Reflections: October 10, 2021
The 19th Sunday after Trinity
By Eli Lietzau
"For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, ‘Rise and walk'?" (Mathew 8:5)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. We need Jesus to be more than just a miracle worker, more than just some carnival barker who sells us snake oil medicine out of the trunk of his car, more than some magic genie who is ready to grant us three wishes in order to make our life a little better. The problem is, we don't realize that we need a Jesus who is better than all of that. "All of that" is what we want Jesus to be. And when He isn't, we get a little angry.
We tend to not care all that much about the forgiveness of sins when temporal suffering and pain are at play. I can just imagine the look on the paralytic's face, on the faces of his friends who had lugged him all that way to see this miracle-man Jesus. For Jesus doesn't immediately heal him of his crooked legs and atrophied muscles. Instead, Jesus forgives the man's sins and tells him to take heart in that.
My goodness! If that isn't the Theology of the Cross, I don't know what is! Jesus doesn't seem to be all that concerned about the temporal, at least not until the eternal is taken care of. We could have everything under the sun placed at our feet (health, wealth, popularity, a great future) but what is all of that when our sins are still upon us?
Jesus doesn't promise us the things of temporal glory. We may very well receive those things from time to time. Then again, perhaps we won't. Maybe we won't be healed of that disease or our parents will still go through with their divorce or our boyfriend/girlfriend will still break up with us. We have no assurance of those things. The assurance that we do have is that we are forgiven. Our temporal life may be in complete disarray, but our eternal life is as sure and steadfast as a crucified Jesus and an empty tomb. And even through all of the trials and tribulations that we endure in this earthly life, the victory over them all is our victory in Jesus Christ and His Cross; for it is there that we receive the forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Almighty and merciful God, of Your bountiful goodness keep from us all things that may hurt us that we, being ready in both body and soul, may cheerfully accomplish whatever You would have us do; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Collect for the 19th Sunday after Trinity)
- Rev. Eli Lietzau is the pastor of Wheat Ridge Evangelical Lutheran Church in Wheat Ridge, CO.
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