Reflections: Tuesday, The Fourth Week of Epiphany

Today’s Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:18-31

Daily Lectionary: Zech. 10:1-11:3, 2 Timothy 3:1-17

For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.   (1 Corinthians 1:22-24)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. In the season of Epiphany, we celebrate that the light of Christ shines forth into darkness. His light shines through the preaching of Christ crucified.

To preach Christ crucified, the pastor proclaims the Law; the Law shows us that we have sinned and deserve death and damnation. But the pastor doesn’t leave us there. He proclaims the Gospel of Christ—that Jesus’s death on the cross washes away our sin so we are free from death and damnation. Christ sacrificed himself for us. Finally, the pastor proclaims Christ’s resurrection—Jesus rose from the dead to show that He paid for all sins, that death has no power over Him, and all who believe in Him will rise again and have eternal life. 

There is no other to salvation other than the cross of Christ. Christ alone can save. He saves us by grace through faith alone.

This is such a beautiful message, who could possibly find fault with it? Sadly, many reject it. Some hate it vehemently. (Lord, have mercy and draw them all to You!)

St. Paul tells us that some reject the gospel because they want sure proof of these mighty claims. They demand that God perform powerful acts to remove their doubt that Christ is the way to salvation. Others insist that God convince them into salvation with eloquent reason and human philosophy. They demand a salvation that the wisdom of man can discover, understand, and deserve. 

When Christ crucified is preached, there are none of these false proofs. Jesus is known to be the Christ because He fulfilled the ancient prophecies, died on the cross in perfect obedience to the Father, and rose from the dead as no one else ever has. We know Christ through the testimony of the apostles and prophets in the Holy Scriptures. 

No human wisdom can save anyone. We bring nothing to God but our sin and death. Jesus alone saves. He saves the infant and the infirmed in the same way as He saves eminent doctors and philosophers – by grace through faith.  This faith is worked by the Holy Spirit through the Word and Sacraments, so we cannot even claim that as our work. God saves us. He alone does it. And He does it through the death and resurrection of Jesus. Thanks be to God! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

Lamb of God, pure and holy, Who on the cross didst suffer,

Ever patient and lowly, Thyself to scorn didst offer.

All sins Thou borest for us, else had despair reigned over us:

Have mercy on us, O Jesus! O Jesus!

(LSB 434 vs 1)

-Pastor Jeffrey Horn is Pastor at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Escondido, CA,

Audio Reflections Speaker: Patrick Sturdivant, Development and Marketing Executive at Higher Things.

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.