"The Healing Meal!" Luke 14:1-11

October 01, 2023
Rev. Nathan J. Rusert

"I come, O Savior, to Thy Table For weak and weary is my soul; Thou, Bread of Life, alone art able To satisfy and make me whole: Lord, may Thy body and Thy blood Be for my soul the highest good!"(TLH 315:1) Jesus invites us to His Table to share His life with us! Sermon text: Luke 14:1-11. Sermon Theme: "The Healing Meal!" Preached for the 17th Sunday After Trinity, 1-October-2023, at Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Tell City, Indiana by Rev. Nathan J. Rusert.

Episode Notes

The 17th Sunday After Trinity                              10/1/23
Text: Luke 14:1-11
Theme: The Healing Meal! by Rev. Nathan J. Rusert
I. The Meal Exposing Worldly Saints As Sinners! (vs.1-6)
 II. The Meal Declaring Real Sinners - Saints! (vs. 7-11)

I.N.R.I. What is the central doctrine or teaching of the Christian Church? Zwingli and Calvin fathers of the Reformed Church would answer it is the sovereignty of God. According to reformed theology God is sovereign, that is He rules, over all things. He is transcendent, above all things. So Calvin would coin the axiom that the finite is incapable of the infinite. Applying this axiom to the Lord's Supper the reformed deny Christ's Real Presence in, with, and under the bread and wine. So they talk about Jesus being spiritually present if one believes, but if one doesn't believe all they receive is a snack. God the Holy Spirit teaches otherwise. He says, "(1 Cor 11:27-29) "Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. {28} But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. {29} For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord's body."   The reformed err because they make the sacraments depend upon their decision for Jesus. Wrongly they imagine their faith is what makes the sacrament real.
           What is the central doctrine of the Christian Church? For Rome it is tradition and papal authority. Following the theology of Thomas Aquinas Rome tried to explain how the Lord is present in the sacrament with Aristotlean philosophy. Mixing man's sin clouded wisdom with Christ's clear Word results in confusion. So more prayers are offered up to the Virgin Mary than to God the Father through the Lord Jesus Christ. Faith in Christ becomes secondary to works of love that one does.
             What is the central teaching of the Christian Church? Our Lutheran Confessors teach, in A.C. art 4: It is also taught among us that we cannot obtain forgiveness of sin and righteousness before God by our own merits, works, or satisfactions, but that we receive forgiveness of sin and become righteous before God by grace, for Christ's sake, through faith, 2 when we believe that Christ suffered for us and that for his sake our sin is forgiven and righteousness and eternal life are given to us. 3 For God will regard and reckon this faith as righteousness, as Paul says in Romans 3:21-26 and 4:5.(ta-31) The central doctrine of the Church is justification by grace through faith for Christ's sake.
             Therefore this morning learn well of: The Healing Meal!
I. The Meal Exposing Worldly Saints - Sinners! (vs.1-6)
II. The Meal Declaring Real Sinners - Saints! (vs. 7-11)
 I.    Why come to church? Following reformed theology: God commands us to, so you gather to please God. Constantly reinventing praise songs so the Lord God doesn't grow bored with you, or you with Him. The Armenian branch of the reformed attend to make their decisions for Christ and give their testimonies of how they have followed Him.  
       Why come to Church? Following Rome's theology: Meriting God's love by praying to an acropolis of saints. To be blessed by the holy mother - the Virgin Mary as she intercedes on your behalf.  
       Why come to Church? Scripture teaches, our catechism confesses : "in this Christian Church He daily and richly forgives all my sins and the sins of all believers."  
       The Holy Spirit through Luke teaches the Truth - listen! (vs.1-2). Come Lord Jesus! He comes into the house of a Pharisee ruler. He draws near to eat with these men - worldly saints. Eating with someone had significant meaning in our Lord's day. Table fellowship is sharing life with those at table with you. Even today - in school lunchrooms students eat with friends. Sociologists finally caught up to the Truth Scripture teaches from Genesis - families need to eat together, to share their life at table. Children from families who eat together at their supper table at least three times a week do better in school, are better adjusted socially, and psychologically.
       Sadly the Pharisees invited Jesus not to share life, but to watch Him for condemnation. They pre- judged Him worthy of death. Luke informs us, (Luke 11:53-54) "And as He said these things to them, the scribes and the Pharisees began to assail Him vehemently, and to cross-examine Him about many things, {54} lying in wait for Him, and seeking to catch Him in something He might say, that they might accuse Him."
     Now another man enters into their meal fellowship. He is afflicted with dropsy, his body retained water and his lower extremities and arms were swollen, grossly distorted. Perhaps he was suffering heart failure or COPD. His outward appearance was a sign of his body failing him. According to the law he was unclean - not fit to share table fellowship. Jesus questions these worldly saints.(vs.3). These good people were experts in the Law. They grew up memorizing the Scriptures and learning to answer “What does this mean?”They knew the answer to this simple question - Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath? It was “Yes!”
