Sermon for 03.16.22 “A Miracle of Miracles”

*Lenten Midweek 3 Text: Genesis 39:1–21; Luke 22:31–51 Theme: “A Miracle of
Miracles” *

*In the Name of the Father…Amen.*

*The two readings from Scripture serve as our sermon texts this morning.*

*Grace, mercy, and peace be yours from God the Father through our Lord and
Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.*

*Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray:*

*769 Eternal Spirit of the Living Christ*

*Eternal Spirit of the living Christ, *

*I know not how to ask or what to say;*

*I only know my need, as deep as life, *

*And only You can teach me how to pray.*

Text: © 1974 The Hymn Society, admin. Hope Publishing Co. Used by
permission: LSB Hymn License no. 110000247


*Luther calls it “a miracle of miracles.” *

*That Joseph doesn’t lose hope, *

*that Joseph doesn’t lose faith, *

*that Joseph doesn’t give in to temptation and lose his virginity in a
shameful and wicked sin—*

*it is a miracle of miracles.*

*3. The devil attacked Joseph with many temptations.*

*Let’s not forget that Joseph was just a boy. *

*Or was he a man? *

*He was just seventeen years old when his brothers sold him to the
Ishmaelites. *

*We aren’t told how old Joseph was by the time he rose to prominence in the
house of Potiphar. *

*But let’s say that he celebrated a birthday somewhere along the line.
Let’s assume he’s eighteen. *

*We know that he’s a handsome fellow. *

*And we also know that he has the kind of character and faith and wisdom
that few men of any age possess.*

*The devil is attacking Joseph on two different fronts. *

On the one hand, the devil is tempting him to doubt and despair and defeat,
leading him to conclude that he’s been forgotten and forsaken by God—even
as he was betrayed by his own brothers.

*How easy it would have been for Joseph to abandon the faith he had been
taught by his father. *

*How easy it would have been to give in to despair and depression—or to be
consumed by hatred for his betraying brothers.*

*As if that wasn’t enough, his boss’s wife is trying to seduce him on a
daily basis. It would have been so easy to give in to that temptation—so
easy for Joseph to justify a illicit sexual relationship. *

*What harm would there be? Who would ever know? *

*Luther expressed it this way: “Joseph spurns and rejects an opportunity so
convenient and so full of safety, power, favor, and pleasure” (AE 7:77). *

*But Joseph does not waver. He calls adultery what it is. He calls sexual
immorality what it is. He says, “How then can I do this great wickedness
and sin against God?” (verse 9).*

*From where does Joseph (eighteen-year-old Joseph!) get this strength and
clarity of character? *

*How does he so clearly differentiate between right and wrong? *

*Please bear in mind, he’s got no Sixth Commandment to draw upon, no
catechism to consult, no pastor to preach to him. *

*(The two tablets of stone and Mount Sinai are still over 450 years in the
future, and Luther’s Small Catechism is more than three thousand years down
the line.) *

*Nor can Joseph just crack open his Bible for strength and guidance to
sustain him in his time of trial. (There was no Bible written yet!) *

*All Joseph has is the Law of God written in his heart and the promises of
God passed down from his father. *

*And yet, with only those little crumbs to draw upon—miracle of
miracles!—faith reigns in the heart of this young man. *

*Two thousand years before the apostle Paul would implore the Christians at
Corinth to flee from sexual immorality because their bodies were temples of
the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:18–20), *

*Joseph fled from sexual immorality, recognizing that his body was a temple
of the Holy Spirit.*

*2. We face many similar temptations today.*

*This has all been written down and recorded for you. *

*It’s being preached and proclaimed for you. *

*Because the temptations to sexual immorality and adultery are everywhere
today. *

*Potiphar’s wife, with her promises of sex and sin without
consequences—she’s everywhere. *

*She’s on your television screen and your computer screen. *

*She’s in your phone—your phone that never leaves your side and happily
hides all your secrets. *

