“Peace Be to This House!” (Luke 10:1-20)

Fourth Sunday after Pentecost
July 3, 2022

“Peace Be to This House!” (Luke 10:1-20)

“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Yes, peace to you! Peace be to this house! That’s what Jesus told me to tell you, isn’t it? He sends out his laborers into the harvest field and instructs them, “Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house.’” So today, the first thing I want to say to you is what Jesus told me to tell you: Peace be to this house.

Friends, today I want to tell you why you need this peace and what kind of peace it is. I want to tell you where this peace comes from and how it gets to you. And I want you to know how you can be sure that you have this peace. So our theme this morning: “Peace Be to This House!”

First of all, why do you need peace? Simply put, because we all are surrounded by conflict in many ways. We have conflict in the home, conflict between husbands and wives, conflict in families. On a larger scale, as we’ve seen in our country this past month, we have conflict and division in our nation. The whole world is in desperate need of peace.

But all these conflicts are symptoms of an even deeper problem, which is our conflict with God. We fight against God, we fail to listen to his word, we refuse to walk in his ways. Our basic conflict is with God. Each of us wants to be his or her own god. We want to decide for ourselves what is right and wrong, instead of trusting our Creator’s direction for our lives. This has been going on for a long time. It’s called sin. And it’s a killer. Literally. “The wages of sin is death,” the Bible says. So, how can we have peace when we have death looming over us, like the sword of Damocles hanging over our heads? Our guilt before God is tucked away in the back of our conscience, and you can hear it if you listen closely. This, in spite of all the numbing agents we use in our guilt-free society to block that sound out. Deep down, though, we know that something is terribly wrong between God and us. And there’s nothing we can do to change it.

So we need peace. We need something real that can deal with our deep-down problem. We need what Jesus offers. Jesus tells us of a peace that will deal, effectively, once and for all, with our big problems of sin and guilt and death. A peace that will break down the wall of hostility and conflict that we’ve raised up against God. Only Jesus gives this peace.

The thing is, though, even when you have this peace, your life may not look all that peaceful. In fact, your life–the outward circumstances of your life–may look rather stressful. In our text, Jesus sends out his laborers into the harvest field, but it’s no bed of roses. He sends them out like lambs in the midst of wolves. And a lamb doesn’t stand much of a chance against a bunch of wolves. Being a Christian can be difficult, even dangerous. Not very peaceful–outwardly, at least. Even so, there is a peace that Jesus gives that can deal with our trouble-filled life. We need it. Man, do we need it!

So where does this peace come from, and how do you get it? Jesus tells us. He says, “The kingdom of God has come near to you.” That’s what he tells his messengers to say on his behalf as he sends them out: “The kingdom of God has come near to you.”

You see, the peace that Jesus gives only comes with the coming of the kingdom–the kingdom of God, that is. The kingdoms of this world, the kingdoms that men come up with, cannot produce this peace. Only God can, and when his kingdom comes near to us, that’s something new and different from what the world can come up with.

The coming of the kingdom of God brings with it all the blessings of that kingdom: peace, joy, wholeness, healing. Peace with God forever. The beginnings of peace now also among us, as in the church we learn how to love and forgive one another. Peace within our souls, knowing that God is at peace with us and he accepts us and takes us for his own.

Yes, even joy, rejoicing, the kind Jesus is talking about when he says, “Rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” Did you know that, that your names are written in heaven? They are! God knows you and loves you and cares for you–yes, even you! He took you for his own and wrote your name in heaven when he put his name on you in Holy Baptism, the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Your name is written in heaven, written there in the Lamb’s book of life, written in the precious blood of Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

So that’s how it works: The kingdom comes to you. You don’t earn your way into it. God writes your name into his book. You don’t write it there yourself. God comes to you. He is the source of your peace. And that makes it a peace you can rely on. The direction is always from God to us. He gives us his gifts. He finds us when we weren’t even looking for him. That is the way of God’s kingdom.

“The kingdom of God has come near to you.” Jesus tells his messengers to say that, because Jesus himself has come near to you. The Son of God came down from heaven and became man. He became one of us, lived where we live. He experienced the conflict and fighting and lack of peace that this world has to give. Jesus stood where we stand. Indeed, he stood in our place. He took into himself, in his body, our sin and death. Jesus experienced the wrath of God in our place. Even though he had done no wrong, he took the judgment for us wrongdoers. Now there‘s no more judgment standing against us. Jesus took it all. He drank the cup of God’s wrath and leaves us a cup of blessing in its place.

Jesus did this for us on the cross. That’s where the kingdom of God finds its strange destiny. It doesn’t look right for a king to be hanging on a cross, but there he is: Jesus of Nazareth, the king of the Jews–and the king of the Gentiles, too. He is your king, and the kingdom of God comes near to you in the Christ of the cross.

The kingdom of God has come near to you! That’s why Jesus came, to establish the kingdom of God here on earth. And mission accomplished! He did it! He did it all. Jesus rose from the dead, showing that the chains of sin and the shackles of death have been shattered. The serpent’s head has been dealt a death blow. Satan no longer reigns over us. We have transferred kingdoms. Christ Jesus has brought us into the kingdom of light and life, the kingdom of God.

This is for you, and God wants you to know it. That’s why Jesus says to his messengers, “The one who hears you hears me.” You see, when you get this good news from Jesus’ messenger–that is, from your pastor, the minister of Christ–it’s as good and as certain as if Jesus himself were standing right here delivering it into your ears. “I forgive you all your sins,” your pastor says–and they are forgiven! Not because there’s anything special about your pastor as a man –there isn’t. It’s just that Jesus wants you to hear it with your own ears and to know that it’s for real. So he sends his spokesman, his ambassador, here to you, just like he sent out those messengers so long ago.

You are listening to Jesus every Sunday when you come here and listen to his preacher. God wants you to know that your sins really are forgiven! The kingdom of God comes near to you–right here, where the Word is being preached! You’re listening to Jesus! Jesus comes and speaks to you, here in the preaching of the Holy Gospel and in the words that consecrate the Holy Supper. Jesus is speaking to you! He really wants you to know these things and to receive his life and forgiveness.

You see, when Jesus speaks, things happen. His word delivers what it says. When he says, “I forgive you all your sins,” it really happens. When he says, “This is my body, this is my blood, given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins,” that’s what you are receiving. When Jesus says, through his messenger, “Peace be to this house,” that is exactly what you get: real peace, peace from God and peace with God. It happens, because Jesus says so.

This is not some vague, nice wish: “Peace be with you,” as sort of a “Have a nice day.” No, this is the real deal. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you,” Jesus assures us. “Not as the world gives do I give to you.” This is the peace that comes with the kingdom of God, the peace that Jesus speaks through his word, the peace delivered by his messengers. This is the “realest” kind of peace you can have. You can bank on it. You can build your life on it. You can take it to the bank–take it to your house, take it to your school and workplace–every place where you need God’s peace to rest upon you. Take this peace even to your deathbed. Yes, the peace of God will sustain you even there.

And so today, and every time I preach God’s word to you, I always close with these words that you can count on: “The peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Amen.

Published in: on July 1, 2022 at 8:54 pm  Leave a Comment  
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