The Second Sunday after the Epiphany January 19, 2008
Text: Isaiah 49:1-6 ILCW-A 20:2169
Theme: “You Are My Servant!”
(To the youth): What do you want to be when you grow up? (To the adults): What did you want to be when you grew up?
As a young child I wanted to be a fireman. I thought it would be fun sliding down poles, riding on the back of big, red trucks, and being thanked by people for saving their homes.
In third grade that gave way to being a pastor. I don’t know the reason for that. Maybe it was because I saw him often. He served God. He always talked about Jesus, people listened and responded in faith and joy.
In later grade school years, I wanted to be a football player, an end for the Green Bay Packers. I dreamed of being “the hero” who caught the pass that “won” the game. Maybe I could have been in the championship game this afternoon. Naah, I’m a little bit too old.
In high school, no idea. In college, more of the same, but I did want a degree and wanted to do something to help people. When I graduated from college, I still didn’t know, so I travelled around the world. When I came back, I did some graduate study and finally decided to go to the seminary. But it wasn’t until my last year at the Sem that I knew where I was headed. Oh, there were doubts at times. Even now I wonder when the Lord closes out the years of my active parish ministry, what will I do?
What about you? What did you want to be when you grew up? Have your dreams been realized?
Did Jesus know what He would be? The Lord said while He was still in His mother’s womb “You Are My Servant Israel.”
I. The Lord Jesus was called to be God’s special servant.
That never changed; Jesus had no other dreams; His career was set before He entered our world. In our text He says, “The LORD called me from the womb. When I was inside my mother, He mentioned my name.”
Wow! Think about that! As a fetus, inside Mary’s womb, it was determined that Jesus would be God’s special servant! I wonder what it would have meant for me from the get-go, from the very moment I was conceived, if I knew exactly what I was to be and do with my life? How many sleepless nights would have been avoided? How many late-night talks with family and friends would never have happened as I searched for what I should do with my life? But the reality was that time would reveal the Lord’s plans for me in serving Him. I can now look back to see how and where the Lord directed my life. Time, experience, learning factors were His way for me. Even then I was not sure about what I would do.
But it wasn’t that way for Jesus. He was chosen and called before He was born, even in eternity, to be God’s servant. Then when He entered our world, God made it known what He was.
God sent an angel to Mary, before she knew she was expecting, telling her about the special child within her. Zechariah, John the Baptist’s father, sang about it while Jesus was still in Mary’s womb. The night He was born, an angel said to shepherds, “To you this night in the city of David a Savior has been born; He is Christ, the Lord.” Thirty years after that, John the Baptist pointed to Jesus, “Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. This is the One I was talking about when I said, ‘The One coming after me, outranks me because He existed before me.’”
God chose, called, and made it known: “You Are My Servant.” Even before He was born, the Lord Jesus was called to be a special servant. That brings us to the astounding truth that God had a plan to save us in our need. How great His care for us!
II. The Lord Jesus was made an instrument in God’s hand.
Then, in order that the Lord Jesus might carry out that plan as God’s servant, God equipped Him for the task. He was made an instrument in the hand of God to serve Him by speaking for Him.
The servant explained it this way: “He made my mouth like a sharpened sword. He hid me in the shadow of His hand. He made me a polished arrow. He concealed me in His quiver.”
I’m not an archer. I don’t know by experience what polishing an arrow does to its flight. But I did grow up in lots of snow and polished the runners on my sled so that it would fly down the hill, faster, truer, the way I wanted it to go.
The “flight” of Jesus as God’s Servant was going to be straight and true, unaffected by outside factors. There was no deformity in Him. When He spoke, His words were effective like a sharp sword, for they were God’s words. His ministry was in God’s hands. Let’s make a contrast here to highlight the special nature of this servant.
Moses was also a servant to God. The LORD called him as he stood before the burning bush in the wilderness. But unlike Jesus Moses hesitated. He asked for proof from God.
