heart of his Father and the communion of the Holy Spirit. He was losing communication with them.

 

The phrase “unto death” meant that Jesus was dying there and then. So “an angel appeared to him from heaven, strengthening him.” (Luke 22:43). This was strengthening, but not comforting. The angel only braced up Jesus’ sinking bodily nature so that He would not die too soon, in the wrong place, in the wrong way. By prophesy, He must die as the Passover Lamb, on Golgotha, on a cross, not in Gethsemane.

 

The angel carried no word from the Father. The abandonment that finally caused the cry, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me,” already had begun.

 

The communion of the Son with the Father and the Holy Spirit was the original treasure, the richest ever. The Trinity is love’s eternal home. Trinitarian love is what makes heaven heavenly.

 

Once we had communion with God. Adam walked and talked with God in the first garden. But sin separated us from God. This is our poverty without Christ. But Jesus suffered the loss of love’s riches unto death so he could give the treasure to us beggars.

 

By his redemption, Jesus took on the sin that separated us from God and overcame it. Jesus restores to us the love of Father, Son, and Spirit. (Ephesians 3:14-19). “If anyone confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God resides in him and he in God. And we have come to know and to believe the love that God has in us. God is love, and the one who resides in love resides in God, and God resides in him.” (1 John 4:14)

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Sitting in the Biggest Corner Ever

Sidney Herald religion column published June 8, 2014

 

A mother ordered her naughty son to sit in a corner. After a few minutes, he told his mother, “I’m sitting down on the outside, but I’m standing up on the inside!” He obeyed, but he didn’t submit. The conflict of wills between two different persons remained.

 

In Gethsemane, the Father told his Son to go and sit in the biggest corner ever, the corner of the sins of the whole world. He was to sit, not for any naughtiness of his own, but for the iniquities of us all. He obeyed. He went to the cross. Is that all, or did He also submit? Did Jesus sit down on the outside while standing up on the inside?

 

Jesus prayed, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39)

 

Suppose there were no Trinity. Suppose “Father” and “Son” were just different titles for the same person. What would it mean to say that Jesus submitted to his Father? Is there any such thing as submission with only one person? If God were a one-person god, Jesus would be talking only to Himself. He would not be giving up His will for the will of His Father.

 

Because the Son and the Father are different persons, one person is speaking to another. Prayer is real. It is not psychological self-talk. When Jesus says to His Father, “Let this cup pass from me,” one person is speaking to another. The Father wants the Son to go to the cross. The Son does not want to go. This is a dreadful temptation to a conflict of wills. Prayer deals with real issues between real persons.

 

The language “not as I will, but as You will” reveals the temptation clearly: “I will” versus “You will.” The I and the You are real. “I” refers to one Person. “You” refers to another. The temptation shows the distinction of the Persons of the Trinity. They are different enough for Jesus to experience temptation to a conflict of wills, sweating blood.

 

The temptation was resolved by submission. The Son submitted to the Father. Through the submission of Christ, the unity of the Trinity was preserved. Because his submission was ready, the temptation did not lead to sin. R.C.H. Lenski says, “From the first word of the prayer to the last Jesus submits to his Father’s will.”

 

In Gethsemane we are not viewing melodrama. Because of the Trinity, both the temptation and the submission are concrete — a sweaty, bloody affair. The innocence of the suffering of Christ goes beyond obedience to submission. He sat down not only on the outside, but on the inside, in our corner, for us, for our sins.

 

The sacrifice for our sins needed to be perfect. It couldn’t be mechanical obedience. It couldn’t be simulated or half-hearted. Because Jesus not only obeyed, but obeyed submissively, He is perfect to the uttermost, and his submission saves us to the uttermost.