Category Archives: Sermon

Looking to Jesus (Funeral Sermon for Bob Browner, August 19, 2014)

Tuesday of Pentecost 10, (August 19, 2014)
Holy Cross Lutheran Church
Rocklin, California
Rev. Todd A. Peperkorn
John 11:20–27

TITLE: “Looking to Jesus”

Friends and family of Bob, especially Gloria: grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen. Our text for today is the Gospel just read from St. John chapter eleven. We focus on the words from St. Paul, “Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.” (1 Corinthians 15:51–52 ESV)

Robert Gene (a.k.a. “Bob”) Browner was born the son of Cecil and Nannie Mae Browner in San Jacinto, California, on February 20, 1933. He was baptized the same year. He was confirmed in the Lutheran faith at First Lutheran Church in Concord, California, in 1965. Bob died in Christ, surrounded by his daughters and especially his wife, Gloria, on August 12 in the year of our Lord, two-thousand fourteen. “And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!”” (Rev. 14:13 ESV)

IMG 7163In a twinkle of an eye. There was something about Bob that always made you feel like there was more going on than meets the eye. In these latter years of his life, as I came to know him, he moved slowly. He didn’t always speak, and when he did, they were usually short bursts or quips about something or another. But you could tell, you could see it in his eyes. There was more going on. And frankly, you kind of wanted to know what was going on in there.

That is a pretty good picture of the Christian life under the cross, if you think about it. Bob spent his life working, taking care of his wife and family, especially his grandchildren. We could talk about trains, or building, or golf, or one of the manner of things that made Bob tick. I’m sure I don’t know the half of them. And He was not one for big speeches, at least not in these latter years. But there was and is one thing that makes Bob who he is. Bob is baptized.

Notice what I said there. I didn’t say that Bob was baptized, like this was something that happened long ago and doesn’t matter anymore. No, Bob is baptized. For there is the key, beloved. Bob’s identity was shaped as a child of God when he was baptized. That identity means he is a child of God, an heir of the kingdom of heaven, and that a time is coming, a twinkling of an eye, a time is coming when he will be raised again from the dead.

This is what we call the Gospel, dear friends. The Gospel is that Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay for Bob’s sins, and yours. Bob was not perfect. Far from it. Neither are you, or me. Bob was a sinner who needed God’s forgiveness. Bob was a sinner, but he is baptized, a child of God and an heir of eternal life. For when Jesus died on the cross, He died for you, and me, and Bob, and indeed, for the whole world. But three days later He rose again from the dead.

Job, even in the midst of all his suffering, Job recognized what God promises in the Messiah. Here again those great words from the prophet:

“For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another.” (Job 19:25–27 ESV)

On the Last Day, Bob will rise again from the dead. And there will be no more stoop in his back. No more Parkinson’s disease. No more sin or sorrow. No more fear. There will only be joy in the presence of God Himself.

Today, though, we grieve. We miss Bob, and so there is sorrow and pain at our loss. Jesus Himself wept at the death of His friend, Lazarus, and so it is okay for you to weep as well. But remember again those words Jesus spoke to His friend, Martha, who also grieved the death of her brother. Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everone who lives and believes in me shall never die” (John 11:25).

That is God’s promise to Bob and to all of you. Death is but a sleep, and at the sound of the trumpet on the Last Day, you, and me, and Bob, and all the saints of God will rise again, whole and undefiled. And that, beloved, is really, really good news indeed.

So until then, Bob, rest well in Jesus. Rest well, until we are reunited with saints and angels and all the company of heaven. I look forward to seeing the twinkle in your eye on that day, for it will be a sight to behold. God is faithful. He will do it.

Believe it for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

And now the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in true faith to life everlasting. Amen.

