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Who Has Believed?

Isaiah 53:1

Rev. John F. Wurst

Ash Wednesday
The Lutheran Church of Christ the King  
Duluth, Minnesota

Wed, Feb 13, 2013 

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

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

The prophet Isaiah ask, "Who has believed our report?" Isaiah speaks of unbelief versus faith. Unbelief is to live in darkness apart from the Light of Jesus Christ. (John 1:4) People who hear the Word of God and reject the Gospel live in darkness, unbelief, and apart from the love of God the Father.

So, who can believe in Jesus? Do you believe in Jesus? You are like all other men born in the flesh; you cannot believe in Jesus of your own volition. Jesus teaches you that you "cannot by your own reason or strength believe in or come to Him." (SC, II, 3)

You cannot know the Father or His Son, Jesus apart from Jesus. Jesus says, "apart from Me you can do nothing." (John 15:5) Jesus is the Way to the Father. (John 14:6) Jesus is the Door. (John 10:7) Jesus is the Good Shepherd who rescues you from darkness, sin, death, and the power of the devil. Jesus is the Arm of The Lord. (Is. 53:1) There is no salvation in any other, for there is no other Name under heaven given among men by which you must be saved." (Acts 4:12) Jesus is your Savior.

Because of original sin, your heart is evil; nothing good comes out of your heart. (Matthew 15:19) Because of the sin you inherited from Adam and Eve, you have no desire to live God. God hates the evil that resides in you and every sinner. It is this evil, your sinful nature, that you seek false gods to give your worship to; It is the evil in your heart that turns you to seek the destruction of your neighbor; It is the evil you desire that gives you a worldly glow, power, and prestige. Your sinful nature is nothing more than simple rebellion against the One true God. You are by nature objects of the Father's wrath and judgment. You only deserve to be punished and sentenced to eternal damnation in hell for your sins. Repent.

Do you believe the reports, that is, the preaching and teaching of Moses and the Prophets? Do you believe the preaching and teaching of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God?

By God's grace through Jesus Christ, you can answer YES! St. Paul writes, "But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved you, even when you were dead in trespasses, made you alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved).

(Ephesians 2:4-5)

You believe what Jesus says about His forgiveness of your sins because His Word is the truth. He, in fact, is Truth. Jesus is the Arm of the Lord sent to save you from sin, death, and the power of the devil. Jesus is the Seed of the woman promised in Genesis chapter three sent to smash the serpent's head in death. Jesus is the One whom the prophets prophesied about that would come to save all men and set men free.

Jesus came and stood in your place. He dressed Himself in the filth of your sins and became sin for you. St. Paul teaches you, "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for you, that you might become the righteousness of God in Him [Christ]." (2 Cor. 5:21)

You are righteous before God now because Jesus dressed you in His righteousness in Holy Baptism. Jesus took you and drowned you and your old Adam in the waters He sanctified in His own Baptism and you died with Jesus in His death. Yes! Jesus' death is your death. Your death is Jesus' death. Jesus then resurrected you from that watery tomb and grave and made you alive in His resurrection. (Romans 6)

St. Paul writes, "For the wages of sin is death." (Rom. 6:23a) Jesus paid that wage for you. He died in your place. He died to give you the gift that St. Paul declares at the end of the verse which is eternal life in Christ Jesus your Lord. (Rom. 6:23b)

Jesus atoned for your sins and redeemed you from sin, death, and the power of the devil. Jesus conquered the old evil foe in death for you. He gave His Divine life up in death to give everlasting to all who believe on His Name. The Great Exchange on Mt. Calvary completed for you.

Who has believed our reports? You believe because Jesus has revealed Himself to you in Baptism, Word and Supper. You believe because Jesus created faith in you and revealed Himself, the Father, and the Spirit to you when He gave you life from above. You believe because you hear the Son of the Father.

You believe Jesus is your Lord and Savior. You believe your sins are forgiven for His sake. You believe you will live forever in a kingdom without end. You believe because Jesus makes it so.

To God alone be all glory now and forevermore.

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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