Pastor James Hopkins preached this sermon on the feast of Saint Mary, Mother of God 8/15/2021. The service was broadcast live on Facebook at 9:30am, and is now available on the FLC youtube channel. To follow along from home, the bulletin is available as a PDF: StMary Bulletin

The text for the sermon was the day’s gospel lesson. To read the Bible texts for the feast of Saint Mary, click here. 

It’s not a Lutheran gloss to say that the Feast of St. Mary is all about Jesus. It is. It has to be. Jesus Himself said it.

To the Emmaus disciples in Luke 24, He opened the Scriptures beginning with Moses and the Prophets, and He revealed to them that the Bible is all about Him and His Kingdom.

Again, in John 5, to those who thought they knew God rightly, Jesus told them that they won’t have eternal life by merely searching the Scriptures, because the Scriptures testify and bear witness about Him, whom they were rejecting.

So, in light of that, what does all of this mean? Well, for starters, it means that Jesus has a mommy, just like you. It means that even though He is God, Jesus gets His body from the same place that you get your body. It means that Jesus is fully Man. It means that Jesus has a family.

It’s a big family, and it is getting bigger every day. Reasonable, faithful people can disagree about whether Mary had other children after Jesus, her firstborn Son; but when we talk about Jesus’ family, we’re talking about you. That’s what St. Paul is talking about in today’s Epistle to the church in Galatia.

Paul writes that when the time was just right, God sent His only-begotten Son to be born of a woman. He came from heaven to earth to find you and bring you home. He was born under the law because that’s where you were: under the law. He insisted on joining you here, so that you could join Him there.

Because Jesus has perfectly kept that Law of God in your place, and because Jesus has willingly died in the place of you who couldn’t keep the Law, you are redeemed, bought back, freed from bondage, and… adopted as sons.

In Holy Baptism, you are adopted as God’s own children. By water and Word, God washes you into His family. That makes Jesus your big Brother. That makes God your Father. That makes you a member of His Kingdom now and always. That makes you a free citizen of heaven and an heir of eternal life.

When God makes us part of His family, He also shows us what our families should be like. A place where grace abounds and mercy prevails; a place where sins are forgiven, and people speak kindly to each other; a place where loving correction and gentle discipline are welcomed; a place of peace and calm even in the midst of hardship and suffering.

And if all of that is true – if we really share one Father, and if we really have the same big Brother in Jesus, then that makes us a family as well. And not as some sort of a platitude.

It matters nothing what color your skin is or what language you speak; it matters nothing how educated you are or how much money you make; a Christian is more your brother or sister than anyone else can ever be. You are a real, actual, family. And so, this same sort of beauty and order that God wants for our families, is also to be made known in the Church.

The way the Church lives together here is to be an example for the world. And if we give in to the same sort of selfishness and hostility that happens out there, then we ought to be as ashamed as the family that self-destructs in front of everyone in the line at Disneyland.

Of course, we’re not immune to this. The big difference between the Church and everyone else is not perfect behavior. The big difference is God’s grace in Christ: grace won for us on the cross, applied to us at font, pulpit, and altar, and lived out daily in forgiveness.

For all that, I’d still be remiss if I didn’t say something about St. Mary this morning. She is, in fact, and as Elizabeth says, blessed among women, the mother of our Lord; the Θεοτόκος, the God-bearer, as the Church and our own confessions have said.

She carried Jesus, raised Him up from a little Child, and faithfully suffered the piercing of her own soul, as she beheld the greatest horror any mother can imagine. She is, therefore, an example of faithfulness for us, and we praise God for her.

This is a natural expectation, I think. Any good boy speaks well of his mother. And you can be certain that Jesus is no exception. So, we ought to be saying the beautiful, blessed things that Scripture says as well.

But most moms can tell you that the lip-service gets old. What any mom really wants to hear is people praising her children. What a coincidence. That’s just what we’re here for.

By the same Holy Spirit who inspires us to call God, “Abba, Father,” we are caused to magnify the Lord and rejoice in God our Savior.

He has done great things for mother, Mary, and He has done great things for us. His mercy is on us who fear Him from generation to generation.

Christ has brought down Satan from his imposter’s throne, and He Himself, in humility, has been exalted, raised up on the cross, that He would raise you up also.

Now, this morning, He fills you, the hungry, with good things, even His own Body and Blood. All this He has done according to His promise to have mercy, which He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham, and to His offspring forever. This, He has spoken to you.

First Lutheran Church Sermon Archive


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