In the name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
Do you know what makes for your peace? (Luke 19:42) It is Jesus. His visitation to your life. (Luke 19:44) His coming to you. For when He comes He brings the sword of His word. (Heb. 4:12) He strikes your sinful self dead. (Deut. 32:39; 1 Sam. 2:6, etc.) So that there is no more argument. No more warfare against Him. No more wickedness in you. And He raises up a new you. He raises you to new life. By faith in Him. So that you are made in His image. You are good. Righteous. Loving. Desiring nothing that is sinful. (1 Cor. 12:3) So that there is PEACE that passes understanding.
But while you are still alive, you are still in your fallen flesh. (Rom. 7:18, 24, etc.) Sin gets stirred up in you again and again. For it always crouches at your door seeking to devour you. (Rom. 7:21; Gen. 4:7b) So it comes back day by day. Those old desires return. They increase. They grow and grow till they overwhelm your heart, your mind. Cloud out all reason, all love for anything except yourself and your own wants. And you have no peace. Which means we must constantly cry out to Him. (Rom. 10:13) He must come to you again and again. He must visit you with His sin slaying word of judgement and His sin-forgiving word of forgiveness.
For Christ—His visitation to Jerusalem to go to the cross—is the thing that makes your peace with God, and peace for the entire world. God has done all to put you, your conscience, your life at peace, at rest in Him. For not only has Your God, Jesus, visited this world on a bloody cross, making peace with mankind, but He gives that peace to you personally by coming to visit you individually in Holy Baptism, in His sacred Supper, and in His wondrous word of forgiveness. He visits you again and again. It’s all yours by His grace. And He is here now. To give you peace.
The problem comes when in unbelief or ignorance you don’t recognize His visitation through His Word and Sacraments. It is a problem because if you don’t realize where your Lord promised to be, you won’t know where to find Him, where your peace comes from. And then it’s that much easier for Satan to rob you of peace. And when you miss the plain truth of His Word—that He is in these simple places of water, wine, word—then you go looking for other things. You try to figure out how you can assure your hurting conscience that you are ok. And without an authoritative word from God to set you at ease, your heart and mind will latch onto any old thing to try to give yourself peace, rest, from all the accusations you feel inside. You turn to things to silence pain: drink, drugs, gossip, being a busy body, finding your importance through controlling people around you, etc. Or some of you will latch onto any old thing that any preacher or self-help guru out there has said, so that you look for new moral standards, new spiritual practices, new spiritual highs to try and find peace. But that means that God is not one speaking peace into you. It is you trying to work things that make for peace inside you. And when you are the standard of what makes for peace in you the goal posts always move. You’ll think you are almost there, only to look up and find the elusive goal further away that before. When peace doesn’t come from God, through His clear word to you, you will have no good. No peace.
The Jews in Lord’s day sought peace through the Temple. But not in how God said to use temple, but through the mere fact that it was there. The Lord had told them when they felt bad they should examine themselves, repent of their sin, (Jer. 7:3) and come to services of temple and receive peace from God, from His gracious presence with them. But in our Lord’s day they were trusting in the mere fact that the Temple was there (Luke 19:42, 45-47 ; Jer. 7:4), but not in Him who was in the temple. (Jer. 7:9)
This grieved our Lord. (Luke 19:41) For He does not delight in the death of the wicked. (Eze. 18:23; 33:11) You and I love judgement, vengeance, retribution on those who have harmed us, those we deem as evil. But not our Lord. For He had come to Jerusalem, to earth, to ransom her from her slavery to her addictions and vices. (Jer. 7:8-9) He has made a way for you to have peace. (Luke 19:42) It grieves the heart of God that any of His sons and daughters should not be with Him. And so our Lord weeps.
He weeps for the lost. For those who should know Him. Who should know His peace, but turn their backs on it; who take it for granted and cut themselves off from Him. He grieves just as you do for your loved ones who don’t know or won’t recognize the things that make for peace. Because this is serious business. This is life and death. For Jerusalem it literally meant that city’s physical destruction just 40 years later. For if a city whose purpose is to give God’s peace to earth can’t in faith recognize their own God and saviour (Luke 19:44) that city no longer serves God’s purpose and will instead go way of all proud &and haughty men who have ever lived. It will all come crashing down. And it did. Not one stone was left on another when the Romans were done with her. (Luke 19:43-44)
Which is an image and warning for us who know Him who is the peace of the world. Do not neglect Him! Do not take Him for granted! Stop guilting your kids to come to church and instead tell them of Him! Tell them what Bible verses you want at your funeral. Tell them why they comfort you. If you don’t have any favourite Bible verses or stories, it’s time to open your Bible. It’s time to read it. It’s time to stop being a hypocrite and to live from His word. When you die and if your kids come to me to plan a funeral, which they might not, will they know what Bibe passages or stories you loved? What Psalm was your favourite? Think about that. I know many of you have stopped harassing your kids about their faith. Guess what? If that’s all you were doing, was bugging them to go to church, you weren’t giving them the things that make for peace. For Jesus makes for peace. So instead of bugging them, tell your kids, “Here are some verses I want at my funeral. Here are some hymns that I love.” Tell them why you love them. Tell them of Jesus. Don’t just nag them to come to church. Make sure Jesus visits them in grace and mercy through the words you speak. And of course to do that, you have to be vulnerable. You have to let on why this comforts you. What your own struggles and fears are. Because guess what, everybody’s got ‘em. Not one of us is without difficulties, hurts, or fears. So what verses, what stories, what songs comfort you? Visit those upon your kids and grandkids. Visit His grace upon them. For our Lord is so gracious that He continuously comes to us again and again. He will use you to grant His grace and eternal favour to your loved ones.
In +Jesus’ name, Amen.
—Pastor David Haberstock
Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church