Friday of the Week of the Transfiguration

Daily Lectionary: Job 6:14-30; John 3:22-4:6

For the despairing man there should be kindness from his friend;
So that he does not forsake the fear of the Almighty. (Job 6:14)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Job, having lost everything and feeling forsaken by God, desperately looks for wise counsel from his three friends. One piece of "wisdom" these so-called friends gave him is that surely Job must have done something wrong to earn the judgment of God. Job laments that his friends don't offer him comfort. They have done nothing but deepen his despair and he has lost his trust in them.

The last thing we need to hear when we are bearing up under the weight of life, whether it is due to our own sin or to events out of our control, is that we must have done something to cause it or that we should be trying to fix it. Do you remember the last time you heard someone give you Law, when you were already well-aware of its demands? That is a one-way ticket to despair.

That is why the Divine Service and its gifts are just what the doctor ordered. There, after hearing the weightiness of the Law, we receive Absolution--the sweetness of the Gospel that is the forgiveness of sins for Christ's sake. There, we are reminded of our Holy Baptism and are given the true food from Heaven, the Supper. Our Lord has put our pastors there for us to be the gracious, ministering friends we need, whether it be during occasions of rejoicing or times of calamity.

Because of this forgiveness in Christ, we, too, can be wise counselors and friends to our burdened neighbors. Because Christ has borne our burdens, we are free to help carry the worries and concerns of others and to give comfort to those who need it. St. Paul reminds us of this in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God." God Himself is here for us in "any affliction." We do not have to fare this way alone, for He uses Word and Sacrament to comfort us and we, therefore, can do likewise for our neighbor. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

Though great our sins, yet greater still Is God's abundant favor; His hand of mercy never will Abandon us, nor waver. Our Shepherd good and true is He, Who will at last His Israel free From all their sin and sorrow. (From Depths of Woe I Cry to Thee, LSB 607:5)

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