214-700x438Easter 3
Immanuel Lutheran Church, Hamilton, Ohio
Pastor Kevin Jud
April 30, 2017
Psalm 116:1-14, Acts 2:14, 36-41, 1 Peter 1:17-25, Luke 24:13-35

Sermons online:
Text:                pastorjud.org
Audio:             pastorjud.podbean.com
itunes:             bit.ly/pastorjud

Have you ever let yourself get caught up by the influence of others and found yourself doing the wrong thing?  Then, afterwards, you struggle with guilt for having gone along with the crowd.  I have a number of examples from my own life, but I better not share since I don’t know all the laws about the statute of limitations.

There is an equation about boys doing stupid things.  One boy = one brain.  Two boys = half a brain.  Three boys = no brain at all.  What happens then with a mob?  A mob completely loses its mind.

On that fateful Friday morning the crowd of people assembled outside of the Governor’s palace were likely, at first, minding their own business, but then they got caught up doing what mobs do; they played follow the leader, they egged each other on and encouraged one another.

The Jewish leaders got the crowd outside of the palace that Friday morning all stirred up demanding that Jesus of Nazareth be crucified.  The crowd shouted for Barabbas to be released.  They cried out about Jesus, “Crucify him!  Crucify him!”  The mob was not placated by seeing Jesus whipped and abused but cried all the louder, “Crucify him!  Crucify him!”  Having found nothing in him deserving death, the governor wanted to release Jesus but the crowd insisted on death.  The governor then washed his hands before the crowd and said, “I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves,” to which the crowd cried out, “His blood be on us and on our children!”

The mob was worked up into such a frenzy that they demanded the guilt of Jesus’ blood be on them.

Fast forward 50 days.  The crowd is back together in Jerusalem but everything is different.  It is Pentecost and there are people in town from all over the Mediterranean; many likely came for the Passover and stayed on for Pentecost.  There have been lots of rumors flying around about Jesus of Nazareth.  Folks are saying that He rose from the dead and many people claim they have seen the risen Jesus.  And now the followers of Jesus have suddenly gained the ability to speak in many different languages.

The people in the crowd start to wonder, “What did we do?  How could we have cried out for Jesus’ blood?  Who is this Jesus?”  One of Jesus’ disciples, a man named Peter, addresses the crowd and lets the crowd know that Jesus is from God.  Jesus was raised from the dead by God and has been exalted to the right hand of God and now God has poured out the Holy Spirit on the followers of Jesus.

Acts 2:36 (ESV)  36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”[1]

Jesus is indeed Lord and Christ and the crowd crucified Jesus.  Pilate wanted to release Him, but the crowd insisted on Jesus’ death.  These people killed Jesus. They insisted that His blood to be on them, and on their children.  What have they done?  They crucified the Lord and Christ.  They are guilty of the blood of the Christ.

The crowd has gone from the blind fervor of a blood-thirsty mob egged on by the religious leaders on that Friday, to afterward having a deepening pit in their stomachs over the unfolding reality of what they have done, to now experiencing full-fledged terror and panic because of their sins.

They have not offended an earthly ruler; they have offended the creator of the earth.  They have crucified God.

“Brothers, what shall we do?”

The crowd has no hope.  Where do you turn when you have crucified the Lord and Christ?  Judas felt the burden of this guilt and he despaired and hung himself.  What do you do when you have committed such a terrible sin?  “Brothers, what shall we do?”

Repent and be baptized.

There is no maximum age limit.  There is no minimum age limit.  No geographical limit.  The promise is for everyone.

Acts 2:38-39 (ESV) 38 …. “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”[2]

From the depths of despair Peter gives the people living hope.  Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.  And this is for all people.  This is not just for men, not just for women, not just for Jews.  Repent and be baptized.  As the crowd cried out for Jesus’ blood to be on them and their children the promise is for them and their children.  The promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off.  There is no maximum age limit.  There is no minimum age limit.  No geographical limit.  The promise is for everyone.

What an amazing promise to this guilty crowd.  The crowd that day has Jesus’ blood on their hands.  They crucified Jesus.  They put Jesus on the cross.  You can look at them and think, wow!  They are terrible sinners.  But you too are guilty of Jesus’ blood.  Your sins also put Jesus on the cross; He is there to die for you.  Your sins killed Jesus.  As you look at the cross there is the horrible knowledge that you too are guilty of the blood of Jesus and there is nothing you can do, by yourself, to fix it.  It is a powerful guilt and the devil knows it.

Far too often you find yourself mired in guilt, the devil gets up in your ear and whispers in an almost audible way, “This time it is just too much.  You say you’re a Christian but look at what you do.  God can’t forgive you.  You are too far gone.  Your sin is too bad.”  What do you do?

Repent and be baptized.  Repent and remember that in your baptism Jesus made a promise to you that you belong to Him and you are in Him.  In Christ you have forgiveness and eternal life.  In Jesus you have been freed from the guilt of your sins and set apart from the multitude of unbelievers to live in the Kingdom of God.

When the devil accuses you of being a sinner you tell the devil, “It is true.  I am a sinner.  But Jesus paid for my sins.  I am baptized into Christ.  Jesus made a promise to me and He doesn’t break His promises.

Alone, the enormity of your sin would be overwhelming, but in Christ you have been set free.

Set free by Jesus.  Set free by baptism, set free by confession and absolution, ,set free by the Lord’s Supper.  Your sins have been forgiven.  Those who cried out for Jesus to be crucified found forgiveness in ; 3,000 were baptized that day.  You, whose sin put Jesus on the cross, have found forgiveness in the same Jesus.  In Jesus there is forgiveness.  Apart from Jesus you are still in your sins.

The message of salvation is simple and straightforward.  Peter does not sugar-coat some message about how the people need to dream big dreams or have their best life now. Peter confronts the people with their sin and points them to Jesus for forgiveness.

Peter continues to bear witness to Jesus and to exhort the people, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.”

The ways of the world then were opposed to God’s way.  The way of the world now is opposed to God’s way.  The faithful church will find itself more and more outside the mainstream of thought in this world and so Peter’s warning is still true today, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.”  There is great pressure to conform your life to the ways of the world; to adopt the world’s ways as your ways.  But as a baptized child of God you no longer belong to the world.

You have heard the message that Peter preached that first Pentecost.  Acts 2:38-39 (ESV) 38 …. “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”[3]

All are sinners who need forgiveness freely offered by Jesus.  This is the message that brought you to faith in Jesus Christ.  This is the message we bring to a world that still struggles with sin.  This is the message we bring to a world that still needs forgiveness.  The promise of Jesus is for you and for your children and for all who are far off.

Amen.

[1]  The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001

 

[2]  The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001

 

[3]  The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s