St. Thomas and the Incarnation
Thirty-two years ago, 21 December 1990, Dr. David P. Scaer preached a sermon on “St. Thomas and the Incarnation” in Kramer Chapel at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, the day before Christmas break. For me, personally, it may well be the single most influential sermon I have ever heard, because it changed the way I thought about the Holy Scriptures, Christ Jesus, and the preaching task in general. I’m not sure that I could ever put my finger on exactly what it was that made such a profound impact on me, but that sermon connected the dots for me in a way that tied everything I had been learning together.
It is, indeed, from the pulpit and the Altar that that all true theology comes to life and fruition for the blessing and benefit of the Church and all her members, her dear pastors included. And that is certainly a significant part of what Dr. Scaer’s sermon both said and did. And that in itself is a beautiful example of the genuine apostolic tradition, in which the preaching and administration of the Gospel is handed over from one generation of fathers in Christ Jesus to the future pastors of His beloved Bride.
You can read the text of Dr. Scaer’s sermon in the book, In Christ, Volume 1, published by the Concordia Catechetical Academy (Sussex, Wisconsin, 2004), beginning on page 278. I certainly can’t promise that reading the sermon will strike you in the way that hearing it in the seminary chapel impacted me back in 1990, but I’d still encourage you to take a look if you have the opportunity. It’s an example of liturgical preaching at its finest, tying together the celebration of St. Thomas the Apostle and the Nativity of Our Lord, Christmas and Easter, the Cross and Resurrection, and the Word with the Word-made-Flesh. In this it demonstrates that the Incarnation of the Son of God always aimed at and culminated in the Sacrifice of His Cross, His bodily Resurrection from the dead, and the Gift of His Flesh and Blood in His Supper.
“May we, O God, by grace believe and thus the risen Christ receive, whose raw, imprinted palms reached out and beckoned Thomas from his doubt.”