Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost, C: "To Have a God"

The 17th Sunday after Pentecost–September 15, 2013

Ezekiel 34:11-24

“Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep…” Vs. 11

     To any of you who have ever wondered what it means to have a God, Ezekiel gives you the answer.  The Lord God himself provides the words.  To have the Lord God as your God means receiving all the work that the Lord does for you and upon you.  Nineteen times in this handful of verses, the Lord God declares “I will…”  The Lord will “seek,” “rescue,” “bring,” “feed,” “make to lie down,” “strengthen,” and “destroy.”  What must you, the very sheep whom the Lord God has claimed, what must you do?  Simply receive the work of your God—you eat as it is provided and you rest as it is given.

Simply receiving what the Lord wills proves too hard for some sheep.  They push and shove to have more and more.  What they can’t have, they spoil.  Their restless Their research and mobile casino development strategy means Microgaming are always developing and introducing new casino games and have over 600 unique titles at the moment. and relentless coveting scatters the Lord’s gathered ones.  Discontent with the good things provided by the Lord provokes the Lord to judgment and destruction.  He will end coveting and its discontent

You, too, know how hard it is to receive the work of the Lord… the work He does for you… the work he does upon you.  You’re the recipient of the will of God; you’ve suffered it.  The tradition has called this suffering “passion”—as in the passion of Christ.  Jesus Christ suffered the will of God to be done unto him:  that he be given over into the hands of sinful humanity and be crucified… (cf. Luke 24:7) crucified “for you.”

Day-after-day as you wait for Jesus Christ to be revealed in glory, you suffer the will of God to be done unto you.  Day-after-day as you feed upon the Word, drink of its waters, and rest in its pastures, you come to confess with the Apostle Paul:  “…I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content” (Phil. 4:11)—content in the Lord’s provision of your daily bread…  content in the Lord’s provision of your righteousness… “that which is through the faith of Christ” (Phil. 3:9).  Contentment is yours… Christ is your righteousness… you need not covet another.

Table Talk:  Discuss the coveting of another righteousness than that of faith in Christ:  how it might be known and its dangers
Pray:  Heavenly Father, be my God as you have promised.  Amen

  • Lenae Rasmussen

    Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost, C–Jesus Eats with sinners

    GOSPEL Luke 15:1-5

    Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear Jesus.
    2 And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying,
    “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”

    So he told them this parable: 4“What man of you, having a hundred
    sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine
    in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ 7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

    8 “Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not
    light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it?
    9 And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ 10 Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

    Initial Reflections—

    1) Once again Jesus offends the Pharisees and scribes by associating with sinners.

    2) The “hard saying” that brings us up short—This familiar theme adds insult to injury when Jesus says there is more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than ninety-nine “righteous” who need no repentance!

    3) Leaving the 99 to look for 1 lost sheep goes against human nature; as the saying goes: “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” In modern terms, it seems a bit obsessive-compulsive to drop everything else one has to do to search for a lost coin when many won’t stoop down to pick up a penny on the sidewalk;indeed, the cost of oil for the lamp may exceed the value of the coin!

    4) Pastorally, and homiletically, one might expect the hearer’s focus to be fixed on the statement that “there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents…” Most church-goers assume that their “old Adam” is righteous. While some may know differently, it is a shock for most of them to find out that we’re all sinners who are dependent on the grace of God in Jesus Christ. From their perspective one would ask, “Pastor, what does Jesus really mean when he leaves us behind to find the bad sheep who strayed off, and then says there is more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than the ninety-nine who need no repentance”?

    5) How might this focus drive my work with the text this week/uncover how the text/ Holy Spirit works on me?

