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The Sword of the Spirit

Luke 2:33-40

Rev. John F. Wurst

The First Sunday after Christmas
The Lutheran Church of Christ the King  
Duluth, Minnesota

Sun, Dec 30, 2012 

"For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified." (1 Cor. 2:2)

Luke 2:33-40

The First Sunday after Christmas

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

Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, "Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."

So far the Gospel of The Lord.

Swords. Weapons of destruction. Small ones. Broad ones. Handheld ones. Long ones, sometimes known as spears. Warriors bear the sword to destroy their enemies. Swords are usually used in combat or defense of ones life.

St. Matthew writes about some instances in His Gospel concerning the use of the sword. First, on the night Jesus was betrayed, Matthew writes, "And while He was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and elders of the people." Judas came against Jesus, his Lord and Teacher, with a small army bearing swords. The swords could be used to defend themselves or to destroy Jesus and His disciples. (Matthew 26:47)

In an offensive act, "one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword, struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear." The disciple did this in defense of his Lord who was being taken prisoner in the Garden of Gethsemane. (Matt. 26:51)

On Good Friday, St. John writes, "But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out." (John 19:33-34)

For Mary, the Mother of The Lord, the sword will pierce her soul. St. Luke utilizes the metaphor of the sword to describe the sorrow Mary would experience at the suffering and death of her Child, Jesus.

Her sorrow is your sorrow. Mary mourned the death of her Son when He died on the cross. She mourned like any mother would mourn. You mourn because apart from the Christ you are dead in your trespasses. Your heart is sorrowful because it is full of sin, disobedience, hate, and evil.

Jesus has given His Sword to the Church to be wielded against sin and to give life. St. Paul describes the Sword like this in his epistle to Ephesus, "...the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God." (Eph. 6:17b) This sword, God's Sword, is further described in the Epistle to the Hebrews, "For the Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit and of joints and marrow and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." (Heb. 4:12)

His sword is sharp. He wields it through preaching and teaching of the Word. The Sword of the Spirit first cuts you to the heart exposing your sin. It reveals the wretchedness of you nature as a sinner. The sword of The Lord exposes the filth that resides in you. It says to you, you are a sinner. Repent. Turn from your evil ways or die in your sins.

However, the Sword of the Spirit, that is, the Word of God is also the Gospel. It is salvation. Yes, the Sword hurts and stings but it also heals. That's what the Good News of Jesus Christ is: It is medicine. It is healing. It gives life to the dying.

That's what Jesus does for you. He gives you life. He comes to you first to cut out the wretchedness of sin like a surgeon. He cuts out the cancer of disobedience and unbelief. He then packs your wounds with His Body and Blood to restore you to health. He stitches you up and closes your wounds. He heals your broken heart. He restores your soul.

The Word of God conveys to you salvation. This sword of Jesus gives you Law and Gospel. It works to beat down sin and build up in Christ. It cuts and heals. It kills and gives life.

Many will receive the Law edge of the sword and reject the Word. They will receive their just reward of eternal condemnation. For you who believe on the Name of Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, the Sword of the Spirit defends you against the tyranny of the flesh, the world, and the evil one.

St. Paul says, "For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek." (Rom. 1:16)

In Holy Baptism, Jesus took you and wielded His sword against your sinful nature and drowned you and your old Adam in the water. He then brought you out. He resurrected you. He gave you life in His Name. His Blood now covers your soul. His righteousness is your righteousness. You are clean. Forgiven. Born from above, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. Remember, it is not simple water that saves but water connected with the Word of God that does this for you.

Your life is in Christ. Jesus is your King. He is the Good Shepherd. He is the One who forgives your sins. He is the One who strengthens you in battle. He is the One who gives you refuge in times of trouble. He is your redemption and salvation.

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

The peace of God which surpasses all understanding guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Amen.

+ SDG +

(C) Rev. John F. Wurst

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