God told him to throw down his staff; it became a snake. God told him to reach into his coat; his hand became leprous. These were signs to show that God had chosen Moses to serve Him. But Moses hesitated. “My mouth and tongue are slow and clumsy,” he said. But his excuse to not serve God wasn’t right. God replied, “Who made a mouth for people? Or who makes someone mute or deaf, able to see or blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Now go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what to speak” (Ex.4:11f).
Excuses for not serving God when He wants to make us all instruments in His hand – does it sound familiar? “I don’t have time.” “I’m not qualified.” “I can’t speak to people.” “I don’t know enough.” “I don’t have gifts.” “I don’t get along with that person. I don’t want to work with him.”
Jesus didn’t make excuses. Special calling? Yes, from before He was born. But He was ready to serve God and His people.
For example, once after a long, hard day of ministry, Jesus wanted to be alone with His disciples. They rowed across the Sea of Galilee to get away. But when He landed, He saw a large crowd of people running to Him. He had compassion on them because they seemed like sheep without a shepherd – no one to guide them to the green pastures of God’s Word. So, he sat down and began to teach them as God’s chosen Servant (Mk.6:34).
He didn’t say that He didn’t have time, nor complained that He couldn’t speak. He didn’t quit because He didn’t like what they were or when people lost interest in Him. He was God’s Servant, an instrument in God’s hand. Sheltered and protected by Him.
So, listen to the Lord Jesus. He is appointed by God. What He tells you about God’s plan to save the world is from God for He is God’s special Servant. He will tell you what you need to know.
And don’t ever, like Moses, say that you can’t serve the Lord. He has promised to give us the words and abilities we need to speak and work for Him (Phlp.4:19) and the motivation – gratitude for a Savior who served God and us best of all by giving His life for us.
III. The Lord Jesus remained strong as things seemed wrong.
And that’s what Jesus did. He told people about their only hope for salvation in Him. That was God’s plan from the beginning. Jesus told them and told them, showed them and showed them again and again who He was. But many rejected Him; many of His own followers left Him (Jn.6:66). God’s Servant felt that. In our text He lamented, “I have labored in vain; I spent my strength and came up empty, with nothing.” Things seemed to go wrong.
Have you ever felt a similar way: “I have labored in vain. I’ve come up empty handed”? I bet mothers or fathers can feel that way when they work hard for the family, but never seem to get ahead. “I work so hard,” a mom might say, “but it’s not right or the work is never done.” Imagine a servant of the Lord feeling that way, and Jesus was speaking in reference to eternal things.
He is concerned for souls that refuse to find cleansing in Him. No matter how faithfully He works, people turn away. Many cried, “Crucify Him.” Not even His disciples stood by Him. Things seemed to go wrong. Is that what the Servant meant in our text when He cried, “I spent my strength and came up empty”?
But this isn’t a cry of despair or doubt as we might make. Is He voicing a temptation sent by Satan? Maybe, since our Savior was tempted in every way just as we are. Yet, He was without sin. And although the thought is voiced in our text, Christ did not give in to human weakness. As God’s special Servant, the Christ, He remained strong in the Lord for He continued, “I will be honored in the eyes of the LORD and my God has been my strength.”
The LORD who said, “You Are My Servant” was His stay. With unshakable trust Jesus fulfilled His calling as the Christ so that He might save the world from sin and open heaven to all who would believe, both Jew and Gentile. See the determination of God to save you through “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (Jn.1:29)
And the next time things seem to go wrong, remember God’s Servant who came for you. Through faith in Him you are saved, and more. In all your work, whether or not you know what you will do or be in life, the Savior, with the heart of God’s special Servant will keep you strong and will help you to serve the Lord without losing heart. God grant it to us in faith for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
Zion Lutheran Church of Springfield
4717 S Farm Rd 135 (Golden Avenue)
Church phone: 417.887.0886 Pastor’s cell phone: 417.693.3244
www.zionluthchurch.com email address: email@example.com
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The Second Sunday after the Epiphany January 19, 2020
“Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” John 1:29
F o r O u r V i s i t o r s
We extend a warm and sincere welcome in our Savior’s name. Please sign our guest book, located to the right just outside the sanctuary. If you desire more information about Zion Lutheran Church or are in need of spiritual guidance, please call upon our pastor at any time. We are delighted to have you join us today and invite you to return soon.
