Thursday, February 26, 2015

Wednesday after Invocavit [1 Kings 19:3-8]

Elijah ate food from the Lord’s hand and was strengthened for 40 days and 40 nights all for a simple journey to a mountain where, afterwards, he would be shown to Elisha.

Moses was in the presence of the Lord for 40 days and forty nights only to come down from the mountain and find the Golden Calf.

Noah rode in the Ark while the heavens poured down the flood for 40 days and 40 nights only to awaken to more water and no dry land, for at least 110 more days.

Where Elijah, Moses, and Noah were seeking an end to all these horrible things happening to them, such as persecution from God’s own people, the Lord simply made provision to continue.

Elijah was to hand over all things to Elisha. Moses was to give the 10 Commands a second time and lead the people. Noah was to sit and wait for the Flood to recede and all this just so things could continue and get worse as the Day of the Lord approaches.

On the day of your own baptism, having been given the entire kingdom of heaven, the Lord could have taken you up to Himself right then and there. Instead, you are left with your family, if you are so lucky, to grow old and live through all of life’s events.

There is always something going on in life. “Life goes on” as the saying goes, but it does so in the cruelest manner. No matter what, life goes on; no mercy; no reprieve. It does not matter if you are losing the most precious thing in the entire world, life does not stop.

At funerals is where you feel this very keenly. There was no way to stop death and there is no way to turn back the clock. You had no time to prepare and you don’t know how you live on. Life goes on.

In your own sinful nature, there is no way to stop sin from manifesting in your thoughts, words and actions. You may keep them private, but what you think of others condemns you. Regretted words cut deep, but can’t be taken back. You may wish for reconciliation, but selfishness and betrayal prevent it. Life goes on.

Even through no direct action of your own, your bodies grow weak and unresponsive whether it is hunger or old age, sin is too great for your body to handle and it gives up.

Yes, Life goes on, but suffering doesn’t. In fasting for 40 days and 40 nights, Jesus wants to bring these Old Testament stories to light in front of you. Jesus wants you to see that where Elijah, Moses, and Noah failed in their sin, Christ does not.

For, even though Jesus fasted for that long a time, He retained the victory. Using the words and promises of God, Jesus claimed His own rightful place as the Son of God, but also reclaimed you from the torment of sin, death, and the devil.

So we understand then, that even in the midst of Elijah’s hungering, Jesus came to end it. Even though he hungers and we hunger, Jesus brings it all to an end. Even though things look bleak and hopeless, in the face of our own sin, Jesus continues to work for the next generation.

All the while proclaiming His victory, His sacrifice, and His second coming. And there is our hope. In our baptism, we have put on Christ. Baptized into His death and resurrection, we are also sustained through suffering to enter with Jesus into glory. For it is only through the cross of Christ that true salvation is achieved.

And it is only through he cross that any sort of suffering makes sense to the Christian. It is only through the promise of a savior on this cross that Noah, Moses, and Elijah can carry on. It is only on the hope and the Word of the Lord that any semblance of redemption can be realized.

 It is only in the Food of the Lord that Faith is sustained, salvation is cultivated, and forgiveness is digested to strengthen and keep our bodies and souls unto life everlasting.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Violent Good [Lent 1; St. Matthew 4:1-11]

There are only two labels the Church uses: Jesus and not-Jesus. There is only one line drawn in the Church: the cross of Christ. There is only one message: the Gospel. In this aspect, the Church is very intolerant and extreme.

“Then Jesus said to him, ‘Be gone, Satan! For it is written,
You shall worship the Lord your God
and him only shall you serve.’”

By this we know that only in Faith will a person enter heaven, because if Jesus, His cross and His Gospel, is the only way, then there is no hope unless Jesus gives us entrance. For it is our Lord Who is the only God: one and true; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Apparently, violence is inherent in the system, then. Jesus is thrown out, violently, into the wilderness to suffer under the devil. Jesus then becomes violently hungry and then is violently tempted, even as He is urged to take His own life in verse 6.

Then for the rest of His life, Jesus is threatened with death and many seek to murder Him. All on account of the hard lines He draws between salvation and condemnation. So coming to the end, Jesus is handed over to the Gentiles to suffer and die, making this the way of Christianity.

