Capon brined sermon for Holy Trinity

Trinity Sunday 2015
Isaiah 6:1-1-7
Romans 11:33-36
John 3:1-15 [16-17]

Let us pray: Holy Spirit “Teach us to know the Father, Son, and You, from both, as Three in One. That we Your name may ever bless and in our lives the truth confess.” Amen.


There is a false teaching that says that God created us because He was either lonely, bored or had nothing better to do with His time and energy. This is, of course, ridiculous. We are not the human equivalent of Renee Zellweger to God’s Tom Cruise. We are not living in Jerry Maguire. God does not need man to complete Him. Implying so only shows that God is lacking in some part of His being. Rather God created out of love because He wanted to share His love with others . . . a love that includes others experiencing eternity in a way that we can hardly imagine.

Please allow me a little narrative freedom, and picture the Trinity and their plan of creation and salvation in this way.

God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the Triune God sitting around in their unity were talking. All three in their equality, uncreated, unlimited and eternalness as One God were gathered around their joyous table. One of the many topics of discussion that came up was the Father’s fixation on this new concept He called “being”. God the Father explained the concept of being, ways of being, how things will come to be.

While sitting and listening the Son says, “This is great stuff. Why don’t we go ahead and create a batch of being with song, because there is nothing more heartfelt and creative than music.” We know the Son was there because John tells us, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning.” The Son even tell us Himself in the end of Revelation 22, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”

Likewise, the Spirit hovering over what was to become the face of the deep interjected and spoke His piece. “Terrific idea! I’ll help! Let’s get started! But first, one question? What happens when our ultimate creation rejects us? How are we going to bring them back to this joyful celebration and feast that we have prepared?”

The Son raised His voice and said, “You silly goose! Why do you ask questions to which we all in our mysterious oneness of Trinity in Unity and Unity in Trinity already know the answer? I will humble myself and become one substance with them as I am one substance with the Father . . . both at once. I will offer myself to suffer and die for them to pay the wages of their disobedience and sin. At the right time, while they are still sinners, I will die for them. (Rom 5:6-8) I will restore them to their perfect unity of being through mundane items like words, water, bread and wine. They will see our love in my death, not in their own works. I will choose them in myself before the foundation of the world. (Eph 1:4). I will write their names before the foundation of the world in the book of life of Myself who will be slain for them (Rev. 13:8).

It will come to pass that Moses will lift up the serpent in the wilderness, so I must be lifted up in my flesh, drawing all men to myself, so that whoever believe in Me may have eternal life. (John 3:14-15) My death will redeem them from their all of their sins.

You, Spirit, will give me to them in Words and those simple means to restore them to a fullness of being. This we will do together. As Paul will declare: “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and how inscrutable are His ways!” (Rom 11:33) For our wisdom is eternal, yet declared foolish because of My becoming flesh and dying. My judgment in words “It is Finished!” are unsearchable because they are Divine. My ways are inscrutable because I, the sinless one, will die for the sinful. Let us end this discussion. I’d rather continue with the celebration. Let us feast, and in the morning, the real fun of creating into being begins.”

Son and Holy Spirit rolled up their sleeves and went to work making everything from the vast void of nothingness. Creatio ex nihilo. Creation from nothing. That is how it all started. Creation had to begin somewhere. It started in the time before there was such a concept, humanly speaking.

For the next couple days between evening and morning, the Son and the Spirit singing out new words, concepts and ideas put on a show of being for the Father making His complete, detailed and precise vision of creation come to pass culminating in the very good.

Creation was teeming with water, light, and lambs frolicking. Seeds were falling, sprouting and growing in the blink of an eye. Fish schooling all over the place. Creation alive with being. They weren’t done though. There were still mushrooms and monkeys, grapes to be eaten and geese to eat them, tigers and tomatoes. Man and woman to feast, to join in being with God. Man and woman to taste the food, oil dripping down Adam’s beard, to play with animals, to love this new state of being.

