St. John 20:19-23 – Ordination of Mike Nesbit
Zion Ev. Lutheran Church, McHenry, IL
December 9, 2012
In the Name of Jesus, who is coming soon. Amen. His Peace. His Hands. His side. His Breath. His apostling. His Forgiveness.
That’s what this is all about, Vicar. Jesus’ peace, His hands, His side, His breath, His sending, His forgiveness.
Peace be with you! The One who died has risen from the dead. See His hands. See His side. He lives – never to die again.
“Peace be with you. As the Father sent Me, so I apostle you.”
Apostello is the Greek word. His men are His apostles, His sent ones. Sent to a particular place at a particular time given to do a particular task.
He does the sending, not us. Pastors aren’t hired. They don’t really choose to be pastors. They are sent – apostled to do the task He would have them do.
You have been sent here to this place, Vicar. Yeah, you have a job, a task, a vocation that supports your family. Yes, it seemed that one day you were the head elder and the next day you were a collared up penguin.
But, the Lord Jesus has called you here. No doubts about it. No mysteries or trickery. No, He’s done it. He’s put you here. And we know this because He’s about to breath upon you.
Spirit and breath go together in the Old Testament. God got down on His hands and knees and breathed the breath of life, the spirit of life, into the man and the man became a living being.
The Lord does the same today with His words. He uses some hands to locate the place where His sending and breathing is going to happen. At the place today for his breathing is on you.
And the Lord doesn’t do partial breathing – like he’s giving you a half breath because you went through a different program that Pastor Loest and myself.
When the Lord gives, He gives the whole lot. When He sends, He does the whole sending. So, you are just as must sent here as Pastor Borghardt and Pastor Loest. Just as much a pastor as the two other fellas here.
You have been called here to baptize, to teach, to preach, and to administer the Sacrament. It’s not more real when one of the other pastors do it. The Lord doesn’t have “real” pastors and some guys who are SMP pastors. The Lord gives the whole lot for the task that you have been given to do at this place at this time.
And you couldn’t have been called to a better place, Vicar. You got THE call from the Lord. I did too. We won the lottery. We don’t deserve this!
Zion is a beautiful bride adorned for her Lord. She’s alive. She’s active. She’s pure. She’s holy. She’s the Lord’s.
At Zion sheep hear their shepherd’s voice. Here the oil burns in lamps in preparation for the Lord’s returning on the Last Day. Here the troubled receive forgiveness. Here salvation flows out the blood and water that flowed out of the side of the One who died on the Cross.
Building one another up, tending to those in need, feeding little children in the school, catechizing young people, caring for the sick and the shut-ins, with the Lord’s Calvary-won forgiveness splashed everywhere.
Loves flows abundantly from family to family to family and from our little congregation to those outside this place.
And your brothers in the ministry, Vicar, will say the same thing, about their parishes. Each one of them apostled exactly where the Lord would have them to the bride that He would have them serve. To the place specifically gifted for them to be at and they specifically gifted to their parish to serve as pastor.
Congregations may drive their pastors nuts, Vicar. They may beat us up. All we should expect from them is that they do to us as the children of Israel did to the Chief Shepherd of the sheep: to crucify us.
And through it all, the Lord has breathed on you for the purpose of saying to all of it: I forgive you all your sins.
To all sins: I forgive you. In all pain: I forgive you. In all sickness: I forgive you. In all suffering: I forgive you. Even in the face of death itself: In the stead and in the command of my Lord Jesus Christ, I forgive you all your sins.
The Lord is breathing on you, Vicar, to breath more of His life into this place with the forgiveness achieved by Jesus on the Cross. Give the same peace that you would have the Lord give to you to the people at this place.
But, if Zion would like to live in her sins, in her despising of her Lord’s name and word, ignoring her parents, hating each other, in her immorality, stealing and cutting corners, in her lies and gossip, in her coveting. You can retain her sins.
Don’t do that, Zion. Please. Don’t make your pastors retain your sins. Your Lord didn’t send us here to do that. He wants to douse you with the forgiveness flowing from His pierced side.
So, come out of your sins. Turn from them while there is still time. The Lord is near.
And, Vicar, always be ready to forgive. To have mercy. Even if arrows hit you in the back or they drive nails into your hands and feet. I forgive you all your sins.
For that’s why pastors are apostled to this place: the father wants to open heaven, to relieve troubled consciences, and to give peace.
For this isn’t about a title, Vicar. It’s not about being second in command. Or top dog. It’s about the Father sending His Son to these people. The Son has apostled you here to announce to them His peace.
For you are given a holy task, Vicar. A task that I’ve told you are ill-equipped to do. I am unworthy too. You’re gonna need to study. You are gonna need keep memorizing the catechism, praying, reading the Scriptures, studying those Confessions, working, and doing your class work. And when your classwork is over, it’s time for you to start teaching your Greek and Hebrew. I’ll teach you. It’s no problem.
And, Vicar, leave behind any attitude that you are doing enough or that you have another full time job. They wanna put a clock in for the school staff. Pastors don’t punch a clock. We do the task given to us to do.
You wanted this holy calling and now you are being put into it. To whom the Lord gives much, much is expected.
And Zion, I know you know this man as “Mike.” You have a great history with him. You have noticed that I haven’t called him that to you today.
There is no gift in “Mike” or “George.” You are free in Christ to call us anything you want. Well.. not anything… you know what I mean…
Mike Nesbit is about to be Pastor Mike Nesbit. Christ has called Pastor Nesbit. Mike has nothing to offer. He knows alittle about doors. But, after that… pretty useless.
But Pastor Nesbit can open the door of heaven for you. Your secret sins, Pastor Nesbit will absolve. In your sadness, Pastor Nesbit will bring you out with the Lord’s words. When your kids in the hospital, Pastor Nesbit will bring them the prayer. And when you are about to breath your last, Pastor Nesbit will be there to say, “In the stead and command of our Lord Jesus Christ, I forgive you all your sins.”
And y’all know that your pastors are perfect. We never make mistakes. Pastor Lobitz, Graef, Acton, Debenau, Knoer, Witt, always walked on water. And Pastor Loest? Nothing stinky ever comes out of that man!
And that present senior pastor, he is a bit quiet, serious, reserved, doesn’t like to change anything, is an early riser, and no one ever has anything bad to say about him.
No… the Lord doesn’t give some super charged holiness in His laying on hands. No, we are still sinners. We still are stinky skunks. I am. Pastor Nesbit too. So, when Pastor Nesbit makes a blunder, forgive him.
But, when Pastor Nesbit calls you to repent, receive him as you would receive Christ. For Christ is speaking through the man He apostled here. When Pastor Nesbit forgives you, receive the peace that flows from His hands and side.
That’s what this is all about! Jesus’ peace, His hands, His side, His breath, His apostling, His forgiveness.
“Peace be with you. As the Father sent Me, so I apostle you, Pastor Nesbit.” In the Name of Jesus, who is coming soon. Amen.