But this isn’t good, is it? I mean suffering, temptation, and death wins no one for the cause. If you were St. Peter or St. Paul and you were called to “begin” Christianity, would you really be all hopped up about it if you knew that there would be suffering involved?

Let’s face it, the answer is no. If you were told that there would be no gobs of money wrangled from the devotees of Christ and that your life would be way worse because people will hate you for your belief, you would never have joined the Church.

Ask Sts. Peter and Paul. Both were violently persecuted and both were violently killed and yet Christianity spread on its own. Our honorable Commander in Chief, President Obama, says that no religion produces violence, suggesting that any kind of suffering is wrong. But here we see Christianity, simply by existing, creates a violent reaction in the world.

I’m sure, what Pres. Obama wants to say is that he wishes no religion would ever produce violence. However, what he meant was religions don’t cause violence and when we talk about Christianity as being one of those, we reduce Jesus to a moral teacher who was tragically killed by this violence that no religion produces.

Repent. You also think that all religions are peaceful. That there is nothing in any of them that is worth fighting or dying for, because they all just teach the same thing: be excellent to each other. It’s horrible that Jesus had to die, but you can all get along if you just focus on love.

Jesus creates the one, true religion of Christianity, but suffering and death do not go away. You must deny yourselves and die to sin. Jesus shows us this, not just by hungering and being tempted, but by suffering and dying Himself.

Much to the chagrin and angst of Pres. Obama and the rest of the world, suffering does produce good. As St. Paul says,
“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces… hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.”(Rom.5)

Indeed, Jesus’ own sufferings produce the salvation of the entire world! Just as its true that “if there is no Jesus, there is no salvation” also “if there is no suffering, there is no resurrection” or anything else having to do with forgiveness. Jesus came to suffer and die and three days later rise again.

Other religions came to dominate the world through violence or intolerance, but God became man in order to enact violence and intolerance upon Himself, on the cross. The major difference between Christian suffering and the worlds suffering is that the world, and all false religions, believe that violence needs to be imposed in the name of god.

Christianity believes and has faith in the fact that violence needs to be imposed on Jesus, Who is both God and Man, for the salvation of the world. This is not a moral code or a “let’s all just get along” religion. There is no monetary, social, emotional, psychological, or physical benefits to being a Christian.

It is the simple fact that the one true God has fasted, hungered, been tempted, suffered and died, just like us, but without sin. That Jesus takes on the sin, death, and violence in this world and, instead of oppressing others and forcing them to submit, allows Himself to be crucified, submitting to the Father’s will.

Therefore, anyone who wishes to talk about violence in Christianity, must talk about Jesus. Anyone who wants to talk about oppression, intolerance, and conspiracies must first discuss Jesus: His person, Word, and work on the cross.

Any topic regarding religion must be about Jesus, because He claimed to be God and He claimed to forgive the sins of the entire world. This is what is referred to as Christology. You’ve heard of “theology”, but I tell you that all theology is Christology. Meaning, whoever wants to discuss sin and grace, Law and Gospel, Christ and man, in a manner befitting a Christian must for the most part, discuss nothing else than God and man in Christ.

Violence in Christianity is limited to one man who is also God. If you want to say that Christianity is spread by violence, or uses violence to spread its message you would only be correct in talking about Jesus. Christianity spreads only because of the violence done to Jesus on behalf of all people of all time.

 Christianity exists and your faith saves you because Jesus suffered and produced the greatest Good: that of the reconciliation of God and you. It is only through Him that you are saved and it is only through His suffering and death that we do enter with Him into glory.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Ash Wednesday; St. Matthew 6:16-21

Lent is often referred to as the Lutheran Season. Often times this is a backhanded remark against Lutherans, meaning that they focus too much on sin and dread, and not enough on happy-happy joy-joy lollipops and bubbles. But I digress…

Lutherans are also put down as black and white thinkers, meaning we believe that there is a right and a wrong, especially of reading God’s Word, and thus are intolerant, factional extremists. Instead, we should just focus on Jesus and just give the people Jesus, they say.

Well, hey-ho let’s go! I’m all for that. I would say that’s what we do everyday, but just to prove it; let’s go get Jesus.

