Today’s Reading: Introit for the 17th Sunday after Trinity (Psalm 119:1–2, 5–6; antiphon: vv.137, 124)
Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord! Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart. (Psalms 119:1-2)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. The psalms were the songs and prayers of Israel. Men like David composed them and for centuries the people of Israel used them for worship. Therefore, the psalms are truly the songs and prayers of Jesus. He is Israel-Reduced-to-One, after all. He came to represent Israel as Her Head. He came as a substitute, obeying the Law in Israel’s place to reverse the curse of the Law. Therefore, the psalms find their rightful home in His mouth.
Who is the Blessed Man, the Man in whom God delights? Jesus! His way was completely blameless. He walked in the Law of the Lord, treasuring every testimony of God and seeking the Father with His whole heart. His eyes were fixed on the commandments and He never wavered in keeping them.
The good news is that Jesus swaps places with us. Although He was completely blameless, He took the blame for our sins and was punished for them. Then, He gave us the credit for His obedience, so that we would not be put to shame on Judgment Day.
And that’s not all. While Jesus did experience the shame of our sin on the Cross, He was not left naked and ashamed. No, the Father raised Him from the dead and clothed His obedient Son in glory. Then, the risen Jesus poured His Spirit out on us, so that the Spirit might change our hearts. The Holy Spirit pours the love of God into our hearts, so that we begin to seek God. He leads us, so that we walk in the law of love. Hence, we can pray these psalms with Jesus.
Sometimes our flesh gets the better of us. Often our eyes glance at idols or we stumble on the way. Thankfully, such sins are forgiven for the sake of Christ. That grace turns our eyes back to God and helps us stand. We begin to keep His testimonies and live according to the commandments, until that day when sin’s poison is removed from our souls and we can serve God perfectly. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Speak, O Lord, Your servant listens, Let Your Word to me come near; Newborn life and spirit give me, Let each promise still my fear. Death’s dread pow’r, its inward strife, Wars against Your Word of life; Fill me, Lord, with love’s strong fervor, That I cling to You forever! (“Speak, O Lord, Your Servant Listens” LSB 589, st.1)
-Pastor Alexander Lange is pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Albany, Oregon.
Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch
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.