January 27, 2009 - Tuesday of the Third Week after Epiphany

Today's Reading: Matthew 8:1-13

Daily Lectionary: Zechariah 4:1—5:11; Romans 15:14-33

The centurion said, “For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and to another, 'Come,' and he comes; and to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it”. (Matthew 8:9)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. When your boss tells you what to do, you do it. Why? Because he's the boss and you're the employee. The centurion knows what it's like to be a boss. He gives orders and people carry them out. He knows that he is not at all worthy to have Jesus come to his house, but he knows that Jesus is under the Father's authority.

Why does Jesus save you? Are you worth dying for? You are not. Are you someone the Lord can't live without? You aren't. But Jesus dies for you because He is under orders from His Father to do that. Faith—the kind the centurion had—doesn't trust in a God who does things because we deserve them. Faith trusts that even though we are not worthy, we can be certain Jesus will save us because that's what His Father sent Him to do. Do you see the difference? We don't hope that we are good enough for God to love. Rather, we are confident that our worth is in Christ, who obeys His Father and dies on the Cross for sinners.

In the same way, your pastor is under orders. Your pastor knows your sins. He was young once. He knows what you do when you despise God and put yourself before others. Will your pastor hate you? Will he judge you? Will he stop taking care of you spiritually? Nope. He's under orders. Yourpastor knows you are a sinner. But his orders are to give you Jesus. To preach the Gospel to you. To absolve you. To remind you of your Baptism. To give you Jesus' body and blood. Those are your pastor's orders, and he's under the authority of Jesus.

That's faith! Knowing that although we don't deserve anything good from the Lord, He gives us forgiveness anyway, because, well, that is what those who follow His orders are supposed to do! Faith says, “Jesus obeys the Father. The Father tells Jesus to save me. So, I am saved.” In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

Yes, Father, yes, most willingly I'll bear what You command Me. My will conforms to Your decree, I'll do what You have asked Me.” O wondrous Love, what have You done! The Father offers up His Son, Desiring our salvation. O Love, how strong You are to save! You lay the One into the grave Who built the earth's foundation. (LSB 438:3)