Today's Reading: 1 Kings 19:11-21
"Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him." (1 Kings 19:18)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Sometimes it can be discouraging to consider how few Christians there seem to be in the world. The world is filled with people who don't believe in Jesus or even those who outright hate Him. And even if it seems like there are a lot of Christians, they all believe different things, many the opposite of what you confess. It's pretty sad.
Elijah thought the same thing. In fact, he thought there were no people left who still believed in God's promises. The King was evil and his wicked wife, Jezebel, was hunting down the prophets of God. They supported false religion and Elijah was sure he was the last Christian around. But the Lord said that wasn't true. Not only were there 7,000 in Israel who had not forsaken the faith, the Lord was working things out so that His enemies were destroyed and His kingdom continued.
Jesus died for the sins of the whole world and rose again, defeating death. That was the promise that was made to Israel before He was born and it is the promise that we have believed since His resurrection and ascension. In every age and period of history, it has looked like the Church was done for, yet kingdoms have risen and fallen and still Christ's Church remains. Still the Lord causes the Good News of Jesus to be preached. Still people are baptized and rescued from sin and death. Still the Word is preached and sinners are comforted. There is always a church because the Lord won't let His people be wiped out. Ever.
It's impossible to believe that. That's why Jesus gives us "marks" or "signposts" to identify His Church: where Christ crucified and risen for sinners is preached; where Baptism washes away sins; where the Body and blood of Jesus are given to sinners to eat and drink. Where those gifts are given out, you can be certain that Jesus is there with His Church, promising that there is nothing in heaven or earth that can wipe out His people. And that includes you! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Stay with us, Lord, and keep us true; Preserve our faith our whole life through Your Word alone our heart's defense, The Church's glorious confidence. (Lord Jesus Christ, with Us Abide, LSB 585:6)