"This Man Deserves To Die!" Jeremiah 26:1-15
March 20, 2022
Rev. Nathan J. Rusert
The prophet Jeremiah was sentenced to death by the mob for speaking the Truth of God's Word. The world blinded by sin's darkness cannot stand the Light of Truth. Satan deals with lies and seeks to silence all who preach Christ Crucified for sinners and raised again to declare us forgiven. Sermon Text: Jeremiah 26:1-15. Sermon Theme: "This Man Deserves To Die!" Preached for Oculi, The 3rd Sunday in Lent, 20-March-2022 at Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Tell City, Indiana by Rev. Nathan J. Rusert.
Oculi, Third Sunday In Lent 20-March-2022
Sermon Text: Jeremiah 26:1-15
Sermon Theme: “This Man Deserves To Die!” by Rev. Nathan J. Rusert
I.N.R.I. What do you fix your eyes upon? Where do you look for hope, security, knowledge, wisdom, and peace? What graven image do you fix your eyes upon? Is it a flickering screen indoctrinating you with the latest lies? Social media feeding your hate and disdain for others? Propaganda enslaving you in fear? Man’s foolishness trumpeted as wisdom? Where have you fixed your eyes? Jesus preaches, “Luk 11:34-36 The lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore, when your eye is good, your whole body also is full of light. But when your eye is bad, your body also is full of darkness. (35) Therefore take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness. (36) If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, the whole body will be full of light, as when the bright shining of a lamp gives you light." Is the light in you darkness? Touring a cave usually involves a minute or two when all lights are turned off leaving you in total darkness. Your brain may think it sees flashes of light, but it is only an illusion - living in total darkness blinds you to the light. Living in the darkness of Satan’s lies, the world’s wisdom, and trusting in your own feelings blinds you to the Truth which sets mankind free.
David, confessed “Psa 25:15 My eyes are ever toward the LORD, for he will pluck my feet out of the net.” By grace, David fixed his eyes upon the Lord Jesus Christ trusting His written Word recorded by the prophets. The promise of Christ is one of rescue and salvation. He plucks your feet out of the net of sin, fear, lies, and death that Satan captured all mankind into through our first father Adam. We cannot by our own thinking or doing trust in Jesus Christ as our Lord, our Rescuer, our Deliverer. God the Holy Spirit must open our eyes through the message of Christ. He enlightens us with His gifts - the gospel wrapped in water, spoken through His called and ordained servant of His Word, taught, prayed and confessed with you by your parents, fed you in bread and wine. His gifts bless us to hear the Word of God and treasure it up in our hearts.
God the Holy Spirit enlightens us - opening our eyes to look to the cross of Jesus for salvation confessing, “This Man Deserves To Die!”
Jeremiah wept for the people of Judah had shut their eyes to God’s Word. King Josiah was the last good king in Judah before it would be led captive for 70 years in Babylon. He ascended the throne in 641B.C. at eight years old and ruled for 31 years until 610B.C.. Under the guidance of Hilkiah the priest he restored Solomon’s Temple re-instituting the worship of Yahweh and tearing down the altars and high places dedicated to pagan fertility idols. Ten years into his reign as the Temple was being cleaned out of all the trash of false worship, the written book of the Law was found. The Torah, or first five books of our Holy Bible, written by God the Holy Spirit through the pen of Moses. Upon hearing God’s Word read, Josiah tore his robes and wept tears of repentance. Passover again would be celebrated according to the Lord’s command, but the heart of the people remained dead like rock. They went through the motions of worship, but their hearts were far from God.
King Josiah died at Carchemish battling the Egyptians - a war that he meddled in despite being warned to stay out of it. History records of King Josiah, 2Ki 23:25 Now before him there was no king like him, who turned to the LORD with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses; nor after him did any arise like him.” Now Josiah’s son will undo all the reforms of his father. (Vs.1) One godly ruler cannot save a nation set on its own self destruction. History records,2Ch 36:5 Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. And he did evil in the sight of the LORD his God. Only God’s Word can save nation’s set on self-destruction. (Vs.2-3) Jeremiah the preaching prophet is not a free agent. He is sent by the Lord to preach the Truth of God’s Word.
Jeremiah’s eyes are fixed upon Jesus. Jesus had placed His Word upon his lips to preach. In a world held captive by the father of lies speaking the Truth means persecution. When our Lord Jesus casts a demon out of a mute man restoring his speech - he is accused of being in league with Beelzebub. Satan uses the world to accuse those who speak the Truth of doing his work - so people won’t listen. Those whose father is the devil will seek to silence the truth through intimidation and violence. Cancel culture isn’t new - it began when Satan led the world captive through the lie. The lie that God’s Word doesn’t mean what it says or say what it means. The lie that God doesn’t care for His Creation. The lie that He doesn’t care for you. The lie that we can be our own gods making up our own rules according to our feelings.
