Reflections: December 31, 2020
Eve of the Circumcision and Name of Jesus
By Bradley Drew
But know this, that if the master of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have left his house to be broken into. (Luke 12:39)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Who is "the master of the house"? Jesus is. But doesn't Jesus know what hour the thief is coming? No. "But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father" (Mark 13:32). Who are the servants? Peter thought the servants might be the pastors: "Lord, are You telling this parable for us or for all?" (Luke 12:41) Is this for pastors only, or the laity, too? The answer, of course, is both. For the pastor is not above, but within the church. Everyone needs the encouragement of the pulpit, the font and table of the Lord as the Last Day approaches.
"Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy" (Luke 12:1). That's the first thing Jesus says in Luke 12. Hypocrisy is pretending that you are holy before God and prepared for that Day not because of the forgiveness of all your sins, but because of all the improvements you've made and good works you are doing. It's the leaven of the Law, the teaching that insists God has left salvation up to the sinner, still. Contrast that with the promise of the Gospel: "Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows" (Luke 12:6-7). "Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom" (Luke 12:32).
The Lord's words "dressed for action" and "keep your lamps burning" (Luke 12:35) recall the Passover, when the lambs were slaughtered at night and God set His people free (Exodus 12). Jesus is encouraging the Church by saying He is with us in everything, the Lamb of God who bore the sins of all. He has protected His own house with the greatest security system of all time: His Word, His water, and His Supper, which deliver the promise of His Cross to all, until He returns. The Master knows this is the sinner's readiness, or preparation, for that Day. His words today encourage all to trust the same. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Eternal God, we commit to Your mercy and forgiveness the year now ending and commend to Your blessing and love the times yet to come. In the new year, abide among us with Your Holy Spirit that we may always trust in the saving name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Collect for the Eve of the Circumcision and Name of Jesus)
-Rev. Bradley Drew is the pastor of Mount Olive Lutheran Church in Metairie, LA.
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