U p o n E n t e r i n g G o d’ s H o u s e
“LORD, You do not hold back Your compassion from me. Let Your mercy and Your truth always protect me, although troubles without number surround me. Be pleased, O LORD, to save me. LORD, hurry to help me. Let those who love Your salvation always say, ‘The LORD is great!’ You are my help and my deliverer. O my God, do not delay” (Psalm 40).
W h a t T h i s S u n d a y i s A b o u t
Look, the Lamb of God. It has been said, “God did not save you to be a sensation; He saved you to be a servant.” Certainly, John the Baptist understood what that meant.
Although people saw him as a sensation, John knew that his work was not about himself. His mission was to serve Christ Jesus so that He might be revealed to all as the Savior of the world. When John had the opportunity, he would point to Jesus and say: “Look, the Lamb of God.”
John understood his calling and position in life – to serve God in His kingdom. May we also understand our place as servants of God, rejoice in our calling, and gladly point others to see Jesus, God’s Son, the Savior.
To that end we pray: Almighty God, You gave Your one and only Son to be the light of the world. Grant that Your people, illumined by Word and Sacrament, may shine with the radiance of Christ’s glory that He may be known to the ends of the earth; for Jesus’ sake we pray. Amen.
– T h e W o r d o f G o d f o r T o d a y –
The Old Testament Lesson: Isaiah 49:1-6
One of the “Servant Songs” of Isaiah that foreshadows the person and work of the Messiah. He would be set apart before birth to perform God’s saving work, not only for the Jews but also for the Gentiles.
The Epistle Lesson: 1 Corinthians 1:1-9
God called Paul as an apostle to proclaim Christ. The testimony about Jesus as the Christ was confirmed in his preaching to the Corinthians and enriched their lives in every way with every spiritual blessing.
The Gospel Lesson: John 1:29-41
John the Baptist testifies to the work of Christ as God’s Lamb. He was fully aware of whom Jesus was because God revealed it to him. But, as with us, without God’s revelation he would not have known Him. Thereupon, John, then his disciples, encouraged others to follow Him.
O u r P r a c t i c e o f H o l y C o m m u n i o n
The Lord’s Supper is a wonderful gift in which we receive Jesus’ own body and blood to forgive our sins and strengthen us in faith. It is a gift given with certain responsibilities. The Sacrament is intended for those who have been instructed, understand, and confess as one what they are receiving and doing. Through it we express our unity of faith (1 Cor.10:17). Therefore, we ask that only confirmed members of Zion Lutheran Church or our sister congregations of the WELS or ELS approach to receive Communion. If you would like to become a communicant member of Zion or have any questions about our practice, the pastor would be happy to meet with you after the service.
We Serve the Lord with Gladness:
Today’s Organist: Jane Rips The Preacher: Pastor Edwin Lehmann
January’s Ushers: Brandon Cook, Bill Buchanan, & Gary Sellin
Point to Ponder: “The Son of God becomes my Servant and humbles Himself so deeply that He actually takes my misery and sin upon His shoulders, takes them away, and says to me: ‘You are no longer a sinner, but I am. I step into your place. You did not sin. But I did. All your sins are to lie on Me and not on you.’ No one can comprehend this, but as we believe it, we shall be eternally blessed…and thankful.”
— source unknown
Outline of Our Worship
Opening Hymn: #79
Order of Worship: Service of Word and Sacrament Hymnal page 26
The Ministry of the Word
1 Corinthians 1:1-9
Hymn Response: #394
The Gospel Response: pg.30
Sermon Hymn: #20
Sermon: Isaiah 49:1-6 “You Are My Servant”
Our Response to the Word
Nicene Creed: page 31
Prayer & Lord’s Prayer: Hymnal page 32
The Lord Blesses Us
The Order of Holy Communion: Hymnal pages 33-35
(Visitors: Please read box inside about the practice of Holy Communion)
Distribution Hymns: #354 & 391
Thanksgiving & Blessing: Hymnal pages 36-37