Jesus' Reputation
Thursday of Pentecost 25
15 November 2018
There are many kinds of theft. Slander and gossip can steal our good name and reputation. William Shakespeare reflects the importance of a good name and reputation in the tragedy of Othello in which Iago begins a whispering campaign against Desdemona, Othello's beloved. In a passage fraught with irony, Othello glorifies the benefits of a good reputation, while he is hearkening to the unctuous slander of Iago, destroying the reputation of the virtuous Desdemona. Othello says, "Who steals my purse steals trash; 'tis something, nothing;/ 'Twas mine, 'tis his, and has been slave to thousands:/ But he that filches from me my good name/ Robs me of that which not enriches him/ And makes me poor indeed" (Othello, Act III, Scene iii: 183-187). In comparison to mere worldly goods that come and go, a good name is a matter of high value. The Eighth Commandment defends our name and reputation against slander.
God gives us a good name and reputation in Christ. His name is set upon our hearts and foreheads in the sacrament of baptism. Thus to slander our brother or sister in Christ is to slander Christ Himself and to honor the good name and reputation of our brother or sister in Christ is to honor Christ Himself. This is why we Christians always want to speak well of our neighbor, especially those who share the name of Jesus with us as baptized children of God. There is no better reputation than the name of Jesus and it's ours.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

   Martin Luther
"Over and above our own body, spouse, and temporal possessions, we still have another treasure-honor and good reputation (Pro 22:1). We cannot do without these. For it is intolerable to live among people in open shame in general contempt. Therefore, God does not want the reputation, good name, and upright character of our neighbor to be taken away or diminished, just as with his money and possessions. He wants everyone to stand in his integrity before wife, children, servants, and neighbors. In the first place, we must consider the plainest meaning of this commandment, according to the words "You shall not bear false witness." This applies to the public courts of justice where a poor innocent man is accused and oppressed by false witnesses in order to be punished in his body, property, or honor"

Martin Luther, Large Catechism,
Proverbs 22:1-11

A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold. The rich and the poor meet together; the LORD is the Maker of them all. The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it. The reward for humility and fear of the LORD is riches and honor and life. Thorns and snares are in the way of the crooked; whoever guards his soul will keep far from them. Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender. Whoever sows injustice will reap calamity, and the rod of his fury will fail. Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor. Drive out a scoffer, and strife will go out, and quarreling and abuse will cease. He who loves purity of heart, and whose speech is gracious, will have the king as his friend. (ESV)
Dear Father, in the Eighth Commandment you teach us to be true to each other, to avoid all lying and backbiting, and gladly to hear and tell the best about others. And so you have established a wall to protect our reputation and innocence against wicked mouths and false tongues. Through Christ you have given us the name sons of God! Let us see by faith that that is what we are, and so also see it in our brothers and sisters. Amen.
For newly elected representatives of the people as they prepare to take office, that the Lord God would grant them wisdom, discretion, and a heart of service
For all the baptized, that they would be reminded every day that their name and reputation is nothing less than child of God
For President Lawrence Rast and the faculty of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, that the Lord of the church would preserve His name and reputation through their teaching and 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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