Daily Lectionary: Isaiah 11:1-12:6; 2 Peter 2:1-22
“All this He does only out of fatherly divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in me” (First Article, Creed).
How well the Creed captures the theology of this week: “without any merit or worthiness in me.” That means in the First Article, not by chance, evolution, the forces of nature, the powers of man, or by my own good works, but by Jesus alone, God the Father calls me His own and gives me all that I need to support this body and life: food and clothing, house and home, reason and all my senses, and so on. All this “only out of fatherly divine goodness and mercy.” Thank you, Jesus! Of course, with all apologies to the textbooks we often read in public schools. NOT!
The Creed teaches us better than all the textbooks we could read in public schools. For, what is the first thing the Creed teaches us about God? That He is almighty? No. That He is the Creator of heaven and earth? No. Wonderfully, the first thing the Creed teaches us about God is that He is our Father: I believe in God the Father. He is my Father, now, the Creator, Author, Source and Giver of all I have, all that I am.
What’s the Creed worth? The Creed simply teaches us what Jesus' words and promises say: God truly is your Father. There is no better way, then, to answer the question, “How do you know that God is your Father?” than by pointing to the Creed: “The Creed says so!” Answer the question that way and you are daring to be a Lutheran! That is, you are daring to be called a Christian, one who confesses the Creed, who trusts in Christ alone.
So, let me ask you: “If God is not looking in you to find a reason to be your Father, why are you?” Why are you so convinced there must be something in you — some change, or spark, or difference, that tells God He should be your Father? He's not looking for that. Why are you? Why?
Listen to the Creed and your Catechism. God is your Father because Jesus says so. His Word says so. Baptism says so. The Body and Blood of Jesus says so. The absolution your pastor speaks over you every Sunday says so, not only in the liturgy, but also in his sermon. And, even if your pastor's sermon fails to say that, still, the Creed says it. And that makes it so. For what is the Creed worth? Jesus' Word and promise.
Read Matthew. Never once does Jesus wait for people to decide or to make their own decision for Him. He does it for them. Example: “When you pray, say, our Father Who art in heaven” (Matthew 6:9). Jesus, Himself, takes care of that for us — making God our Father, for sure.
Well, He has. The Creed says so. And the Creed only unpacks for you what the cross, the Word, Baptism and the Holy Supper say and promise.