Reflections: August 25, 2020
Tuesday of the 11th Week after Trinity
By Mark Buetow
And the Lord said to him, "Therefore, whoever kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold." And the Lord set a mark on Cain, lest anyone finding him should kill him. (Genesis 4:15)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Cain killed his brother Abel. Cain thought the Lord should accept his sacrifice. Cain thought he was religious, spiritual, a "good Christian" even. Cain thought that he deserved God's favor. Abel, whose name means, literally, "nothing but a breath of air," knows that he deserves nothing. Only God's mercy will save him. Somehow thinking that you deserve something from God makes it all the more irritating when you are dealing with a guy who doesn't think that. It makes Cain so angry he kills his brother.
This is what happens, of course. Thinking we're "all that!" is what gets our Brother killed. Jesus came to give us life and we gave Him death. He came to show us how we are saved by God's grace. We showed Him who the real gods are by killing Him.
But here's the wonder, the majesty, the irony, the mystery: In our killing of Jesus, He saves us. Cain was awful, but look at the words above: The Lord still protected Him. He would be a fugitive and vagabond on the earth, but the Lord protected him. That's because, when it all comes down to it, Cain isn't held accountable for murdering his brother. Jesus takes the blame! You and I aren't held accountable for any of our sins. They're all, every one of them, laid upon the Lamb of God who gave His life for us.
What awful things have you done to demonstrate you think you're a better god than God? What awful things have you done to others? Whatever they are, however awful they may be, they are wiped out by the blood of Jesus, your Big Brother. He's your Brother who gave His life for you and that means you're a part of God's family who can never be disowned. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
My soul looks back to see The burden Thou didst bear When hanging on the cursed tree; I know my guilt was there. ("Not All the Blood of Beasts" LSB 431, st. 4)
-Rev. Mark Buetow is the pastor of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church and School in McHenry, Illinois.
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