Monthly Archives: March 2016

The Resurrection of Our Lord – John 20:1-18

Mary. One word. That’s all it took for Mary Magdalene to recognize Jesus outside the tomb. She thought He was the gardener. She thought she could be led to Jesus’ corpse and take care of the body herself. When Jesus spoke her name, everything changed.

Just one look. That’s all it took for Peter and John. They ran to the tomb after Mary Magdalene told them they have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him. John outran Peter to the tomb. Both went in, saw the scene, and believed. They believed what Mary told them, but not what Jesus told them about His resurrection. John writes, seemingly an afterthought, the disciples went back to their homes. Game over. Time to get back to their old jobs. One look into the tomb doesn’t do anything for them, at least for now.

I have seen the Lord! Mary Magdalene gets the privilege of announcing Christ’s resurrection to the disciples. A woman telling what she saw to a group of men and women. This should be the disciples’ job, but they are either at home or gathered with each other in shock. Shock is a good word to describe the scene in today’s Gospel. Everyone mentioned here heard what Jesus said about His death and resurrection, but it seems to make no impact with them until either they see Jesus or hear that Jesus has risen from the dead. Even then Thomas, one of the Twelve, would not believe until a week after the resurrection. He wasn’t there that night when our Lord rose from the dead.

What we have before our eyes is a comedy of surprise. A woman is the first to see an empty tomb. Two disciples race each other to the tomb to see if Mary Magdalene is a liar. Note how John kind of takes a dig at Peter by saying he beat him in the footrace to the tomb. Two angels in white ask her why she weeps. Mary finally sees Jesus, but not after mistaking Him for the gardener. The scenes are like watching a Jerry Lewis or Jim Carrey film. There’s lots of running around and not paying attention to what people say or what comes out of their own mouths.

That’s a welcome sight compared to how our Lord’s resurrection is greeted today. Cynicism and rank hostility greets our Lord’s resurrection these days. Those first few verses of First Corinthians chapter 15 are unbelievable to many because they don’t make sense. Over 500 witnesses can’t be wrong, unless you think there’s a conspiracy at hand. 500-plus people are a small sample of people. You can certainly brainwash that many people into believing something happened. Bigger numbers are expected if you really want people to believe. Even better is for the resurrected Christ to park His flesh and blood in front of me so I can give Him the Thomas treatment. His hands, feet, and side have to match what is written or I don’t believe it.

The real comedy of this scene in John chapter twenty is that Jesus told them exactly how everything would happen…and it didn’t make sense to them, even when He all but puts Himself before their faces. No wonder people today are so cynical about the resurrection, let alone the existence of Christ or His Father. You would think that our Lord’s hand-picked group of followers would get it without needing constant reminders. You would be wrong, for our Lord only deals with sinners.

Sinners forget things. Sinners don’t let what is said about their eternal welfare cling to their short-term or long-term memory. Sinners worry too much about what’s happening now. Sinners look for a backstop in case the current situation unravels before their eyes. Sinners always have a back-up plan for their salvation, even when Jesus tells them He has it all under control.

Consider the Israelites as they literally stand between the devil (Pharaoh’s army) and the deep blue sea (the Red Sea). What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt? Moses tells them, Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will work for you today. Then comes the impossible made possible. The Israelites leave Egypt on dry ground, rescued by the Lord God passing through water while Pharaoh and his horsemen drown as they try to follow. Thus the Lord saved Israel that day from the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. Israel saw the great power that the Lord used against the Egyptians, so the people feared the Lord, and they believed in the Lord and in His servant Moses.

The same Lord God Who rescues His chosen people through water on dry ground also saves you by sending His only-begotten Son to take on the punishment you deserve because of sin. Your sin, your disobedience, and your missing the mark of perfection sends Jesus to the cross. His blood and righteousness covers you. His resurrection is your hope for eternal salvation. Just as Jesus calls out Mary’s name, so He will call out your name on the Day of Resurrection. He will call out all names of all who have been led through the water of baptism from death into life. You will see your Savior. You will live with Him, in His presence, forever.

