His Recorded Voice - Matthew 3:13-17; Romans 6 / Pr. Lucas Andre Albrecht / Sunday January 8th 2023 / Mount Olive Lutheran Church
Matthew 3:13-17; Romans 6:1-11
Theme: “His Recorded Voice”
Intr – Do you like to listen to your own voice? Some people say they hate it, some people say they love it.
Something that is very common today used to be something impossible 200 hundred years ago. Before that, a person had never had the experience of listening to himself speaking, except if you think about echo. What is absolutely common for our time would be nothing short of a miracle for our ancestors.
This miracle in terms of technology and communication is a terrible feature when it comes to our daily life. Listening to your own voice for crucial matters in life is seldom a wise choice. However, many times we delude ourselves into thinking that because we are good people; because we try to be good and do good, listening to our own internal voice will naturally get us to the right spot.
We need more than that. Way more than that. We need a clear, precise and coherent voice. In the Gospel today we see the one we should always perk our ears to: the Voice from Heaven.
Jesus comes to be baptized by John, much to John’s bewilderment. Nonetheless, the Baptism happens. Then, the Voice from heaven is heard:
_It is precise. It points clearly to Jesus;
_Jesus is the Son of God. In Him the Father is pleased;
_Jesus is the Messiah, starting off His precious mission.
_Baptism – Jesus didn’t come to Baptism because He was a sinner, but because He wanted to make of that a special moment of the beginning of His mission. The Voice from Heaven confirms it. “This is my beloved Son”. Also, to connect John’s forerunning work to His Messianic Ministry.
In our life, we need that clear, coherent and precise voice. It is the Voice from Heaven.
Now, should we now wait for the Heavens to open so that we can hear it? Well, the Heavens are already open. We can hear God’s voice:
_In His Word;
_In His Sacrament;
_At Church. For example: Confession and Absolution.
_In our daily life.
As we perk our ears to the clear and correct teaching of the Scriptures we are assured that we are hearing God’s Voice.
For example, in the readings for today.
Isaiah 42: "I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations.” / 6 “I am the Lord; I have called you in righteousness; I will take you by the hand and keep you;"
Romans 6: "We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” / 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus."
By the way, what is this newness of life Paul talks about/ It is new compared to what? Compared to the oldness of life. Sin is the old life, Christ is the new one. We are dead for sin and alive for Christ. Paul talks about it in the context of Sin and Grace.
Now, since God’s Grace is unending, and He is pleased to forgive us, let us then sin a lot so that He can forgive us a lot? By no means. We are dead to sin. We live now for Christ. We will still sin, because we are imperfect, but we live in newness of life, doing God’s works by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Sometimes it is hard for us to hear His voice in different moments of our life, especially the harder ones. Why does that happen? Here’s an illustration: “A young man once lost his job and started to get somewhat worried about his situation. So he went to talk to an experienced pastor he knew. As he talked with the reverend he stated with some anger, “I asked God repeatedly, so many times I begged Him to tell me something to help me, pastor. Why doesn't God answer? ”… The old pastor, who was sitting across the room, spoke so softly that he could not understand. The young man then walked closer to him and asked, “What did you say? “The preacher repeated the answer, again in a soft tone. The man moved closer until he was practically leaning against the pastor's chair. "Sorry, but I still don't hear you." With his clasped hands and a calm, soft voice, the pastor spoke once more: "Sometimes we think we can’t hear God," he said, 'just because we are not close to Him.” He is always close to you. The voice from Heaven talks, teaches and comforts you in His Word, in His Sacrament, straight to your heart by faith.
Dead to sin, alive to Christ. Our newness of life is carried on constantly listening to the Voice from Heaven. This voice changes everything. It makes me remember a fact that some people who have, or had, children, may relate to: when you have a baby at home for the first time, you also start to hear different things. Suddenly, several noises start to sound like your baby's crying, or her laughter, or some sound that she makes. Noises like street sounds, cracks in the house, sounds that you had heard before but now they simply sound differently; and all because your life has become different.
This is what life is like for those born to faith in Jesus. Everything becomes different. We live in newness of life. Sounds, colors, environments that were there all the time suddenly look differently. Now that we hear the Voice from Heaven, the sounds, and the impressions of the Father are there wherever we go. And we are heard by Him, who never leaves His children alone. In Christ we are made new. We hear the Father’s voice in everything that we do.
Cc – When my Father was intubated at the ICU in March 2021, we couldn’t be sure he was able to listen and understand things around them. But nonetheless some of us family members who couldn’t be there to talk to his ears recorded a message with our voice, which was played close to his ear. Did he hear and understand those messages? We are not sure about it, but there’s reason to believe that he might have had. And as I father, I would say that listening to the voice of my children would mean the world to me at a time like that.
In your darkest days, in your most difficult hours, perk you ears to the Voice of Heaven, the Voice of God. It is recorded in the Scriptures to bring you the Voice of the Father, who speaks to the ears and hearts of his children His Word. The Word that does not only mean the world to them, but which gives them Forgiveness, Grace, Hope and eternal Life.
Photo by Caleb Oquendo from Pexels: https://www.pexels.com/photo/a-black-voice-recorder-in-close-up-photography-9308589/