Today's Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:1-19
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. The message of the cross isn't reasonable. It's foolishness to the world because it turns everything upside down. The cross of Christ is where God reveals His Fatherly love for His children. In Jesus' precious blood, and innocent suffering and death, God's love sets us free from slavery to sin, death, and hell. The cross is God's final word about questions of grace. God's grace is poured out, is free, and available for sinners, wherever the Gospel is preached into ears and the sacrament is poured into mouths.
At Calvary, God turns upside down the world's expectations of what it means to be a god. In His suffering, affliction and helplessness He takes the place of those who suffer, are afflicted and helpless because of sin. That is, He took His place on the cross for all of us.
The message of the cross announces that you who once were not a people...are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. What this means is that you receive what Jesus achieved. He makes His mercy available to you still through the things He's made: through words, and water, and bread, and wine. In these things, He's chosen to be found.
This is impossible for the old Adam to understand. He'd rather look anywhere else than at the cross of Jesus. It pinches his pride too much to think that he can't tell God who He is, where He's going to be, and what He's going to do for him when He gets there. Y ou can't tell God who He is. God tells you. And He has, once for all at the cross of Jesus. You can't come to Him. He comes to you, holding nothing of Himself back, making Himself known to you in the reading and hearing His Word and in the Sacraments. He tells you who He is, what He is like, and gives you what Christ achieved on the cross: forgiveness, life, and eternal salvation.
Your cross I place before me; Its saving pow'r restore me, Sustain me in the test. It will, when life is ending, Be guiding and attending My way to Your eternal rest. (LSB 453:7)
Registration for the 2013 Higher Things Conferences, From Above, is now open! Register today at fromabove2013.org.
Questions or comments regarding the Reflections may be sent to the Rev. Mark Buetow, Reflections Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org.