I propose a case study, a little thought experiment for self-evaluation. As good Lutherans we know that the Gospel is to predominate; that is we understand that the point, the goal, the end of the Scriptures is seeing Christ Jesus who is our Redeemer, who is the Author and Perfector of our faith.
Do we let the Gospel predominate? And by that I don't just mean does it take up more time in our sermons, or do we finish with it... but does the Gospel predominate and shape the way we view the Scriptures?
I have a test case, a case study for self-examination. Luke 2:41-52 The Boy Jesus in the Temple. Read it, ponder it, and then ask yourself, what is the point of this text? If you were to preach it to your congregation, what is the major point, what is the theme?
Go on. Think about it for a bit.
Pondering is good.
Alright. So what did you get? What sort of themes took the foreground in your head? And were they Law-centric or Gospel centric?
This text is a great study for this, because there are some fantastic law themes in the text. You can use the text as a springboard for examining all sorts of 3rd commandment and 4th commandment issues. They came to the temple as was their custom, Joseph and Mary faithfully brought Jesus, Jesus goes home and is submissive to them, He grows in stature and wisdom before God and Man. These are all wonderful, positive Law themes.
But what about the Gospel themes? That right there, you have the Word of God Incarnate expounding upon the Word of God? That you have Christ declaring that He must be about the Father's business of salvation? That the God who became man and tabernacled among us enters his temple to restore us.
What was your focus?
Is this text primarily an occasion to get in some good law, some good positive example, or is a revelation of the mysteries of the incarnation and our salvation in Christ?
In your own thinking, does the Gospel predominate?