God the Father looked at this wild rumpus and said, “This is exactly what I had in mind. Good! Good! Very Good!” Son and Holy Spirit agreed and their voices joined the Father’s, “Good! Good! Very Good!” They laughed at the new concept of being and how great everything was. They laughed at how clever the Father was to come up with the idea of being. They laughed at the Son who did all the dirty lifting and putting His Father’s blueprints to construction. They laughed at the consideration of the Spirit who directed and choreographed the entire affair. Divine laughter for a Divine Comedy. In the midst of their laughter and songs, stories were told. Jokes were rehashed and told like it was their first time. Father and Son drank wine in the unity of the Spirit and they enjoyed throwing their pickled beets and braised carrots at each other and all was very good.

Too crass of an illustration? Maybe. But sometimes the crass analogies are the ones we don’t forget and are the ones that get to the truth the easiest, even if we lie to our better natures and deny it. We all know that God is not three party animals throwing food at each other, but in that idea is the central message . . . creation, redemption and recreation are the result of the Trinity whom we worship today.

The Trinity worshipped and praised in the Old Testament from the foundation of the Church in Genesis 2. The Trinity fulfilling their crucified and resurrecting plan of salvation FOR YOU in the New. The Trinity living and active in the Divine Service for a few hundred years before the Apostle’s Creed was written down, yet the Mystery still confessed in liturgical reception, is whom we worship not just today, but every day. The doctrine of the Trinity tells us that God is a God of being. Jesus’ message is that we are invited to the party that the Trinity has been enjoying since before time began.

The Trinity has come FOR YOU even though you do not know His mind. Only a self-deluded individual thinks that he can. You have not been His counselor, He has counseled you in His wisdom . . . wisdom of weakness, suffering, and an overflowing abundance of left handed power of death, and resurrection FOR YOU. Wisdom that involves coming to you in those simple means of Word, water, bread and wine. We cannot give gifts to Him, but He gives gifts to us . . . new gifts every day. Gifts more bounteous than we imagined at first glance.

So come to the altar and see that the Lord is good. Join in the joyful creation celebration with tongues made clean by the fire of Christ’s Word of forgiveness showered over you like Isaiah’s lips. Come and laugh over being and laugh with the Trinity in Unity . . . Laugh at this profound Mystery of faith. Laugh at the Divine Comedy where Jesus is our Butler, Baker, Host, Servant, and Meal. Laugh at your sins being forgiven through God’s Mysterious Wisdom. Laugh with the Father’s creative love that makes you a being. Laugh with the Son who redeems your being. Laugh with the Holy Spirit who restores your being to its fullness by giving you the Son. “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever. Amen.” (Rom 11:36).


Nagel on Matthew 4:1-11

        The names put on Jesus at His baptism were Son of God and Suffering Servant. With those names came what was His to do. The voice from heaven spoke words from Psalm 2 and Isaiah 42. “Son of God” was used to describe the people of Israel; the people of Israel are gathered up in their king. The Davidic title, Son of God, is put on Jesus at His baptism, which is His anointing to kingship. “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). “Beloved” and “with whom I am well pleased” were said in Isaiah of that Son of God, that Servant of God. We will hear the names “Son” and “Servant” again at Jesus’ transfiguration as He stands with Moses and Elijah, speaking of the death that He would accomplish.
Then we are told Christ would make Himself a sacrifice for sin. He will make many to be accounted righteous, for He will bear their iniquities. Such is the Son, Servant of God, the King who stands for His people, the Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” The next thing that Matthew tells us is that
Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted
by the devil. And he fasted forty days and forty nights, and
                                               afterward he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to
                                               him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to
become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, ‘Man
shall not live by bread alone,but by every word that proceed
from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:1-4 RSV)
The last words from the mouth of God to Jesus were “This is My beloved Son, in whom I well pleased (Matthew 3:17). The tempter cast doubt on these words: “If You are the Son of God.” This is similar to the first temptation that involved us all: “Hath God said, ‘Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?'” (Genesis 3:1). The devil is saying, “Doesn’t God want you to have food? Doesn’t He want you to have what is good for you? Doesn’t God love you? So take the fruit.” Eve did take the fruit. And with her sin, her taking, her unbelief, she brought all her children into bondage, one from which, try as they may, they can never get free. All their efforts bring them deeper into slavery, no matter how many styles of fig leaves they try.
In Jesus’ temptation, when everything that is wrong with us hangs on Jesus, He did not sin. The words of God come first and are sure: “It is written: Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). Jesus’ victory is not with some magical blast but in the strength of the words of the Lord. The same words have been give to you too. Jesus was tempted to slip away from the words of God, away from the cross, into the bondage and slaveries of power. For Him to grasp power as the way of being a Servant/Son/King would make bad news out of the Good News. It would mean that is indeed the way everything goes. Everybody wants power, even God. Those who look for a big power god get that kind of god. The ways of power and coercion and necessity. God does not want to deal with us with coercion. That is not His saving way with us in Jesus. Jesus came to set us free—no whip, no rope, no slaves. (p. 86-87)