In the Gospel, heard, we see Jesus fasting. The first thing Jesus says is “when” you fast, not “if” or “perhaps” or “if you want”, but “when”. This means that you will do it. And you will do it in a way that no one else knows about. You will not announce it on Facebook. You will not tell all your friends when they ask about why you aren’t doing certain things anymore.

You will fast and you will hide it. Jesus draws a line here, between those who fast and those who do not. How intolerant and factional.

Jesus then talks about storing treasure in heaven. How much treasure have you put into heaven? Is there an ATM for that sort of thing? Do you even know how? If you don’t then I guess you don’t have treasure in heaven, do you?

The world also agrees with making demarcations and drawing lines in the sand. Our own government, which we elected, is all too quick to arrest those who refuse to comply with laws or taxes, no matter how ridiculous.

Islam draws a very bold line, murdering and beheading to prove their own god’s worth. China and communism invest everything in silencing any and all opposition.

The world draws lines and creates factions and you follow suit. Your favorite lines are political and religious. Your favorite factions are those who agree with you and make you feel comfortable and good about yourself and your life style choices, regardless of how destructive they are.

Everyone’s most favorite hard line to draw, today, is the line of no-line. It’s the line that says that there are no lines, no factions, and no labels. It is the intolerance towards those who believe in something and believe they are right. These are actually those who believe in everything and nothing all at the same time. What a life that must be.

Death draws the boldest line of all, with none crossing over from there to here. The ashes remind us of this and Ms. Bea allowed us a peek at it as we laid her to rest in the ground: “Ashes to ashes; dust to dust”. So if you really want to lambast and be angry at anyone for being factional, let’s just cut to the chase and point to death.

Death is the enemy, proper. Next is what to do about it. As Lutherans, this is where we draw lines, because in the face of death, nothing else matters be it labels or non-labels.

Jesus draws lines. Jesus creates two factions in the world: one of Grace and one of works. On one side are those that have died or live in the Faith and are saved by Grace. On the other are those who are working hard to earn redemption. On one side, there is Peace, mercy, and love. On the other side there is intolerance.

So often our enemies know us better than we know ourselves. Let ISIS be our preacher: "Your Lord is the Nazarene, and you are a people of the cross." Let the naysayers proclaim truth to you, “You Lutherans only give out a half-gospel, leaving out all the work you need to do after Jesus saved you.”

Our Lord is Jesus of Nazareth because He was born of a virgin and raised from the dead. Our Gospel is that only truth that Jesus preached: Him Crucified. If it is factionally extreme to believe that the Gospel is for me, so be it. If it is intolerant to believe that Christ died so that I may live, so be it.

Everyone can boast in labels and non-labels, but no one can boast in grace, because there is nothing to boast about. Christ forgives all your sins and defeats death. It is a free gift given out in Baptism and no amount of faction work is going to make it any less or more true.

Hearing the Gospel produces faith and gives eternal life. There are no lines that this Gospel of Jesus does not cross. There are no extremes that this Word can not reach, especially death.

The church’s line to draw is always at the Gospel. The Gospel that Jesus has died for the entire world, destroying sin, death, and hell forever. The Gospel that, though Jesus is the sole possessor of all things in heaven and on earth, He gives them to you without merit or worthiness.

It is not that Lutherans focus on sin and drear so much. It’s the simple, Biblical truth that if you are not a sinner, Jesus did not come for you. If you do not have Faith; if you are not separated from this world; if you have not love, you are nothing, for from dust you came and to dust you shall return.

Jesus went down into that dust and in Lent, this is the focus of the Church. That though all people will die and decay, Jesus has redeemed and sanctified this body we have. Our body and souls are gifts from God and Jesus keeps them.

And He still does. He keeps them in utero and He keeps them post mortem. For Jesus has come to forgive. We do not come, then, to Church so much in order to feel good about feeling bad. Rather, we come because we know that we will be forgiven. We confess in order to hear that blessed absolution from our Lord’s lips.

 True faith believes Jesus’ Word. True faith is not merely about knowing; it is about living. Living after having been dead in sin; living after having been put into the grave. It is about living in Jesus; not that we have our own life, but that now Christ lives in us and grants us eternal salvation and forgiveness today, in His true Body.

Monday, February 16, 2015

The blind see [Quinquagesima; St. Luke 18:31-43]

Just to be certain you all get this straight from the Gospel this morning: it was the blind man that sees clearly.