This is no comedy. This is Truth. You cling to this Truth in the Word that proclaims you alive to God in Christ Jesus. This Word washes you, feeds you, declares you forgiven, and raises you from the dead. Even after our Lord ascends to heaven, He remains with us in His Gifts of preaching and the Sacraments. There we find Him, where He said He will be. There you see the Lord forgiving and restoring sinners, just as He promises.

One word. One look. One Lord. One faith. One Baptism. One God and Father of us all, Who has raised His Son for your justification. What more is there to say but He has triumphed gloriously. One more thing:

Alleluia, Christ is risen!


Good Friday – Isaiah 52:13-53:12

Good Friday is a unique day in the church year. A note of sorrow runs through Vespers as our most faithful Friend, Jesus Christ, died under the most bitter sufferings. We are to blame for His death, so we mourn not only our sins, but also His death. A note of joy runs through Vespers as well because His death brings us life.

This day was prophesied long ago by Isaiah. His prophecy shows us His bitterness in His suffering and death. By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? Christ’s soul suffered much bitterness as He watches His own people send Him to the cross.

Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. Isaiah perfectly describes how the suffering Servant will die. His death will make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. When Jesus sheds His blood for your sins, a judicial transaction takes place. Your sins no longer count against you. They are credited to Jesus Christ, the perfect Lamb of God, Whose offering of blood on your behalf accounts you righteous before God Almighty.

Isaiah also shows us the reason why Jesus suffers and dies for your sins. Although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth, He suffers violence and deceit for your sake. Jesus becomes our surety for us poor sinners and indeed for every sinner, for the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. Every sin ever committed, past, present, and future, is paid for in Christ. Your sins send Jesus to the cross. Jesus willingly suffers for your transgressions. Though your sins are like scarlet, they are as white as snow in the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ. You have sorrow, but in the midst of sorrow there is joy, for it is finished.

Isaiah also shows us the fruit of our Lord’s suffering and death. He sheds blood and dies. You receive, by faith, salvation from sin, death, and hell. Jesus is considered an unrighteous criminal worthy of death. You receive righteousness, life, and salvation. Isaiah says, Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? You would think that if someone dies for sin, everyone would rush to believe and embrace this gift. You would be wrong. Salvation is acquired for all, is offered to all, but many reject it in unbelief. They refuse to believe someone would die for their sin, if they even believe there is such a thing as sin.

This is why salvation is granted only to those who see Jesus as their Savior by believing in them. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. Believing Christ died for your sin presupposes you know you are a sinner and have remorse and sorrow for your sins. What more forcible, more terrible declaration and preaching of God’s wrath against sin is there than the suffering and death of Christ, His Son?

Perhaps this is one reason why many will not believe Jesus Christ died for their sins. They see God’s wrath against His Son as bizarre or simply unbelieveable. The mystery of faith is caused by the preaching of the Gospel that tells of the bottomless love of the Lord. That’s the great love of the Father and the Son for you. He doesn’t provide a way for you to pay for your own sin. He provides His Son to do it for you. When you believe it, it is yours.

There’s nothing left to do but wait for the inevitable resurrection of Jesus from the dead, not to mention our own resurrection from the dead. You don’t deserve this gift, but our Father in heaven gives it to you because He loves you. Receive it, rejoice in it, and believe that everything is taken care of by the only God willing to die for your sake.


Christ Is Our Great High Priest

Is there anything more glorious or exalted than to know that as a High Priest we have a Man who is also the Son of God and who sits in majesty at the right hand of God? If we had the power to make a wish, could we possibly desire anything greater or better than to have with God a Mediator and Advocate of this stature? Now we are told that God Himself ordained this Christ—indeed, He confirmed it, as we said before, with a sublime oath—to be such a High Priest and to sit at the right hand of the Father especially for the purpose of preventing us from falling into any sort of wrath or disgrace, provided that we continue to believe in Him. We are to look to Him for comfort, help, and the undiluted, everlasting grace of the Father.

