Reflections: August 6, 2021
Friday of the Ninth Week after Trinity
By Harrison Goodman
He lived there two whole years at his own expense, and welcomed all who came to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance. (Acts 28:30–31)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. The end of Acts seems anticlimactic. Paul is under house arrest in his own rented house, awaiting another trial. He preaches to the Jews who live in Rome. Some believe. Some don't. So he keeps doing it. It lasts for years. There's no "mission accomplished" parade. There's no grand finale. Just another sermon each day. It's been going on ever since. Paul was eventually martyred, but others were sent to take up his words and continue to preach.
The day-to-day preaching of the Gospel seems easy to forget in a world that looks only for the next conflict, the next bit of breaking news, or the next bit of excitement. Yet this is what God used to save countless souls. Paul preached the same as Isaiah, and the same as your pastor today.
When it goes on for years, and hearing people still don't understand, it's easy to grow frustrated. It's easy to wonder if God is actually working at all. It's easy to assume that God has moved on, that He left the Jews for the Gentiles, and our generation for another yet to come. It is not God's will that any be damned. It's easy to tell, first because Christ died for all the world, and second, because by the power of the Holy Spirit, these people are sent as preachers.
Isaiah was sent to the unbelieving of Israel. Paul was sent to the Jews. We are given pastors. All proclaim God's Word, not of their own will, but His. He insists that His Word be spoken, even when people will reject it, because He wants none lost. Over and over, He pours out His Word, and bit by bit, more believe.
It seems anticlimactic, but this is how God chooses to work. He speaks through ordinary men called pastors. Baptizes through ordinary water. Feeds you with His Body and Blood through ordinary bread and wine. The active thing is the easiest to miss: His Word. God's Word is still among us. Thanks be to God that it is at work to save. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
May God bestow on us His grace, With blessings rich provide us; And may the brightness of His face To life eternal guide us, That we His saving health may know, His gracious will and pleasure, And also to the nations show Christ's riches without measure And unto God convert them. ("May God Bestow on Us His Grace" LSB 823, st.1)
-Rev. Harrison Goodman is the pastor of Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church in San Antonio, TX.
He is also the content executive for Higher Things.
He is also the content executive for Higher Things.
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