“Higher Things” Reflection for July 22

 

Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things to her. John 20:18

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Mary was the first person to see Jesus alive after He had died. She had seen Him on the cross, bleeding, dying, dead. She had seen the tomb where He was laid. She had gone to give His body a proper anointing once the Sabbath was over. Can you imagine her grief? Her surprise? Her joy?

St. Mark records that after His resurrection Jesus first appeared to Mary, out of whom He had driven seven demons. Mary had once been under the awful influence and control of Satan and Jesus had rescued her. By showing Himself to her on the day He rose from the dead, Mary learns that her rescue from the devil and death are really true!

Mary is the reminder that Jesus conquers all our enemies. She, like us, was in bondage to sin and death and Jesus set her free. He set her free, not only because He speaks His Word, but also because His is the Word of the One who died and rose, defeating the devil and conquering death. Mary Magdalene on Easter is the picture of Christ’s promise and the example of our hope that Jesus truly has defeated all of our enemies.

Many silly legends and false stories have arisen about Mary Magdalene. But the truth is the Lord granted to her the wonderful gift of seeing Him alive after He had been dead. She was the first witness of the resurrection. That a woman should see such a detail would seem a preposterous idea in that day and culture and so her witness of Christ’s being alive is all the more sure because it isn’t the sort of detail you can make up. And Mary thus serves as a picture of all Christians, part of the church, the Bride of Christ who, by the witness and testimony of Mary and others who saw Jesus, believe that He lives and the victory is won.

Now Mary is to find Christ in the church, just as we are. No hanging on to Jesus at the tomb but now, in His church, we cling to Jesus in the waters of our baptism, His Word and body and blood. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

Almighty God, Your Son, Jesus Christ, restored Mary Magdalene to health and called her to be the first witness of His resurrection. Heal us from all infirmities, and call us to know You in the power of Your Son’s unending life; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever. Amen. (Collect for the Festival of St. Mary Magdalene)

via Higher Things : July 22, 2012 – St. Mary Magdalene.

 

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“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.

 

“Higher Things” Reflection for July 15

“But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire. Matthew 5:22

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. The hardest thing to get about the Ten Commandments is that they all apply to everyone. Everyone has broken all of them. You are a murderer. How’s that? You haven’t killed anyone? Oh, really? You haven’t been angry at someone? Your brother or sister or parents or friends? Called them names. Cussed at them. Wished they were dead. Told them they’re stupid. Wanted to never speak with them again. Jesus says when you get angry like that, you’re a murderer even if you didn’t pull a trigger.

That’s our problem with the Law of God. It always shows that we’re worse than we think we are. It always exposes, deep down, inside and out, the fact that we’re sinners who deserve nothing but punishment. Oh, you had a good reason to be angry? So does the Lord! And if He treated you in His anger the way you want to treat others when you’re mad at them, you’d be doomed.

But here’s what Jesus teaches us. God is not angry at you. He’s angry at His Son. Why? What did Jesus do? He did what you did. You’re not a murderer. Jesus is! After all, didn’t He take the place of a murderer when they sent Him to the cross? He took your place there, too—murderer and every other kind of sinner that you are.

According to the Law, the Fifth Commandment, you are a murderer. According to Jesus, you are a child of God because He took your murdering and made it His own and washed away all your sins when you were baptized. The Law says you’re a murderer. Jesus says, “No, you’re not! I will be the murderer. Condemn Me.” So He dies for your sin and rises again. No more murdering for you. Jesus has kept the Law for you and paid the price for your breaking it. Every dotted “i” and crossed “t” of the Law has been taken care of for you by Him. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

Lord of all power and might, the Author and Giver of all good things, graft into our hearts the love of Your name, increase in us true religion, nourish us with all goodness, and of Your great mercy keep us in the same; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. Collect for Trinity 6

Source: Higher Things : July 15, 2012 – The Sixth Sunday after Trinity.

Commemoration of Isaiah

Today is set aside to commemorate the Holy Prophet Isaiah.

Isaiah son of Amoz is considered to be the greatest of the writing prophets and is quoted in the New Testament more than any other Old Testament prophet. His name means “Yahweh [the Lord] saves.” Isaiah prophesied to the people of Jerusalem and Judah from about 740 B.C. to 700 B.C. and was a contemporary of the prophets Amos, Hosea, and Micah.

Isaiah was a fierce preacher of God’s Law, condemning the sin of idolatry. He was also a comforting proclaimer of the Gospel, repeatedly emphasizing the Lord’s grace and forgiveness. For this he is sometimes called the “Evangelist of the Old Testament.” No prophet more clearly prophesied about the coming Messiah and his saving kingdom. He foretold the Messiah’s miraculous birth Isaiah 7:14; 9:6, his endless reign 2:1–5; 11:1–16, and his public ministry 61:1–3, but most notably his “Suffering Servant” role and atoning death 52:13-53:12.

The apostle John’s description of Isaiah, that Isaiah saw Jesus’ glory and spoke of Him John 12:41, is an apt summary of Isaiah’s prophetic ministry. The seraphim’s refrain of, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts, Isaiah 6:3” during his call into the prophetic ministry Isaiah 6 is the basis of many Christian hymns and liturgical pieces.

Source: Aardvark Alley.

A collect for today from Blog of the Ninja Pastor:

Lord God heavenly Father, in the earliest days after the Fall, you immediately proclaimed to our first parents the promise one day of a savior. Through the mouth of your servant Isaiah you reaffirmed that promise and foretold His virgin birth. O Father, we thank you for sending to us your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ our Lord. We thank you that sent Him to be our own suffering servant, that all our sins and sufferings were laid upon Him. Let the words and the example of Isaiah point ever and always to Your Son Jesus Christ, that we might be given faith to receive the forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation that He won for us on the wood of the cross. In Jesus’ name, Amen.