Reflections: Patrick, Missionary to Ireland

March 17,  2023

Today’s Reading:  Mark 10:32-52

Daily Lectionary: Gen 40:1-23

Mark 10:45: “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.””

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Patrick tends to get belittled. Faithful teaching about the Holy Trinity is truncated to a 3 leaf clover or maybe a satirical youtube video in select circles. His time in Ireland is reduced to fables and jokes about snakes being driven into the sea.  

In reality, Patrick was kidnapped when he was 16 and enslaved for 6 years before escaping the country of Ireland where he was brought only to return to preach the forgiveness of sins in Christ Jesus to the very nation that took Him from His family and made him a slave. He was a fierce defender of the Triune God to a culture set against the idea. 

Somehow, it’s easier to imagine a God who helps the faithful drown snakes than a God who is glorified in suffering. James and John want to sit at either side of Jesus in the hour of triumph. They don’t know what they’re asking for. That hour is the cross. Those seats are reserved for two thieves.  

Sinners go looking for power. Jesus reveals Himself in mercy. The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve. Patrick not only confessed the Triune God, but preached to the sinners Christ died for, assuming the role of servant even to those who held him captive. There’s a reason. Stories of glory only help the powerful, and I guess the ones who hate snakes.  There’s no help for the sinners or the ones without a great escape story. When we go looking for power, only the devout end up glorified, never the sinners.  When Jesus works mercy, even thieves can be saved, and all of us join Christ in the humility of the cross  that we would be raised with Him in glory. This is a Christianity with room for sinners, with room for the lowly, with room for you. Your faith is not measured in the great works you accomplish but in the sins Christ forgives. All of them. The snake’s head was crushed at the foot of the cross where your salvation was won, whether or not you chased the rest out of a country. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

I bind unto myself today The pow’r of God to hold and lead, His eye to watch, His might to stay, His ear to hearken to my need, The wisdom of my God to teach, His hand to guide, His shield to ward, The Word of God to give me speech, His heav’nly host to be my guard. (I Bind unto Myself Today, LSB 604:3)

– Pastor Harrison Goodman is Content Executive for Higher Things.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Patrick Sturdivant, Development and Marketing Executive at Higher Things.

Study Christ’s words on the cross to see how you can show more Christlike grace in your life. Perfect for group or individual study, each chapter has a Q&A at the end, and the back of the book includes a leader guide. Available now from Concordia Publishing House.