January 30, 2009 - Friday of the Third Week after Epiphany

Today's Reading: Romans 12:16-21

Daily Lectionary: Zechariah 9:1-17; 2 Timothy 2:1-26

Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion (Romans 12:16).

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. The truth is, we all think far too much of ourselves than we should. While we like to put ourselves first, the world is pretty good about putting us down. It seems there is always someone who is prettier or smarter or richer than we are. On the one hand, we like to think we're the best and most important. On the other hand, we know we're not.

Praise be to God that Jesus rescues us from all those sinful ways of thinking! In Christ, we have God Himself! Who's cooler or smarter or richer than God? But He humbles Himself to hide His divine power when he becomes man. He doesn't go around bullying or bragging, just saving sinners. Taking the sins of people who are infinitely apart from Him and bringing us back to God. The funny thing is, the one guy who really could claim to be better than everyone else, makes Himself lower than everyone else to save us.

The words of St. Paul, above, teach us to let go of these silly ways in which we like to compare others and ourselves. Who's better? Who's smarter? Who's prettier? Who's more religious? Who is a better person? These words teach us that we are all sinners who deserve God's wrath. But in Jesus, we have the blood of the Lamb who takes away our sins. These words teach us to stop looking at other people through the eyes of the world and its measuring sticks—money, looks, fame, piety—and to look at others as those who have been bought by the blood of Christ. When we realize that we are no better—and probably much worse—than another person, yet in Christ we are all forgiven and holy—in Jesus­, then we have the right perspective that will help and serve our neighbor.

We don't measure others by the world's standards. We don't put ourselves above others. Rather, as those clothed with Christ in holy Baptism, we rejoice to see that Jesus is the measuring stick who made Himself low to exalt us on high. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

O grant that nothing in my soul May dwell but Thy pure love alone; Oh, may Thy love possess me whole, My joy, my treasure, and my crown! All coldness from my heart remove; My ev'ry act, word, thought be love. (LSB 683:2)