Todd A. Peperkorn, STM
Messiah Lutheran Church
Pentecost (May 23, 2010, rev. from 2007)
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. Our text for this holy day of Pentecost, is from the Gospel lesson from John chapter 14 as follows: But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
Sometimes I wonder about that phrase bring to remembrance in our text this morning. I don’t know about you, but my memory seems to come and go at times. I can remember some things right away, but other things, well, they are gone forever. And frankly, it’s frustrating. Now if this is true for where you put the cars keys or your glasses, how much more is this true when it comes to faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins? Today God teaches us how He brings things to our remembrance by the power of the Holy Spirit. But not just things, like a list of Christian facts we are to recite. No, these things He brings to our remembrance are the things of God, the Words of Jesus. These things are your life.
So given that this is Pentecost, that we have a Baptism, and that this is the day we remember and celebrate the Word and Work of the Holy Spirit, it is appropriate that we do a little bringtoremembrance review. The Small Catechism puts it this way:
I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith. In the same way He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith. In this Christian church He daily and richly forgives all my sins and the sins of all believers. On the Last Day He will raise me and all the dead, and give eternal life to me and all believers in Christ. This is most certainly true.
That is how God works. The Holy Spirit calls you, gathers you by His Word into His Holy Church, and enlightens you with His Gospel of forgiveness, life and salvation. Why? Because this work of creating faith in you, giving you life and hope, comforting you, and bringing you to heaven is God’s work, not yours. God calls you. He gives you life. He is the one who has gathered you to this place. He is the one who keeps you in the true faith throughout your life. It is His work, not yours.
But it is precisely at this point that a day like Pentecost becomes so important. You are helpless, hopeless, in debt beyond what you can possibly pay back. Your identity is lost, and you are a mess. But God, who is rich in mercy, is at work this day for you, and for your eternal salvation. God sends you His Holy Spirit by Word and Sacrament. And the Holy Spirit brings to remembrance everything Jesus said and did. The Holy Spirit connects you to Jesus, calls you to faith, gathers you into His Church, enlightens you by His Holy Word, and makes you holy by the blood of God’s Son.
You could never do this yourself. It’s impossible. No amount of wishing or wanting can create faith. No amount of arguing or understanding. Nothing you could ever do would create faith in Jesus. Only the Holy Spirit can connect you to Jesus.
What a great day to be a Christian! God is a work in you and for you this day. This Pentecost is really the victory celebration of Easter at its culmination. For fifty days we have celebrated Eastertide, and the joy of our Lord’s resurrection. But this day, we celebrate how that Easter victory is now ours through faith in Christ Jesus. God brings to your remembrance things you never knew! God brings to your remembrance that you were created in His image. God brings to your remembrance that you have been redeemed by the blood of the lamb. God brings to your remembrance this day that you are holy and righteous in His sight. God brings to your remembrance this day that you are one of God’s children, beloved by Him.
Yet at this very same time, God remembers you. He remembers you as He dies on the cross. He remembers you at each step of your walk in Him: baptism, confirmation, holy communion, through all of the sufferings and trials of your life, God remembers you.
God is at work in you today. Come now to His table, where His words, do this in remembrance of me, tie you to all this that God gave you in your baptism. Believe it for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
The peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in true faith, unto life everlasting. Amen.