9/25/2016 8:53:34 PM
Why Do You Worship The Son? - Pastor John Roekle
The last two weeks we concentrated on the first person of the Triune God and the subject of the first article of the creed: God the Father. He is both almighty and all loving. For this we worship the Father. He is the author of creation. For this we worship the Father. Then when his perfect creation was spoiled by the introduction of sin in the Garden of Eden, God unveiled a plan. A perfect plan of rescue. For this we worship the Father.
Now, today and next week, we focus on the second person of the Triune God. We focus on God the Son. Do we also worship the Son? The answer is pretty obvious. Just look around here. The signs and symbols and pictures of God the Son are everywhere. It is in virtually every form of art in this building. Just soak it in for a moment. Look at all the things that remind us of the Son of God, Jesus Christ. As we think of these symbols and as we chew on these words from Colossians, we want to ask ourselves another question. Knowing that we do indeed worship the Son, let’s ask ourselves why. Why do we worship the Son?
Look at window above the organ console. What do you see? A dramatic rescue, no doubt. Peter was rescued from the dark depths of the sea. Peter was rescued from drowning. Can you relate? Maybe you have been rescued somehow from physical harm.
But in that window, you can see something else that you can relate to. You can also see doubt. Doubt and fear on the part of Peter. Peter doubted that he could continue to walk on the walk when Jesus invited him to do so. Peter now feared that he was going to drown. Peter doubted and feared that Jesus wouldn’t be able to keep his word.
You can relate too. When you are waiting for relief or rescue, how easy it is to doubt God’s hand of deliverance. Instead of confidence, fear often takes over. Fear that God won’t deliver me or can’t come to my rescue. And so, we underestimate Jesus. We underestimate the Son of God.
Look at that picture again. Who do you see when you see Jesus? A man? Yes. You see a man. Jesus was not simply a spirit or a ghost. Jesus was a man, born of the Virgin Mary. A man with flesh and blood. A man who walked, talked, ate, and slept.
But look closer. As you see Jesus, you should also see something more. When you see him, you should see God. Who else is able to be in control over the elements? Who else could walk on water and rescue a drowning man?
And this shouldn’t surprise us, but sometimes we need to be reminded of this truth. Especially since so often Jesus looked so ordinary. But Jesus was far from ordinary. Jesus was and is true God.
And Paul describes his divine nature so eloquently. He is the image of the invisible God. Jesus’ glory as God was hidden, hidden purposely while he walked this earth. In spite of that fact, when you see Jesus, you should also see the Father. That’s what Jesus said in the Gospel lesson: “When he looks at me, he sees the one who sent me.” Both Father and Son are both part of that inseparable being we call God.
When we think of the work of God the Father, we think of his work of creating and preserving. Those things are also ascribed to the Son. Jesus is called: the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created and in him all things hold together. The Son has all the attributes of God. He is all powerful. He is eternal, not having a beginning and having no end. Paul confirms that this is all by design. God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him.
So when you see Jesus, don’t be mistaken. Don’t underestimate him. Don’t look at him as if he just a fine compassionate man, but nothing more. When you see Jesus, remember that you are seeing the face of God. And that’s why we worship him. Jesus is the unique God-man. Son of the Heavenly Father. But he is a part of the inseparable Triune God who reigns over us.
Why is it that so many in our world refuse to worship Jesus? Why are there so many who refuse to put their trust in him? Why are there so many who simply refuse to see him for who he truly is as the Son of God? The answer is really rather simple. They are looking for someone else. They are looking for one who will ensure that they have a good cash flow. One who will ensure that no terrorists will reach their borders. One who will eliminate all their problems. One who will make them happy on their terms.
But why did the Son of God descend from his throne in heaven in the first place? Take a look at the stained-glass window of Jesus and Peter again. As you look at it again, ask yourself what Jesus is most concerned with. Was he most concerned with keeping Peter from drowning? That might be our first thought since that’s what you visibly see: Jesus reaching out his hand to rescue him. While this was certainly a concern to Jesus, it wasn’t his primary one. No, his greatest concern was for Peter’s spiritual welfare. “You of little faith…why do you doubt?” Jesus said to Peter after reaching out his hand to rescue him.
But the thing that throws people off is how Jesus cares for and rescues our souls. We’re used to seeing movies where the conqueror comes and with a dramatic show of force rescues the one who has fallen victim to the enemy.
Jesus’ rescue of our souls is just as dramatic. However, it is far different that any of us would expect. Jesus’ rescue began as he descended from the throne of God to be conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of a young virgin named Mary. He never acquired any earthly riches or power. In fact, the only crown he wore was one mockingly made of thorns. He did occasionally show his power through miracles, but most of the time he told people not to say anything about it. In fact, the lack of power and riches was offensive to many. This coupled with his teaching became so offensive to many that they sought to kill him. And that is what they succeeded in doing. They killed Jesus by nailing him to a cross.
But this apparent show of weakness was actually just the opposite. The fact that Jesus is the firstborn from among the dead, that he rose from the grave is proof that this wasn’t weakness at all. It was God’s plan of rescue being executed perfectly.
How many crosses do you see around here? There are many! And that’s no mistake. To some that seems foolish and to others it’s offensive. To you and me, though, it means everything! For by shedding his blood, Jesus did something that we couldn’t do. He patched up our relationship with God. And this wasn’t just something he did to temporarily quell God’s wrath. This is something that satisfied God’s wrath completely.
So Jesus’ cross is the means by which he provided rescue for you and me. Rescue not from the depths of the seas, but rescue from the dominion of darkness. Without Jesus’ rescue, we would still be wallowing aimlessly in our sins. With his rescue, we have the forgiveness of our sins. God no longer holds them against us because he held them against Jesus instead. Without Jesus’ rescue, we would be headed to eternal darkness where there is only weeping and gnashing of teeth. With Jesus’ rescue, death itself is a transition from this life with our Lord to eternity with our Lord. Without Christ’s rescue, we would be living under the rule of Satan, completely helpless under his power. With Christ’s rescue, he defeated Satan’s power. Now when Satan tempts us, we turn to Jesus for protection. Now when Satan accuses us, we point to Jesus’ cross.
Why do you worship God the Son? Certainly you worship him because he is indeed true God, one with the Father and the Holy Spirit. You worship him because of his unique greatness. But you also worship him because he is the one who rescued you. He is the one to whom you can be eternally grateful. Amen.