How can the Father possibly refuse to hear this Priest, His own beloved Son? How can He refuse Him anything He asks for? And Christ asks for nothing else than that which benefits us—grace and mercy for us! Therefore we are certain that when we ourselves pray in His name, God is pleased and will hear us out. Why should anyone have any further doubts or fears? Why not draw near to His throne of grace with joyful confidence, as it is written in Hebrews 4:16, rejoice with all our hearts in this High Priest, and find our comfort in Him?

Martin Luther, Explanation of Psalm 110

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One Must Not Debate with Satan

When people say that a peaceful Word should be preached, the result is that the devil becomes all the more insulting, as we see here [in Isaiah chapter 36]. These people have asked for quiet, and Satan shouts all the more. Learn this: One must not debate with Satan. Keep this well in mind. The more we wrestle with him in this debate, the more we despair. Do not argue with Satan. Note this, for example: The more someone thinks about the evil lust that should be laid aside, the more he falls into those thoughts, so that one follows closely upon the other and finally he will be in a frenzy. The same happens in the case of the anger that is directed against someone and that should be laid aside. And so it goes in all dangers. When we strive for the remedies, we play into Satan’s hands, so that he argues with us all the more and you finally fall into despair, hang yourself, and fall down headlong. So it is always in great trials. Other thoughts keep occurring to a person, as happens in the case of the sick and the troubled. Let go of those thoughts. Consider an example from The Lives of the Fathers. One of them had many thoughts and complained to a brother about the evil thoughts. The brother said, “You have sometimes seen the birds in the air flying over your head. If you do not let them fly about overhead, they have not built nests on your head. So let those thoughts fly away and do not keep them in your head….

In short, I give you this advice (for I speak as one who knows): You must completely despise such thoughts and arguments of Satan…. We must become like one of the least of the children (Matthew 18:3). Do not let the devil come near you. For when his words are listened to here, the hearers soon despair and already ask for support. But by this request the speaker gave Satan an opening to vent his rage, so that he spoke all the more and by his extremely boastful words led the people to despair.

Martin Luther, Lectures on Isaiah, Luther’s Works Volume 16, pages 311-312

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The Weakness and Temptation of the Saints

I have often stated above and elsewhere that it pleases me greatly and is salutary for us to hear of the weaknesses of the saints, for these examples of weakness are more necessary for us and bring more consolation than the examples of that heroic and very great fortitude and other virtues. Thus the fact that David killed Goliath, a bear, a lion, etc., does not edify me much. For I cannot imitate such things, since they surpass my strength and all my thinking. Although they commend the saints in their strength and heroic fortitude, they do not concern us; for they are too sublime for us to be able to match or imitate them. But when examples of weakness, sins, trepidation, and trials are set forth in the saints—as when I read David’s complaints, sobs, fears, and feelings of despair—they buoy me up in a wonderful manner and give great consolation. For I see how they, fearful and terrified though they were, did not perish but buoyed themselves up with the promises they had received; and from this I conclude that there is no need for me to despair either. For in this struggle with hell, in fears and struggles of conscience, they feel and speak as if they had no promises at all. Nevertheless, they are finally preserved and sustained by the Word.

Martin Luther, Lectures on Genesis, Luther’s Works Volume 5, page 254

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The Gifts and Anfechtung

To us it is also said in Baptism, in Absolution, in Communion: “I am the Lord your God, do not be troubled! I will care for you! Cast your care on Me! You have a God who has promised that He will care for you.” “And yet I see the contrary,” do you say? “You do, indeed, see the contrary, but it is a trial which is useful for this purpose, that you may learn and experience how kind the Lord is. For if this trial were not added, you would remain in the flesh, stupid and senseless, and would never understand what I mean when I say: ‘I am the Lord your God.’ So it is necessary for you to be instructed and by the actual experience of various trials to learn that I am the Lord your God.” Thus it is written in Deuteronomy 8:4: “He fed you with manna that you might know that it is not only by bread, etc.”

