October 23rd , 2008 - St. James of Jerusalem

Today's Reading: Matthew 13:54-58

Daily Lectionary: Deuteronomy 24:10-25:10; Matthew 16:13-28

Is this not the carpenter’s son?” (Matthew 13:55a)

Today we remember James the Less, the first Bishop of Jerusalem and an Apostle of the Lord. In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus is back home visiting the family. Jesus has just done the parable thing and, with the disciples plenty confused, he arrives at Nazareth.

While Jesus is back home we find out that the Nazarenes of the day are offended by Him. A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown. Jesus is truly God and yet truly man; He’s the Son of God the Father Almighty and the Son of Mary. He’s the carpenter Son, as today’s Gospel tells us. He’s just like us; He’s just like the Nazarenes. There appears to be nothing special about Jesus in today’s text.

It’s offensive to think that someone who looks just like you and me would be the Savior of the world. We want Jesus to be more, just like the Nazarenes did. Why can’t he be a king, or some world ruler that will put everyone in their place? Why does He merely have to take on body and blood?

We have this same attitude each Lord’s Day when we go to receive His Holy Supper. We eat of His body and blood and act like nothing special is going on. We can wait another week or two before we partake of Him again. We live our lives as if He was just another average Joe, not as if He were the Savior of the world.

Even in our unbelief our Lord is faithful and delivers us from ourselves. Despite how we trivialize His gifts and belittle His forgiveness, the Lord still delivers Himself to us. In the font at Holy Baptism we were sealed with the Lord’s faithfulness, there He promised never to forsake us even when we forsake Him. He attached His promise to our heads and to our hearts and then reminds us of that promise each time our Pastor forgives our sins in the words of Holy Absolution.

Jesus died for our sins by becoming just like you and me, but perfect in every way. He then delivers His perfect body and blood to us for the salvation of our souls. In the name of Jesus. Amen.

Heavenly Father, Shepherd of Your people, You raised up James the Just, brother of our Lord, to lead and guide Your Church. Grant that we may follow his example of prayer and reconciliation and be strengthened by the witness of his death; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Collect for St. James of Jerusalem)