May 2, 2011 - St. Philip and St. James, Apostles (observed)

Today's Reading: John 14:1-14

Daily Lectionary: Exodus 22:20-23:13; Luke 4:16-30

Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us."Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, 'Show us the Father'? (John 14:8-9)

In the Name of Jesus. Amen. St. Philip and St. James. We don't know much about them, other than that they were apostles of Jesus. Philip wants to see the Father. He wants to see God. Jesus tells Philip that to see Him is to see the Father. Not that Jesus is the Father, but the Son in the flesh is how the Father chooses to reveal to us His heart. If you want to know anything about God, you look at Jesus.

And if you want to know anything about Jesus, you go to the apostles and their preaching. In the Gospels, Jesus tells His disciples, “He who hears you, hears Me.” That means to hear the apostolic preaching is to hear Jesus Himself, like when your pastor says, “In the stead and by the command of my Lord Jesus Christ, I forgive you all your sins.”

People have all kinds of questions about God and what He is like, but they need only look to Jesus to find out. And they need only hear the preaching of the apostles proclaimed from the Scriptures in the church to see Him.

That preaching proclaims that God is all about saving sinners. There's no “keeping score” with God. He sends His Son in the flesh to be pierced for sinners. To bleed for sinners. To die for sinners. To rise for sinners. Everything Jesus does is for our salvation. And everything in the church, from the washing of Baptism, to the Supper of Christ's Body and Blood is Jesus showing us the Father and being God for us.

St. Philip and St. James were called by Jesus to preach the Gospel. That Word of God shows us Jesus. And since we and have Jesus, we have the Father, too. By the faithful preaching of Christ's apostles, passed down in the Scriptures and delivered by faithful pastors, we can be certain of God's heart toward us: a saving heart that rescues us from sin and death. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

We praise You, Lord, for Philip, Blest guide to Greek and Jew, And for young James the faithful who heard and followed You. O grant us grace to know You, The way, the truth, the life, To wrestle with temptation, To triumph in the strife. (LSB 518:16)