It's Not My Job!
Friday of Pentecost 21
19 October 2018
Not all anger is forbidden. There is righteous anger. God Himself exhibits this anger against our sin and unbelief. Those who stand in God's place, such as parents and government, also have the right to be angry against our sin and transgression. Such righteous anger has as its goal to protect community, family, and civil society. God, who gives the gift of civil peace and tranquility, establishes this goal. Everyone else is forbidden to harbor anger against their neighbor.
This revolves around vocation and office. Not everyone represents God over against his neighbor, only those whom God has appointed as guardians of family, church, and civil society. This limitation created by divine office is occasionally frustrating to us, because we think we know very well exactly what God ought to have done in any particular case requiring His retribution. However, it is better that we do not take authority for ourselves that we have not been granted; not only for the betterment of others who are not under our authority, but perhaps more importantly, for our own peace of mind and tranquility. God has placed boundaries on our authority. This frees us from thinking that we are God's watchdogs in the world. No, we don't need to elbow our way into offices and vocations that are not our own. And what a relief we experience when we realize that we are not responsible for everyone else, but only for the vocations and offices into which God has placed us.
Having sat through Voir dire in the jury selection process for a criminal trial, I am deeply grateful that I am not a criminal lawyer or a judge who is required to run a courtroom for a criminal trial. I was relieved when after the jury selection process began the defendant arranged a plea deal to avoid a criminal trial. The jury pool was dismissed. Lawyers and judges have to hear fearful things so that defendants can both get a fair trial and that our society might be protected from their criminal acts. God has placed these people in these offices as judges and lawyers for that very purpose. However, I am delighted I'm not among them. It's not my job. Our court system delivers divine wrath against evil doers. That's its job. Those who serve in the court system as judges and lawyers God covers with the mask of his own divine authority. They deliver His wrath not as private persons, but as His properly appointed representatives. And I support that wholeheartedly.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

   Martin Luther
"The fifth commandment is easy enough and has often been presented, because we hear it each year in the Gospel of St. Matthew 5(:20-26), where Christ Himself explains and sums it up. He says that we must not kill, either with hand, heart, mouth, signs, gestures, help, nor counsel. Therefore, this commandment forbids everyone to be angry, except those (as we have said) who are in the place of God, that is, parents and the government. For it is proper for God and everyone who is in the divine estate to be angry, to rebuke, and to punish because of those very persons who transgress this and the other commandments (Rm 13:4)."

Martin Luther, Large Catechism, 1.182
John 19:1-11

Then Pilate took Jesus and flogged him. And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head and arrayed him in a purple robe. They came up to him, saying, "Hail, King of the Jews!" and struck him with their hands. Pilate went out again and said to them, "See, I am bringing him out to you that you may know that I find no guilt in him." So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, "Behold the man!" When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, "Crucify him, crucify him!" Pilate said to them, "Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no guilt in him." The Jews answered him, "We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God." When Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid. He entered his headquarters again and said to Jesus, "Where are you from?" But Jesus gave him no answer. So Pilate said to him, "You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?" Jesus answered him, "You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin." (ESV)
O Lord, help me to receive the rebuke and anger of my parents and other authorities as your own rebuke. Give me the faith to see beyond the weakness and mask of humanity which they wear, so that I might show due respect and honor to the authorities you place over me. Amen.
For the gift of baby Julia Frances Witte given to Jared and Kristen Witte, that the Lord who gives such precious gifts would receive proper praise and honor for these blessings and that Julia would be kept safe until the day when she is brought into the kingdom of the Son whom God loves through the sacrament of baptism
For the blessed estate of holy marriage, that we Christians would be signs of divine love and fidelity in the world
For President Lawrence Rast and the faculty and staff of Concordia Theological Seminary, that they would be faithful to their calling to preach the Word
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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