“Higher Things” Reflection for July 21

 

For the LORD Most High is awesome; He is a great King over all the earth. Psalm 47:2 from the Introit for Trinity 7

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Just who is in charge of this crazy world? There are presidents and kings and queens and dictators and mobs. But who is really in charge? The Bible says the Lord is the true King of all the earth. How can that be? Most people don’t even believe in God and so many believe in some other god than Jesus Christ. How can Jesus claim to be King of this world?

Jesus is King of the world — not through an earthly, political kingdom, but because all things were made through Him and He gave His life for the world, for every sinner ever born. Jesus is King, crowned with thorns and whose hands and feet bear the marks that He has earned His title. Jesus is King because He has done what no earthly king could ever do: defeat death. No matter how rich or powerful the kings of this world are, they can’t escape death. But Jesus triumphed over death and so the Father has given to Him all authority and dominion.

And you are a citizen in this kingdom. In the divine service tomorrow, There will be proclamations and proclamations made on the King’s behalf. His herald, the pastor, will declare once again the King’s amnesty: criminals and sinners are forgiven. There will be no death penalty, no dungeon imprisonment. Behold, the King declares you are set free.

And not only that, like any good king, He’s providing for His people a great feast for them to enjoy. It’s a feast of His body and blood. Tomorrow is the King’s day for Him to take care of you, His subject. Here He promises protection against your enemies and life in His kingdom which never ends — His holy church now and forever.

Indeed Jesus, who was crucified and is risen is the great King over all the earth! In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

Glory to the Father sing, Glory to the Son, our king, Glory to the Spirit be Now and through eternity. LSB 332:8

Source: Higher Things : July 21, 2012 – Saturday of the Sixth Week after Trinity.

 

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“Higher Things” Reflection for July 16

I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Exodus 20:2

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. “If you love God, you’ll keep His commandments.” “Jesus is hurt when you do that.” “Jesus doesn’t like that, so stop it.” It would be nice if we could just stop sinning. But then if we could do that, we wouldn’t need a Savior.

The Ten Commandments teach us how God wants us to love Him and others. But it becomes clear pretty quickly that we don’t love either God or others. The Ten Commandments are like a list of all the wonderful gifts God gives us: His Name and Word, parents, our lives, and so on. Yet, realistically, we always want other things than our heavenly Father has given us.

So why does the Lord lay out the Ten Commandments for us if He knows we can’t keep them? If they are just going to show us our sin? He does it because He’s our God. He does it to show that He will keep them. All of Jesus’ whole life is the keeping of the commandments. Always loving His Father. Always loving you. And most especially on the cross. There He loves His Father and obeys Him even unto death. There He loves you by taking your sin and taking your place.

So if Jesus keeps the Ten Commandments, does that mean we don’t need to bother with them? Of course not. Baptized into Christ, by His body and blood living in you, Jesus lives and keeps those commandments through you by forgiving you your sins and by making holy all the works you do in God’s sight. As St. Augustine once said, “All the commandments are kept when what is not kept is forgiven.” That means whatever of the Law you’ve broken you’ve actually kept in Jesus for He not only keeps it but has forgiven you for breaking it.

Therefore as new people in Christ, we delight in the commandments and want to learn them. We want to see God’s gifts to us and learn to thank Him. We want to order our lives so that they glorify God and serve our neighbor. And all that is what Jesus does as He keeps the Law for us and in us and through us. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

The Law of God is good and wise And sets His will before our eyes, Shows us the way of righteousness And dooms to death when we transgress. LSB 579:1

Source: Higher Things : July 16, 2012 – Monday of the Sixth Week after Trinity.

“Higher Things” Reflection for July 13

But his wife said to him, “If the LORD had desired to kill us, He would not have accepted a burnt offering and a grain offering from our hands, nor would He have shown us all these things, nor would He have told us such things as these at this time.” Judges 13:23

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. You ever feel like the Lord is out to get you? Nothing goes right? Everything goes wrong. It rains and then pours—a miserable chain of events that pile up to cause you sadness and despair. Samson’s parents, when they saw the Angel of the Lord, were scared. They thought they might be doomed. But they weren’t.

And neither are you. After all, God can’t be out to get you when He Himself is your Savior. He can’t die for you on the cross and then crush you like a bug! He can’t say your sins are wiped out and then hold them against you!

The Lord is for you. He’s on your side. That’s why He was born, baptized for you, carried your sins, suffered for them, died, rose again and ascended to the right hand of the Father. All for you. It’s why He has baptized you, absolved you, taught you His Word and fed you with His body and blood. Jesus doesn’t do those things just so He can put an end to you!

God the Father accepts the sacrifice of His Son. Jesus offered Himself in exchange for you. He bore your sins so you don’t have to. He was forsaken by the Father so that you may see the Lord and not die. He gives us His Word so that we know what His heart toward us is one of grace and forgiveness, not vengeance and smiting.

It is our own sinfulness that causes us to fear the Lord. After all, the Lord could rightly punish us for our sins. But He doesn’t. Instead He bears them for us. While our sins can make God seem scary, and even the rough things in our lives seem to persuade us that God is against us, His Word and gifts are a certain and sure promise that God is all for us. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

If God Himself be for me, I may a host defy; For when I pray, before me My foes, confounded, fly. If Christ, my head and master, Befriend me from above, What foe or what disaster Can drive me from His love? LSB 724:1

Source: Higher Things : July 13, 2012 – Friday of the Fifth Week after Trinity.