This is not done that you may perish, because Baptism is certain, and the promise and absolution are reliable. What for, then? This is done that you may learn what powerful life there is in the Word and that you may come to this conclusion for yourself: “However harshly I am disciplined and afflicted and come to nothing, it is nevertheless done with this end in view, that I might remember my Baptism and God’s promise; for I have God, who is taking care of me, and about this I am in no doubt at all, even though all things seem to be against me. They are only temptations and testings of my faith, to see whether I believe that God is my Protector.”

Luther’s Works Volume 6, page 364

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Fifth Sunday in Lent – John 8:46-59

What does it mean to be bright? Ask someone who holds a naturalistic view of the world, who may or may not identify as an atheist, and you’ll hear about a sociocultural movement of intelligent people who have no room for fables about faith, especially the Christian faith.

To be bright nowadays is not to believe in any faith, especially Christianity. Being a “Bright” means you belong to a community of reason. Believing that Scripture has absolute truth that guides a person’s life will probably mean you will be considered a “Dim”, I suppose.

At any rate, being a “Bright” is not a new thing. Unbelief has inundated the whole world like a deluge. It was always in the world, but due to immediate communication unbelief is now able to be seen on your television or your computer screen. The Christian faith still is called a fraud of the clergy and childish superstition as it has been for many centuries. Now it is one’s own reason that is called “light, enlightenment, and virtue” that triumphs over dimwitted Christianity.

“Brights” are seen in today’s Gospel as vile lies pour from the mouths of Jewish leaders. The truth of God’s revelation to them will not stand in their way of denouncing Jesus and His teaching. They boast that they hold fast to the true faith of their fathers. Jesus says otherwise. The “bright” Jews refuse to see the Word made flesh as the One Who gives life. Even Abraham rejoiced over what Jesus proclaims.

Yet the Jews in today’s Gospel will hear none of it. They are reasonable, intelligent people. They know the Law and the prophets, or so they think. Now we know that you have a demon! Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say, “If anyone keeps my word, he will never taste death.” Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? And the prophets died! Who do you make yourself out to be?

Their answer is “anything but Messiah”. That answer remains firm even today, even among those who identify as Christian. Sometimes it is crass; an outright denial of Jesus as Savior. Other times it is more subtle. Sometimes it appears as “Jesus and something”. Either Jesus saves or no one saves. You can’t have it Jesus + something because that robs our Lord of His glorious work of saving you from sin and death.

So instead of Jesus alone saves, many simply won’t believe in God. They instead turn to other gods who expect some human cooperation. Worse yet, some instead turn to believing in no God. They consider their decision not to believe a “bright” decision. In fact, some who call themselves “Brights” now get together with other atheists and anti-theists every Sunday for something called “Sunday Assembly”. It’s church without any god. You sing happy songs that make you feel good about yourself and hear messages that sometimes mock God, and other times rejoice in the power of self.

Those who refuse to believe see Christians as fools. Yet we who trust in Jesus as our only hope for eternal life see what they can’t, or won’t see. Choosing to be a “Bright” is actually the darkest darkness and insane foolishness. Jesus tells the Jews in today’s Gospel, If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? Jesus adds in John chapter ten: If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.

Refusing to recognize Jesus as the very Son of God is like calling the noonday sun complete darkness. The spirit of those who blaspheme our Lord in John chapter eight remains today. Some Christians now reject Holy Scripture as the revelation of God. Sure, some of it comes from God, but not all of it.

The next step is to deny Jesus is both true God and true man. A “Bright” person could look at the fact that God has entrusted the furthering of His Son’s Church to sinful human beings and exclaim that this is the chief reason why no fool should believe in Christ. God really should grow His Son’s Church His own self, using some sort of supernatural means to grow it. He has done it in the preaching of Christ crucified through the centuries, in spite of roadblocks put up within and without the Christian Church.

Then there’s the old argument about Christianity being slavery and unbelief being freedom. The Jews in today’s Gospel reject Christ and His Word as godless and imagine their ancestral faith to be God-pleasing. But what do they do when they have no evidence to prove Jesus is not the Christ? They picked up stones to throw at Him. They commit both blasphemy and murder.

