Today’s Reading: Luke 10:1-9
“And say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.'” (Luke 10:9)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. “Has come near” does not capture the full sense of the word that Jesus uses. “Has arrived” or “is present” says it better. It’s what Jesus is telling His early “pastors” to teach and preach in His Name. Every leper cleansed, every sick person healed, every blind eye and deaf ear opened was a sermon in itself that said, “God and sinners are reconciled, now, in Jesus.” Sins are forgiven. Judgments erased. Death defeated. Lives restored. Eternity promised.
Glad tidings to all, even to Titus who, unlike Paul and Timothy, was a Gentile. He was from Greece which, according to Jewish tradition, made him part of the “70 nation” world that surrounded Israel. By sending out the 72, Jesus is showing us that it really is the whole world God is embracing in His Son (John 3:16).
A co-worker of Paul’s and friend to Timothy, Pastor Titus was now preaching and defending this kingdom’s Gospel from the pulpit (Titus 1:3,9), the font (Titus 3:4-7), and the altar (Titus 3:10, 15). And the kingdom’s Gospel is this: The kingdom isn’t just near to us in these places. It is with us in these places. For Jesus is promised to us, is with us today, in these places.
“Peace be to this house!” (Luke 10:5) That’s the kingdom’s embrace you are promised at the font in Holy Baptism. It’s the Jesus you hear from your pastor in every Absolution and sermon he speaks. It’s the peace given you at the Supper with Jesus’ Body and Blood, “for you, for the forgiveness of sins.”
No matter the trial or burden you are facing, then, or the sin you must own up to, God is not rejecting you by sending you Jesus. He is owning you. He is claiming you. He is forgiving and embracing and reconciling you to Himself, setting you free from all your sin and from all your trials. And promising you a Day, even an eternity, to prove that to you. A forever Father in heaven who will never let go.
That’s peace. And it’s not just “near to you” with Jesus. It’s with you, with Jesus. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Almighty God, You called Titus to the work of pastor and teacher. Make all shepherds of Your flock diligent in preaching Your holy Word so that the whole world may know the immeasurable riches of our Savior, Jesus Christ, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Collect for St. Titus, Pastor and Confessor)
-Rev. Bradley Drew is pastor of Mount Olive Lutheran Church in Metairie, LA.
Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch
Pastor-psychiatrist duo Rev. A. Trevor Sutton and Dr. Brian Smith have teamed up to help you evaluate your technology use through a Christian perspective. Learn how to form healthy, faithful technology habits with Jesus at the center. Now available from Concordia Publishing House.