Daily Lectionary: Ezekiel 44:1-16, 23-29; Romans 9:1-18
The sorrows of Sheol surrounded me; the snares of death confronted me. In my distress I called upon the Lord, He heard my voice from His temple. (from the Introit for Septuagesima)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Wow! That was a quick Epiphany Season. Tomorrow is already the beginning of Pre-Lent. (That's because Easter falls at the earliest possible time this year). We move quickly from Jesus' Baptism and turn to His journey to Jerusalem to suffer for our sins.
The words of the Psalmist that we will hear in church tomorrow remind us of what Jesus took upon Himself to save us. The Lord, by becoming a man took on flesh so He could die. So He could be surrounded by “Sheol” (the dead), and be confronted by the snares of death. Jesus was wrapped up and killed by death on Good Friday.
On the cross, Jesus cried out for you, being forsaken in your place. Did the Father hear? At first, it seems as if He did not. Alone with the sins of the world, Jesus is forsaken and dies. But, His death conquers death and we know the Father hears Him because He raised His Son from the dead.
When you were baptized, you became God's child. When you are absolved, your sins are forgotten by the Lord forever and ever and longer than that! When you are fed with the body and blood of the crucified and risen Jesus, He lives in you. Therefore, when you, a dear Child of God in Jesus, call upon the Lord, have no doubt that He hears you!
That is why your life of faith, your Christian life, is one lived calling upon the Lord. That doesn't just mean saying “Lord!” all the time. It means living in and from the Divine Service in which your ears are filled to overflowing with God's Word, so much so that His words come back out your mouth as praise and thanksgiving.
When death confronts you some day, remember these words of the Psalmist. Place them upon your lips as the glad and confident confession of what you have in Jesus. If He is risen from the dead, you will be, too, since you are Baptized into Him and He lives in you by His body and blood. And you will stand on the Last Day to behold the beauty of the Lord in that Temple, that is, God-in-the-Flesh: Jesus Christ. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.
Death, you cannot end my gladness: I am baptized into Christ! When I die, I leave all sadness To inherit paradise! Though I lie in dust and ashes Faith's assurance brightly flashes: Baptism has the strength divine To make life immortal mine. (LSB #594, st.4)
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