EPIPHANY 2, A –January 19, 2014

SCRIPTURES – Isaiah49:1-7; 1 Cor. 1:18-31; John 1:29-42; Psalm 19

 

The Lord says, He who formed me from the womb to be Hisservant, to bring Jacob back to Him; and that Israel might be gathered to him—Hesays: “It is too light a thing that you should be My servant to raise up thetribes of Jacob and to bring back the preserved of Israel; I will make you as alight for the nations, that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” Isaiah 49

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What is the value ofa human life? Well, the answer really depends upon who is asked. A search onthe internet last week found that:

  • If the parts of a healthy person’s body could besold they would fetch about $45 million (according to the Feb. 2011 issue of Wired magazine).

  • $5million is the value that the government, and businesses such as insurancecompanies, put upon a human life. They use this figure to determine the costbenefit of a policy or a course of action.

  • Membersof the military know what their value is: $400,000. That is the death benefit ofthe life insurance of military personnel who are killed in the line of duty.

  • Howabout $300 for a human being? $300 is the lowest amount charged by PlannedParenthood for aborting an unborn baby. Every year Planned Parenthood, the largestprovider of abortions in our country, kills over 300,000 human beings. That’sover 900 every day.

    What is the value ofa human life? It’s very important who you ask.

     

    What a blessing to be together here this morning and hear how God answers this question! What isthe value of a human life? In His Word, the Bible, God proclaims that:

     

    IN CHRIST YOUR LIFE HAS INFINITE VALUE

     

    That value is given at the verybeginning of life. Ps. 139:13-14 says, “You [Lord] formed my inward parts; youknitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully andwonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” Godis present in the womb, forming each one of us. We are the wonderful work ofHis hands!

     

    Sadly, however, Scripture also statesthat we are sinful even then. “Behold, I was sinful at birth, sinful fromthe time my mother conceived me,” confesses David in Ps. 51:5. This isnot God’s fault, but the fault of our first parents, Adam and Eve, whodisobeyed God, became sinful, and then passed on their sin to their children.Romans 5 points out: “Sin came into the world through one man,and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned… Onetrespass led to condemnation for all men. For by the one man's disobedience manywere made sinners.” The sins of your father and mother were passed onto you as surely as other characteristics were passed on. Like a disease orpoison that harms a developing baby, sin corrupted you. For this reason, withinthe womb is where God began His work of saving us from our sins. “TheLord called me from the womb, from the body of my mother he named my name,”says the Messiah in Isaiah 49. God in Christ reached into the womb with HisSon, conceived of a virgin and so present with a holy and pure nature. Hissalvation entered into the place where your sin began, and as our Creator andour Savior God stamped His infinite value upon us!

     

    Upon every one of us. Our world sooften stamps value upon a person on the basis of things like skin color, ornationality, or likability, or beauty, or wealth, or for a host of otherreasons. We fall into doing this ourselves, whether we express it or not. God’ssalvation in Christ is different. It is for everyone. He said of His Messiah, “Iwill make you as a light for the nations, that My salvation may reach to theend of the earth.” No matter what nationality or heritage; whetheryoung or old, male or female, rich or poor – even no matter how sinful you are– in Jesus you have a Savior! When He came, Jesus was pointed out to be “theLamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” He bears thetremendous debt of our sin and in return gives to everyone who believes in Himthe infinite riches of His holiness, so that we can even be called “saints,”holy ones! In Baptism this value was stamped upon you and you were sanctified,made holy in Christ Jesus. Infinite is your value in Christ! It is withoutmeasure and without end. How we need to keep this in mind!

     

    Who likes getting old? Perhaps theyoung, who look forward to when they’re older and can do more things. But, thatdesire sure changes, doesn’t it? Our society values youth; and, if we arehonest, we do, also.

  • How often do you speak of what you used to beable to do, and now can’t do? Do you look forward to what you will do?

  • What do you think and say about an organization,even a church, that has mostly older people as members?

    Whatdoes God say? In Leviticus 19:32 He says, “You shall stand up before the gray head andhonor the face of an old man, and you shall fear your God: I am the Lord.” Hecalls us to honor the elderly as we honor Him! He goes on to say in Isaiah46:3-4: “Listen to me, you who have been borne by me from before your birth,carried from the womb; even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I willcarry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save.”The value He gives you in Christ does not lessen with age. It reaches to theend of life… and beyond! Holy Scripture promises: “Beloved, we are God's childrennow, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when [Christ]appears we shall be like him.” (1 John 3:2) Like Him; Christ’s imageand value stamped upon us forever. This is what we have to look forward to!

     

    Stamp this value and this hope uponyour life now. Claim it and confess it! How important it is to do this. For, welive in a world which has such a poor value system.

  • Do you remember Gold Star Mothers? They aremothers who had a son or daughter killed in war. They would wear a gold star ontheir arm, showing the burden, and also the honor, they bore for theirsacrifice. Well, imagine putting a gold star on the arms of mothers whosacrificed their children through abortion. Their number every year would equalthe number of Gold Star Mothers from all of our nation’s wars combined, for everyyear in this country that many babies are aborted. Of course, they would neverwant to wear a star or be identified in any way, but many of them bear a burdenin their hearts. They need to hear of how God values every human life, and ofhow He gave His Son into death to forgive the sins of every person, no matterwhat their sin. There is hope and a blessed future in Christ for every sinner!This hope can direct our lives in honoring God.

  • Young people struggle with fear and feelings ofworthlessness as the challenges of life confront them more and more. Many turnto drugs and alcohol, and suicide is chosen so often that it has become one ofthe leading causes of death among teens.

  • But it is the elderly who have the highestsuicide rate in the nation. So many feel that their best days are behind themand are afraid of declining health in the days to come. Fraught with fear, theychoose to end their lives.

    Remember: no matter who and whatyou are, God has given your life infinite value in His Son! Baptized intoChrist, His life is bound to yours and His image is stamped upon you. Hold ontothis, and do not stop crying out to your Father in heaven. “God is faithful, by whom youwere called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord,”promises 1 Corinthians 1:9. “He will sustain you to the end.”

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    May the words of Psalm 19, ourIntroit, be our daily prayer: “Let the words of my mouth and themeditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and myredeemer.” In the name of Jesus, our Savior. Amen.