February 18, 2023
Today’s Reading: Introit for Transfiguration, Ps. 99:1-5; antiphon: Ps. 99:9
Daily Lectionary:Job 13:13-28, John 6:22-40
“Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at His holy mountain; for the Lord our God is holy!” (Psalm 99:9)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Scripture tells us, “The Lord is great in Zion.” Christopher Hitchens, renowned atheist, tells us, “god is Not Great.” His book is a #1 New York Bestseller, so many people have been listening to him. Many of your friends and people you meet have been listening to him, also. In his book, Hitchens makes several supposedly rational cases against world religions, but it quickly becomes clear that he does not know the Lord. He knows sinful people, and offers atheism as a substitute religion which claims “Man is great.”
But the claim that man is great instead of the Lord only brings more problems. History and our own experience shows that human beings are tragically flawed. Or, as St. Paul put it, “If righteousness were through the Law, then Christ died to no purpose” (Gal. 2:21). Man is not great; man needs a great Savior, who is the Lord! “The Lord is great in Zion; He is exalted over all the peoples.” He alone does what no man could do. He alone is holy, set apart from fallen mankind. He alone is to be adored by all the sinful race.
Yet, though the Lord is holy, and He could stay far away from mankind and all our failings, He doesn’t. Holy as He is, He embraced our miserable condition and was born of the Virgin Mary. Even as man, He was still holy because He was “made like His brothers in every respect…yet without sin” (Hebrews 2:17, 4:15). The Holy Lord in human flesh did for all what we could never achieve ourselves: perfect righteousness, just retribution for all sins, and rescue from death itself.
Atheism and all man-made religions cannot offer what the Lord Himself gives as a gift to the fallen world. No tower of Babel project can unite all people the way God can (Genesis 11). No earthly utopia of Karl Marx which promises to eliminate class divisions can remove the poison of sin in our hearts; only our Lord can. Therefore, we exalt the Lord alone, for He is holy.
May the Lord increase our joy at worshiping at His footstool, and bring those without such hope eternal peace and hope through Jesus Christ. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Thou camest to our hall of death, O Christ, to breathe our poisoned air, To drink for us the dark despair
That strangled our reluctant breath. How beautiful the feet that trod, The road that leads us back to God!
How beautiful the feet that ran To bring the great good news to man! Amen. (LSB 834:3)
-Pastor Michael A. Miller is Pastor at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Lebanon, OR.,
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.