Reflections: December 9, 2020
Wednesday of the Second Week of Advent
By Bradley Drew
Today's Reading: Small Catechism: Table of Duties, Employers and Supervisors
Daily Lectionary: Isaiah 26:1-19; 1 John 3:1-24
Daily Lectionary: Isaiah 26:1-19; 1 John 3:1-24
Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him. (Ephesians 6:9)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Last Wednesday the Table of Duties had Paul giving a word of encouragement to slaves. No matter how hard or bitter their lot, they had joy, for in serving their masters, they were actually serving Jesus. They could lift their sights higher than their masters and see, hidden even in them, the One born of Mary for them. What license to live a life of love for others, even if they don't always have our best interests at heart.
Today Paul has a word of encouragement for slave owners: "There is no partiality with God." Just because someone "owns" more than others doesn't mean Jesus favors them above others. And just because you may have been given less in this life, that doesn't mean God thinks less of you. Unlike us, Jesus does not play favorites like that.
That's especially good news when it comes to His forgiveness and love. Here, too, Jesus does not play favorites. He died for all of us. The good and the bad. The right and the wrong. The slave and the slave owner. No sinner left out. God does not love you because you love Him. God loves you because of Jesus, born of Mary for you. God loves you because of Jesus, who exchanged the wood of the manger for the wood of the Cross for you. God loves you because of Jesus. God loves you whoever you are.
That is the promise of the Gospel. It's the promise God makes with us every day in Holy Baptism. It's the promise He makes to sinners in Absolution and in sermons. It's the promise He gives you and me at His Supper with His Body and His Blood, "for you, for the forgiveness of sins." It's Jesus' promise to all. The bad and the good. The right and the wrong. The slave and the slave owner. True grace. For all. From God.
In a tract, "On the Freedom of a Christian," Luther wrote, "A Christian is an utterly free man, lord of all, subject to none. A Christian is an utterly dutiful man, servant of all, subject to all." Luther captures here the grace and harmony of life for the baptized. We live not in, but outside of ourselves. We live in God by faith, and in those around us by love. That's true freedom. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Thee may I set at my right hand, Whose eyes my inmost substance see, And labor on at Thy command, And offer all my works to Thee. ("Forth in Thy Name, O Lord, I Go" LSB 854 st. 3)
-Rev. Bradley Drew is the pastor of Mount Olive Lutheran Church in Metairie, LA.
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