Reflections: Thursday of the Third Week after the Epiphany

Today’s Reading: Exodus 33:12-23

Daily Lectionary: Zechariah 4:1-5:11; Romans 15:14-33

“And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.” (Exodus 33:19b)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. They had lost every right to call themselves God’s children. In fact, the taste of the golden calf, which Moses had them melt into a beverage and drink, was still in their mouths when God spoke these words. They had worshiped the golden calf, calling it their god, giving it the praise and glory for their rescue from Egypt. In wrath, God swore He would disown them. “And the LORD said to Moses, ‘I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people. Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them'” (Exodus 32:9).

Moses steps into the breach by reminding God of His promise to redeem His children from all their sins (Exodus 32:11-14). For it is only that faithfulness, God’s continued, forever faithfulness to Jesus and the Cross, that saves sinners from all their sins. It is the only reason God does not wipe out sinners , but continues calling them, even today, even you, His own.

This is who God is. Unpack His Name, and what you get is the promise of the Cross. Jesus will carry all of your sin to its logical conclusion for you. He, not you, will be disowned by God when He suffers and dies for you on the Cross. His sacrifice now defines you before God. You are holy. You are forgiven. You are redeemed, for God’s faithfulness will always be greater than your sin.

Like we often do, Moses wanted to pry deeper into the mysteries of God. But as with Moses, God simply tells you the mystery that you need to know. He points you to your Baptism, where with His Name God promises you the daily cleansing and mercy of Jesus’ Cross. He sends you pastors to absolve you and to preach Christ crucified to you. He even gives you Jesus’ Body and Blood at the Holy Supper, “for you, for the forgiveness of sins.”

And the only mystery you need to know is known: God’s faithfulness is your joy, your confidence before God. Because God’s continued faithfulness to the Cross and its promise is, and always will be, your salvation. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

Jesus has come as the mighty Redeemer. See now the threatening strong one disarmed! Jesus breaks down all the walls of death’s fortress, Brings forth the pris’ners triumphant, unharmed. Satan, you wicked one, own now your master! Jesus has come! He, the mighty Redeemer! (“Jesus Has Come and Brings Pleasure” LSB 533, st.1)

-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.