“JESUS SETTLES EVERYTHING”
Saint Matthew 5. 20-26
6th Sunday after Trinity: 7 July Anno Domini 2013
Fr Jay Watson SSP
In The + Name of Jesus
Part of the righteousness of the Scribes was that they were Old Testament scholars. They knew their Torah. They studied the prophets. They memorized the Psalter. They loved their Bible. This is all totally meaningless without Jesus as the bleeding, dying, law-keeping Lamb at the very center and core. Knowing the Bible without believing that one is a poor miserable sinner incapable of doing anything to “get right” with God except fall at Christ’s feet—at the foot of Calvary—is all totally worthless. So, knowing your bible verses better than all of the people you don’t like, the ones you loathe won’t do anything for you save get you an aisle or window seat in the pits of burning sulfur.
Part of the righteousness of the Pharisees was that they were meticulous in keeping all the rules and regulations. They were also very good at keeping the 10 Commandments, in so far as, the Commandments read at a “surface level.” They were also very active in scuttling about “doing” things and being very busy. But not fornicating or cheating on one’s spouse is worthless if one secretly lusts. Not embezzling or shop-lifting means nothing if one has a larcenous heart. Not murdering someone is worth less than zero if one hates, or if one doesn’t love one’s neighbor. So, no matter how much you scurry around trying to fix your immediate little world to be ordered to your desires; no matter how much you profess the rules and regulations of lc-ms, or Book of Concord orthodoxy, unless you keep the original Decalogue the way the Lord demands, your own pharisaical hypocrisy damns you to hell. Jesus must be at the root of your Law Keeping…your must cling solely to Jesus as the One Who righteously keeps the Law for you!
The Lord accepts your gifts laid at His altar when those gifts are naturally out-flowing expressions of love based on the faith which He has kindled in your hearts; faith which produces works of prayer, praise and thanksgiving. The forgiven woman, of Luke 7, is so filled with love because Jesus had forgiven her all her debts, and thus she overflows, literally, with tears of joy and gratitude, staining His feet with salty appreciations of adoration. So too, in faith, you should bring your gifts of silver and gold to His throne so that His throne might be replicated in many, many other parishes throughout the world. You should bring your time and efforts to His church so that sick would be given medicine; homeless given shelter; and hungry first fed with bread, water, and wine and subsequently with the Body and Blood of God. You should bring the gifts of your own attention, focus, and meditation to His Word every day, to His Sacramental Word every Lord’s Day and other days when it is offered. But of all the gifts He desires from you the greatest are never your works, even works rightly flowing from true faith, but rather the true faith itself! The Lord desires a broken and contrite heart. Jesus wants the true gift of your confession of sin so that He might absolve you and animate you with His own righteousness. Jesus wants the true gift of your confession of faith of The Right Doctrine of His righteous activity and identity, where He fills you with His own righteous words and righteous Body and Blood.
If you have harmed your brother go and ask for forgiveness. You have hurt others, but you deny it and always cast yourselves as the victims and the heroic innocent party; you’re not, repent and go and confess. When your brother has a complaint with you, even when your brother IS at fault, go anyway to him or her and seek to be reconciled. Love in deeds not only in rote and memorized formulaic words.
The greatest sin is pride which simply means self worship—the breaking of the greatest commandment to love God perfectly above all things.
To do what you don’t the Son of God left His gift of Trinitarian communion with His beloved Father at the Altar of Heaven and went to be reconciled to His brother—i.e. His brothers and sisters who had become blood enemies of enmity, and haters of all things Godly. The Lord came to work, sweat, and humbly do all the dirty work. Jesus not only knew the Scriptures of the Scribes but He did them. Jesus not only knew the ceremonial requirements of the Pharisees but He kept the Law of Moses, the Torah, perfectly—He did them in deep and inner meaning as well as in surface form. Because the hard heart and stiff neck of sinful unregenerate man—the hater of Jesus and His work—would not, COULD not do its own part in reconciliation, Jesus fulfilled both parts, ALL parts of the covenant; by making it a testament—a gift, bequest, Last Will and Testament.
Jesus did not “agree” with the great adversary, the devil, rather He surrendered on behalf of the devil’s captives—all of you—and became your substitute prisoner and victim.
Rather than agree to disagree or to cowardly make concessions to evil, sin, and imperfection, Jesus simply took all of your trespasses upon Him and to Him and suffered and died. For you and your sin, Jesus was delivered to the Judge (Pilate); delivered to the officer (the Centurion and his execution squad); and cast into prison (sent to the hellish torture chamber and gallows of Satan himself). By paying the very last, the uttermost farthing—His precious Body and Holy Blood; the life of God, the enfleshed God/Man—you are free and safe and at ever peace.
As a coda…even now your old Adam, imprisoned in the fallen flesh of sinner, pauses, and grumbles…yes Pastor, all true, all true…but I’m still suffering from depression and heartache. Some of my closest loved ones appear lost, my beloved country is heading to destruction, I hurt all over, I’m afraid of disease and of dying, and everything in my life STILL appears lost and fleeting EVEN AFTER the words of Gospel. What can I do? What can you do for me to take away the still lingering emptiness and fear; the weakness.
It is truly meet right and salutary that we should at all times and in all places…therefore with angels and archangels and with all the company of heaven…Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of Sabaoth…blessed is + He that cometh in the Name of the Lord…take eat THIS IS MY BODY, which is given for you…DRINK YE ALL OF IT…MY BLOOD, which is shed for you.
I pray you are as hungry and thirsty now as I am…
The Peace of the Lord be with you alway!
In The Name of The Father and of + The Son and of The Holy Ghost