Sermon / Pr. Ted Giese / Sunday Jan 31st 2016 - / Luke 4:31-44 / The Author of Your Life
Mount Olive Lutheran Church / Rev. Ted A. Giese / Jan 31st 2016 / Luke 4:31-44 / Season of Epiphany - The Author of Your Life
And [Jesus] went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee. And He was teaching them on the Sabbath, and they were astonished at His teaching, for His word possessed authority. And in the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, “Ha! What have You to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God.” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent and come out of him!” And when the demon had thrown him down in their midst, he came out of him, having done him no harm. And they were all amazed and said to one another, “What is this word? For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits, and they come out!” And reports about Him went out into every place in the surrounding region.
And [Jesus] arose and left the synagogue and entered Simon's house. Now Simon's mother-in-law was ill with a high fever, and they appealed to Him on her behalf. And He stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her, and immediately she rose and began to serve them.
Now when the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various diseases brought them to Him, and He laid His hands on every one of them and healed them. And demons also came out of many, crying, “You are the Son of God!” But He rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that He was the Christ.
And when it was day, He departed and went into a desolate place. And the people sought Him and came to Him, and would have kept Him from leaving them, but He said to them, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.” And He was preaching in the synagogues of Judea.
Let us pray: May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in Your sight O Lord. Amen.
Grace peace and mercy to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Good Christian Friends. The people of Capernaum didn’t want Jesus to leave. At the end of our lesson we hear how it was that after everything that had happened there in Capernaum Jesus had departed and had gone into a desolate place. And the people sought Him, and came to Him, and would have kept Him from leaving them in Capernaum, but He said to them, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.” Now you'll remember last week: When Jesus was in His hometown of Nazareth, and how that ended, how it ended with the people from His home town trying to toss Him off a cliff to His death. So last week we have people who want nothing to do with Jesus and this week we have people who want to keep Jesus all for themselves.
Taking last week and this week together we see how Jesus really is. Jesus gives Himself to those who hate Him and to those who love Him and He wants those who don't know Him yet to know Him. In His life, death and ultimately in His resurrection from the dead and His Ascension to the Right Hand of God the Father, Jesus makes Himself available to insiders and outsiders, to haters and faithful followers. To some He is like a priceless diamond to others He's like an irritating pebble in their shoe which they dig at with their grubby fingers to throw away - which they dig at with their soft and pampered fingers to throw away.
Last week we heard how Jesus preaches and teaches with authority. This week our reading has Him back in the Synagogue, and like I said - this time He's not in Nazareth, this time He's in Capernaum. And this time Luke is building on where we left off last time. Jesus' authority is being revealed to be more than authority in preaching and teaching only, Jesus' authority is more far reaching than that - This Jesus has authority over the spiritual world, the supernatural world; He has authority over the body, over illnesses and diseases of every kind. Continue reading along in Luke and you will see that Jesus has dominion over the fish of the sea, over the winds and the waves, over life and death, and as the resurrected Jesus says at the end of the Gospel of Matthew says of Himself, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me." 
What does it mean that Jesus has authority over all these things, even over things beyond your comprehension and understanding? What does it look like? This authority. When we think of authority - part of that word is the word author. A person that sits down to a blank page and writes, types, produces a story from thin air. Of course someone made the paper, and the ink, and the language and grammar were there before the writing of it. And the world in which the story is set, be it real or fantastical, has its roots in the lives we lead; but still the author has authority over what they write whether that's "the great American novel" or a "to do list," or a "grocery list."
John's Gospel says, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made." Jesus who has all authority is that Word, apply this to our Old Testament lesson today: Speaking to Jeremiah the LORD says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” Jesus is the Author of Jeremiah, the Author of Jeremiah's prophet-hood.
Is this descriptive or prescriptive? How does this apply to us? How does it apply to you? Are we all prophets? Last week we heard St. Paul ask, "Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?" The answer is no, but in Christ Jesus through whom "all things were made" you were made to have responsibilities and duties and vocations in this life. You were formed to be something, formed to be a man, a woman, a son, a daughter and in many case a mother or a father too. A butcher. a baker, a candlestick maker; but this is only part of it, St. Paul say that in your various vocations in life be good stewards of what Jesus the author of your life gives to you, and "earnestly desire the higher gifts." St. Paul then says, "And I will show you a still more excellent way." And what is that more excellent way? It is the way of love.
