Second Sunday after Holy Trinity
Luke 14: 16-24; 1John 3:13-18; Proverbs 9:1-10; Hymn 622 Lord Jesus Christ, You have prepared
June 25, 2017 Also anniversary of the Augsburg Confession of 1530.
Introduction: Welcome to the Great Banquet.
It became a Sunday tradition. The Pautz family was living in Bangkok, Thailand. I was learning to live on missionary pay rather than Sr. Chemist at a Fortune 100 company. There was this hotel that had the most amazing Sunday brunch. In the U.S. it would probably cost $70-80 person but over there it was less than $10. Carved roast beef, fresh sushi, assorted dishes, soups, breads, desserts. You name it. It was there. All you could eat. What shocked us the most? No one was there! There were more restaurant employees than guests. Like I said, for us, it became an almost every Sunday brunch after the Thai church services & Bible studies were over.
Our Lord has prepared a Greater Banquet. What shocks our God the most? It is this: The vast majority of Jews and Gentiles refuse to attend the Great Banquet. They refuse to taste the Gospel. Or if they give the Gospel a taste, they turn away from it desiring their own junk food.
Your creator Father is the host of this Greatest of all Banquets. He has spent much effort preparing for the day He would serve it. The entire Old Testament is a record of the effort and tender care He put into it. Your Father promised this meal while Adam and Eve were still in the Garden. Feast on any fruit except one. But Adam and Eve were like teenagers who often argue against their parents. Adam and Eve were escorted out of the Banquet Hall. But already then and there, the Lord began preparations to bring them back to His great feast. Your Father promised to send His house servant, Jesus Christ, to do what no one else could. Jesus did the will of the Father.
The whole Old Testament is a record of God making preparations to restore Adam and Eve and all their children including you to the Great Banquet of the Gospel. Moses prophesied. The prophets came and went. Finally, John the Baptist announces the arrival of Jesus. Jesus is the Great Banquet. All would be ready upon the completion of His death and resurrection in accordance with the Holy Scripture.
Jesus went through all Israel during His earthly ministry. Most Jews wanted no taste of the Gospel.
The Father is getting agitated. “Then go to the Gentiles so they may come to My Gospel”.
Jews and Gentiles have this in common. The majority excuse themselves from this feast with its eternal benefit - life. Unbelief is the sin that angers you Father. Unbelief is a spiritual disease. Today’s parable diagnoses the three general symptoms of unbelief.
For example, I just bought a field and I need to inspect it. Please excuse me, I have a ball game and won’t attend to the Lord’s banquet.
Another example, I just bought five animals and must go and examine them. Excuse me, this is our day to go shopping or we have travel plans so we won’t attend the Lord’s banquet.
Finally, for this morning, I just got married. Sunday morning is the only time we have together as a family in the midst of work schedules and school schedules and all the other schedules that claim our time. So, I’m not even apologizing but telling you I are not going to the Lord’s banquet.
Sports, shopping, family time are all good things. God created your body and sports is a great reason to strengthen what God has given. God gave you a job and shopping or traveling and such and it is good to enjoy the benefits of hard work. God gave you a family and spending time together with each other is more than good.
But sports, travel, or family BBQs have become your god if you find yourselves making excuses to avoid feasting on God’s Word whether at church or at home or both. If the Christian faith is an add-on to your more important pursuits then you have found your repentance for this morning.
Your God does get irritated with your excuses. To Him, you sound like a teenager who won’t accept that your parents are probably correct so you keep badgering them to let you go your own teenage way.
And yet, God still loves you dearly. He sent His only-begotten Son into this disordered world. Born of a woman, born under the Law that some might be saved.
But, but but, … your constant excuses can still on His nerves.
A few weeks ago we heard from John chapter 3 that Jesus was not sent into this world to judge the world. Without the love of God in Christ, all are condemned. You can’t change the verdict of the Law. We have all fallen short of the glory of God. You can’t change that.
But, but, but ... Jesus provides another way. Jesus does the Father’s will. Jesus fulfills the Law and gives you the benefits. A main purpose of God’s Law is to show you your sin and that you can do nothing about your situation before God. But Jesus was sent into this world, born of a woman, born under the law (Gal) that some might be saved. So stop your unbelief. Rather, be baptized and believing in the Christ.
Jesus does the will of the Father. The Father sent Jesus to be the Great Banquet.
Today, Jesus is doing that. He continues to find the spiritually poor and crippled and blind and lame to fill His Father’s banquet hall. Jesus continues to go to the highways and hedges. Jesus compels those with the Word of God to come to the feast. You have nothing. You are the poor and crippled and lame. You know this from God’s Word. His Law. But He found you with God’s Word. His Gospel.
Let me speak what we already sang (LSB 622:5):
5 Though reason cannot understand,
Yet faith this truth embraces;
Your body, Lord, is even now
At once in many places.
I leave to You how this can be;
Your Word alone suffices me;
I trust its truth unfailing.
This is the faith you are given.
You can’t understand it like you want but you embrace it.
You don’t know how this can be but you leave that to the Lord.
And yet you feast at the Great Banquet. You trust Jesus.
God’s Word alone suffices you. You believe Jesus.
The Great Banquet doesn’t surprise you but rather the Great Unbelief does.
That is why it is good for your to hear a little bit about a Great Event that happened on this day in the year 1530. On June 25, 1530 a Great Confession was made to the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. The same emperor that kicked Martin Luther out of his kingdom. But it was not pastors making the confession. It was the people. Several princes, representing the people, signed what is called the Augsburg Confession. As they presented it to the emperor, knowing that they could be put to death, the princes told the emperor that there would be no compromise. So, bending one knee to the ground and lowering their heads, they told the emperor to accept this Augsburg Confession even if he demanded their heads with it.
The Great Banquet produces this Great Faith even and especially in the midst of unbelief.
To this day, when people build new churches they often inscribe the letters U.A.C. into the cornerstone of the building. The Unaltered Augsburg Confession. It is printed in your Book of Concord. The Concordia.
You might not know the history of the Christian Church but you have tasted the Great Banquet. Keep enjoying it; in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.