Reflections: April 27, 2021
Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Easter
By Alfonso Espinosa
He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:29-31)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. This Scripture from Isaiah is magnificent. First, it teaches us about our condition apart from God's help and grace: We are faint; we have no might, we are weary, and can easily feel exhausted. All of this is true because we are poor sinners. No doubt about it: On our own we can do nothing. Jesus once said as much: "Apart from me you can do nothing" (John 15:5b). These things are true on account of our core sin. It is a condition that is so serious that it leads to death. It causes us to moan as we must confess what cannot be denied: We are very tired sinners, weary from trying to make life work and be good from our own effort, our own imagined power.
All of this is what the LAW shows us. But then Isaiah reveals the wonderful and amazing GOSPEL: God, in the greatest love and mercy ever known, sent Jesus to be the One we "wait" for (another word for sure and certain hope). And what does the LORD do for us poor sinners who wait on Him? He gives us His power and He increases and renews our strength. And just as we are collapsing under the weight of our sin, He causes us to rise-up, by His grace, to run and yes, even to soar with life as if mounting up with wings like eagles!
Isaiah the prophet knew, from His point in history, that Jesus was coming, and he taught what Jesus verified: "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls" (Matthew 11:28-29). By grace, through faith in Jesus apart from anything you try to do, the LORD has renewed your strength. It's time to soar! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
LORD of all power and might, author and giver of all good things, graft into our hearts the love of Your name and nourish us with all goodness that we may love and serve our neighbor; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our LORD, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
The Rev. Dr. Alfonso Espinosa is the pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church of Irvine, CA. He is also the author of two books: Faith That Sees Through the Culture and Faith That Engages the Culture.
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