Reflections: December 11, 2020
Friday of the Second Week of Advent
By Bradley Drew
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. (1 John 5:1)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. I know it's been raining when the ground is wet. The wet ground did not cause the rain. It just showed it had been raining. It's the same thing when I see faith in God tied to love for others. We don't produce this any more than the ground does the rain. God does.
That is the meaning of the words, "Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him." Whenever we see faith in Jesus and love for others, especially for that community gathered around the gifts that deliver and promise Jesus to all, we are seeing not the work of man, but of God Himself.
This is why Jesus' commands are not burdensome. Unlike Moses' commands, Jesus' commands are not our works at all, but are His. They are God's: Baptism (John 3:6), the Lord's Supper (John 6:54), and Absolution (John 20:23). And, says John, these all agree. "The Spirit and the water and the blood" (1 John 5:8). About what? That without any merit or work on our part, we sinners have been given Jesus. And with Jesus, eternal life.
"I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life" (1 John.5:13). Yes, even believers struggle. Faith, says Jesus, is a work of God (John 6:29). Trouble is, when we think of faith we usually start thinking of ourselves--our own hearts and lives and choices. When we get turned in on ourselves like that, it's no wonder even we believers struggle.
That struggle is never resolved by looking inward, at ourselves, at our own hearts. It's resolved only by looking outward at Jesus and at His Gifts. Point your troubled heart, then, to the three witnesses on earth that testify to what God in heaven has done for you in heaven and on earth. He has given you Jesus. And with Jesus, eternal life. His Word, water, and Supper all agree as one on that. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Spirit, water, blood entreating, Working faith and its completing In the One whose death defeating Life has come, with life for all. ("Water, Blood, and Spirit Crying" LSB 597, st. 5)
-Rev. Bradley Drew is the pastor of Mount Olive Lutheran Church in Metairie, LA.
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