Today’s Reading: Genesis 32:22-32
Daily Lectionary: Genesis 18:1-15; Mark 6:14-34
And He said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.” (Genesis 32:28)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. No one likes losing. It doesn’t matter if it’s a job, a ballgame, a barroom brawl or Monopoly. You see, we follow the principle that if you’re not first, you’re last. Those are the ways of man.
But those are not the ways of God. When it comes to fighting with and for His people, God is the biggest and the happiest loser. For when God loses, we win; and when we win, God wins.
This is what happened back in Genesis 32. On the banks of the Jabbok Jacob wrestled with God. God got in the ring with Joseph and went all ten rounds. And to our surprise, Jacob won. God lost.
The remarkable thing is not that God appeared as a man, not that He picked a fight with Jacob, but that God lost. And here is the even more remarkable thing: God delighted in losing.
When God loses we win. That’s the way it was for Jacob. “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have fought with God and have prevailed.” Jacob is given a new name: Israel, the God-fighter. He saw God face to face and lived. God works the same for you. When God loses, you win. Look no further than the Cross where Christ, who is first, became last for our sakes.
Jesus turns the world upside down. No Cross, no glory. No death, no resurrection. Good Friday must come before Easter. And if you try to save your life on your own terms you’ll lose it forever. If you lose your life for Jesus’ sake you’ll find it. That’s the paradox of the Gospel. The Cross is Christ’s glory and yours. Losing is living. Dying is life.
Christ comes ready to fight for our very lives. Jesus is not content until He has wrestled away every last sin from you and given you every last blessing of His. For when Jesus loses His life for you on the Cross, you gain everything in Him. And when He rises victoriously from the grave, death loses once again. And in Jesus you are alive. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
O God, you so loved the world that you gave your only begotten Son to reconcile earth with heaven; Grant that we, loving you above all things, may love our friends in you, and our enemies for your sake; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
-Rev. Samuel Schuldheisz is pastor of Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church in Milton, WA.
Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch
Learn more about your favorite hymns and find the deeper meaning behind the text with Eternal Anthems: The Story Behind Your Favorite Hymns. The book includes devotional commentary and historical facts from forty different contributing authors on fifty different hymns. Now available from Concordia Publishing House.