*The devil never quits, never eases up, never stops seeking to violate your
chastity and destroy your faith.*

*And so this episode from the life of Joseph comes to confront us here
tonight. *

*And we know that this episode is true—that it really happened—because of
the Bible’s brutal honesty. *

*Because Joseph’s great faith and his steadfast refusal to sin did not
result in applause and accolades and promotions. *

*Instead, no good deed goes unpunished. *

*Things go from bad to worse—out of the frying pan and into the fire—and
Joseph descends into the hell of prison.*

*If that’s what happened to Joseph—*

*whose faith and life were above reproach in every way—*

*should not we expect far worse? *

*With our faltering faith and our sin-filled lives? *

*We should indeed expect nothing but temporal and eternal punishment . . .
were it not for our new and greater Joseph.*

*1. Jesus was tempted in every way for us, as our sacred substitute.*

*Jesus is our new and greater Joseph. *

*He was tempted in every way, just as we are, yet was without sin. *

*Jesus took on the temptations of a thousand wives of Potiphar and never,
ever, took the bait—never did what would have been convenient or easy and
pleasurable. *

*Why not? *

*Because he battled temptation for you—as your sacred substitute.*

*Where you fail, he succeeds. *

*Where you stumble, he stands firm. *

*Where you are weak, he is strong.*

*And—miracle of miracles!—Jesus undertakes a great exchange with you. *

*He takes your guilt and gives you his innocence. *

*He bears your sin and absolves you of everything. *

*He drinks deeply from the cup of God’s wrath against your sin, so that you
might sample the sweet wine that is his blood once shed for you, for the
forgiveness of all your sins. *

*He takes your punishment and dies your death so that you might die to sin
and rise again to life everlasting.*

*Just like Joseph, Jesus humbled himself and made himself nothing, taking
the very nature of a slave. *

*Just like Joseph, Jesus went around doing good in all things: *

*preaching the Gospel, *

*casting out demons, *

*cleansing lepers, *

*giving sight to the blind, *

*feeding the hungry, *

*stilling the storms, *

*and even raising the dead. *

*But for Jesus—like Joseph—there would be no applause or accolades or
promotions. *

*No good deed would go unpunished for this good man. *

*Shouts of “Hosanna!” would give way to cries of “Crucify Him!”*

*He came to his own and his own did not receive him. *

*One of his own betrays him with a kiss.*

* So it goes for Jesus. *

*So it goes for Joseph. *

*And so it goes for you.*

* When Jesus, like Joseph, Takes on Temptation, It Is for You.*


*This world will little note nor long remember the times when you stand
firm against temptation. *

*When you, by the grace of God, lead a sexually pure and decent life in
what you say and do—when you say no to sin and yes to the Lord Jesus, who
loves you and gave himself for you—the angels may be rejoicing, but their
cheers won’t reach your ears. *

*Luther says, “You must never hope the world will acknowledge . . . your
faithfulness and diligence, for it does the opposite” (AE 7:97). *

*Like Joseph, your good conduct could even land you in prison, or worse.*

*But, miracle of miracles, you are precious to the Lord Jesus Christ. *

*In Holy Baptism, he has made your body to be a temple of the Holy Spirit.*

*You belong to the Lord—body and soul—redeemed by Christ the Crucified.

*Let us pray:*

*769 Eternal Spirit of the Living Christ *

*Come, pray in me the prayer I need this day; *

*Help me to see Your purpose and Your will—*

*Where I have failed, what I have done amiss; *

*Held in forgiving love, let me be still. *

*Come with the strength I lack, bring vision clear *

*Of human need; O give me eyes to see*

*Fulfillment of my life in love outpoured, *

*My life in You, O Christ; Your love in me.*

*Text: © 1974 The Hymn Society, admin. Hope Publishing Co. Used by
permission: LSB Hymn License no. 110000247*

*The peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and
minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.*

*In the Name of the Father…Amen.*