Ordination Sermon for Rev. Troy W. Peperkorn (July 6, 2014)

PeperkornTroy07 06 2014

4th Sunday after Pentecost, (July 6, 2014)
St. John Lutheran Church, Reinbeck, Iowa
Rev. Todd A. Peperkorn, STM
(Luke 24:44–49, Romans 10:14–17)
The Ordination of Rev. Troy W. Peperkorn

TITLE: “I Will Be With You”

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen. Our text for today is the Gospel just read from St. Luke chapter twenty four, as well as the epistle from Romans ten.

Today is a great day in the Christian Church, and especially for you, the saints gathered here at St. John’s Lutheran Church, and for you, Troy. Today Christ’s promises are kept once again. Today the words He spoke to His disciples so many years ago continue to be fulfilled in your very ears. Today is the culmination of years of prayer and careful study on the part of soon-to-be Pastor Peperkorn. It is the culmination of years of sacrifice on the part of many to come to this point, when he is ordained as the pastor of St. John’s Lutheran Church. What a great day! We are all blessed to be here and rejoice in God’s mercy this day.

When God came to Moses in the burning bush, Moses was not exactly excited about being a prophet and deliverer to the people. He had one objection after another. They won’t listen, they don’t trust me, they don’t know God’s name, I can’t speak well. To the last one, the Lord said, “Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.”” (Exodus 4:12 ESV)

When God called Jeremiah the prophet, Jeremiah was not exactly excited about his calling as a prophet. Hear this little exchange between the Jeremiah and the Lord:

“Then I said, “Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.” But the LORD said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the LORD.”” (Jeremiah 1:6–8 ESV)

Later in our Old Testament reading, God said to Jeremiah, “If you utter what is precious, and not what is worthless, you shall be as my mouth.” (Jeremiah 15:19 ESV)

Your vocation, your calling, Pastor Peperkorn, is to be God’s mouthpiece to these, His people. God cares deeply for His people. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross and rise again from the dead for their sins. As Jesus Himself said,

““Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.” (Luke 24:46–47 ESV)

That is the content of your preaching, teaching, and indeed your very life in this place. Repentance and forgiveness. Law and Gospel. Sin and Grace. Jesus Christ and Him crucified and risen from the dead. You are here to teach people who God is by proclaiming His saving Word to them.

But God cares enough that He is not satisfied to only send a book to them. God does not text His people with the greatest news of all time. He doesn’t Facebook them. He doesn’t even call them on the phone. St. Paul does not say, “so then, faith comes by reading.” In this place, God has called and sent you as His mouth. He does this because of His great love for these, His sheep, His bride, His people.

But for you, this day, God speaks a word of promise, “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”” (Matthew 28:20 ESV) Now this isn’t a pie-in-the-sky promise. This is not mere wordplay. This is not God saying “I will be in your heart, so that every time you think sad thoughts, I will remind you that I’m really here.” No, this is God delivering the same promise to you that you will now deliver to His people. I will be with you.

But how is God with you? For every beautiful sunset there is a tornado. For every birth there seems to be a death. For every joy there is sadness. God’s promises, His enduring presence for you, are not bound to your experience. Experiences change. Emotions come and go. Feelings are just that, feelings. God does not bind His promises to you in how you feel about Him. He binds Himself to you in His Word.

God’s Word is the great, precious jewel of the Lutheran Church. It is what will sustain you when you don’t know what to do. Now God’s Word does this not by answering every tickling tricky question that your confirmation students will throw at you, or your Bible classes. God’s Word sustains you be grounding you in who you are as a Baptized child of God, and in who you are as the called pastor of St. John’s Lutheran Church.

If there is one thing that I have learned as a pastor, one piece of advice that I would give, it is that you get really, really comfortable with the words, “I don’t know.” If our Lord’s Word speaks to it, well and good. But if the Scriptures don’t give you an answer, resist the urge to make up answers. I know, it sounds a little silly. But your people will learn to trust you, and you will want to be there for them, to answer all of their questions, especially the hard “why” questions that come in times of sorrow. It is at that time that you will be tempted to make up answers. But those words, “I don’t know,” free you from being God, and keep you being a pastor. You aren’t Buddah sitting upon a hill doling out advice to all who come and seek your great wisdom. You are the pastor at St. John’s Lutheran Church, here to proclaim good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. And that is a far, far greater thing than having the answers to all of life’s questions. This also means that when you say “Thus says the Lord,” they will know that it is from the Lord and not from your own heart.

