I rejoiced with those who said to me,
“Let us go to the house of the Lord.” Psalm 122:1

Jesus Cleanses Your Heart by Faith in His Holy Word

Tenth Sunday after Trinity – Pr. Anderson sermon
St. Luke 19:41-48 “Jesus Cleanses Your Heart by Faith in His Holy Word”
August 13, 2023 | Christ Lutheran Church

In Nomine Iesu
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Almighty and everlasting God, by Your Holy Spirit You have revealed to us the Gospel of Your Son, Jesus Christ: We beseech You so to enliven our hearts that we may sincerely receive Your Word, and not make light of it, or hear it without fruit, but that we may fear You and daily grow in faith in Your mercy, and finally obtain eternal salvation; through Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one true God, now and forever. Amen. (Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary, by Veit Dietrich, p. 160)

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. (Rom. 1:7, etc.)

The sermon text for today is taken from the 19th chapter of the Gospel according to St. Luke. We read selected verses in Jesus’ name:

And when [Jesus] drew near and saw the city, He wept over it, saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes…And He was teaching daily in the temple. The chief priests and the scribes and the principal men of the people were seeking to destroy Him, but they did not find anything they could do, for all the people were hanging on His words.

These are Your words, heavenly Father. Sanctify us by Your truth, Your Word is truth. Amen. (Joh. 17:17)

In Christ Jesus, who weeps for your repentance, yet wipes away your tears, dear fellow redeemed:

As a little child, I’m sure you have heard a parent say, “Don’t touch that.” You could have heard it for a variety of things. Maybe you heard it in the store as you tried to take a toy off of the shelf and put it in the cart. Or maybe you heard it because the thing that you were going to touch was breakable, like mom’s fine china. Now after hearing that command to not touch it, what happened when you not only touched it, but you broke it. It is a common response for a child after you break the very item you were told not to touch, you probably shed some tears. These alligator tears were for self pity, knowing that the punishment is coming. Yet sometimes mom would come over, maybe shed a tear of her own and tell you that everything would be alright. Jesus sheds tears for you. He sheds tears for your repentance. And as you cling to His Word, know that He cleanses your hearts and your sorrow and weeping will disappear in heavenly peace.

In our text it doesn’t sound peaceful as Jesus hears the crowds roaring as He processes into Jerusalem. We see this great parade and we know what is going to happen to Jesus. He is on His way to die. Now if Jesus was just a man, an earthly king, He should have been enjoying this. The crowd is certainly enjoying themselves. They believe that their great king has come, their bread king to restore the kingdom. And in the middle of what looks like a great celebration, as they approach the city, Jesus begins to weep. This is not a simple or small cry. He is weeping when He sees the city and He says, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.” What does this even mean?

What we see is Jesus’ omniscience. He is all knowing. He knows what will happen to this great city. In less than 40 years time, something very bad will take place. Jerusalem will be completely destroyed along with the center of worship for the Jews, the temple. Is that why Jesus is weeping? The answer is before that. Jesus weeps that there is peace but it is hidden from them. We know what that peace is. Isaiah prophecies that Jesus is the Prince of Peace! Is Jesus hiding from them? Clearly not! He is in a huge parade. Jesus is weeping because the people of Jerusalem can’t see Him and He knows what is going to happen because of their unbelief.

Jesus visited Jerusalem more than once. He taught them in the temple. We see in our text He is going to teach them once more. Most of the people will fall into unbelief and hardness of heart. We see it happen in Jesus ministry when after hard teachings, “many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the twelve, ‘Do you want to go away as well?’” (John 6:66-67). They don’t believe Him. His teaching is too hard. As our text says the leaders are even “seeking to destroy him.” And knowing what will happen, knowing that these cheers of joy will turn to cheers of crucify him, Jesus weeps because the people do not believe in His great visitation. That God has come in the flesh for their salvation.

As God in the flesh is dwelling with the people, we see that Jesus is with us now. He is here as much as He was there. Jesus is here in His Word. The people had His Word and Him in the flesh and they do not believe Him. We have His Word and Jesus weeps for us too. The focal point of Jesus’ Word is that He is the way of eternal life. It is something so simple, yet we are so quick to throw it aside. Our hearts are not pure. They have been evil since the day that we were conceived. Our hearts want to be blind.