Yes, the blind man is the one that sees, but not just because Jesus gave him his sight. It would be too easy and not very worthwhile to discuss that aspect of things, for even doctors today can help people recover their sight.

In our own cry for mercy from the Lord, we reflect on the previous two Sundays of this Gesimatide. Two weeks ago, we decided that it would be better to have our enemy in Church beside us, rather than spend eternity in hell.

Last week, we were repentant for not understanding the Word of God. In both cases, we neither know God’s Word nor the power therein, for if we did, we would find salvation and forgiveness. In other words: Christ.

So what then are we to take away from these three Sundays before Lent and especially what are we to find today. When we find it, that will be a true confession, without which no comfort could be had by us.

It is by what your heart believes and what your lips confess that you can confidently believe in what it is you believe. This is what we hear today. The confession of the disciples is that they don’t understand, they don’t know, and they don’t see. The blind man does understand, does know and does see.

We know this because Jesus speaks to us and tells us that, before the blind man could even see, he confessed that Jesus was the Son of David and, by implication, the true Son of God. It is not just that he says, “Jesus is Lord”, but that he believes that Jesus is Lord for him.

It is easy to say that someone is in charge and its easy to point out that God is everywhere, has every bit of knowledge, and has all power, but what does that do for this blind man? Where is the love/power/knowledge/presence of God in his life?

Those who were telling him to be silent confess this truth for us: there is no love of God for that man. Not only is he blind, but he is a burden. He can not praise God rightly, he can not offer sacrifices correctly, and he can not lead anyone to Christ. Can the blind lead the blind?

By the blind man’s cry, we know he has been praying fervently for healing. By his actions, we know he desires to follow God that he may receive a blessing, but it has not happened.

Repent. This blind man puts us to shame. In his physical blindness, he already sees his salvation worked out perfectly when all others, with working eyes, do not understand, know, or see that what Jesus is doing is atoning for sin.

The blind man sees his salvation. The blind man sees the God-man Jesus going to the cross. He sees the Lord’s Messiah passing by him on His way to be delivered to the Gentiles and killed, as Jesus has said multiple times.

I would even say that the blind man could care less about receiving his sight back. That it was a happy accident that Jesus stopped and asked him what he wanted. For what Faith truly desires is mercy from the Son of David. Mercy that is more than simply restoring eyes that Macular degeneration will destroy later in life.

This mercy, which has been given in full, is mocked, shamefully treated, and spit upon. This perfect mercy is flogged and crucified. This begged-for, underserved, unearned mercy is risen again and lives. Christ lives for this blind man and has rescued him from sin, death, and the devil. This is the full and perfect gift of mercy, given for free.

But, so that you may know that this mercy is also for you today, receive your own sight; your faith has made you well, also. Your faith, given to you, has saved you because you hear the Word of the Lord and believe that your sight, your hearing, and all your senses have been healed in baptism, where the same son of David washed you in His Blood.

In light of this, your confession is now full. You see Jesus passing by you, in the flesh today, and you don’t just cry “Hosanna to the son of David”, but “Lord have mercy; Christ have mercy”, “Gloria in Excelsis”, “Holy, holy, holy”, “Blessed is He that cometh in the Name of the Lord”, and “Amen”.

All of these good confessions reveal the true confession: that Jesus is both man and God and that He is here, now, to give us the miracle of Faith once again. Not because we have lost it, but because we need more.

And you know you need more, because Jesus continues to offer more. As you return to the Holy Scriptures, they do not change. Jesus is always coming to relieve sinners of sin and death. Thus, your confession needs to be just that, so that He comes for you.

Just what? Just that you are a blind and deaf sinner, dead in your sins, in need of a savior Who has already redeemed you and Who sends His Holy Ghost to enlighten you with gifts of water, Word, and bread and wine.

Jesus has had mercy on the entire world. Jesus gives His mercy and salvation to you, now, for free. The Gospel is preached to you and you believe you have forgiveness by it. There is no more sitting in darkness, or blindness, or deadness. For Christ is risen from the dead, for you, and has taken you into Himself; Body and Blood.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Confused? [Sexagesima; St. Luke 8:4-15]

On this the 57th, I mean the 60th day before Easter, we hear Jesus speaking to us of the 4 soils, I mean the Sower. Regardless of what you hear or think you hear, Jesus says,

“To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so that ‘seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’”

So are you given to know the secrets or do you see and hear without understanding? The birds of the air could be real birds or they could be metaphors. The devil is no metaphor, or is he? What of the rocks and the thorns? They probably stand for something as well, but I don’t understand it.

