Wednesday of the Seventh Week after Trinity

Daily Lectionary: 1 Samuel 17:20-47; Acts 26:24-27:8

"And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. What does this mean? We pray in this petition that our Father in heaven would not look at our sins, or deny our prayer because of them. We are neither worthy of the things for which we pray, nor have we deserved them, but we ask that He would give them all to us by grace, for we daily sin much and surely deserve nothing but punishment. So we too will sincerely forgive and gladly do good to those who sin against us." (Small Catechism: The Lord's Prayer, Fifth Petition)

In the Name of + Jesus. Amen. Trespassing is a serious offense. In its most severe punishment, trespassing warrants death: "No trespassing...violators will be shot. Survivors will be shot again."

This is the severity of God's Law: death. Mt. Sinai might as well have had big red "No Trespassing" signs posted all around her foothills. For when we attempt to scale the mountain on our own strength or merit we slip and fall time and time again. We have not loved the Lord our God with all our heart and soul and mind; we haven't even loved our neighbors as ourselves.

There is only One who can scale Sinai's slopes without fear of the death sentence: "No Trespassing." There's only One who has gone without violation of the Law. Only One has no need to ask the Father for forgiveness.

And yet for us men and our salvation this One, Jesus, does plead before the Father for you. Having no sin of his own, He prays for yours. Having trespassed no Law--indeed, having kept it perfectly--He bears your trespasses that you might forgive those who trespass against you. Jesus loves the Father with all His heart and soul and mind; and He loves His neighbor as Himself. Actually, it's better than Himself, for He loves you to death, literally.

So great is Jesus' love for you that He daily drowns your trespasses in Baptism. He feeds you with His trespass-forgiving Body and Blood. He forgives your trespasses so that you are free to forgive those who trespass against you. In the Name of + Jesus. Amen.

Forgive our sins, Lord, we implore, That they may trouble us no more; We, too, will gladly those forgive Who hurt us by the way they live. Help us in our community To serve each other willingly. (Our Father, Who from Heaven Above, LSB 766:6)

This reflection is available as an mp3, click here to download and listen to it.