October 31st , 2008 - Festival of the Reformation

Today's Reading: John 8:31-36

Daily Lectionary: Deuteronomy 32:28-52; Matthew 20:17-34

Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” (John 8:36)

The Gospel reading today says that the Son of God will make you free. Free from what, though? Free from sin, death and the devil. Free to be righteous in Christ Jesus, free from the Law and all of its demands. That’s the freedom that today’s Gospel reading speaks of.

We’re always constructing new laws for ourselves. We invent our own little ways to win our salvation, because ultimately we feel the need to make a contribution. We’ve got to put our own two cents in the pot; we just can’t let the Lord do it all, can we? If we let the Lord do all the winning we might realize that He doesn’t need our help! I mean, they might kill Him! We certainly can’t have that happen to the Son of God!

We like to bind ourselves to the Law, and in turn live like the Lord never rose from the grave. We put ourselves under the Law and ignore Easter Sunday. Stuck on Good Friday, it’s like we try to get the Lord out of the tomb on our own, but it just doesn’t work that way.

The Lord doesn’t wait for us to roll the stone away; He doesn’t wait for us to get our act in gear and live perfectly by the Law. No, the Lord just does it Himself. That’s how the Lord works. He’s an all or nothing God. He’s either going to save you entirely, free from your works, or He’s not. He’s not going to stop halfway and leave the job undone.

We are free to rejoice in the Lord’s work. That’s true freedom. True freedom leaves our works to the side, realizing that they can’t do us any good. True freedom lays all our cares and concerns on the Lord and trusts that He has already won salvation for us. True freedom is what . Martin Luther found when he rediscovered the Gospel, despite being in the shadows of the Papacy and its evil works.

Today, we rejoice in the Lord, for it is truly a festival of our freedom in Him – for the work He did on the Cross and for the gifts He delivers to us from that Cross. Today we rejoice in freedom. In the name of Jesus. Amen.

Almighty and gracious Lord, pour out Your Holy Spirit on Your faithful people. Keep us steadfast in Your grace and truth, protect and deliver us in times of temptation, defend us against all enemies, and grant to Your Church Your saving peace; 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 Reformation Day)