Back to Capernaum. Jesus The One with Authority over all things is described as having encounters with two specific people. A man in the Synagogue and Simon Peter's Mother-in-law in Simon Peter's house. A man with an unclean Spirit and a woman suffering the torments of a fever. A man in a religious setting and a woman in a domestic setting. The authority of Jesus is not confined to this building or to the home, the authority of Jesus is not confined to the spiritual only but to the physical as well. Jesus has authority over the whole of everything, all of it, all of you. Ask yourself: What is it that makes up a person? Later in the Gospel of Luke Jesus says, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself.” Heart, Soul, Strength, Mind ... every last bit of you. In the book of the Acts of the Apostles, also written by St. Luke - the writer of the Gospel of Luke, Luke records how Simon Peter preaches to the people in the Temple in Jerusalem after Jesus' resurrection and ascension that Jesus is, "the Author of life," Simon Peter and the rest of the Apostles are witnesses of this. The book of Hebrews tells us that, "Jesus, [is] the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."
When the people of Capernaum wanted to keep Jesus for themselves what were they hoping for? Did they desire a comfortable and predictable Jesus (even though He worked miracles before their eyes). The world we live in often wants a comfortable Jesus, but Jesus is not tame, Jesus is not to be domesticated. Jesus says and does things that make people uncomfortable. As the Author of life, as the one with Authority Jesus wants things for you that the World doesn't want, He wants things for you that Satan and Satan's unclean spirits don't want for you. He wants things for us that we, in our sinfulness, don't even want for ourselves. When the people of Nazareth wanted Jesus dead, why did they want that? Ultimately it was a foolish attempt to remove the authority of God from their lives.
Are you guilty of wanting to steal authority from Jesus and be an authority unto yourself? Do you think your name is more important than the name of Christ into which you are baptized? Do you think that you know better than Christ what you should do with your Sunday, that sleeping in - or hockey or football - is better for you than to hear God's Word and receive His gifts? Do you think taking care of yourself is more important that honouring you mother or father, more important that following the laws of the land? Is your anger and personal satisfaction in life more important than forgiveness and patience? Are your sexual needs a trump card that beats every other card in the deck, is pleasure more important than vows, and fidelity, more important that chastity? Do you know better who should have what when it comes to daily bread? Do you take the daily bread of others and place it on your plate? Is your honour more important than the honour of others? Are you happy to lie to save face in front of friends and family and co-workers even at the expense of others out of misplaced pride. Does your heart want what it wants, covetously damning everyone and everything that stands in your way of achieving the comforts of this world and life? Is your contentment more important than the wellbeing of your neighbour? Have you in all these ways, or in part, staked out a claim to be the "Author" of your life in place of Jesus. By these sins and by countless others "you [and I] killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead."
How does Jesus deal with you? How does the Author and perfecter of your faith and life, your heart, soul, strength, and mind deal with you? Jesus deals with you in love. Ask Him for forgiveness and He will give you the forgiveness He won for you at the Cross. The forgiveness that flows like a river from His empty tomb, the forgiveness that comes to you like bread from heaven each and every day. For while we fail at love and break all of the LORD's Holy 10 Commandments in a multitude of ways Jesus has not failed in His love for you. His love for you "is patient and kind; [His] love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It [is selfless - having suffered all, even death on a cross]; [Jesus' love for you] is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at [your wrongdoings], but rejoices with the truth. [The Love of Jesus for you] bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. [The love of Jesus for you] never ends."
Share this love with others who do not yet know it, who are not yet fully aware of the precious diamond like nature of the gift that it is, and remember what Simon Peter says in the epistle of 2 Peter when he says, "The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance." This is your Jesus, who comes to you this day in His Supper saying, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent Me, even so I am sending you.” In His authority Jesus sends pastors, and He also sends all who are His, "royal priesthood, [all who are citizens of His] holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim [the excellence] of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light." Amen.
Let us pray:
Lord have mercy on us, Christ have mercy on us, Lord have mercy on us, “take our minds and think through them, take our lips and speak through them, take our hearts and set them on fire; for the sake of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Amen.
 Matthew 28:18
 John 1:1-3
 Jeremiah 1:5
 1 Corinthians 12:29-31
 Luke 10:27
 Acts 3:15
 Hebrews 12:2 (NKJV)
 Acts 3:15
 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
 2 Peter 3:9
 John 20:21
 1 Peter 2:9