Daily Lectionary: Job 6:14-30; John 3:22-4:6
“He must increase, but I must decrease,” (John 3:30)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. John the Baptist’s short little sentence in John 3:30 sets the standard for those who would follow Christ. Silas would walk in those same steps of humility in order to make sure that Christ would increase. Paul and Silas were beaten, imprisoned, and never knew what would happen to them the next day. “But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them” (Acts 16:25). Singing and praying in jail with your back bleeding and your life hanging by a thread doesn’t seem to make sense.
In our culture of instant gratification and constant amusement, it’s hard to understand the suffering the apostles endured for the sake of the Gospel. We’ll do anything to avoid pain. But in our attempts to keep anything uncomfortable from touching us, we often miss the very thing God wants to use to lead us to greater joy in Him. In the midst of all our troubles, there is God and His gifts of life and salvation for you.
This doesn’t mean we are to deny or disguise our feelings. Nor does it mean we can or should shrug off pain or disappointment. It means that no matter what you face, Jesus has come for you and He will never decrease in His love and mercy for you. Every time you walk by the baptismal font, be reminded that you are an heir of everlasting life. Confess your sins, your doubts, and fears and let Jesus Himself heal you in Absolution. Come to His altar and partake in the Supper where He forgives and strengthens you by faith so you can meet each day. In these Gifts you can be sure that Jesus has freed you from your sins. Your chains have been loosed and you have been set free. Like St. Paul and Silas, let us pray and sing hymns to God in gratitude for all the benefits He gives to us. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. -Rev. Kent Schaaf
O Lord, graciously hear the prayers of Your people that we, who justly suffer the consequence of our sin, may be mercifully delivered by Your goodness to the glory of Your name; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Collect for Silas)