A myHT Fortress

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Spirit Gives You Jesus: A Homily for Pentecost

John 14:23-31

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”

The Holy Spirit brings all things to your remembrance. That’s for sure! Ask any of this morning’s confirmands. For every year of their time at St. John’s, the Holy Spirit has been working the Word of Christ into their hearts and minds, as they learned Scripture and Catechism passages by heart. The Spirit has taught them all things and brings to their remembrance all that Christ says.

But you don’t always welcome the Spirit’s work. Often you turn a deaf ear or a blind eye, refusing God’s Word. You have been lazy, no matter what your ability or intelligence, you have not given 100% effort to memorizing – learning by heart – the Word of the Lord. You have not always taken seriously the gift of salvation given in Holy Baptism, perhaps even giving into the teaching of others that this is merely a sign or remembrance, not a true means of God’s grace. You have not always shown respect to the teachers, or bosses and co-workers in your life, doing the work that is given you to do.

The people of Babel did not welcome the Spirit’s work. They were acting in defiance to the Lord. All the people since after the Flood were living in the same region. Many were rejecting God and rebelling. They tried building a great tower that would be higher than any water level could ever reach, and coated it with pitch to water proof it. They were, in essence, saying to God, “Just try and flood us again!” However, instead of destroying them, the Lord confused their language and doomed their act of defiance.

Dear friends, dear confirmands, do not despise the work of the Lord. Do not defy Him! Repent! But you can’t even do that! You are not able to repent.

But our dear Lord Jesus sends you One who can. He sends the Holy Spirit to bring you to repentance and work forgiveness and faith into your hearts. “He will teach you all things.” The Holy Spirit is promised by Jesus to teach all things – that is, all things about the Holy Trinity. He teaches you about your sin through God’s Law, showing your need for our Savior. And He teaches you that God, in His great love, has sent His Son to die for you and take your sin away. He gifts you with saving knowledge and faith in the true God, who has revealed Himself to us in Christ Jesus!

Teaching Christ to you – that is His work. The Holy Spirit is all about teaching Christ to you. He does not want the attention for Himself. The Spirit is the Helper who is directing you to Jesus. He teaches and delivers Jesus to you in every faithful sermon you hear. He teaches and delivers Christ when someone is baptized. He teaches and delivers Jesus to you when you receive the Body and Blood of Jesus!

The Holy Spirit would be dishonored if you focused on Him. He is constantly bringing Christ to you, forgiving you, and bringing you life and salvation. He gifts you with Christ Jesus!

And He “bring[s] to your remembrance all that [Jesus] ha[s] said to you.” The Spirit brought to remembrance all that Jesus had said to the apostles when they wrote the New Testament and preached to the first generations of the Church. He continues to bring to remembrance all that Jesus has said when pastors preach the Gospel.

But perhaps the most crystal-clear moment when the Holy Spirit brings to your remembrance what Christ has said is when at His altar we hear: Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.

Our Lord Jesus Christ, on the night when He was betrayed, took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to the disciples and said: “Take, eat; this is My body, which is given for you. This do in remembrance of Me.”

In the same way also He took the cup after supper, and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you; this cup is the new testament in My blood, which is shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”

Dear friends in Christ, today, after hearing these words for years, fifteen youth join us in receiving these words that the Spirit brings to remembrance. Even more importantly, these are words with which Jesus remembers us to His Father. You are nourished. You are strengthened. You are given a taste of heaven, as our dear Lord comes to you and the Spirit gives you Jesus!

Praise the Lord! That is what the Festival of Pentecost is all about. The Spirit gives you Jesus! Rejoice, dear friends in Christ, because indeed, the Spirit is giving you Jesus. Amen.

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