Reflections: Sunday of the Seventh Week of Easter

May 12, 2024 

Today’s Reading: John 17:11b-19

Daily Lectionary: Numbers 14:1-25Luke 18:18-34

Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. (John 17:17)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. When Moses came near the burning bush in Exodus 3, the Lord said to him, “Do not come near, take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.”  When the prophet Isaiah saw the Lord enthroned in glory in Isaiah 6, the angels sang out, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” 

Wherever the Lord is, there is holiness. Whatever He declares holy is holy. The problem for us is that whenever we see God’s holiness in the Bible, we are reminded that apart from Him, we are unholy. We have no holiness of our own. Moses was afraid. Isaiah confessed his sin. So do we, whenever we gather in Divine Service. We confess that we are poor, miserable sinners and that we have sinned, that we are unholy in thought, word, and deed. 

But then something miraculous happens. God speaks His holy Word in holy Absolution to forgive all our sin. God called and ordained your pastor into the office of the holy ministry to be a servant of the Word. God who is holy gives holy Gifts to declare unholy sinners holy in His name. In Holy Baptism, you are washed and baptized into the name of the holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In holy Absolution, you stand forgiven before God who is holy. In the Holy Supper, you receive Jesus’ Body and Blood for forgiveness, life, and salvation.

How does our holy Lord do all of this? By his holy Word, just as Jesus prays in John 17. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. To sanctify is to make and declare holy. That’s exactly what our Lord Jesus prays for and what God does. Through Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, God gives us a holiness that is not our own. God’s holiness is always received from God, not achieved by us. So the next time you read or hear God’s Word, remember that God is sanctifying you. When you go into His house, God is there to give you holy Gifts in water, word, bread and wine. When you fear your sin and death, do not be afraid. You are holy in Jesus. You have His Word on it. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

O King of glory, Lord of hosts, uplifted in triumph far above all heavens, leave us not without consolation but send us the Spirit of truth whom You have promised from the Father; for You live and reign with Him and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Collect for the Seventh Sunday of Easter)

– Pastor Samuel Schuldheisz is pastor at Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church in Milton, WA.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Jonathan Lackey is the pastor at Grace Lutheran Church, Vine Grove, Ky.

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