Thank goodness that Jesus explains it for you. Thank goodness that you have such a loving and caring Savior, that He would take the time to explain this parable. So He tells you the seed is the Word of God and that it is trampled, eaten, dried up, and choked by those hearing it. Some of it gets to grow though, so that’s nice.

Kind of confusing.

At this point, it is always the way of lazy pastors to ask, “What does this mean to you”? I suppose in some way they are trying to get you to talk, but really, they want you to interpret. They want you to proclaim the truths that you find inside yourself, instead of telling the one truth, as they are commanded to.

However, even if you were left by Jesus to interpret this in your own way and even if Jesus interprets this for us, how much do you really understand and how much hope do you have that you will get it right? It seems as if Isaiah’s prophecy of not seeing and not understanding is directed at you.

Of course, in today’s post-modern world, you don’t have to be right. In fact, there is no right or wrong because everyone does what is good in their own eyes. You don’t have to be right, in the absolute sense, because what you think is right, may not be right for someone else. The saying goes, “There are no absolutes”.

Which is an absolute statement in and of itself and therefore not true. There is a right and a wrong that is true for everyone. There is a true and an untrue. Even Jesus says “the Parable is this” and “the seed is the Word of God”; both absolutes.

Your own sense then, is not to be trusted to interpret Scripture, because it is corrupted by sin. Every heart knows its own bitterness (Prov. 14:10) and who can know the depths of their own sins (Ps.19:12)? This is where Holy Scripture tells you to lean not on your own understanding, but that of God’s, right? By this you know that your inner voice can not be trusted and you start to think that maybe God has stopped talking to you.

Thus Jesus’ call to repent. Repent. It was Jesus’ goal for you since the beginning and it is still what He preaches to you today. Do you read the Scriptures and not understand? Repent. Do you attempt to use your own, subjective ideas to interpret God’s Word? Repent.

Part of repentance is you being backed up against a wall and feeling the wrath of God against your sin. For one, sin is horrible and two, if you could figure everything out on your own, what need would you have for Jesus?

This is the heart of repentance, then. That we see our horrible sins, turn from them, and believe. True repentance only comes from the Holy Ghost and through Faith; the Faith that was purchased and won on the cross, by Jesus, the only begotten Son of God.

There is a proper explanation to all the parables Jesus tells us, but it is found only in the cross of Christ. It is only in understanding that Christ was made man, suffered, died, and rose again three days later that we can see and hear the Word properly.

Do you get it? Do you understand? Let the Sower sow His seed. Let there be different soils and different reactions to the Word being preached. It matters little compared to holding fast to the Word of the cross.

And the Word tells us that the Sower does and will continue to sow. That the Seed of God is spread everywhere and that it will continue to grow and continue to create Faith, even in you. The Word of God will accomplish its purpose and its purpose is to die, rise again, and redeem you from sin, death, and the devil.

This parable, and all parables, are not confusing if heard in Faith. For Faith hears the Savior preaching His Gospel and dying for His Gospel that many would be saved from their sins. For the Lord does not delight in the death of anyone. Jesus would rather you live.

So He dies so that you may live to hear this parable. That you may see your sin in this parable, repent, and be forgiven. That in hearing this parable, you would find the absolute truth of Christ crucified for you and giving you absolution.

For repentance never stands on its own and no amount of penance or understanding makes up for it. Repentance is always found with Absolution. Jesus does not leave us in the depths of our sin, neither does He leave us in the despair of sin, but will always quickly proclaim Absolution for those sins.

Indeed, you are forgiven and Christ absolutely offers eternal life in this Church, today.

Monday, February 2, 2015

One love [Septuagesima; St. Matthew 20:1-16]

Last week, in the Transfiguration of Jesus, the Lord told us that we have the Prophetic Word more fully confirmed. This means that the Word that preaches Christ and the Transfiguration to us today, is greater than what Sts. Peter, James, and John got to see on that mountain.

