Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall. H. D. had a great fall; All the kings horses and all the kings men couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty back together again! Someone has written this response:
Lord, what I really wonder about Humpty Dumpty is – Why was he up on that wall?
Everyone knows if he hadn’t been, he would have avoided that fall.
Was it merely a whim, or response to a dare – Or did he have good reason for being there?
Regardless, I DO know that what all the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t do –
The King of kings COULD! And the K. of K. DID!
The King of kings, Jesus, PUTS US BACK TOGETHER AGAIN!
Have you thought of yourself as Humpty Dumpty (H.D.)? I’m guessing probably not… but God’s Word gives us Good News when we do!
Like Humpty Dumpty, we too have “sat on the wall” – been in places or situations where we shouldn’t have been (What / where is your “wall” – i.e. place(s) you shouldn’t be / have been?) and had a great fall – i.e. given in to the temptations (i.e. sinned by thought, word or deed) and, like H. D. we regularly NEED Jesus, the King of Kings to “put us back together again.”
But we certainly don’t want to admit this, and we certainly don’t want to get caught!
A little boy went to the store to buy a gift for his mother. He told the sales clerk that he wanted to buy her a cookie jar, but after looking at several, he asked, “Don’t you have one with a lid that doesn’t make noise when it’s picked up and put back down?”
None of us likes to be caught in our sin, or have anyone tell us that we are wrong. We would rather cover up our sinfulness while pointing the finger and exposing the sins of others. We see this in our Scripture readings today. And we see the Good News that when God DOES expose our sins and we truly recognize and confess our “fallen-ness,” by God’s precious gift of full and free forgiveness, we see how God continues to work His miracle of “putting us back together again.”
In the OT reading, 2 Samuel 12, King David is an example of how far we can “fall,” how “broken” we can become, especially as one sin leads to another and another. God’s Word tells us: “One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof (“wall”) of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman (Bathsheba) was very beautiful… David sent messengers to get her. [sinful coveting] She came to him, and he [committed adultery] with her.” (2 Samuel 11:2-4) When David found out that his sin would be exposed because Bathsheba was pregnant, he had her husband Uriah killed in battle [murder] and “after the time of mourning was over, David had her brought to his house [stealing], and she became his wife [adultery]. (2 Samuel 11:27) [It goes without saying: “The thing David had done displeased the LORD.” (v.27)] So, the LORD in His great love and wisdom sent Nathan to tell David a story about a rich man stealing and killing the only lamb of a poor man. IT WAS QUITE OBVIOUS for David to see the sin of the rich man: “burning with anger… David said, ‘the man who did this deserves to die!” (v.5) And Nathan (knowing that the judgment was correct) declared the message of Law, “You are the man!”
What a terrible realization to be told, “You are the man / the woman!” to have the spotlight of God’s Law expose our specific sins! It’s one thing to kneel with a congregation and generally confess that we are “sinful and unclean,” and quite another to personally be confronted and condemned by our sins! But before we can be “put back together again” by God’s gracious forgiveness, God’s Law must be spoken to us, or like David, we too cover up our sins and live in our brokenness as if everything is all right.
It’s so natural to also be like Simon, the Pharisee, in today’s Gospel (Luke 7). In his self-righteousness, Simon did not identify himself with “Humpty Dumpty.” He had invited Jesus to his house for dinner when “a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town” (Luke 7:37) came and made quite a scene! In her love for Jesus and her great thanks for being “put back together again” by Jesus, she washed Jesus’ feet with her tears, drying them with her hair, anointing Jesus’ feet with perfume and kissing them over and over again! Simon, self-righteously pointed his accusing finger at the “brokenness” of the woman and at Jesus, setting himself up as much better! So, in His great love, Jesus told Simon a story about two debtors, one who owed 1.5 year’s wages and the other who owed about 2 week’s worth of wages; both of whose debts were graciously canceled! When Jesus asked Simon which debtor would be the most grateful, Simon correctly answered, “the one who had the bigger debt canceled.” (v.43) And Jesus pointedly told Simon that it was evident that this woman had benefited from the full and free forgiveness of sins as evidenced by her actions of love and thankfulness, but Simon was still deceiving himself and broken because he refused to a) recognize his great fall (debt of sin), and b) he refused to “be put back together again.”
Without repentance – humbly confessing our total guilt (“great fall!”) and readily acknowledging that “all the kings’ horses and all the kings’ men (nothing we can do) could put us back together again – without true repentance – there can be no forgiveness. This is why congregation members can come to church Sunday after Sunday, say the mere words of confession, hear God’s Word of Law and Gospel proclaimed; even come to the Lord’s Supper! But still be uncertain about being forgiven; because they first have refused to be identified with H. D. – “sat on the wall, had a great fall, totally broken!”
Only as God’s Word of Law does its work (Nathan and David); “You are the man / woman!” – recognizing and confessing our “great fall” – only then can be humbly confess: “I have sinned against the Lord! And what good news when Nathan (immediately) replied (with the Good News) “The Lord has taken away your sin… “ (2 Samuel 12:13) Jesus assured the woman, “Your sins are forgiven…” (Luke 7:48) Jesus speaks to us today in the Absolution after confession, “Almighty God in His mercy has given His Son to die for you and for His sake forgives you all your sins…”
Now, forgiven in Jesus, our lives are changed! Like the woman in the Gospel reading, we who have been forgiven much, love much! And that shows in lives of loving service to God through our love and service to one another.
Living in that forgiveness daily – we love, serve and obey our Savior in all that we do and say. See you in worship and Communion this coming weekend!
Pastor Dan Myers