Reflections: Thursday of the Third-Last Week

Today’s Reading: Jeremiah 23:1-20

Daily Lectionary: Jeremiah 23:1-20; Matthew 25:14-30

“I will set shepherds over them who will care for them, and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall any be missing, declares the Lord.” (Jer. 23:4)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Today God teaches you why you have a pastor.  And that is, God gives you a pastor so that you might be spiritually cared for, that you wouldn’t be afraid, that you wouldn’t feel hopeless and that you wouldn’t wander off into grave danger.  Also that you wouldn’t be afraid of death and damnation, let alone fears of a hopeless future.  This is the task and the calling of pastors.  And they carry this task out especially as they teach you Holy Scripture, as they proclaim the Good News of Jesus to you, as they warn you and as they forgive you, as they offer the Body and Blood of Jesus to you in the Lord’s Supper.  These are the tools pastors use to care for God’s sheep, which includes you.

In the prophet Jeremiah’s time, however, those who were tasked with the teaching and proclamation of God’s Word were false teachers.  They did not speak God’s Word but their own dreams and ideas.  These shepherds did not care for the people entrusted to them.  Their sermons were full of ideas of God’s peace.  However, they would not warn people away from their sins.  These false prophets made it seem like God loved sins and wanted people to continue in their sins.  Because of that, God’s anger was against the false prophets and the people who supported them.

You are a sheep of God.  You are called to be His and to be loved by Him through the mouth of your pastor.  But you have to listen.  Listen to the Word.  Listen carefully.  Something is right and true not because even a pastor says it, but only if it agrees and confesses what God’s Word says.  However, your pastor also might say something that is from God’s Word, and you just weren’t aware of it.  If you hear something off in a sermon, politely ask him if he meant what you heard.  It could be that you just heard it wrong.

What if you don’t have a pastor now?  What if your church is “vacant”?  Pray that God fulfills His promise in today’s passage.  Pray that God sends you a shepherd who will care for you, that you may not be afraid or dismayed.  In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

O Lord, guard and keep us under the care of faithful pastors who proclaim Your Word purely and protect us even from dangers we don’t know.  Amen.

-Pastor Robert Mayes is Pastor at Immanuel Lutheran Church and Zion St. John Lutheran Church in Beemer and Wisner, NE.

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.