By Rev. Eric Brown
Think for a moment of the joy and wonder and peace that comes from knowing that you are forgiven because Christ Jesus. Think on the fact that your salvation is secured in Him; that it doesn't rest upon you, but rather is accomplished and won because Christ Jesus has died and risen for you, He has baptized you, He has called you – these are all historical fact that are real. Whenever we see this, whenever we are focused upon this, it is astonishing again, over and over.
Now, consider what Jesus says of those who hate the disciples, who put the disciples out of the synagogue and even kills them. “And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor Me.” That peace, that joy that you have because Christ Jesus has died for your sins – they don't know it. They don't know the Father as the One who loves you so that He would send Jesus for you; they think they must earn His approval by killing the Apostles. Do you see how sad and desperate their lives would have been?
We today see wickedness in the world. We see utter disdain for Christ Jesus and the Gospel. We see folks who “let the Word remain, nor any thanks have for it” as Luther put it in A Mighty Fortress. And often these folks will be horribly cruel to us. And while our flesh would want to rage and be angry with them, perhaps pity is that we should feel. They don't know the Father, they don't know Christ.
Therefore, the Apostles were sent to bear witness about Christ. So that even those who hated them might learn and know that they are forgiven too. It's why we too today are determined to know nothing but Christ and Him crucified. Even if they hate us and despise us, it cannot change the fact that we have peace in Christ Jesus. Would that even those who hate us know this too – may God work repentance and faith in them by His Word and Spirit!
Rev. Eric Brown is pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Herscher, Illinois and the co-host of the HT Gospeled Boldly Podcast.
Created: May 9th, 2017