        Religion comes in the next temptation. And what could be more religious than the temple and its pinnacle? The devil knows how to behave himself in church. A telling word of Scripture would be just the thing that is called for. He has one, but one fixed to fit his purpose. No captive is more delicious to the devil’s taste than one he captures by using the words and the name of God. Verbal inspiration is not his primary problem. The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose, says Shakespeare. And every heretic can too, says Tertullian. So Satan tempts: “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down, for it is written, ‘He will give His angels charge of you, and on their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone'” (Matthew 4:6 RSV). You can trust God’s promises, can’t you? Satan certainly sometimes sounds like s reasonably good Lutheran, doesn’t he?
Jesus sees it straight because He says God’s word straight. There won’t be any tempting of God, calling Him up for a miracle, or all those more subtle ways in which we try to get in on God’s power and use it to our purpose–even good purposes, perhaps. But with us, getting control of God, binding Him, is the native meaning of the word religion. Thant can be a dirty word.
Jesus, who refused to do a spectacular miracle in the temple, could not be taken captive there. A few years ago it was quite the thing to say, “You won’t find Jesus here in church. He is out there in the world doing what people need to have done for them there. That is the real Jesus.” Satan seems to follow something of the same line of thought. The devil took Jesus to a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdom of the world and their glory, and said to Him, “All these I will give You if You will fall down and worship Me. You can be king of the lot, Jesus. All the power that is mine I will put at Your disposal. The two of us together can hardly fail, if You will only do things a bit more my way.” (p. 88)

        Satan’s sort of king is not the one who hangs on the cross, the one who resists temptation on His way to the cross. Along that way we follow again with Jesus this Lent, deeply rejoicing in what He does for us, in what is only His to do, in what He does that counts for us, in what He does on the cross by which we come to be forgiven and righteous. “By one man’s obedience. . . shall many be made righteous” (Romans 5:19). Only God (who doesn’t have to prove He is God) does it. So hidden, so human, so weak, so hungry, so declining to make it big in the church or in the world. Here is the way of the cross. That is the way Jesus does it.
One expectation of the Messiah would be that He would be invulnerable. Nothing could hurt Him, not even a fall from the pinnacle of the temple. Now there is a sensible sort of Christ. And Satan rides along on our natural way of projecting God and getting maximum mileage with our “religion,” No wonder they had no use for a man who got Himself crucified! There was never such a way of being a king before, of being God’s Son, the Suffering Servant, of being Christ, of being Savior, of being Jesus for you, even to His body broken and His bleed shed—for you. Amen. (p. 89)

Select Sermons of Norman Nagel
First Sunday in Lent
Matthew 4:1-11
Concordia Seminary (1995)

