Sermon -11/10/19
2019.11.11 16:31:23

Proper 27/C [Pent. 22] (2019): Exodus 3:1-15; 2 Thess. 2:1-8, 13-17; Luke 20:27-40.  


Resurrection,      “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage; but those who are accounted worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, for they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection (vv. 34-36). 


Jesus does not suggest marriage in heaven is done away, it is not! Our entry into heaven on the Last Day celebrates our life in Christ as “sons [and daughters] of the bridal chamber” (Lk. 5:34, translation from Greek).  


We are invited to attend the Lamb’s marriage feast (Rev. 19:7, 8), because by Baptism we have been wed into Jesus’ resurrection and Life awaiting his coming for us. The whole point of marriage is Life; so also, of the church. 


Western society doesn’t readily grasp Scripture’s notion of “betrothal”, the covenantal act of pledging one’s fidelity in marriage, if not yet consummated.  When Jesus teaches that, “God [is]… of the living” (Lk. 20:38; Ex. 3:6, 15) it is in context of marriage, suggested by the Sadducees. 


When unbelievers cross-examine from their peculiar view point, they pose the same scripturally ignorant and erroneous questions as did the Pharisees and Sadducees of Jesus.


A couple of Sunday’s ago Pharisees inquired “when” the Kingdom of God would arrive.  Jesus answered, “[B]ehold the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.” (Lk. 17:21b); they, holding to another salvation in their own righteousness; rejected the answer. 


Today, the Sadducees, deniers of the resurrection, holding to another salvation as in this world only, tested Jesus by raising Mosaic marriage laws. “Levirate marriage” obligated a male next-of-kin to marry a deceased brother’s widow to raise up an heir for that family’s share in the Land, the place of God’s OT presence. 


But with the Kingdom’s arrival in Jesus, levirate marriage was obsolete; Jesus announcing, I Am the Resurrection and the Life” (Jn. 11:25).  That Jesus is God who is both “Resurrection and Life”, speaks to a single truth. 


We who are baptized into Jesus’ atoning death and follow him as “first-fruits” in the Resurrection, are “sons of God” (Lk. 20:36b), not in possessing a share of the Land; but because we are “sons of the resurrection” and so of the Life that is of Christ’s person (v. 36c). 


The Resurrection is necessarily associated with marriage and the Life the union generates. The thing about earthly marriage is that it anticipates Jesus’ betrothal to his church from the cross (Jn. 19:26-30).  


Jesus taught, “whoever divorces his wife, except for infidelity… commits adultery” (Mt. 19:9).  Of whom do you think Jesus was referencing; was it not himself?  Jesus did not come out of heaven to fine tune the Mosaic laws; rather to be its fulfillment, end, and completion.  It is as if Jesus had said, “except for the woman’s [the church’s] unbelief, I will never withdraw my pledge to her. We are espoused for eternity.” 


Baptized into Christ’s death we are united with him, “bone of [his] bone and flesh of [his] flesh” (Gen. 2:23); he is our “Bridegroom of blood” (Ex. 4:25) in whom we possess his troth.


As the church awaits her Lord’s coming for her on the Last Day (2 Thess. 2:1) we are to remain faithful in attending the holy things given for our fidelity, especially in tribulation; his word and sacraments.


Between now and the church’s consummation in holiness, St. Paul warns of lurking danger. Satan was a false suitor toward the woman of Adam’s passion; contradicting God’s delivered word.  She, believing a lie and Adam in support became adulterers, an effective divorce from God, until God would redeem them by a new Man and a faithful woman.  


The congregation of Thessalonica was distressed by false teachers. We don’t exactly know the teaching; but it had to do with the claim that Jesus’ 2nd Coming had already arrived; that the congregation in tribulation seemed to have missed out on the resurrection. 


Paul did not know “when” Jesus would come again with his angels and saints to gather his bride on the Last Day, nor do I; but what is sure is that it is not yet. 


Paul’s teaches is that first, Satan will send a lying suitor, “the man of lawlessness” (vv. 3, 9) into the church to turn the woman from her fidelity to the Lord.  This devil is not yet revealed; who, when, or where; but his marks in the church, “the mystery of lawlessness is already at work” (v. 7).  The Apostle, Judas Iscariot was prototype of this incarnation.  


The woman given to Adam succumbed to Satan’s blandishments. You get the point, fidelity, one’s troth is the essence of the marriage relation, through which God intends our resurrection Life.  Unlike Adam’s physical passion for his woman, Jesus’ Passion consists, not in pastoral concession, but in sacrificial love for a new begetting from above to be children of the Father. 


Moses acted as God’s best-man, conveying his honorable intentions toward his people; I know their pain, and I have come down to deliver them…” (Ex. 3:7b, 8a). JB was Jesus’ best-man coming to Israel for his bride. God’s troth toward his people culminated in self-delivery from the cross, his Spirit, water and blood.


Jesus’ love for us is exquisitely unconditional, more faithful than Adam’s “passion” for his woman. Of God’s gospel word in the woman’s hearing, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her Seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” (Gen. 3:15), Adam prophesied its meaning. At that point Adam named the woman, “Eve”, proclaiming her “mother of all living” (Gen. 3:20) on account of her Seed, the new Man, in the resurrection.


Into this mix and pledge, Satan will send his own “best-man”, Scripture calls “the lawless one” and “son of destruction” (2 Thess. 2:3c), a purveyor of false belief for seducing the church from faithfulness to God’s word. 


Against the infidelity of believing false doctrine, St. Paul directs us to God’s troth and promise of “the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him” (v. 1).  Amen.






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