Thursday, April 18, 2013

Jesus As A Bankrupt Landowner For You!

I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Ghost has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith
The statement above, from the small catechism of Martin Luther, refers to the third article of the Apostles creed. This speaks of the miraculous working of the Holy Spirit in calling us to Jesus, gives us the faith to trust in Jesus, makes us holy in the sight of God and keeps us in the faith.
How is it that one can hear the story of Jesus crucified for sinners and still not believe? People are inclined to trust things that are reasonable. The parables testify of  Our Lord Christ. Let us see how he presents himself to us;
And when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, up to the first.’ And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius. Now when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more, but each of them also received a denarius. And on receiving it they grumbled at the master of the house, saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’
(Matthew 20:8-12 ESV)
This is clearly not instruction for the Christian businessman! To run a business in such a manner would spell disaster. After those who worked the entire day observed those who worked one hour yet received the same pay no one would show up until late the next day. The work would never get done.
Salvation in Jesus does not at all depend upon our efforts or how long we have been living in trust on Jesus alone. A person born and raised in the faith has no larger claim than the thief on the cross. Each have the full forgiveness won for the world by the crucifixion, burial and resurrection of Jesus.
Trust this good news and live in its peace. Amen †

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Jesus As A Suffering Father For You!

prodigal son
Due to our fallen human nature we are in total hatred of the true and living God. When examining the world’s religions we see each one is based on a common sense view of a god, if they have one at all.
And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.
(Luke 15:20 ESV)
The above line is taken from the parable Jesus taught the “Prodigal son.” The story goes that one of a man’s two sons told him to give him his share of the inheritance. In effect he wanted the father to drop dead for an inheritance only happens after one has died.
Letting the son have this inheritance is not good advice for raising children. It is actually a ridiculous and unreasonable story that speaks to our Lord’s love for the sinner. In that society a request of that nature would possibly had the brat stoned to death. The father was a well-to-do land owner and would be expected to abide by the law of the land. In our society we do not stone our brat children but can disinherit them legally in response to such a display of hatred and contempt.
“But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.’”
(Luke 15:17-19 ESV)
Now we have the lad starting to use his brain. However, this is still showing contempt for his father. He is returning home to become a well paid and cared for servant. Even in his statement to the father one can see the manipulation he is planning on using.
This parable is an earthly story with an earthly meaning. This shows how Jesus goes about doing his Lord and Savior job. In return for the contempt we show him by sinning against him he greets us with grace and the forgiveness of sin. This is not the type of God we actually want. It is an insult to us who would never expect that treatment from anyone on this earth. This is shown by the attitude of the other brother.
Jesus took our sinful contempt for him to the cross, had it nailed to the cross with him and we are no longer held accountable for that sin. We continue, no matter how hard we try, to show contempt for God by our sin. If we notice avoiding an actual sin we are filled with pride at how we have improved or how much better we are than others. Through trusting in this strong promise we have been justified through that trusting. No works are necessary from us to have this justification.
Trust this good news and live in its peace. Amen †