Reflections: Thursday of the Fourth Week of Advent

Today’s Reading: Table of Duties: To Subjects

Daily Lectionary: Isaiah 43:1-24; Revelation 9:13-10:11

“Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for any honest work” (Tit. 3:1).

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. In the explanation of the 4th Commandment, we’ve learned what it means to honor.  To honor is to hold them in high esteem, to show dignity that God has rightly given to them as those who are given by God to look after us, and take care of us.  The Small Catechism explains what honor looks like by also telling us what we are not to do.  Do not despise or anger our parents or other authorities.  

This section of the Table of Duties teaches us that citizens are to honor the civil government and to show dignity to those given to rule over us; this is important but it is not the whole story.  God also places us in positions to participate in the activities, governance, and care of our society.  We are to care as Christ cared, to honor as our Lord honored the authorities. How was that? He suffered under Pontus Pilate; Jesus willingly subjected himself to Pilate and the office that Pilate had been given by God. To say that Christ suffered under Pontus Pilate is simply to say that Jesus suffered unto God the Father who placed Pilate in his governorship.  

As the children of God then we are governed by the Word of God. Not only are we encouraged to participate in civil discourse, and conversations with our classmates, teachers, and public officials. We may also be afforded the opportunity to run for public office at the school or public level, and opportunities for service in the military or to volunteer in the community are other options too.  This duty: of citizens reminds us first and foremost, that acts of charity and mercy for the temporal support of their neighbors in need are founded in Christ Jesus who first subjected Himself to the temporal authorities for our sake.  Thankfully this article isn’t just about paying taxes and obeying the laws of the land, although that is included.  We are given to pray for our rulers, participate in the general welfare of the nation, and “be ready to do whatever is good.” In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

Merciful Father, grant us faith to pray for the civil authorities and to trust that You will accomplish Your good and gracious will through them.  Teach us to live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness and to be ready to do whatever is good in service to others in our community and nation, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

-Pastor Adam DeGroot is Pastor of Calvary Lutheran Church in Rio Rancho, New Mexico.

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.