May 28, 2008 - Wednesday in the First Week after Trinity

Daily Lectionary: Ecclesiastes 5:1-20; St. John 8:1-20

Thy kingdom come.” (Small Catechism: Second Petition)

In the name of Jesus. Amen. Just as God’s name is holy in itself, even without our prayer, so also God’s kingdom comes by itself without our prayer. We live in God’s kingdom of power, here in the world. God is King of the whole universe, and all earthly power and authority comes from Him. As baptized Christians, we also live in His kingdom of grace, the church, where the Gospel is preached and the Sacraments are administered for the creating and strengthening of faith in Christ Jesus. When we pray, “Thy kingdom come,” it is this kingdom of grace that we are praying for.

God’s kingdom has come in Christ Jesus. John the Baptist prepared the way saying, “The kingdom of heaven is near.” The King has come, but quite an unexpected King. This King ruled like no other. He marched to the front lines of the battle against sin, death and the devil. But He rode in on a donkey on Palm Sunday, prayed earnestly to the Father for you and for me in the Garden of Gethsemane, and carried His Cross to the place of His execution. This King didn’t run away from His enemies. He faced them. He took their mocking, their insults, their scourging, their nails and their spear. But in all of that He took upon Himself the sins of the world.

His kingdom is not of this world. It’s not about eating and drinking, but about righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. That’s why Jesus didn’t tear Himself off the Cross and wipe out His enemies. Nothing like that would accomplish your salvation. Nothing like that would bring us righteousness. Dying on the Cross, a perfect sacrifice for sin would. Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection alone provides rescue for you from the dominion of darkness.

The church is not of this world. Yes, there are earthly elements — water, bread, wine, human language –– but attached to them are Christ’s word and promise. That makes those things extraordinary. Through them the King comes to you, bringing you His righteousness, forgiveness and peace. Only through Him can you “believe holy His Word and lead a godly life here in time and there in eternity.” So we pray, “Thy kingdom come.” In the name of Jesus. Amen.

The Word they still shall let remain Nor any thanks have for it; He’s by our side upon the plain With His good gifts and Spirit. And take they our life, Goods, fame, child, and wife, Though these all be gone, Our vict’ry has been won; The kingdom ours remaineth.” (LSB 656:4)