In Nomine Iesu!
In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
Prayer in Pulpit before Sermon:
Send, we beseech Thee, Almighty God, Thy Holy Spirit into our hearts, that He may rule and direct us according to Thy will, comfort us in all our temptations and afflictions, defend us from all error, and lead us into all truth, that we, being steadfast in the faith, may increase in love and in all good works, and in the end obtain everlasting life; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord. Amen.
Grace, mercy, and peace be to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior + Jesus Christ. Amen.
On the Fourteenth Day of the First month the Jews celebrated the Feast of the Passover. They slaughtered the sacrificial lamb at twilight and brushed some of its blood on the doorposts and lintel. The Angel of the Lord, seeing the blood as a witness, passed over the homes of the Israelites, saving them from death. This meal was to be observed on the anniversary of this event as a remembrance of the deliverance of the Lord God. The next day, the Israelites were driven out of the land of Egypt by the Egyptians, who showered them with gold and silver. The Israelites had plundered their captives, and rode out from the land of Egypt victorious, following the Lord God, Who went before them as a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.
This feast of the Passover, that the Israelites observed every year as a remembrance of their deliverance from death was a foreshadowing of the sacrifice of our Lord + Jesus, Who offered up His life as a ransom for the sins of the whole world. He was the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world by atoning for the sins of the whole world. We celebrate this sacrifice of our Lord whenever we gather together as two or three in the Lord’s Name. Indeed, we remember every year the sacrifice of our Lord for our sins every Good Friday. Moreover, we remember our Lord’s resurrection on the third day every Easter, and every Sunday is a mini-remembrance of our Lord’s victory over death, as we rejoice that our Lord has conquered sin and death on our behalf, and has given us the victory over our enemies. Therefore, every Sunday we plunder our enemies whenever we gather together and hear the pure preaching of the Gospel, and receive the blessed Sacrament of the altar, which is ours by right of our Holy Baptism into our Lord’s Name.
The annual celebration of the deliverance of the Israelites, has become our annual, and even weekly, remembrance of our deliverance from sin, death and the power of the devil; we celebrate every week, the victory that is ours on account of our Lord’s sacrifice for us. That annual celebration was fifty days ago.
The Israelites also celebrated a feast fifty days after the Passover. The Israelites celebrated three great feasts during the course of the year. The feast of the Passover was celebrated fifty days ago. The feast of Pentecost, which means fifty days, is celebrated today. This feast, which was usually a feast celebrating the first fruits of the year; the first harvest of the year, also commemorated an important event in the lives of the people of Israel. What event happened fifty days after the Passover? Where were the Israelites fifty days after the Passover? Yes, they were in the wilderness; they had begun their wilderness wandering, which would be extended for forty years because of their unbelief, but they were at a specific place fifty days after the Passover. They were at Mount Sinai.
The Feast of Pentecost for the Israelites was an annual reminder of the giving of the Law of God, of the Ten Commandments. With these Laws, the Lord God claimed the Israelites as His very own people. They were now His; they had become His special people. The people who He watched over, and protected, and guided and taught. Through them the Savior of the whole world would be born. Therefore, fifty days apart the Israelites would celebrate two of their great feasts: Passover and Pentecost. With the Feast of Tabernacles, celebrated in the fall after the completion of the harvest, these three feasts were celebrated by the Israelites. The men were required to be in Jerusalem for all three of these feasts. As we have seen from holy Scripture, in many cases the women would also accompany the men when they went up to Jerusalem for these feasts.
The Passover was a celebration of their deliverance from their enemy, and Pentecost was a celebration of when the Lord God claimed His people as His own by giving them His Law—His Ten Commandments. When our Lord + Jesus came as the Lord God in the flesh of mankind, He fulfilled completely the requirements of the Law. He observed both the Passover and Pentecost. On the night of the Passover, when the Lord + Jesus instituted His holy Supper of His Body and Blood given in bread and wine, He set the stage for many marvelous acts to take place over the next forty days. He would suffer and die for the sins of the whole world. He would rest in the grave on the Sabbath day, and He would rise again from the dead on the first day of the week. Over the next forty days He would appear to His Apostles, until the day of His Ascension, when He would sit on the right hand of God the Father interceding for us poor, miserable sinners, and He will come again to judge both the quick and the dead.