Okay, back on task. God promises to be with you by sending you His Holy Spirit through the Word. It’s why we wear red on this ordination day. As God’s man in this place, it is your gift and your privilege to release people from their sins, to comfort them with that same Word of promise which sustains you, to exhort them and call them to repentance when they sin, and to bring Christ’s saving love to bear on this community. Our Lutheran forebearers in the faith put it this way:

1 So that we may obtain this faith, the ministry of teaching the Gospel and administering the Sacraments was instituted. 2 Through the Word and Sacraments, as through instruments, the Holy Spirit is given [John 20:22]. He works faith, when and where it pleases God [John 3:8], in those who hear the good news that God justifies those who believe that they are received into grace for Christ’s sake. 3 This happens not through our own merits, but for Christ’s sake. (AC V)

So that we may obtain this faith. Today, dear people of God, the Lord’s promises to you are fulfilled once again. Today God places His man in your midst to give you His Son, Jesus Christ. His lips will speak Law and Gospel to you. His hands will baptize your children and grandchildren, and will give you the precious body and blood of Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins. He is not perfect. He’s a sinner. I’m sure you’ll learn that soon enough. But God is merciful, and knows what He’s doing, and has delivered Pastor Peperkorn to you so that you mayhear and delare the praises of Him who calls us out to darkness into His marvelous light. Receive him as Christ’s man in your midst, love him and his family, for they are here for you. God will see it done, and will draw you up into Him on the Last Day.

So now, Pastor and congregation, come to the Altar of God with prayer and thanksgiving for all His mercies. come and receive Him who receives sinners and eats with them. Come and kneel before the Lord, who is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. Come, for all things are now ready.

Believe it for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

And now the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in true faith to life everlasting. Amen.

Benedictus (farewell sermon for Pr. Marcus Zill)

Nativity of St. John the Baptist, transferred (June 22, 2014)
St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church
Laramie, Wyoming
Rev. Todd A. Peperkorn
(Luke 1:57–80)
Farewell Service for Pastor Marcus Zill

TITLE: “Benedictus”

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen. Our text for today is the Gospel just read from St. Luke chapter one, the song of Zechariah.

In 1998, Bill Clinton was president of the United States. A.L. Barry was president of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, and there was this crazy fad hitting the country call the Internet. This past fall’s freshmen were right around 3 or 4 years old at the time. Sterling was but a wee pup, and Grant was a twinkle in his father’s eye. Bethany, Pastor Zill tells me, is as beautiful today as she was then. There was no Barack Obama in the White House. There wasn’t even a Bush or a Cheney in the White House! There was no 9/11, there was no second Iraq War, there was no Afganistan. In 1998, most of us hadn’t heard of this upstart rebel named Osama bin Laden. Matthew Shepherd was murdered in October of 1998, just a couple months before Pastor Zill arrived here. Pastor Zill’s favorite movie of the time wasn’t Godzilla, it was The Big Lebowski. (Okay, I just made that up, but it might be true…)

In just shy of sixteen years, Pastor Zill has done countless Baptisms and Weddings, a few funerals I expect, and by my reckoning, about 930 sermons. I leave it up to Pastor Zill to tell you whether he just repeated the sermons every four years or so. Maybe we can get that out of him later.