     The Lord God instituted the Sabbath day for mankind to find their true rest in Him and His gracious promise of the Messiah by hearing His Word.   He spoke from Sinai, (Exo 20:8-11) ""Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. {9} Six days you shall labor and do all your work, {10} but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. {11} For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it." The Sabbath was made for man reminding him that he did not live by bread alone, but by every Word proceeding out of the mouth of God. In the first six 24 hour days of world history, about 6,000 years ago, the Lord God spoke all things into existence. He still upholds all things through His Word spoken in those days. Life is not a biological accident. Life flows from our Creator into our world through His Word. The Word made flesh standing before the lawyers and Pharisees - Jesus.
   Worldly saints do nothing to help their fellow man in his deepest distress. (vs.4) Jesus comes, giving sin corrupted mankind new life. Touching the untouchable man, He heals him, setting him free. Now Jesus convicts worldly saints - those who trust in their own thinking and doing. (vs. 5-6). They would show mercy to their son and animals on the Sabbath, but to their fellow diseased brother - they would show no kindness. Their actions exposed them as self-centered sinners. They worshiped themselves not the God Who is Mercy! Their good works were totally self-serving.
     Table fellowship with Jesus exposes worldly saints as sinners. Wise Solomon teaches us that a faithful messenger is refreshing like enjoying cold snow from the mountains in the heat of the harvest. Jesus refreshes us with the message - the Truth in God’s Holy Mountain - the Church. We sing: “I come, O Savior, to Thy Table, For weak and weary is my soul;   Thou, Bread of Life, alone art able To satisfy and make me whole: Lord, may Thy body and Thy blood Be for my soul the highest good!” Christ Jesus speaks the Truth of the Creator’s Law exposing our sin. In love He doesn’t allow our self-deception.   He speaks the Truth: (Rom 3:10-12) "As it is written: "There is none righteous, no, not one; {11} There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. {12} They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one."" (Rom 3:23-24) "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, {24} being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,"
Looking to His healing nail scarred Hand we sing: Unworthy though I am, O Savior, Because I have a sinful heart, Yet Thou Thy lamb wilt banish never For Thou my faithful Shepherd art! Lord, may Thy body and Thy blood Be for my soul the highest good!”
II.      Why come to Church? Why do teenagers shower daily? They don’t want to stink! They want to come clean. Christians come to Church for the Holy Spirit to remove the stench of their sins - coming clean they are washed in the blood of Christ. Forgiven they are made new. Learn well of the feast that Jesus invites you to in His Body. Here the King of Creation calls to real sinners, “Come up here!”He declares sinners - saints. (vs.7-9)
           Jesus is not giving proper wedding etiquette instruction. He speaks of how we stand before the Holy God. From Adam's sin, man is by nature self-centered. We choose the places of most honor for ourselves. It would be embarrassing to have the host come removing you from the head table and seating you in the kitchen.
       Jesus: The Eternal God, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, the Son of God who wilfully clothed Himself in our skin and bones to rescue all sinners - is humility! (vs.10) Christians alone are invited to the wedding feast of Christ's Holy Church. We come before our Holy God as sinners, we come because we need what only Christ can give us - forgiveness of sins, life and salvation.   We come sitting in the lowest place. Confessing we have nothing to offer our Holy God, our love has been cold, our lives have failed, we sit as sinners without hope in ourselves. We lay our sins on Jesus!
       Behold the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is here in Word and Sacrament speaking, "Friend, I have suffered and died for your sins." "Friend, I am the end of the Law for all that believe in Me, for I have fulfilled the Law perfectly for you." "Friend, come to My table and feast on My Body given for you, and drink deeply of My blood which was shed for you to forgive you your sins.   Feast with me now, then you shall feast with Me eternally in heaven at the eternal wedding feast.
     (vs.11). The Christian follows Jesus. Though He was God, He humbled Himself for us sinners. He abased Himself that He might fulfill God's law perfectly for you! His eyes saw all your sins. Instead of bringing them hastily into court - He took them into His own sinless body. He carried them to the cross. Speaking the Word fitly spoken, “It is finished!”“I’ve paid your price in full!”“I forgive you all your sins!”“Go in peace!”Raised to life in Christ Jesus we stand before our God honestly hearing His Word of Law condemning us for our sins, we have nothing to boast of , our love has been cold, our lives riddled with sin. But behold the love of God the Gospel message is that Christ Jesus died for sinners - for me - that by His blood I might be made whole. Philippians 2:5-8 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, (6) who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, (7) but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. (8) And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
     Why come to Church? It is Christ’s body - you are part of His body by grace. A finger severed from the body dies, unless quickly reattached - it needs blood to live. You need Christ’s blood to live. He is the Vine, you are the Branches. Remain in Him. Eat and drink of His body and blood given and shed for real sinners for the forgiveness of our sins.    11. Thy body, given for me, O Savior, Thy blood which Thou for me didst shed, These are my life and strength forever, By them my hungry soul is fed.
 12. With Thee, Lord, I am now united; I live in Thee and Thou in me. No sorrow fills my soul, delighted It finds its only joy in Thee. Lord, may Thy body and Thy blood Be for my soul the highest good!”Amen.

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