One of the ways in which our hearts blind us to God’s Word can be simply being greedy. We see the Jewish leaders are consumed with greed. They are working in the temple, selling animals to the people for sacrifice. They are charging an unfair price and are called thieves. The world likes to do this same thing. They are not selling animals for sacrifice, but they are selling words that are not God’s. They will sell you the idea that you can work out your problems. That Jesus can help you, but you have to make sure that you improve. If you don’t improve, you are considered hopeless. You are not trying hard enough.

When we get sucked into bad theology we can end up greedy thinking that God works for us. He should know how to take care of us so that we prosper. Jesus’ Words echo the warning, “‘My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a den of robbers.” Robbing the people with no reliance on God and the world sees that it can’t hide in the church. Jesus removed those robbers.

Jesus relies on God the Father for His strength. He continues to process into the city. He knows what will happen at the end of the week. Jesus mission is to cleanse the hearts of the people. He first weeps for them. He knows that He is about to face the punishment that they deserve. He then goes into the temple. To cleanse the people’s hearts, He has to cleanse their worship. He restores worship, showing that He is the focal point. The message of greed is not God’s Word. God’s message is Jesus at the center. He drives the robbers out. This is not done out of greed to be the center of attention. He allows all to come and hear His message that He is the coming Savior.

Those who opposed the message are noticeable. They had enough of Jesus. Yet Jesus says that they couldn’t stop what He was saying. “The chief priests and the scribes and the principal men of the people were seeking to destroy Him, but they did not find anything they could do, for all the people were hanging on His words.” Jesus’ Words hold firm as the people are hanging on every one of them. This is the same Word that Jesus has been preaching His entire ministry. It is the same message we have and it is the message of salvation through Him. Just as He cleanses the temple so that everyone can hear the Word, He cleanses the hearts of the people through His Word and brings them peace at the end of the week.

From the loud cheering, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Luke 16:38), to the cheering, “Crucify, crucify him!” (Luke 23:21) the peace that Jesus is talking about does not seem possible. It looks as though there is a lot of chaos. Yet at the end of Holy Week and on Easter Sunday, Jesus reveals that He is peace. Jesus brings you peace through His death on the cross and resurrection from the dead! You have peace from this life, knowing that your salvation has been won for you through Christ and His life. He wept for you, and instead of giving up on you and your sin, He continued on the path that lead to taking all of your sins on the cross.

This Gospel account is very vivid, teaching you that you can be certain in Jesus’ plan of salvation. You can be certain of it when you see the tears falling down your Saviors face. You see His humanity that He is true man. He weeps not only for your repentance, but in His weeping you see that He did not give up. And during the times that you fail, having that greed of wanting more or thinking life is hopeless, because of Christ’s weeping, because of His death and resurrection, He wipes away every tear from your eyes. The tears that come from this sinful world will disappear in the eternal peace that is found forever in heaven.

That eternal peace is not hidden from you. You can have a hard time finding it when you are stuck in sin. That is Jesus warning in this text. He points out that many are hidden from the message. Many do not know that Christ has wept for their repentance. Knowing that Christ has wept for you, this message should not be bottled up. The world, your friends, family, and neighbors need to hear that Christ has wept for their sins. In their lowest points, He brings them the peace of eternal life in His death and resurrection. Jesus died for them. As you hear His Holy Word and cling to the message that cleanses your hearts, you can proclaim this truth. The world can see the hope that you have, that your heart is cleansed and your tears are dried by your risen Savior.

When the world can sometimes act like children who are told to not touch that, they will latch on to a message that looks like it brings peace. But as these messages cause peace to disappear because of the pressure put on them to try and earn their way, they miss out on the eternal peace that Jesus brings. Their hearts are troubled. As Jesus weeps for Jerusalem, knowing the sins of the city, He continues into the city cleansing the hearts of the penitent with His death on the cross. Our peace and faith is restored. Jesus visitation has come to us and we hear Him, clinging to His Word that cleanses our hearts. The Word brings peace and joy forever. Amen.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost; as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, forevermore. Amen.
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