So in those years and time, Pastor Zill has carried out his duties here at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church. While I suppose we could talk about Higher THings, Christ on Campus, and this little project of his called LCMS-U, all of those really serve the ministry of the Gospel in this place. This is where things matter and find their purpose as a Lutheran pastor: pulpit, font, altar. This place, after all, is about God delivering His gifts ot His people in season and out of season. This place is about the forgiveness of sins in Jesus’ name, by water and Word, meal and the living voice of the Gospel. God creates faith in Jesus Christ here, has done so for generations, and will continue to do so long after Pastor Zill is gone. Our Lutheran forebearers put it this way:

1 So that we may obtain this faith, the ministry of teaching the Gospel and administering the Sacraments was instituted. 2 Through the Word and Sacraments, as through instruments, the Holy Spirit is given [John 20:22]. He works faith, when and where it pleases God [John 3:8], in those who hear the good news that God justifies those who believe that they are received into grace for Christ’s sake. 3 This happens not through our own merits, but for Christ’s sake. (AC V)

What this means in plain English, Pastor Zill, is that it’s not about you. It’s about Christ, and what He does for His people through sinners like you and me and all these vested Knights of the clerical table here. It means that St. Andrew’s will go on, because of Christ’s promise to continue to bless and visit His people.

And as for you, dear flock at St. Andrew’s, there is life after Pastor Zill. I know, crazy to think of, isn’t it? Losing a beloved pastor, well, it really stinks. Some of you probably feel betrayed. Most are grieving. A few of you may be rejoicing. Change does that to all of us. It is what this campus church goes through every spring and fall, only this time, it is your pastor who is leaving over the summer. What a strange thing!

But God has a remarkable way of giving His Church just what she needs at just the right time. In our text for this afternoon, we hear the story of how God provided a son, John, for Zechariah and Elizabeth.

God showed mercy on Elizabeth and gave her a son. God will provide a son for you, too, that he may be a father and an undershepherd for you. I, for one, am really looking forward to seeing what great things God has in store for you here.

One other thing is worth nothing. This is not a “move up” for Pastor Zill. I hope you know that. He is giving up his pulpit, font and altar because he believes so strongly in the ministry of the Gospel on our nation’s college and university campuses. He’s giving up the things he loves for do the most, so that many more may come into Christ’s kingdom. Frankly, I think he’s crazy. But you probably already knew that. He’s always looking on the bright side of life, even when they are more than a little crazy.

Zechariah confessed his faith in the God who keeps His promises. Hear the words again, for they are the heart of who we are as God’s people:

““Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us; to show the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant, the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.” (Luke 1:68–75 ESV)

Beloved of God, let us rejoice in His great mercies in sending us His Son, in sending faithful pastors and undershepherds, and in knowing that God will always give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death. Your future is secure, whether it be in Laramie, or Alburquerque, or wherever the Lord may lead. God is faithful. He will do it.

Believe it for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

And now the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in true faith to life everlasting. Amen.

2014-03-30 – Lent 4 Sermon: “Blind To Seeing” – John 9

Lent 4a, (March 30, 2014)
Holy Cross Lutheran Church
Rev. Todd A. Peperkorn
(John 9)

Sermon 3-30-14.mp3

TITLE: “Blind to Seeing”

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen. Our text for today is the Gospel just read from St. John chapter nine.

Who sinned, the man or his parents? That was the question they asked of Jesus. The man before Him had been blind from birth. This was no temporary illness, not injury or sudden onslaught from disease or malnourishment. He was broken to the core, from the time of his birth.

Whenever we see something terrible happening to someone else, there is one part of us that assumes he or she somehow deserved it. What sin had they committed in order to bear such a punishment? In Jesus’ day, this was even more so than now. A sickness was the sign of sin, and a sickness from birth was even a greater sin. This person was unclean from the very beginning. They could not enter into the presence of God, because of their imperfections

So it should come as no surprise that Jesus’ disciples wanted to know where He stood on such matters. Was it this man’s sin, or his parents?

Notice that Jesus doesn’t exactly answer the question. He doesn’t say whether it was this man or his parents. I am reminded of the words from Exodus chapter twenty, which we learn from our catechism:

“I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love Me and keep My commandments.” [Ex. 20:5–6]

Now the answer that we would like to hear is that neither has sinned. The man isn’t blind, he is differently enabled. It is not that he is broken, it is that he has different gifts and abilities than other people.

