Lord God, give us grace by Your Spirit to hear Your glorious Word. Amen.
Text: Isaiah 55:1–5
“Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen diligently to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance. Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you – the sure mercies of David. Indeed I have given him as a witness to the people, a leader and commander for the people. Surely you shall call a nation you do not know, and nations who do not know you shall run to you, because of the Lord your God, and the Holy One of Israel; For He has glorified you.”
Here with our Lord Jesus in His Church is everything the soul needs: water for refreshment, wine for strengthening, milk for nourishment. 1) If you thirst for God, He is here to be found. If you thirst for forgiveness of sins, it is here to be gotten. If you thirst for righteousness and love, for holiness and enlightenment and peace, all these are here to enjoy. Here is the water of life. “If anyone thirsts,” Jesus says: “let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” (Joh 7:37-38). If you feel weak and tired and sick, He calls and says: “Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest” (Mat 11:28). Even if you are ready to drop, He will strengthen you so that you can “mount up with wings like eagles, run and not be weary, walk and not faint” (Isa 40:31). “The kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom 14:17). You shall receive everything that you need and can take comfort and joy, and with that the desire and strength to finish the battle of faith. The Holy Spirit shall bear witness with your spirit that you are a child of God and shall strengthen you powerfully with the joy of hope. 3) In the sincere milk of the Word and the heavenly meal of the Holy Supper is nourishment enough for your inner life. Here is food for your soul, so that you may grow in knowledge of God and heavenly wisdom, and food for your heart, so that you shall increase in love and ability to every good thing.
And all of this for free. So “buy” it here! “Nothing” is what you shall give for the good things of God’s house. So it is clear that all who desire can come and buy. For we all have “nothing.” We all have lost our own things, so that we have nothing with which to buy. Or do you perhaps still try to count your “money”: prayers, tears, deeds, sufferings? These are coins of plain lead, and you spend them for what is not bread: in the house of bondage and serving the letter of the law. No, in reality you have nothing. So come then and enter into the kingdom of grace, where Christ is Prince and all are free, where forgiveness of sins is the promise of the covenant, and hearing the Word is the way of life. If you can hear the Lord speaking: “Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat,” then you taste God’s love and grace and peace, and you have eternal life. O incline your ear and come to Jesus. Hear, and your soul shall live!
Give us grace to do this, merciful God! We lament and confess that we are hard of hearing when You speak Your life-giving Gospel. Dear Lord, have mercy on us, and open our ears by Your good Holy Spirit, that we may receive life and strength from the abundance of Your house. Amen.
Arise, arise, have you not heard
That God His love is sending?
He calls with His life-giving Word
Of grace and peace unending:
Now all poor sinners surely may
Come to receive from Him today
Eternal life and gladness!
Our God is meek and does atone
Us to Himself by His Son;
The Word declares what Christ has done
By His dear blood, O listen!
His Word awakens us to life
Who once were dead in sin and strife,
And we become God’s children.
O grant us, God, to us so dear,
Your Word be preached with power
That people ev’rywhere may hear
Your message in this hour,
That they may see Your grace so sweet
With us in joyous feast to meet
In Jesus’ gracious kingdom.
Brorson: Op alle folk paa denne Jord L 440:1.4.6 tr. DeGarmeaux;
tune: Ach, Gott, vom Himmel (ELH 440); alternate hymn: Come to Calvary’s holy mountain ELH 412:4