Archive for May 16th, 2012

  • Jesus was born of the house and lineage of David,  descended, according to the flesh, from King David.
  • His Mother was a devout Jew.  His step-Father also a faithful son of Israel. They observed all the required sacrifices in the Temple.
  • Jesus was born in the city of David, Bethlehem.
  • On His 8th day of life, according to the Covenant the LORD God established with Abraham and his descendants, Jesus was circumcised.
  • Jesus taught in the synagogue of Nazareth.
  • Jesus observed the great Festivals of Israel, in particular, The Pesach, the Passover.His last meal was Passover.
  • Jesus kept the Sabbath.
  • By His Word through His touch He healed the sick, the blind, the deaf, the mute, the dead.
  • By His Word He multiplied wine and bread.
  • His hands blessed and broke the bread.
  • His hands were bound as a common criminal.
  • His head was crowned with thorns shedding His blood.
  • He was a carpenter and bore the work of another carpenter:  the cross.
  • His hands and feet were nailed to the cross.
  • His side was pierced by a Roman spear and blood and water flowed out.
  • He was laid in a tomb.
  • And as He said, on the third day He rose again.
  • For for 40 days,  in His resurrected body He ate and drank and showed many His hands and His side.
  • On the 40th Day, He ascended into heaven: with the scars of the cross, the mark of the circumcision, the hands that healed and broke the bread blessed His apostles one last time…a true man, a Jewish man, was taken up into heaven and sits upon the right hand of God the Father.  Jesus is true God before all worlds were created.

His ascension is man’s exaltation.  As much as we exalt ourselves, at the expense of others, we do so to distance ourselves from others. He is exalted to be close to us all.  His exaltation is His humiliation and in that humiliation His love and mercy for Israel and the whole human race is poured out through His life and crucifixion and resurrection.  He humiliated Himself to bring us close to His bosom and He ascended and is exalted to be close to us all.

For though the LORD is high, he regards the lowly,
   but the haughty he knows from afar.

How high is heaven?  Very far away for the proud and self-exalted. But near for the lowly, for those who pray by looking up to Him Who came down for all.

 7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
   you preserve my life;
you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies,
   and your right hand delivers me. (Psalm 138)

His right hand has delivered us:  Thanks be to Jesus Christ!

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O God, You are the strength of all who trust in You, and without Your aid we can do no good thing. Grant us the help of Your grace that we may please You in both will and deed; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

The Gospel reading appointed for this day in the Daily Lectionary of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod is  St. Luke 16: 19-31, The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus.  The reflection below is by Pr. Scott Murray in his excellent devotional A Year with the Church Fathers:  Meditations for Each Day of the Church Year.

After making a major donation, the rich often have the privilege of naming rights. For example, if they are giving the founding donation, the foundation bears their name. Their name is remembered in connection with the donation as long as the foundation exists. The name of a rich person is used much in the world. He or she is known and remembered for any number of reasons, some good and some not so good. In the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man, God reverses the world’s order. Lazarus is named. The rich man is not. Our Father has written the name of Lazarus in the Book of Life (Revelation 13:8). While the rich man’s name was known in the world, tossed about by everyone who wanted to seem to be someone, Lazarus was unknown. He was “that beggar.”

How God turns the tables! He names the beggar and sends away the rich empty (Luke1:53). Here God has the naming rights, not us. He has named us with deep affection and with full result. When He calls us by name,

we are His (Isaiah 43:1). We are what He says we are. He never goes back on His word to us. We are not like the local sports arena that is named this one day and that the next. His naming rights are an absolute commitment to us. The world looks at us as spiritual beggars and incompetents, because our name is not thrown about in the marketplace. We may plead the truth of the world’s name. “We are beggars. This is true,” as Martin Luther confessed on his deathbed. But we are beggars in the hands of a gracious God for the sake of Christ. This poverty cannot be any richer. This beggary cannot be any better fed. This naming cannot be any more illustrious. Our names have been given and written by God.

Post-Script:  We buy into the fame of the name and are drawn to names like Buffet, Gates, Obama, etc., etc. ad nauseum.  This is as old as Babel: “…let us make a name for ourselves…” (Genesis 11: 4)    In the next chapter in Genesis, the LORD calls a  pagan, Abram and said to him:  “I will bless you and make your name great…”  (Genesis 12: 2) The LORD God has the naming rights!  “How God turns the tables!” Indeed!

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