The Church Lives “Precisely Because She Always Preaches the Same Thing” — Sasse

“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching.” They would not tire of listening to the Word that came out of the mouths of the apostles, the witness of Jesus Christ, about his becoming man, of his deeds and words, and “that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptuures” (1 Cor. 15:3-4). From these words Paul handed down to us, the oldest form of the apostolic proclamation, we received the beginnings of the later confession, “died, buried, and on the third day rose again from the dead.” That was the teaching of the apostles. That was what they repeated day after day. “And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead” (Acts 10:39-42).
It was the same message, told and retold with elevated monotony from the apostles as eyewitnesses, and then after their death from those to whom the continuation of the apostolic proclamation was entrusted because the Church of all times has lived on the teaching of the apostles. Is it really so? Must not the Church fit her message to be relevant to the present? How often has she heard the hard reproach made by German citizens of eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in the naïve belief in progress, that she does not speak contemporarily, but just keeps repeating the same message as Peter in Acts? How many theologians, yes whole churches, have finally come to an end? They are not devoted to the apostles’ teaching. They have preached something else. For forty years they have preaching Goethe and Schiller. They have preached the corresponding worldview, a worldview most could stumble upon with luck when they were thirty years old. And the church did not become more full, but ever emptier. And rightfully so. Because what the newest and only right worldview is, the least of the German city dwellers since 1848 could read in the newspaper each morning with their coffee. For this I do not need to go to church. But where the Church lives on the apostle’s teaching, there also lives the congregation.
It is a riddle to the world that the Church lives, even through she always preaches the same thing. In reality, she lives precisely because she always preaches the same thing, namely the teaching of the apostles. Yes, because this teaching is the eternal Word of God for all men, for all people, for all times. It is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, “who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven and became man, who died for our sins, who rose from the dead for our justification, who sits at the right had of the Father, whose kingdom will have no end.” It is the witness of the enfleshed Word of God. In this witness, in the simple preaching of the Church, Christ, the eternal Word himself, is present. Therefore, the Church lives because of this.

Hermann Sasse “Witness: Erlanged Sermons and Essays for the Church 1933-1944″
trans. Bror Erickson
Sermon for First Sunday after Trinity: June 27, 1943; Acts 2:42-47
p. 158-160

Jesus “enveloped you in His merciful salvation…” Sasse

God’s holy people: that is the Church of Christ in the world. That was the Church in the days of the apostles. That was every chosen stranger in Asia Minor, the small congregations who lived amongst the distractions of the great Roman Empire. God’s holy people, that is the Church of Christ today. And we belong to this Church. Therefore we will remember the last exhortation of our Epistle: Forget not, that you have been redeemed? “Knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God” [1 Pet. 1:18-21]. You are redeemed. Soul, forget that not! God had foreknown that he, as the lamb without blemish or spot, would bear all the sin of the world. God had chosen you, faithful soul. As his beloved Son wandered about the earth, there he enveloped you in his merciful salvation, as he carried the arduous burdens of calling everyone to him. And then he also thought of you when he cried, “It is finished” [John 19:30]. And when you were baptized, the heavenly Father called you by your name and had given all of you everything that Jesus Christ had acquired for you, and these commitments remain to stay. And when you leave him, the door to the Father’s house is still open to you. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but the Word of his mercy never fades, and trusitng in this Word you may rejoice:

O wonder love, who chose me
Before the world began
And me to your children counted
For whom you the kingdom ordered
O father’s hand, o mercy’s desire
Who in the book of life did me write!*

Hermann Sasse “Witness: Erlanged Sermons and Essays for the Church 1933-1944
trans. Bror Erickson
Sermon for Oculi: Feb. 28, 1937 on 1 Peter 1:13-21
p. 97-99

* O Wunderliebe, die mich wähtle vor allem Anbeginn der Welt.

Modern Lutheran Quote of the Day

*From a sermon for Misericordias Domini (Second Sunday after Easter) on John 10:11-18*

We have heard His voice in His Word as given by the Spirit. We have heard Him call our names in Holy Baptism and wrap them in His own name. We have heard His promise and in Him we know also His Father. The charge He was given, to save us, He has fulfilled –– whether we are “baby daddys,” “prostitutes,” “Gentiles,” or “racists.” He is good. He is kalos. And He is risen. He is risen indeed. Hallelujah! 

Thy Kingdom Come: Lent and Easter Sermons
David H. Peterson
p. 168

Modern Lutheran Quote of the Day

Thus Thomas is invited to see if those marks are real, that is, if this is really Jesus who really died as a sacrifice and is really back from the dead and — and — pay attention sinners! — to se if God has changed. For the perfected bodies of the saints bear no scars, but the risen Lord bears these. Thomas is not directed to look to the Lord’s back marked by the Roman scourge or to His brow to se if there are marks from the thorns. He is pointed to the hands and side, to see what the cross has done to God in the flesh.

Has the cross changed God? Indeed, It has. It left marks.

Thy Kingdom Come: Lent and Easter Sermons
David H. Peterson
p. 162-163