On the day of His ascension, He gave instructions to His Apostles that they were remain in Jerusalem until they would receive the Holy Ghost, the Comforter and Helper. With the Help of the Holy Ghost, the Apostles would also fulfill the Lord’s other instructions. They would go into all the world and baptize all nations, teaching them all that the Lord + Jesus had taught them, in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.
This same Name has been placed upon us in the waters of Holy Baptism. In this baptism, we received the washing and renewal of the Holy Ghost. We were granted faith to cling to the works of the Lord + Jesus. We were clothed with His righteousness; with His righteous works and merits. The gifting of the Holy Ghost took place ten days after the ascension of our Lord. The coming of the Comforter, the Helper, the Holy Ghost, came to the Church on the fiftieth day after the sacrifice of our Lord on our behalf on the tree of the holy cross.
Just as the Lord God delivered His people Israel from their bondage to slavery and their enemy on the Day of the Passover, we have been freed from the bondage of slavery to sin and death on the Day of our Lord’s Suffering and Death—His Passion. The Lord God meted out all His wrath upon our enemies so that we may go free. Also, as the Israelites were made the Lord God’s people fifty days later by His giving them the Law through His servant Moses, we have also been declared the Lord God’s people—us Gentiles—by the gifting of the Holy Ghost on the Day of Pentecost. We celebrate today that our Lord God has claimed us as His very own people. For today, this Day of Pentecost, He gives to us His Holy Ghost. Indeed wherever two or three are gathered together in the Name of the Lord + Jesus, there the Holy Ghost is being given to all those who come together in fellowship, and who cling in faith to the Lord + Jesus and His means of grace.
In the Gospel reading, the Lord + Jesus told His Apostles that He would give them His peace. This discourse from the Apostle and Evangelist St. John is the beginning of the discourse that our Lord + Jesus has been having with the Apostles in the Gospel readings over the last few Sundays. This discourse is a response to the question of Judas (not Iscariot), who asked, “Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?” Already the Apostles were concerned about the salvation of the whole world, not just the Jews. The Lord’s answer is that He would send the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is Who brings us peace.
Now, my dear friends, peace in the holy Scriptures is not the kind of peace that is talked about in the world. It is not the kind of peace where two people, or groups of people, get along with each other. Peace in the holy Scriptures is a deeper peace than just getting along with one another. True peace is the peace of the soul. Peace where one knows that he is reconciled with the Lord God. True peace rejoices because the soul knows that it will not face condemnation and destruction. The destroying angel will pass over our souls and destroy our enemies of sin, death, and the power of the devil. We have peace because we know that the devil, the world and our sinful flesh will not harm us any longer. We have peace because we know that we have forgiveness of sins, eternal life and salvation because of what our Lord and Savior + Jesus Christ has done for us.
This peace is taught to us by the Holy Ghost, Who works through the means of grace (the preaching of the Gospel and the Sacraments) to reveal to us that we have forgiveness on account of the Christ. Our Lord + Jesus gives us peace, by giving us His Holy Ghost. He gives us peace because through the Holy Ghost, we know that we are children of the heavenly Father, and we are brothers and sisters of our Lord + Jesus. Our Lord + Jesus gives us peace because we know that through Him we have been reconciled to God the Father.
Therefore, my dear friends, we can be like Judas (not Iscariot) and be filled with a love for our fellow man, and a desire that all might hear the pure Gospel of our Lord + Jesus, be cut to the heart, and repent and believe on Him. We can have the same love that fills our Lord + Jesus for us, Who desires that all mankind be saved. This is why we continue to preach the Gospel in its purity in our midst, and administer the Sacraments according to our Lord’s institution, for where these means are being given out, the Holy Ghost is there working through them, to draw all men to our Lord + Jesus, so that they too may know true peace.
Let us then continue to go into all the world, teaching all nations about our Lord + Jesus, and baptizing all nations in the Name that was placed upon us declaring us to be part of the communion of saints, the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. May the Holy Ghost grant us peace and comfort in these things. In the Name of our Lord + Jesus Christ. Amen.
Prayer in Pulpit after Sermon:
Almighty God, be pleased to accompany Thy Word with Thy Holy Spirit and grant that Thy Word would increase faith in us; bring into the Way of Truth all such as have erred; turn the hearts of the unrepentant; and for sake of Thy Name grant succor to all heavy hearts and those who are heavy-laden, that they may through the mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ be relieved and preserved so that they succumb not to the temptation of despair but rather that they gain the victory over the world, the flesh, and the devil; through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with the Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever One God, world without end. Amen.
The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Amen.
Soli Deo Gloria!