Slave to a Theme
I have been preaching on the Eisenach epistle series this church year. Sometimes they make me want to scream. Tomorrow's text is a case in point: Hebrews 4:9-13:
Judging from Lenski's analysis of the Eisenach series, much thought was given to grouping the texts into very precise and pointed themes. And in keeping with the theme of this text: "Strive to enter the Sabbath rest", we get this nice doozy at the end: God sees everything that you do, and you have to give account to Him. So don't screw up.
Great. Nice place to end, guys. I mean seriously, would it have killed you to add a couple more verses where the threat of the Law resolves into the sweet and comforting Gospel that rescues us from despair and fixes our eyes firmly on Christ, our Redeemer? :
Oh, but that would mean we would bring Christ as our High Priest into the text, and that is not in keeping with the theme of the day. Well if the Eisenach editors were slaves to a theme, then at least I do not have to be a slave to their pericope and can freely include the verses that they did not.
Thematic preaching is nice, but over-rated, particularly when the theme eclipses the text itself. Go read Luther's sermons. No themes in sight. Anywhere. Why? Because the theme is always the same: You are a sinner. Repent! Receive the forgiveness of sins in Jesus Christ. Amen.