. . . Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.”
—2 Timothy 4:2 (ESV)
What Jesus did for the deaf mute is precisely what He does for each of you, now. Jesus brought the life of the deaf mute into conformity and in captivity to His Word.
So while the rich man is rich, and Lazarus is poor, while the rich man feasts sumptuously everyday and Lazarus longs for the scraps from the rich man’s table, while the rich man is covered in purple and fine linen, and Lazarus is covered in sores … while all this is the case, Lazarus is not without some earthly comfort. For Jesus adds this, “Moreover the dogs came to lick his sores.” The dogs, who know their master, come as God’s ministers to give what comfort they can, on top of the comfort that Lazarus already has in the Word and promises found in Moses and the prophets.
God’s works are indivisible just as His essence is. The most holy Trinity works as one for the salvation of mankind. He does this by loving the world. How does God love the world? He loves the world in this way, that the Father sent His Son so that whoever believes in the Son by the call of the Holy Spirit through the proclamation of the Son’s death and resurrection will not perish but have eternal life.
The Words from God proclaim God’s love for you, remind you that you belong to Christ, and assuage your conscience. He has not left you as orphans. He has given you the Spirit of Truth, the Comforter. And soon He will bring you home. And your hearts will rejoice, full and free, once again as they were always meant to.
Ask and you will receive, Jesus says, that your joy may be full. Love God, and do what you will. But what do you want? Your joy is already now full, because He is our joy and you, by Word and Sacrament, are filled with Him. So ask and you will receive.
The Holy Spirit is still at work. He convicts us of sin and righteousness. He declares to you all that belongs to Jesus. He takes what is Jesus’ and makes it yours. And thus do we pray that God, indeed, will make our minds of one will, His will, and that we will love what He commands and desire what He promises so that our hearts may be fixed where true joys are found.
Is our faith as perfect or great as the Canaanite woman’s or the centurion’s? I don’t know. Probably not, but maybe it is. Only God can measure faith. Our task is not to figure out if we have enough faith. Our task is to repent and fall down in worship, to pray for mercy and to beg for crumbs. And if it seems that He is ignoring us or even rebuffing us, and it often does, we persevere – not because we have faith—but because He is good, because He made a promise: a bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not quench. We hold Him to His Word.
It is written. That is your sure and certain defense. For our Lord has already overcome the devil in word and in deed. He was tempted, but won the victory. He was crucified, but is now risen and alive, the victor over death and the grave. This why our Lord came. To save us from this temptation by overcoming it himself. And in so doing he shows us how to make use of His victory in our own temptations. It is written. That is your cry. That is your hope and your victory. It is written: I am the resurrection and the life, I am the bread come down from heaven, whoever believes in me, whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood will live forever. So come, eat, drink, and live.
Quinquagesima Luke 18:31–43 Audio Only
His Word was sent to become Flesh and dwell among us. His Word was sent to bear all the accusations that might have been leveled against you justly but of which He was innocent. His Word was sent to go to the slaughter, to accept the verdict of guilty in your place, and to be killed for crimes that you committed. His Word was sent to die and rise to set you free. His Word was sent to create saving faith, and its fruit, the confession of faith in this event. And by faith in this Word, you are forgiven, declared innocent and righteous.