The Lord sends forth His Word to turn us from self-destruction through repentance. Listen to His Word. His Holy Ten Commandments. Listen to His Word - the saving Gospel Truth confessed in the Apostles’ Creed. Turn from your evil ways - pray with Jesus, “Our Father”, enlighten me by your Holy Spirit through Your Word that I might believe and live in Your promise in Jesus! Father, break the stubborn sinful will of the devil, the world, and especially my own sinful flesh and let Your good and gracious will be done. Keep me in Your Word and Faith until I die!
Jeremiah’s Temple sermon is sharp and short. (Vs.4-6) Listening to God’s Word isn’t just warming a pew for an hour on a Sunday. His Word calls us to walk as children of the Light - to walk in His Law - living our faith in loving service to our neighbor within our own callings. His Word is to order all our thinking and doing. If God’s Word isn’t treasured up in our hearts and minds - soon the devil returns with seven other evil spirits - taking us captive in sin and self-destruction again. The Lord God mercifully sent prophet after prophet to Judah - but they won’t listen. The Lord God has mercifully sent faithful preacher after faithful preacher to Emmanuel listen to His Word they preach - repent and live His Word in your daily walk.
Dear parents, follow God the Father’s merciful path, rise up early - stay up late instructing your children in Christ’s Word. Don’t allow Satan to tie up your tongue with the lie that you don’t know enough of God’s Word to teach them. Myriads of people talking of March madness are not basketball experts - but that doesn’t stop them talking. You have God the Holy Spirit in His Word. Instruct your children, your household, in that which God never tires teaching - The Holy Ten Commandments, The Apostles’ Creed, The Lord’s Prayer, the Scripture promises of cross won Holy Spirit given gifts in baptism, absolution, the Lord’s Supper. Never tire of singing a Psalm or two with your family, begin and end each day with God’s Word and prayer.
If Judah wouldn’t listen Jerusalem would become like Shiloh. Once the Tabernacle - the portable tent Temple was there with the Ark of the Covenant. In the days of Eli, the Lord left His tabernacle - the Ark was taken captive by the Philistines - the tent church ceased to function for the Lord’s glory had departed. Soon Jerusalem and its Temple would be destroyed - the Ark of God would be forever lost. The Lord’s glory would depart from His Temple for His people refused to listen to His Word preached. Jerusalem would become a curse for all nations.
The congregation of Judah is not impressed by Jeremiah’s short sermon. (Vs.7-9) They grab the preacher and sentence him to death. How dare he preach against the Lord’s House. They trusted in the House of the Lord as their lucky rabbit’s foot to save them. Closing their ears to hearing God’s Word, they fooled themselves into thinking that as long as the building stood they were safe from destruction. It is like the foolish lie that we deceived ourselves into thinking that as long as a community had a lot of church buildings we were a Christian nation. Satan doesn’t mind a lot of buildings, as long as he can preach from their pulpits and steal the living Seed of Christ’s Word from the heart of the members.
Six centuries later, Jesus would be tried by the priests and the people in the Temple - He deserved to die for He spoke against the Temple and Jerusalem. (Vs.10-11) The court is seated and Jeremiah stands trial. He deserves death for preaching the Truth of God’s Word. (Vs. 12-15) Jeremiah offers his defense - it is God’s Word he preaches. Mercifully the prophet calls the people to repent - amend their ways and listen to the merciful voice of the Lord “your” God. He is ‘their” God who seeks to rescue them through His Word - that He might relent from their destruction. If they put Jeremiah to death - they will spill innocent blood upon Jerusalem - still he places himself into their hands for Jeremiah’s eyes are fixed upon Jesus - He will deliver him from death.
Jeremiah won’t die, yet, for preaching God’s Word - the princes consult the written Word of God through the prophet Micah who had preached against the Temple. His life is spared for now.
“This Man deserves to die!” words that would be spoken against Jesus by the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem as the Last Passover drew near. This is God’s sentence upon His Son. Jesus freely offers Himself in your place and mine - the sins of the world were heaped upon Him, our darkness covered Him as He hung suffering our just punishment upon Calvary. He deserved to die - for there was no other way to save sinners. The Temple of His Holy Body would be destroyed for our sins, and three days later be raised up to new life for our salvation.
Fix your eyes upon Jesus by hearing His Word and treasuring it up in your heart. Heb 12:1-2 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, (2) looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Amen.
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