Satisfaction from Christ
St. Thomas, Apostle
21 December 2018
Some people are never satisfied, have you ever noticed that? The temperature is either too hot or too cold, never just right. Christmas gifts are always either too big or too small. The traffic is always moving too slowly or people are always driving crazy fast. We tend to view God's message to us about the coming One that way. We're never satisfied. Jesus quotes the proverb of his day to make this point: 'We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not weep' (Lk 7:32). Some people are never satisfied with God's message: it's either too full of demands for good works and repentance or too easy on those other sinners through the proclamation of God's mercy.

John the Baptist called on the people to lament their sins and repent and the authorities didn't like it. How dare John imply that they ought to lament their sins and grieve because they had transgressed God's law and offended Him. He called on them to grieve, to beat their breasts and cry out, "God, have mercy on me, a sinner!" "What a funeral dirge that kind of teaching is! Come on John, can't you be more fun? Is that all we're going to do? Lament our sins? Couldn't you lighten it up a bit? Can't you play us a happier tune? How about a little: "Holly, Jolly, Christmas?" His hearers were offended at John's preaching of the law and repentance. "No more of that dull stuff!" I would prefer not to be forced to consider the sin in my own life! No more lamenting for me! No more funeral dirges for the death of my sin!

By contrast, Jesus came condescending to eat with the tax collectors and sinners making them his friends. He went to their banquets, eating and drinking with the "disreputable people" in society. He had mercy on the outcasts and had fellowship with them by eating and drinking with them. The leaders thought Him tainted, polluted by these gluttons and drunkards, tax collectors and sinners. But He came to eat with them to rescue them from slavery to their bellies, from their love of money and every sin. He took up what was theirs that He might return to them what was His. He ate from their tables that He might feed them with His own flesh. He drank with them that He might give them to drink of His blood. How delightfully generous He is!

But some people are never satisfied. Jesus says: "For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, 'He has a demon.' The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, 'Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!' Yet wisdom is justified by all her children" (Lk 7:33-35).

Jesus is right. He's vindicated because of all whom He has called into His kingdom condescending to their needs. Our being present here indicates the divine wisdom in Christ. Grace and truth comes from Him. He seeks to guard our hearts and minds and grant peace where there is sorrow over sin. Forgiveness, where there is lamentation. Joy where we have sown in tears.

But neither the call to repentance nor the call of the free gospel of Christ gets any hearing in our decadent age. Some people are never satisfied.

Jesus does seek to bring satisfaction! He brings satisfaction for the sin of the world. Your sin and my sin. He has done enough, more than enough, to rescue me from my sin by dying for me. Are you the One, O Christ? What more could He have done for you? Why would you seek another? He has done enough. It is no wonder that Jesus says, "Wisdom is justified by all her children." (Lk 7:35). Christ, the true Wisdom of God has done all to justify poor miserable sinners.


Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

   Martin Luther
"It happened to Christ that men could not bear any of His teaching. When He preached the gospel, He had to be called a sinner who kept neither the Sabbath nor the law of the fathers, a sinner and a companion of the tax collectors, a glutton and a drunkard, etc., who respected neither their fasting nor their praying nor their alms. When He preached the law, He had to be called a fool, and they mocked Him, yes, became angry with Him because He rebuked them for their greed and hypocrisy. Whether He sang sweet or sour, it did not make any difference. When He led them with His staff 'Gentle,' they did not follow Him; when He threw the club 'Painful' into their midst, they became angry-as He Himself says, 'We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not weep' (Lk 7:32). When He promises them every good thing through the gospel, they reject it; when He threatens every evil through the Law, they despise it. What is He to do with these vipers except finally to break both staffs and let them go on in their own smugness forever, without either the gospel or the law?"

Martin Luther, 
Lectures on Zechariah, 11.7
Luke 7:24-35

Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: "What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who are dressed in splendid clothing and live in luxury are in kings' courts. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written, 'Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you.'
I tell you, among those born of women none is greater than John. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he." (When all the people heard this, and the tax collectors too, they declared God just, having been baptized with the baptism of John, but the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected the purpose of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him.)

 "To what then shall I compare the people of this generation, and what are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling to one another, 'We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not weep.'

For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, 'He has a demon.' The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, 'Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!' Yet wisdom is justified by all her children." (ESV)
Prayer
Almighty and ever-living God, You strengthened Your apostle Thomas with firm and certain faith in the resurrection of Your Son. Grant us such faith in Jesus Christ, our Lord and our God, that we may never be found wanting in Your sight; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

For Sharon Rankin, who has received a heart pacemaker, that she would be strengthened through this gift

For Karaze and the Mohono children, who will be baptized into the death and life of Christ on Sunday, that the Lord Jesus would keep them in their baptismal faith all their days

For families that are dreading the time they will spend together in the days to come, that the Prince of Peace would bring forgiveness and harmony into their broken relationships
Art: Raffaellino dell Garbo  The Annunciation  (c. 1510)
Memorial Lutheran Church
smurray@mlchouston.org
http://www.mlchouston.org
© Scott Murray 2018
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
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