This is because the Word preached is the power of God for salvation. This is because the Word of God has sacrificed Himself on the cross, having become flesh and dwelling among us. This is because hearing the Word, produces the miracle of Faith within you and saves you.

And for the sake of burdened and troubled consciences, there is only one Word. Just as, today, we hear of only one wage being handed out, as Jesus speaks to you His words saying,
“After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard.”

In your conversion from dead, blind, deaf, rebellious sinner, to believer there is a sort of agreement made. Not that you are a part of this, but that the Holy Spirit will now give you the power to hear God and believe Him. Thus, your new spirit agrees with Jesus in that, now that you believe, you will believe no matter what.

So Jesus tells you: there is one Word of God. There is one Way to Salvation. There is one Truth. There is one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism and there is one denarius to be given, which now represents all of this.

But now that you have grown up, worked a little bit in the world, gotten your degree, the Word seems small. You know better and are able to make decisions for yourself, so now the Word of God isn’t such a great deal. Now it’s, “Hold on God. This is not right. You go too far here and don’t go here. We need more.”

There is a correct way of reading the Bible and you hate that. Whether its because you don’t understand it or because it means you or someone you love is sinning is besides the point. God’s Word says too much about the sin you have for you to agree.

Just like the workers in the Vineyard, you want more. Jesus on the cross is not enough. You need something to do; to contribute. You want to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling and look good doing it.

Or you have just figured all of Scripture out. Maybe you studied under someone modern or doing self-study and you figured out that, heretofore, everyone else, but you has been wrong. There is no sin. There is no hell. God is love and will adapt and change with the culture. Jesus would never toss out anyone from Church. You must be tolerant and relevant.

However, if the Word of God is the Word of God, then you and these workers have no grounds to object over. However, you are better than those other blokes in this way:

Right now, you all need to imagine your enemy sitting next to you. Not just a monster or something made up, but the sinner you can’t forgive. The one who back-stabbed you. The one who betrayed you. The one who destroyed your family. The one whose face you know.

Even if it is some group you only hear about: the homosexual, the poor or homeless, the “entitled”, or the murderer. What do you do? What sort of evil thoughts are going on in your head, sitting with them in that pew?

Do you grumble and say to Jesus, “We who have worked hard at being good little Christians and have borne the burden of the day do not deserve to be made equal with these sinners in this church”?

Repent. Your neighbor is your neighbor and deserving of your friendship. Jesus didn’t say love those who are loveable or love those who will love you back. He said love your enemies. He said love those for whom you have no regard, because you are just as undeserving of Christ as they are.

Loving someone; caring about their well-being; investing in a friendship with them does not mean you agree or condone their sins. It means that you are loved and you then love in return. It means that while you were yet sinful, immoral, a fornicator, a liar; Christ died for you.

Indeed, God is love and the Love of God was manifested in that He sent His only-begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. So, it is not that we love God, but that He loved us and sent Jesus to pay for and redeem us from our sins. (I Jn.4)

Jesus befriends the prostitute, the tax collector, and the sinner. He befriends them in order that He might renew them by His Blood. He sits with them. Eats with them. Invests in them and dies for them. Regardless of their time of entry into the Vineyard of the Church, they are loved and given the Gift of the Holy Spirit in Full: that one denarius.

Regardless of your feelings, opinions, or who your enemy is; the agreement of Faith, so to speak, is that there is just one wage: eternal life in Christ, which He gives out for free to everyone. This means, that no matter who you meet, or I should say, no matter who your neighbor is, they have been redeemed.

Should they show up in these pews, they are deserving of the love Christ that Jesus has given to you. Should they show up at any other time in your life, the same rule applies.

Therefore, it appears as if Jesus is the point of this parable, not you. That Jesus is the implied worker not mentioned. The worker who starts at the very beginning, creating the vineyard, causing it to flourish, calling others to enjoy it, handing out gifts with no price, and continuing on in it even when all others disagree and leave.

Jesus has suffered as the true worker in the Vineyard, for you. He worked hardest, taking on everyone’s sin, having none of His own, and dying on the cross. Jesus has caused this Word to be written so that you, and the whole world, may believe. For it is this Word of God made flesh that is given for you, for the forgiveness of sins.