While this is, of course, true in one sense, it is hard to get around the very simple reality that God created us to live, and to see, hear, touch, taste and smell. That is how God created us, and when things don’t work that way, well, clearly something is not right. We cannot let our love and compassion teach us to act as though nothing is wrong. And make no mistake about it, sickness is wrong. It is not how God intended us to live. Jesus Himself would say in the next chapter of John’s Gospel:

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10 ESV)

God did not create in order to destroy. He does not delight in brokenness, or in seeing how we make such a huge mess of our lives. Far from it. He comes so that they may have life, real, full, abundant life in Him.

This is why Jesus comes to this man born blind, spits on the ground to make a divine mud-paste, and puts it on the man’s eyes. Man was made from the dust of the ground, and so it is that Jesus remakes creation from the mud of the earth. He anoints the man’s eyes with the mud. Then the man washes his eyes, baptizes them if you will, and he sees.

The Pharisees are not happy about this. Jesus isn’t playing by the rulebook. He doesn’t realize the man is ritually unclean, and that there must be some secret sin that someone did in order to get him in such a state.

Now it’s not that Jesus didn’t care; it’s just that, well, He didn’t care! Sabbath or no Sabbath, Jesus’ work of restoring creation will not follow anyone else’s schedule. Likewise, the once blind man doesn’t know where all this came from. He doesn’t understand all the fuss here. The Pharisees make accusations and point fingers, remember laws that they have made up to serve their own purposes. At one point they accuse Jesus of being a public sinner who should be condemned. The formerly blind man’s response is pretty good:

““Whether he is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.”” (John 9:25 ESV)

There is something deliciously, beautifully simple about this man’s response. I don’t claim to have all the answers, he says. But this I know, Jesus is the one who healed me.

So what does all of this mean to you, dearly baptized? It means this. St. Paul tells us that “…at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:8 ESV) Jesus Christ is God and man who came to earth to crush Satan underfoot, to rescue us from sin and death by His own death and resurrection. That’s who He is. That’s what He does.

Only the Son of God can do that. Only He can heal us of our sin, forgive us, and draw us up into God. He’s it. There is no one else that can do the things that He does.

Coming to Church is about receiving those gifts of God from the One who promises you all things. It is easy to give out advice. It is easy to give a motivational speech. Play the right music and you can get people into the mood for conversion. But only God can raise the dead. Only God can take poor, miserable sinners like you and me, lift us up and seat us at His heavenly table.

That is what God does for you here, in this place. He draws you here by His Word, and He heals you of your blindess. He heals you of your blind ignorance of His Word and Will. He heals you of your blindness to your neighbor and His need. And above all, He heals you so that you can look to Him for every need of body and soul.

That is what God does for you in this place. It is a place like no other, because He is a God like no other. Come, rest in the Word and Spirit of God Himself. Come and see the wonderful works of God, wrought for you on the cross and in the tomb, at the font and on this altar. Come and rejoice, for God Himself does all these things for you.

Believe it for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

And now the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in true faith to life everlasting. Amen.

At the Well (Lent 3a, 2014)

Lent 3a, (March 23, 2014)
Holy Cross Lutheran Church
Rev. Todd A. Peperkorn
(John 4:5–26)

TITLE: “At the Well”

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen. Our text for today is the Gospel just read from St. John chapter four.

The whole incident in John chapter four is rather strange. Not long after he had his nighttime conversation with Nicodemus, Jesus goes to a town of Samaria called Sychar. While he is there he is thirsty, and is sitting by a well. A woman comes by, a Samaritan woman, and Jesus asks her for a drink.

Now to you and me, this is not a big deal. He would like a drink but doesn’t have any way to get the water. He has nothing to use to draw the water from the well. Someone comes by and He asks for water. No big deal. Right? Wrong.

