Today's Reading: John 15:12-21
“If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” (John 15:19)
Today we commemorate two of the Lord’s chosen apostles, St. Simon and St. Jude. In today’s text these two servants of our Lord are promised great things! They can expect that as apostles they will be hated and die. What a calling! Where can I sign up?!?
Today’s text takes place after the celebration and institution of our Lord’s last will and testament – His Supper. It also takes place after Judas is set out to betray the Son of God, while the disciples play 20 questions with Jesus about the events that are about to take place. In His answers, Jesus has claimed exclusivity to the Gospel – only in Him and by Him will sinful men come to know forgiveness and eternal life. Lastly, today we read the Lord promising His faithful pastors that their fate is no better than His – it ends with death.
Despite the promise of death, there is much to rejoice in today. The Lord gives us His pastors to deliver His gifts. They are literally Christ Jesus for us. The Lord works through death; He makes it a means by which He can deliver us from our sin. He dies on the Cross for the salvation of all mankind and then He calls faithful men of God to suffer just as He did in order that you might receive the forgiveness won for you by Him at Calvary.
We don’t hear a lot about St. Simon and St. Jude. In fact, today we’re so little concerned with the both of them that we lump them together in a single day of commemoration. They are nothing more than tools of the Lord, just as your pastor, too, is a tool of the Lord.
What matters is that they were pastors and they were called by God to serve. Today, rejoice in knowing that regardless of how cool your pastor is, he has been put into His office to serve you: to deliver life, salvation, and the forgiveness of sins to you. In the name of Jesus. Amen.
Almighty God, You chose Your servants Simon and Jude to be numbered among the glorious company of the apostles. As they were faithful and zealous in their mission, so may we with ardent devotion make known the love and mercy of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Collect for St. Simon and St. Jude)