My best sermon, by far
In the past sixteen years I've preached in the neighborhood of 1500 different sermons.
How did I come up with this estimate? For a decade, I preached two different sermons each week. One on Sunday morning; the other at our midweek service on Wednesday evening. Add in monthly chapel services at local care centers, funerals, etc.; the number of sermons I've written has really piled up.
Of all the sermons I've preached since coming to Our Saviour's, one stands out far above the rest.
I started wearing this crucifix five years ago. It's the best sermon I've ever preached. It's the perfect combination of both law and gospel.
This silent message speaks wherever I go. I've preached this wordless sermon at gas stations, Target stores, hospital elevators, and Barnes & Noble.
I must admit that I rarely get any response to my preaching. Still, something tells me that people are listening.
Earlier this week, on Wednesday afternoon to be exact, someone preached a similar sermon to me. I drove down to Parkway Gardens. I had some boxes to drop off for Peggy, a Bible class student of mine. She's in the process of moving.
As I neared the front door, a man was standing there. I'd never seen him before. He wore a crucifix cross. This was just the sermon I needed to hear.
Speaking of sermons, I'd better get back to work on tomorrow's message.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.
Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand. After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.
Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.