Reflections: July 3, 2020
Friday of the Fourth Week after Trinity
By Alexander Lange
Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. (1 Peter 5:9)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Christians should expect suffering in this life. The devil is prowling, seeking to devour God's people. The devil tries to destroy the faith of Christians by means of persecution. He increases the world's hostility against the Church.
The world will punish Christians for their allegiance to Jesus. The Christian might lose respect and status, family and friends, money and possessions, his rights and freedom, and, in some cases, his life. The only way to escape this cross is to renounce Jesus and leave the Church. That's what the devil wants you to do.
Peter encourages us to remain firm in the faith. He reminds us that we are not suffering alone. We are suffering along with the entire Body of Christ. Indeed, there are plenty of Christians around the world suffering more than you are.
However, Peter gives us more than just the example and the camaraderie of the saints. He gives us a promise -- the Gospel Promise. Be humbled by the devil and the world, and the mighty hand of God will exalt you (1 Peter 5:6). Suffer for a little while, and your gracious God will set things right, will strengthen you, will empower you, and will secure you (1 Peter 5:10).
After all, Jesus humbled Himself for a time, choosing to endure the shame of the Cross, and God exalted Him on the Third Day. Jesus suffered for a little while and then God set things right by raising Him from the dead.
You are baptized into Christ. What happens to Jesus must happen to you. That means a painful cross, but that means everlasting life and glory, too! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
In the very midst of life Snares of death surround us; Who shall help us in the strife Lest the foe confound us? Thou only, Lord, Thou only! We mourn that we have greatly erred, That our sins Thy wrath have stirred, Holy and righteous God! Holy and mighty God! Holy and all-merciful Savior! Eternal Lord God! Save us lest we perish In the bitter pangs of death. Have mercy, O Lord! ("In the Very Midst of Life" LSB 755, st. 1)
- Rev. Alexander Lange is pastor of Holy Cross Evangelical Lutheran Church in Albany, Oregon.
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