    Translation: Variants, Grammar, Word Study—

    1. Sinners—amartoloß
    a. Transliterated Word: Hamartolos
    b. Phoenetic Spelling: ham-ar-to-los’
    c. Definition: devoted to sin, a sinner; not free from sin; pre-eminently sinful, especially wicked; all wicked men; specifically of men stained with certain definite vices or crimes, e.g., tax collectors, heathen

    2. Righteous—dikaioß
    a. Transliterated Word: Dikaios
    b. Phoenetic Spelling: dik’-ah-yos
    c. Definition: righteous, observing divine laws; 2) in a wide sense, upright, righteous, virtuous, keeping the commands of God; 3) of those who seem to themselves to be righteous, who pride themselves to be righteous, who pride themselves in their virtues, whether real or imagined; 4) innocent, faultless, guiltless; 5) used of him whose way of thinking, feeling, and acting is wholly conformed to the will of God, and who therefore needs no rectification in the heart or life; 6) only Christ truly; 7) approved of or acceptable of God; 8) in a narrower sense, (self-justifying way?) rendering to each his due and that in a judicial sense, passing just judgment on others, whether expressed in words or shown by the manner of dealing with them

    3. Sheep—probaton
    a. Transliterated Word: Probaton
    b. Phoenetic Spelling: prob’-at-on
    c. Definition: any four footed, tame animal accustomed to graze, small cattle (opp. to large cattle, horses, etc.), most commonly a sheep or a goat; a sheep, and so always in the NT

    4. Lost—apollumi
    a. Transliterated Word: Apollumi
    b. Phoenetic Spelling: ap-ol’-loo-mee
    c. Definition: to destroy; 2) to put out of the way entirely, abolish, put an end to ruin; 3) render useless; 4) to kill; 5) to declare that one must be put to death; 6) metaph. to devote or give over to eternal misery in hell; 7) to perish, to be lost, ruined, destroyed; 8) to destroy; 9) to lose
    d. Word Usage – Total: 93 (bring 1,destroy 17, destroyed 9, dying 1, end 1, killed 1, lose 10, loses 7, lost 14, much 1, passed away 1,)
    perish 14, perishable 1, perished 4, perishes 1,
    perishing 6, put to death 1, ruined 3

    5. Repent—metanoeo
    a. Transliterated Word: Metanoeo

    b. Phoenetic Spelling: met-an-o-eh’-o
    c. Definition: to change one’s mind, i.e. to repent; 2) to change one’s mind for better, 3) heartily to amend with abhorrence of one’s past sins
    d. Word Usage – Total:34 (repent 26,repented 5, repents 3)

    6. Rejoice—sugcairo

    a. Transliterated Word: Sugchairo
    b. Phoenetic Spelling: soong-khah’-ee-ro

    c. Definition: to rejoice with, take part in another’s joy; 2) to rejoice together, 3) to congratulate
    d. Word Usage – Total: 7 (rejoice 3, rejoices 1, rejoicing 1,
    share…joy 2)


    Jesus was guilty by association according to the Pharisees; ironically, what they said about Jesus rang true: “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Jesus not only welcomes and eats with sinners, He became incarnate for them—not the righteous! His response to their accusation comes in the form of two parables—the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin—that clearly send the message: “I came to justify the ungodly; I came to save sinners not the self righteous.”

    The point is clear, but “hard to take” for the Old Adam. If you think the Law is the way to salvation and you think you do a pretty good job of keeping it, Jesus’ message of mercy and forgiveness of sins won’t float your boat. In fact, it will make you upset, if not angry with Him. Yet Jesus’ words are undeniably clear: “Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” The fact of the matter is that we all fall short of the glory of God and the biggest sin of all is to think that we don’t need His love and forgiveness. The “upward fall” is the Sin of disbelief in God and His promise to be our God and save us by making us righteous for His Son’s sake.

    As Heiko Obermann put it: “Jesus came for sinners; so if you’re not a sinner, He didn’t come for you!” Today you can rejoice and say: “I am a sinner for whom Christ died. I am a repentant sinner that the angels are rejoicing over in heaven.” Jesus’ message of salvation that made the Pharisees so mad is the very source of your rejoicing and praise today. And it is true, Jesus does eat with sinners. Today, you’ll be eating with Him, too. Amen. Lord Christ, make it so for each one of us today.

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