Old Testament Lesson Exodus 19:2-8
Second Lesson Romans 5:6-15
Gospel Lesson Matthew 9:35-10:8
Grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen. The text for our meditation this day is the Gospel lesson just read. [Matt. 9:35-10:8]
The world is, and always has been filled with all sorts of trouble; famines of various kinds, lack of food causing widespread starvation, lack of education causing poverty and frustration that erupts in violence, lack of human rights that results in abuse and misuse of humanity. We feel compassion for these people as we shake our heads and say, “Somebody should do something!”
Then there are the wars. We hear about the war against terror and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan almost every day, but the Middle East isn’t the only place where there’s war. There’s war in several of the former Soviet Socialist Republics, war in South America, war in Africa; and there’s the threat of war between North Korea and Japan, North Korea and South Korea, China and Taiwan; wars based on economics, wars based on religion, wars based on differences in socio-political point of view. We get tired of seeing all the bloodshed and we say, “Somebody ought to do something!”
There are false religions springing up all over, and in the name of newfound spiritualism, they lead people away from Christianity; they lead people out of the church and away from Christ, teaching people to trust in themselves for their salvation. Somebody ought to do something!
We see the chaos and the destruction. We see the pain and suffering, the hatred and seething anger, and we slam our fists on the table and say, “Somebody ought to do something!” The talking heads on TV all point their fingers and assign the blame for ‘nobody doing anything’ when we all know ‘somebody ought to do something.’ There’s always government to blame; in fact, we often see one part of government blaming the other parts of government for not doing anything, or not doing enough.
On a less global scale, a little closer to home, when things aren’t right, the blame gets spread around too. Employers get blamed for not giving enough benefits, or not giving appropriate wages. And assigning blame isn’t confined to the secular world; the officers of The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod get blamed whenever we see division in our church. The world is filled with all sorts of trouble and although somebody ought to do something, most of the time it appears that nobody does anything!
We look far and wide for someone to take action, someone to fix things, someone to make things all better. In fact, I’d say that was the thrust of the entire presidential race last year; and we’re so divided as a nation that even now, after the election, many people are still searching for the right someone.
Of course there are several people in our government who’re quick to tell you they’re doing something with a tweet, or a sound byte; but in the end, we still hear people shout ‘somebody ought to do something’.
And so, the search goes on, as we look farther than ever before. We look in places we never knew we could look; and we do it at the speed of light. We don’t limit ourselves to local solutions; we look globally, using newfound sources like the Internet. But, still we don’t find the answers we’re looking for….
We can and do look all over the world; but maybe we’re looking in the wrong places. We think we should be looking for a genius who’ll set things straight, who’ll fix the problems of this world; but where do we look for this genius; to CEOs, to world leaders, to religious leaders, to cultural leaders? You’ve got to be kidding me.
Do we ever consider looking to God? Do we pray to him for deliverance from this mess? Do we look to him with trusting expectation that our prayers will always be answered…as soon as the words leave our lips??? Or do we only trust in men?
We trust in God to care for us in spiritual things. And when we pray ‘Give us this day our daily bread,’ we do pray that he would take care of our material lives as well. But how often do we pray for deliverance from the woes of this world? It’s as if we don’t care about what’s happening around us as long as we’re OK.
Don’t get me wrong, we do have compassion. We do care. It’s our compassion that makes us say, “Somebody ought to do something.” We see that there’s a need and we want to help, we want to make a difference. And yet, we struggle with our sinful nature. Our sinful nature certainly isn’t compassionate. Our sinful nature looks out for good old number one, and that’s about it. But we do have compassion; it’s just not of ourselves. Where do you suppose that compassion came from?
Our compassion comes from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Our compassion comes from the one who willingly sacrificed himself to rescue us; the one who gave up his life to fix things for us, to right all wrongs for us; the one who ended the war between us and our God, the one who ended the famine that starved our souls. His body, his blood given up for us, given up in our place, given up to guarantee that all your sins are forgiven.
Somebody has done something. God has sent his Son to take action, and he did. He came to earth and became one of us to take charge and to do something about sin. He took that sin and lifted it all off of our backs. He placed it on himself, and then he sacrificed himself because he knew that dieing with our sins upon him was the only way to rid us of those sins for all time, the only way to make us his own, the only way to give all the glory to his Father, and to restore perfect and complete justice to the kingdom of heaven.
Somebody did do something. Somebody, Jesus Christ himself, did it all. It’s all been done; and there’s nothing left for you to do, nothing left that you can do. All your sins are forgiven and you’re clothed in his righteousness; you’re able to confidently stand before God, because you’ve been washed clean in the blood of the Lamb.
We’re able to announce to the world that we’re children of God, because he made us his own! Because he did do something his Spirit gives us faith and the strength we need to remain steadfast in that faith. We’re strengthened by his Word, strengthened every time we remember the forgiveness that’s ours in our Baptism, strengthened every time we receive his body and blood in Holy Communion.
Because somebody did something, sin no longer has any power over us, and because somebody did something, no matter what our needs, we can confidently go to our Father in prayer and know that he’ll answer that prayer and we’ll see his will done among us.
We see his will done as he sends his children out to take action, to do something. Now that Jesus has made us his own, we’re the ones he uses to do something. Just as he sent his apostles out into the world, just as they discovered that they were the somebody they had been looking for, now we’re that somebody. The church is Christ’s body, his arms that hold the sick and rebuild the broken, his legs that walk to the most remote points on this earth to deliver the good news of salvation, going wherever the head of this body leads it.
And Christ is that head, the head of the church, he is the somebody who does something. He uses his body the church, you and me, the members of his body, to do his will. He sends us out to speak and do; speaking, witnessing, spreading the good news of salvation by Christ alone, sharing the Words of grace and love that are in his holy Word; and doing, caring for people, helping people, doing something in whatever our vocations happen to be, because doing something affirms the good news we proclaim.
The world is a mess. Mankind got it into this mess. Do we really think we can look to mankind to get us out of this mess? We should look to somebody who can. Somebody ought to do something, and He has. He did it all; he did everything necessary, for you, for me, for all of us; he did it there … on the cross. Amen.