In Jesus’ day this was crossing the enemy lines. Jews and Samaritans never, never talk. They just don’t. They are sworn enemies. The Samaritans were half-breeds. They only accepted some of the Old Testament Bible. Many of them were considered traitors because they went along with the Romans in conquering the land. So for Jesus to ask her for a drink would be for us like siddling up to the bar with Charles Manson or someone equally evil, or worse. You just didn’t do it.

But Jesus did. Jesus went to this woman and asked for her help. He was not full of the pride and righteous indignation that infects us all. Pride of place and people and race. Pride of income and status. This pride had no place in our Lord, and so He asks for help. God’s glory is in showing mercy. That’s what makes him tick. That is who He is.

Before we move on to their conversation, it is worthwhile for us to stop and ponder the reality that Jesus asked for help. We value self-sufficiency above all things in our world. The young can’t wait to ride a bike so they can get away. Freedom! The teen or tween (?) can’t wait for a phone. Or a car! A job! Money! All the way to the end of our lives, that concept of independence is hard-wired into us as the goal, the very purpose for living. This is why it is so hard when you are set back on your kiester. You can’t drive like you once did. You may not be able to walk, or talk, or see, or hear, or many of the others things you did when you were young. We are all on that journey, some just farther along than others.

But Jesus here asks her to help him with the simple words, “Give me a drink.” Asking for help isn’t a sign of failure. It is, quite literally, divine. Jesus asks for and receives help from all sorts of people in the Bible, from Mary His mother all the way down to the women who cared for His body as He died. Receiving care from others is a sign of our humanity, and it is a sign that we are really, truly all in this together, this thing called life. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It was okay for Jesus. It is okay for you.

Ok, back to our regularly scheduled sermon. So when Jesus asks the woman for help, she is agast. “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” Sometimes we learn something from God that is so startling, so strange and amazing that we just stop, sit back and wonder in amazement at what is really going on.

But things are going to get stranger for her: “Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”” (John 4:10 ESV)

She doesn’t get it, not yet at least. He’s starting to talk about living water, using word-pictures to paint a glorious landscape of who God is and how He is the life-giving one. In Him was life, and that life was the light of men, as St. John said earlier.

She doesn’t seem to get it any better than Nicodemus got all of the “born again” stuff last week! Jesus is the Living Water which comes down from heaven. He is the one who provides life, not just for now, but forever. He is the source of life itself, just like everything lives today by its connection to water.

But eventually things start to get complicated for our Samaritan woman. It seems she wants to receive His teaching about the living water. So Jesus asks her to call her husband and come here. The woman says she has no husband. Which wasn’t exactly true. She had been married and divorced five times. We don’t know the cause of these divorces. What Jesus is pointing out to her is what she already knew: her life was messed up, almost beyond recognition. Nothing seemed to make sense in that world.

But here’s the thing. Jesus knew how sinful and messed up she was. And He still called out to her with the Gospel. That’s the key. Her sins were sins, but they were just sins. No more, and no less than anyone else. This woman had been shunned by her community, and certainly by the Jews already. And here comes this man who claims to be the Living Water, and what does He offer her? Life. Real life. Life in Him by Water and the Word.

Jesus knows that she is so broken, so sinful and twisted up that she didn’t even know what to ask for. Like so many others in the Scriptures, she could rightly say, “Lord, have mercy upon me, a sinner.” And He did.

So let’s bring this back to you. St. Paul reminds us in Romans chapter five that “…while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:6–8 ESV)

Jesus knows how weak you are, like that woman, like Paul, like the whole church before and today and tomorrow. He knows. And He says to you, “come and drink.” He bids you come and learn from Him, for He is gentle and kind. He knows your every weakness, your every secret sin and shame. He knows, but He does not hold them against you. Just the opposite, in fact. He takes those sins and carries them with Him to the cross, where they are nailed.

Jesus asked for help and received it. Today He offers you the help that you need in your weakness and sorrow, confusion and hurts and pains. Come and learn from Him. Come and drink of the living water which comes down from heaven. It will refresh you in the journey, and give you hope.

Believe it for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

And now the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in true faith to life everlasting. Amen.