In the Name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
“Peace be to this house.” Jesus sends 72 missionaries to go before Him and proclaim that He was coming; “The kingdom of God has come near to you.” Jesus has come near to you! The Peace of God – in the flesh – has come near to you! The heart of their message is the Gospel, the Good News that Jesus has come and restores us, making us right with God and placing us in a renewed peace with our Father in heaven.
“Peace be to this house.” These missionary-pastors have a wondrous task, delivering the restored and renewed relationship with God. As they preach Christ, and declare the coming of His kingdom, sins are forgiven and people are saved!
Is there peace in your house? How about in the house of this nation? No, I am not talking about international relations. We call that peace, but that it simply being good neighbors on this earth. Peace is about that relationship with the Triune God. If that’s the case, does our country really have peace? Even 234 years ago – don’t get carried away with the romanticized notions of our founding fathers – there was more than enough wishy-washy generic-God believing people that were ignoring salvation through Christ. It has simply become more blatant. Our nation needs our prayers for forgiveness and living in true peace.
But have you been buying into it? Do you fall into the trap of “Oh, we all believe in God and will end up in the same place, right?” Yes, Christians have been given faith and life in Christ, but many are outside the Church and ignore the message that “The kingdom of God has come near to you.” Are you slipping into that complacency and joining that mantra? Don’t let the generic God swallow you; stand up for Jesus and be an instrument of His peace.
Is there peace in your house? Or are you one to provoke your children? Or ignore your mother and neglect to show her honor? Are you sometimes even enjoying the fact that your neighbor and you irritate each other?
Christ today tells you through these 72 and all the pastors who have ever followed them: “Stop! Repent of the sinful attitude – the Old Adam – the strife with others and with the Lord!” Stop refusing the peace of Christ.
Jesus comes to you once again. He rescued you from the chaos of the devil and the world at Baptism, where the Holy Spirit washed you into the peace of the Lord. And He keeps you in that peace.
This peace cannot be bought. It has never been earned. It is simply given. Jesus Christ gives His peace which He won on the cross, and now hands out through the preaching of His Gospel and the administering of His Sacraments.
Seven young people and their chaperones will venture to Nashville tomorrow, spending the week hearing and celebrating the Gifts that Jesus has Given. The peace of this morning’s Gospel is a nice summary of these given Gifts.
Dear baptized children of God, “Peace be with you.” I have told you before, this is a wonder and a miracle. It is not some wish or hopeful thought. It is reality! Your ordained pastors for 135 years have been bringing the peace of Christ here, simply by the words they preach. Teachers have spent decades serving the Lord too – teaching the Word of God, they have delivered His peace to His children. And you have spent your lives receiving that peace.
And now that you have received that peace, you can’t help but radiate it. Christ keeps giving His peace, and others see it in your lives, and experience it from your words and actions. As you are filled with His peace, you become peace-in-the-flesh for those around you.
In moments, you will hear and see Christ bringing His peace in and through His Body and Blood. You will hear the absolving words, “The peace of the Lord be with you always.” And Jesus will enter you with His Flesh and Blood and once again restore your relationship with the Lord God.
You can celebrate that God’s Word does what it says! And when Jesus declares “Peace be with you,” there are no “if’s, and’s, or but’s” about it; you are receiving His peace. You are made right with God. You are once again restored as His true child.
Rejoice, dear friends in Christ! Jesus comes to you again today in His Gospel and in His Holy Supper, and He tells you, “Peace be with you.” And it is! The absolving peace of Christ is with you. You are forgiven. You are right with God. You have His true peace. Amen.