With Jesus God's Own Son
Tuesday of Pentecost 4
19 June 2018
While we are hiding like Adam when God calls, "Where are you?" the Son of God answers for us. He stands up for us; stands in for us. The Son of God speaks us into the presence of our God. He delivers the Word to us, a Word which we have despised or held in disdain, a Word we have doubted. Yet He does not withhold it from us. In that Word and name, God seeks and saves the lost. He comes among those hiding and says, "I have answered for you. I have borne your burden. I have defeated your enemy. I have taken away your sin and been present with you when you hid from me to tell you what I have done for you."

Isaiah says, "Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, 'Here I am'" (Is 58:9). How gracious He is! See, when you are crying and bawling out: "Where is God?" He replies, "Here I am!" When some murderous maniac slaughters mere infants, we shout, "Where was God when all that was going on? Where are you?" How eager we are to demand that God answer, we who cannot answer God. How we find ourselves trying to reverse roles with the Creator of the universe and demand a specific performance from Him. "Let's tell Him what justice really is!" And when he refuses to dance to our tune, we pronounce Him dead.

The fallen made death their conqueror. But it must not remain this way. The One who died defeated death "so that in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us" (Rm 8:37). Not only are we not conquered, but He makes us more than conquerors.

Our God says on the lips of Isaiah, "Continually all the day my name is despised. Therefore my people shall know my name. Therefore in that day they shall know that it is I who speak; 'here I am'" (Is 52:5-6). Then what does the God who is present do? He proclaims the Gospel to sinners like us. Among us the good news is published, that our peace has been accomplished by our Savior Jesus Christ. He comes to bring good news of happiness and joy. He publishes salvation; that the Lord has comforted His people and redeemed Jerusalem. We shall see the salvation of our God (Is 52:7-10). Christ answers for us.

Christ came into the world to provide salvation for those who have fallen like us and fled from our God. When Christ came into the world, He said, "Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me; in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure. Then I said, 'Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.'" When he says, "Behold, I have come to do your will." He sets aside the law in order to establish the Gospel. And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all (Heb 10:5-10). Christ comes to do God's will where we have not. He flees into suffering while we have fled from the voice of God. He seeks to become the perfect sacrifice for sin, while we are still seeking to offer legally acceptable sacrifices. He has succeeded where we always fail. He does not fail to do God's will, while we have failed to do God's will. He does all this for you! Where are you? "I am here among you in baptism." Where are you? "I am here proclaiming your sins away in holy absolution." Where are you? "I am in your mouth in body and blood." Where are you? "I am in the preaching of the preacher who has my Word in his mouth."

"Today salvation has come to your house. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost" (Lk 19:9-10). God is still calling, "Where are you?" The Son of God has answered for you, "Here I am! I have come to do Your will, O God!" Where are you? You are here with Jesus, God's Son.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

   Martin Luther
"These words (Gn 3:15) point to the ultimate destruction of Satan's tyranny, although it will not pass away without a most bitter conflict being fought for man.
But see how uneven the outcome of the battle is. The human being's heel is in danger, but his head is uninjured and undefeated. On the other hand, it is not the tail and not the belly of the serpent but the head itself, that is to be crushed and trodden underfoot by the Seed of the woman. But this victory will also be given to us a gift, as Christ clearly states: 'The spoils are divided after the defeat of the mighty one' (Lk 11:22). By faith the Christian is made the victor over sin, over the Law, and over death, so that not even the gates of hell can prevail against him (Mt 16:18).

This first comfort, this source of all mercy and fountainhead of all promises, our first parents and their descendants learned with the utmost care. They saw that without this promise procreation would indeed continue to go on among people as well as among the other living beings, but that it would be nothing else than a procreation to death. And so that gift which was given by God to our nature is here made greater, even made sacred; for there is hope of a procreation through which the head of Satan would be crushed, not only to break his tyranny but also to gain eternal life for our nature, which was surrendered to death because of sin. For here Moses is no longer dealing with a natural serpent; he is speaking of the devil, whose head is death and sin. And so Christ says in John 8[:44] that the devil is a murderer and the father of lies. Therefore, when his power has been crushed, that is, when sin and death have been destroyed by Christ, what is there to prevent us children of God from being saved?"

Martin Luther, Lectures on Genesis, 3.15
Hebrews 10:1-10

For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near. Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have any consciousness of sins? But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, "Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me; in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure. Then I said, 'Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.'"
When he said above, "You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings" (these are offered according to the law), then he added, "Behold, I have come to do your will." He does away with the first in order to establish the second. And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (ESV)
Prayer
Almighty God, Creator of all, You promised that the head of our enemy would be crushed and trodden underfoot by the Seed of the woman. You give us this victory as a gift, because Your Son tells us that He will divide the spoils with us after the defeat of the mighty one. Let us live by faith, because You have made us victors over sin, over the law, and over death, so that not even the gates of hell can prevail against us, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For those suffering under the burden of inclement weather, that they may be kept safe

For Michael Koutsodontis, that the good Shepherd and Overseer of all souls would grant him strength and healing under His gracious care

For Michael Newman, President-elect of the Texas District of the LCMS, that the Lord of the church would grant him wisdom, discretion, and an abundance of the Spirit, that he might serve the parishes and church workers of the district to the benefit of Christ and his bride the church
Art: Albrecht DURER, The Adoration of the Trinity (1511)
Memorial Lutheran Church
smurray@mlchouston.org
http://www.mlchouston.org
© Scott Murray 2018
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
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