Refuge for the Weary
Monday of Pentecost 19
1 October 2018
A great deal of what passes for Christian preaching today is not the preaching of true shepherds, but rather false shepherds and thieves. The thieves' preaching is characterized by taking the poor brokenhearted sinner and breaking him even more. Such preaching makes demands: "True obedience to the spiritual laws, full faithfulness to family values, proper joy, and full excitement for the Lord!" The poor sinner does not need to be broken if he's already been confronted by the wrath of God against his sin. He needs the healing balm of God's mercy in Christ. He needs to hear that God is reconciled to him for Christ's sake.
The church remains the refuge, the inn, the hospital for the sin-sick and world-weary. There the oil and wine of the gospel are poured upon the wounded hearts and terrified consciences of poor sinners in need of God's healing. The sign of the true shepherd is that he preaches the gospel to those who need it and shows their need to those who don't.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

   Martin Luther
"For it is the peculiar duty of bishops and pastors to teach, buoy up, and comfort, not hardened and foolish persons who cannot be set right with words and should rather be left to the executioner and hangman, but to apply the balsam of Holy Scripture to the afflicted and the distressed. 'Do not fear! Have confidence, my son! Your sins are forgiven you!' (Mt 9:2). But how difficult this application is both my own experience and that of others testifies. I have read the Bible with the greatest zeal and diligence for about 30 years, but I've not yet been cured in such a way that I could with full confidence find rest in the remedy shown by God. I would desire to be stouter and stronger in faith and prouder in Christ, but I cannot be.
"Therefore, the wound is healed in the inn after oil and wine have been poured on it (Lk 10:30-35). For the churches are nothing else than lodging places of this kind in which the people who feel sin, death, and the terrors and vexations of an afflicted and wounded conscience are healed. Here, to be sure, faithful and diligent care must be exercised by the ministers by pouring on oil and wine."

Martin Luther, Lectures on Genesis, 48.15
Luke 10:30-37

Jesus replied, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, 'Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.' Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?" He said, "The one who showed him mercy." And Jesus said to him, "You go, and do likewise." (ESV)
O Lord Christ, thank You for sending true shepherds, who, without concern for their own popularity or fame, preach the true and faithful gospel to poor brokenhearted sinners like me, absolving me of my sin and reconciling me with my heavenly Father. Amen.
For President Matthew Harrison of the LCMS, that he would be strengthened as he leads the church body into the future prepared by God
For William Baker and his family, who were bereaved of a father, husband, and son, that the Lord of the church would give them comfort in the midst of their sorrow
For John Wagner, who is undergoing carotid artery surgery tomorrow, that God our heavenly Father would watch over him and bring him healing
Art: Albrecht DURER, The Adoration of the Trinity (1511)
Memorial Lutheran Church
© Scott Murray 2018
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
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