Reflections: December 15, 2020
Tuesday of the Third Week of Advent
By Bradley Drew
Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God. (1 Corinthians 4:5)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. See how Paul lives and moves in the joy of God's salvation. He knows there is a Judgment Day, yet he speaks of receiving "his commendation from God" on that day. His "praise." Big words from someone who once persecuted Jesus.
How can the Lord who judges Paul also be the One who will commend him? Is not Paul a poor miserable sinner? Will the teacher commend the student who failed? Or the sheriff the one who stole? I think not! How can this be? Here's how: "Who shall bring a charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns?" (Romans. 8:33-34) Faithful steward, this Paul. He is trusting for himself and for all the baptized that the Judge will declare us righteous on that day because of Jesus.
You, too. When you see baby Jesus asleep in Mary's arms, wrapped in swaddling clothes, think "for you." When you see Him in the temple as a 12-year-old, think "for you." When you see Jesus loving God and neighbor, think "for you." When you see Jesus dying on the Cross and rising from the dead, think "for you." When you remember your Baptism, and listen to the Gospel from your pastor, and come to Holy Communion, think, "for you!" Because no matter who you are, or whatever it is that you think would silence God's praise for you on that day, that's what Jesus is for. From cradle to grave all the way to His Father's right hand, Jesus is always for you.
There will always be those who sit in judgment over the pastor. You must, in fact, sit in judgment over his doctrine. But over the purposes of his heart? That's God's call. And Paul is quite confident, because of Jesus, that God's grace and mercy will be large enough for you and your pastor on that day.
But why must we judge our pastor's doctrine? Jesus. That's why. A pastor's doctrine is the Jesus he brings you. Is it the Jesus Who lived, died, and rose for you? Is it the Jesus whom God promises you in His Word, in His Water and at His Supper with forgiveness, life, and salvation for you? Because that is the Jesus who matters. The Jesus who saves. Faithful pastors always give us that Jesus! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes; Shine through the gloom, and point me to the skies. Heav'ns' morning breaks, and earth's vain shadows flee; In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me. ("Abide with Me" LSB 878, st.6)
-Rev. Bradley Drew is the pastor of Mount Olive Lutheran Church in Metairie, LA.
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