. . . 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)
“Bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.”
Nevertheless, our Lord looked down upon the disciples and those who followed Him. He looked down, not in disapproval but with compassion. He told them to sit down. And then He looked up. He took the bread and the fish, and looking up to heaven, He gave thanks and distributed it them all. He gave them bread and fish to eat. They ate their fill, and there was more to go around, filling twelve baskets full of what was leftover. He provided for them more than they needed.
Midweek Lent 3 1 Peter 2:12–25 + IN NOMINE IESU + Our Father in heaven is calling us home and sometimes that journey brings suffering. This is not the suffering that we endure because we are fallen creatures living in a fallen creation. This isn’t the kind of suffering that attends physical ailments. Nor is…
The Third Sunday in Lent Luke 11:14–28 + IN NOMINE IESU + “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Psalm 14:1). We’re not as crass as that. We’re not thorough-going atheists, even though it seems to be the cool thing to do these days. But we do have a tendency toward this…
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy” (1 Pet 2:9–10).
Temptations to despair will come. Suffering and affliction will be with us always. And just as fire purifies gold and silver, burning up all the impurities, and just as it tempers steel, making it stronger, so it is that our Lord uses suffering and affliction, trial and testing to purify us and strengthen our faith. For our Father in heaven uses these things for our good, so that we do not become complacent but hope all the more for our homecoming in heaven. For suffering and affliction produce endurance; and endurance produces character; and character produces hope; and hope does not put us to shame because the love of the Father is pouring into our hearts through the Holy Spirit by the Word and promise of God (Rom 5:3–5). And this hope raises us up heavenward to fix our gaze upon the greater glory that shall be ours.
“Be holy, even as I am holy.” More than a command, but now also a promise from our heavenly Father who cannot lie. His Word brings about what it says. We are holy because He has declared us to be holy. For He shares His holiness with us. And it consists in this, that Jesus, the Holy One of God, was crucified for our transgressions and raised for our justification (Rom 4:24–25).
And just as it went for our Lord, so it goes for you. The devil leaves and the holy angels come and minister unto you “ . . . therefore with angels and archangels and all the company of heaven . . .”
And so it is that this daily yearning for our earthly homes and for those whom we love is to be a reminder of our yearning for our true home, our heavenly home. We are not to be lulled into thinking and believing that this present place is all there is. We long for a better country, heaven. For our journey is not simply to work and home again, on vacation and home again. Our journey is toward salvation. We have been called out of darkness into His marvelous light by the Holy Spirit through the Word of God. Our journey is with and in Christ: to the Cross, to the Empty Tomb, to the Father in heaven, just as our Lord. And so we follow Him in repentance and faith, for He is leading us home.
You, too, have not seen and yet you see. You believe because of the Word and promise of God. You believe not by what you have seen but by what you have heard. And blessed are you who have believed and not seen. For faith is the substance of things not seen, the evidence of things hoped for. And by this faith, you are saved. Your sins are forgiven for Christ’s sake. For faith apprehends and takes hold of the promises of God and applies it specifically.