The more things change, the more things stay the same. “Bright” people today say nice things like “Do the right thing” and “Don’t be afraid of anyone”. They also say, “God doesn’t care what you believe. He cares about how you live.” You see this when people say silly things like, “I choose to worship God from the deer stand” or “My church building is the golf course.” They worship their god in their own temple.

Words and actions like these show nothing but hatred of God and slavery to sin under the cloak of love, peace, and freedom. They were ready to stone Jesus to death in John chapter eight. They did stone Stephen to death in Acts chapter seven. Saul persecuted Christians without remorse in chapter eight. Yet in the next chapter, Saul sees a bright light from heaven: the resurrected Christ Whom He persecuted.

These examples from Scripture and from history show you what Christians suffer today has been going on for centuries. Hatred of Jesus Christ is nothing new. The greatest hatred is reserved for what Jesus does, even for the so-called “Brights”. He dies for them. He sheds His blood for them, even though they refuse to believe it. Christ died for all sinners. Not all sinners believe that Christ died for them.

That is the message under our Lord’s comforting words today: Before Abraham was, I am. Before there was an Abraham, there was a promise of recompense for sin and death. Satan’s head will be stomped. His power has no authority over you because Jesus Christ has trampled down death once and for all. The great sacrifice for your sin is made. It is finished. That’s what angered so many then and still angers so many today. God becomes man to give forgiveness and life to mankind. Jesus takes man’s sin, death, hatred, foolishness, and betrayal upon Himself. Jesus gives man His life, His righteousness, His innocence, and His joy beyond all believing. Light from above has come in Jesus Christ. Wet in His baptism, you are a “Bright” in the truest sense of the word. You shine in His life-giving light. You live because Jesus lives. You have the knowledge that saves from death and hell.

For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. (1 Corinthians 1:21-25 ESV)


Christ Gave Himself for the Unrighteousness of Poor Sinners

Therefore this is perhaps the highest art and right wisdom of Christians: that one could truly hold and believe this and the like words of St. Paul, or elsewhere in Scripture, as a truly serious word and for certain, namely that Christ was delivered to death not for the sake of our righteousness and holiness, but badly for the sake of our sins that are true, gross, coarse, many, indeed, innumerable and insurmountable sins. Therefore no one should have dreamed, as the hypocrites do, as if our sins would be so slight and small that we are able to repay them with our own works. And in turn no one should also despair whether they are, as I said, so great and abominable: but here learn to understand from St. Paul and only well and firmly believe that Christ has given Himself not as imagined or painted, but for truth: not for slight and small, but for very great and gross: not for one or two, but for all: not for conquered and repaid, but for unconquered, strong, and powerful sins. For certainly no man, indeed even no angel can overcome a few sins, let alone even the slightest sins…. Therefore remember and diligently prepare yourself, in order that you may be proficient, not only when you are well pleased with your conscience outside of temptation, but also when you must struggle with sin and death precisely in the utmost need and danger, when your conscience is mindful of sins committed and is frightened, and Satan with true seriousness goes before your eyes and with all his power dares to attack you like a flood with the heavy load of your sins, to discourage you from Christ and to drive Him away and finally urge you to despair. At that moment remember that you are able to say with a brave heart and strong faith: Christ, God’s Son, gave Himself not for the righteousness of saints, nor for the innocence of angels, but for the unrighteousness of poor sinners. If I would be righteous and would have no sin, then I have no need of Christ the Mediator, Who reconciled me with God.

An excerpt from “Explanation of Galatians 1:4-5, ‘God gave Himself for our sins'”. Erlangen Edition 19:217-218; St. Louis Edition 9:781-782. Not so smooth translation by DMJ

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Fourth Sunday in Lent – John 6:1-15

The appearance of five barley loaves and two fish in the wilderness harkens back to Elisha purifying a poisonous stew. After Elisha purified the stew, a man came from Baal-shalishah, bringing the man of God bread of the firstfruits, twenty loaves of barley and fresh ears of grain in his sack. And Elisha said, “Give to the men, that they may eat.” But his servant said, “How can I set this before a hundred men?” So he repeated, “Give them to the men, that they may eat, for thus says the Lord, ‘They shall eat and have some left.’” So he set it before them. And they ate and had some left, according to the word of the Lord.

