Reflections: Thursday of the Fifth Week after Trinity

Daily Lectionary: 1 Samuel 4:1-22; Acts 16:23-40

Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” (Acts 16:30-31)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. The jailer thought he had failed in his duty. As a Roman jailer,  your life was over if your prisoners escaped while in your custody. This man was about to kill himself for his failure when Paul cried out to him. What a sweet message those words of Paul were to a man lost and without hope! This sinner realized that Paul and his companions were proclaiming a message of life and hope to those who were as good as dead. The cry of “What must I do to be saved?” is a cry that all who have been killed by the Law utter. For the Law always leads us to despair of ourselves, to see the gravity of our sins, and to look for help. 

At this point, when we are dead in sin, the Gospel can come and save us. “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.” The proclamation of the Gospel to the jailer and his family immediately led to Baptism. This man and his whole family received the washing and rebirth that comes to all sinners, regardless of age, when the Word of God is connected to simple water. This water is transformed into a life-giving water that gives faith and life to all who receive it. 

The Gift that was given that day to the jailer is also given to you. While you are dead in your sins, God calls you by name. He washes you. He makes you alive. He forgives all your sins. He makes you holy. This Gift you receive because of Jesus and the sacrifice that He offered on the Cross through His innocent suffering and death for your sins. Because Jesus has risen from the dead, you also will rise and live with Him in heaven. 

Rejoice in that gift and believe that the words and promises of God are for you, not just today, but every day of your life. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

Dear Lord, awaken us that we may be prepared to receive your Son with joy when he comes and to serve him with a pure heart. Graciously hurry the coming of that day. Bless and prepare us with wisdom and strength that in the meantime we may walk wisely and uprightly. May we joyfully wait for the coming of your dear Son and so depart from this valley of sorrow. Amen. (Luther’ s Prayers, ed. Herbert F. Brokering. Augsburg Fortress, p.106) 

-Rev. William K. Stottlemyer is pastor of St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hancock, MD.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch

Christians need to aspire to being people of THE faith. Not just any will do. In Faith Misused, Dr. Alvin Schmidt shares his case for a Christian reclaiming of the word “faith” from its ambiguous modern uses. Now available from Concordia Publishing House.