Reflections: Tuesday of the 16th Week after Trinity

Today’s Reading: Ephesians 3:13-21

Daily Lectionary: Deuteronomy 4:21-40; Matthew 8:1-17

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. When that widow at Nain saw Jesus outside the gate of Nain, staring intently at her and at her son’s body, what do you think went through her mind? Did she know it was Jesus? If so, what did she expect Him to do?

For some reason, I doubt that she expected Jesus to resurrect her only son. My guess is that the miracle was a surprise to her. After all, nothing seems more permanent than death. Furthermore, only Yahweh can give life and every Jew expected the dead to rest until the Day of Resurrection. Her reason, experience, and theology would prevent this widow from asking Jesus to resurrect her son.

As Paul says, the Lord is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think. Sinners don’t grasp God’s power and God’s mercy. Our doubting hearts try to limit God. We don’t expect God to do the impossible and we don’t pray for the unbelievable. What fools we are! Jesus said, “Ask, and you will receive” (Matthew 7:7). Such a promise should cause us to ask for the moon and more!

I think that Paul realized that his imagination was once too small and that it limited God. Once he hoped that God would save Israel. Then, the risen Jesus appeared to him and revealed that He has taken away the sins of the world. Therefore, the people of God will consist of people from every race, tribe, and kingdom. After his conversion, Paul observed the nations streaming into the Church. He witnessed Jews and Gentiles receiving the Lord’s Supper together, reconciled to God and to each other. Paul saw what he never expected, and he could only fall on his knees in awe and praise God. 

Consider what little things you ask for. Also, consider the marvelous things God gives you—more than you dare ask or imagine! He gives you His grace, His Spirit, His Kingdom, and eternal life for the sake of His crucified and risen Son. Consider all this, and then join Paul in giving glory to this God of surprises. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

Jesus, advocate on high, Sacrificed on Calv’ry’s altar, Through Your priestly blood we cry: Hear our prayers, though they may falter; Place them on your Father’s throne As Your own. (“Hear Us, Father, When We Pray” LSB 773, st.3)

-Pastor Alexander Lange is pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Albany, Oregon.

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.