Sunday, September 21, 2014

St. Matthew's

Matthew 9:9-13 - St. Matthew the Apostle & Evangelist - September 21, 2014
Jesus Is Our Merciful Physician
As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he arose and followed Him. 
Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples.  And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.  But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
Christ gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers.  He gave them for the Church.  We continue to benefit from the ministry of the apostles, prophets, and evangelists through Holy Scripture.  God commanded them to speak his words and for some to commit them to writing for our sake.  He gave them his Spirit to work in them and through them.  We hear and read the words they recorded and receive them as from God himself, because they are from God himself.  The Bible is a gift from Jesus. 
Jesus sends ministers today to teach us the Bible. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Trinity 13

Luke 10:21-37 - Trinity Thirteen - September 14, 2014
Jesus Is The Neighbor We Need
Jesus thanks his Father that he has hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes.   This here requires two things to be clarified.  First of all, who are the wise and prudent and who are the babes?  And second of all, what are “these things” that are hidden to some and revealed to others? 
The wise and prudent are those who know the law, but who don’t know what it is for.  They think that the law is intended to help them become righteous on their own.  They are foolish.  The babes, or the little infants, on the other hand, are those who know that they are sinners.  They are those who are helpless to fulfill what the law requires, because the law demands that they love from pure hearts.  We do not love as God requires.  We cannot.  We have neither the will nor the way, because we are poor miserable sinners who have been lost and condemned since before we were infant babes.  We know the law.  The law works wrath.  It is good that we know this.  For what is hidden from the self-righteous wise and prudent is revealed to us who have been born from above by water and the Spirit.  And so in simple faith we receive what Christ freely gives, as little children who desire true spiritual milk. 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Trinity 12

Mark 7:31-37 - Trinity Twelve - September 7, 2014
Ears to Hear and Tongues to Confess
“Sing aloud to God our strength; make a joyful shout to the God of Jacob. Alleluia.” 
We call him the God of Jacob.  This means that he is the God who wants us to rely solely upon his word.  That is always how he has revealed himself – through his word.  He does not reveal himself through our personal experiences.  In fact, our personal experiences deceive us.  They distract us.  They make us expect one thing when we should expect another.         Often we feel strong.  We feel close to God.  But we need to be brought low.  We need to be made weak.  God is our strength.  And we find his strength when we recognize how weak we are and cling to his word alone.  There true joy is found.            Often we feel forsaken.  We feel like God is too displeased or fed-up with us to continue to strive within us.  When this is how we feel, we need to repent, as David did, and as we sing: “Cast me not away from thy presence, and take not thy Holy Spirit from me.”  We are weak, but he is strong.  His strength is found in his mercy – where he is faithful to forgive us our sin and to increase our faith in him.