In Second Kings chapter four it was a man from Baal-shalishah. In John chapter six it is a child, but not an ordinary child. The child is a παιδάριον. The word means “little child” and it is a derivative from the word that describes how someone is being reared and educated to be an ideal member of the city. In Greek culture, one who is trained in παιδεία would possess intellectual, moral, and physical refinement. They received what we would call today a liberal arts education, not to mention training in wrestling and gymnastics. You might say a παιδάριον is a well-rounded individual physically, morally, and spiritually.

John knew what he was doing when, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he used that term for a young child. There are other words he could have used, but this one is a perfect fit. The young child, perhaps with his parents, is prepared for the inevitable. You go into the wilderness following Jesus. The crowd had been there for some time. They needed refreshment else they go hungry. That is why Jesus asks the loaded question, Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?

The excuses come flying. Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread would not be enough for each of them to get a little.” Sounds a lot like the excuse in Second Kings chapter four: How can I set this before a hundred men? There Elisha already said what he intended to do: Give to the men, that they may eat. Andrew brings the lad to Jesus, but even he has an excuse: What are they for so many?

The disciples are caught unprepared. Woe to you when you are unprepared! A friend of mine likes to say, “I wouldn’t tie my shoes without a backup plan.” Yet you tie your shoes every day and are still unprepared for what could happen. You love to sing and talk about God’s providential care, yet when that care is late you change your tune and tone. There’s not enough money. There are not enough resources. It’s too far to buy what you need. It’s too late in the day to go buy what you need. You are not prepared, even though you think you have everything figured out.

King David writes in Psalm 122, I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord!” Here you are, and you’re still not as prepared as you could be. You can read the Psalms all you want before the start of the service, you can make a spiritual inventory to prepare for the forgiveness of sins, and you can even fast, pray, and give alms all you want. Yet when those words fall from David’s pen about being glad to enter God’s house, you’re still not prepared. Your nature is sinful. Your thoughts are elsewhere. Your concentration lags. You’ll be thinking about lunch or supper. You’ll be counting the minutes until the sermon ends. The silent inner monologue playing in your head never stops, especially when the hour of giving the Gifts arrives.

What is the big deal about words, water, bread, wine, a man dressed in fancy vestments, and a simply adorned church building? Jesus uses these humble things from His Father’s creation to do wonderful things. He catches you unprepared for His providence and His spiritual care, but in being caught He still provides, forgives, and strengthens you. Elisha says concerning the bread of the firstfruits, Give them to the men, that they may eat, for thus says the Lord, “They shall eat and have some left.” The Lord is never slack in His promises. He keeps His perfect record intact as twenty loaves of barley and fresh ears of grain are enough to satisfy a hundred men with some left.

The little child, the learner who is prepared for whatever may come, teaches the adults something about being prepared. Andrew’s bringing the boy to Jesus seems like a million to one shot, but Jesus himself knew what he would do. The boy is in the right place at the right time with the right amount of what is needed. Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted. And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.” So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten.

If Jesus can do that for five thousand men, what more can He do for you, O you of little faith! The refreshment Jesus provides for you here pales in comparison to what we will hear Him do over the next few weeks. Jesus provides everlasting refreshment as He gives you His perfect righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, while taking on your sin, death, and hell. Jesus bears all this willingly for you.

Jesus is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world. He comes not only to speak peace from our heavenly Father, He also comes to make that peace for you. Only He is able to climb the mountain to make the ultimate Passover sacrifice for your salvation. Only He prepares you for eternal life in hearing His Word of forgiveness, being washed in the baptismal water of forgiveness, and being fed with His Body and Blood for forgiveness.

You remain a παιδάριον until life everlasting, always learning what He provides for you, both earthly and spiritually, is a good gift from a gracious, generous, and giving God.

Hence, all fear and sadness!
For the Lord of gladness,
Jesus, enters in.