September 16, 2008 - Tuesday of the 17th Week after Trinity

Today's Reading: Proverbs 25:6-14

Daily Lectionary: 2 Chronicles 35:1-7,16-25; Colossians 3:1-25

Do not exalt yourself in the presence of the king, And do not stand in the place of the great; (Proverbs 25:6)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Is this, once again, more advice on how to behave when invited to a royal party? No. If we read this as something spoken to us, that's what it seems like--another piece of advice on how not to look rude when you're invited to dinner at the palace. Well then, who is this proverb talking about?

It's talking about Jesus, of course! Jesus, even though He is true God, did not consider that some prize to flaunt and show off. Rather, He made Himself as nothing, becoming man and taking the form of a servant (Philippians 2:5-11). For Jesus, being the Son of God, being true God in the flesh, wasn't some big deal to show off and impress people with. He did it because His Father told Him to do it and thereby save us from our sins. All that Jesus does, He does because He loves and obeys the Father. And that obedience accomplishes our salvation.

Now notice what the proverb says: “Don't exalt YOURSELF.” If you run into God's presence on your own, you're in trouble! No trying to show off for God all that you've done. But if Jesus, who has gone off to war against the Devil and Hell and comes back to be crowned with all glory and honor—if HE brings you to the King and shows you off as the people He has rescued in His fight—well then it is the Lord who exalts you before the King.

It is Jesus who shows you off to His Father. There you are, standing before the King, exalted by Jesus. Dressed in the white robe of Jesus' righteousness given in Baptism, holding the royal pardon of Holy Absolution, and having dined on the body and blood of the King's Son, you stand before God as exalted and lifted up. Not by your own efforts, but exalted by Jesus who lifts you up with His salvation. So smile, you're standing in the presence of the King! In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

On Christ's ascension I now build The hope of my ascension; This hope alone has always stilled All doubt and apprehension; For where the Head is, there as well, I know His members are to dwell When Christ will come and call them. (LSB 492:1)