April 10, 2013 - Wednesday of the Second Week of Easter

Today's Reading: Lord's Prayer, First Petition

Daily Lectionary: Exodus 24:1-18; Luke 5:1-16

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen. What does this mean? I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith. (The Small Catechism, The Third Article)

Alleluia! Christ is risen! In the name of Jesus. Jesus told Thomas that those who have not seen Him but have believed are blessed. Faith in Christ who has died for our sins and risen from the dead is not something we get just from the facts. Believing isn't something based on the best decision we can make based on the information we are presented. Being converted to being a Christian isn't like deciding what you're going to eat at a restaurant or figuring out which candidate to vote for. Faith which trusts that Jesus' death and resurrection are FOR YOU, is a gift from God Himself, worked in us by the Holy Spirit through Christ's Word and gifts.

It is your Baptism that brought you to faith and put you in the church. It is the preaching of the forgiveness of sins because of Christ crucified and risen by which the Holy Spirit strengthens you in the faith. It is by the Supper of Jesus' body and blood that the Spirit sanctifies and makes you holy. It is Jesus' Word and gifts that have made you a Christian, trusting in His work for you. It is Jesus' Word and gifts that keep you a Christian, trusting His work for you. It is Jesus' Word and gifts that will bring you to everlasting life, trusting His work for you.

This is the Holy Spirit's job: to take what Jesus has accomplished and deliver it to you, while delivering you into the holy Christian church for safekeeping. This happens, not because you decide it should, but because it is the free gift of God's grace to you, because Christ is risen.

Lord, 'tis not that I did choose Thee, That, I know, could never be; For this heart would still refuse Thee Had Thy grace not chosen me. Thou has from the sin that stained me Washed and cleansed and set me free And unto this end ordained me, That I ever life to Thee. (Lord, 'Tis Not That I Did Choose Thee, LSB 573:1)

This reflection is available as an mp3, click here to download and listen to it.