A devotion for a time of national crisis.

A devotion for a time of national crisis.

Saint James Lutheran Church
The Third Sunday in Lent, Anno Domini 2020

Suffering like that which the Covid pandemic has brought causes us to wonder how God can let such things happen. Such thoughts may bring uncertainty and fear. Against this uncertainty and fear Christ Jesus says, fear not, “I am with you even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20) This means that according the verse above, all things must work for the good of those “who love God”—even pandemics. Faith in these words brings hope and a forward look, for they assure us that the Lord is not only with us, but bringing blessings to us along the journey. Look for the blessings. It may take hindsight to fully understand the blessings the good. However, knowing that He is with us we can look forward to each step of the way with hope and a good sense of anticipation, for whatever may come, for the Lord works through all things for our good. Let us then review the human condition in this world to refresh our faith and hope in this crisis.

The cause of suffering and death is mankind, not God.

[The Lord said to} Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, You shall not eat of it, cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; 18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” (Genesis 3:17–19)

This reveals to us that, accidents, wars, and even pandemics are not the cause of suffering, The Original Sin inherited through Adam is the root of it. Disobedience to the Word of God is the cause of the suffering in each generation since Adam experiences. The Lord says, “you are dust, and to dust you shall return”. This is the real world in which we live.

All generations suffer the consequences of Adam’s sin.

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned. (Romans 5:12)

Sin has ruled in every generation ever since Adam. Suffering and death spread a dark pall spread over all. However, hidden in this is the mercy of God. He did not end the human race with Adam, rather He chose to redeem and restore mankind. That redemption came to Adam through a promise, a promise that extends to all mankind. The Promise is that the child of the woman would crush the power of the Evil One, Satan. In Eden, God said to Satan

I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel. (Genesis 3:15)

For generations the world awaited the fulfillment of this promise of redemption. Faith in this promise sustained the people of old through times of prosperity and suffering. The fulfillment of the promise came in the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of Man.

At just the right time Christ Jesus redeemed our loss.

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. (Ga 4:3–7)

The Son of God in the person of Jesus put Himself under the Law to fulfill the Law on behalf of all of us. He endured the cross taking our guilt and punishment into His account on behalf of us all. With His resurrection the power of the Serpent is crushed. The blood of Christ has made us innocent and righteous in God’s judgment. By our justification the power of ancient Accuser, Satan, is crushed.

The resurrection of Jesus reveals the power of the cross to vacate Eden’s curse.

It was God Himself who said,

“cursed is the ground because of you… By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

“Who can change a decree of the Lord?” Jesus can! At His death He did not return to dust. He rose bodily on the third day demonstrating that the curse no longer grips mankind. It means that we too shall rise.

But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. (1 Corinthians 15:20-22)

That we shall rise like Christ sets our hearts and minds on higher things than all the troubles of earthly life. With that in mind, read the following account of Jesus’ victory over all suffering and death taken from the Gospel of Saint John the Apostle.

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14 Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” (Jn 20:11–17)

In Jesus’ resurrection our destiny is revealed. It is the foundation of our hope and joy.

By faith the promise is ours.

Abraham’s faith was,

“counted to him as righteousness.” 23 But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, 24 but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, 25 who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.” (Ro 4:22–25)

Likewise with us, faith makes all the blessings of Christ Jesus’ victory belong to us.

Peace and joy through tribulation by Faith.

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (Romans 5:1-5)

He, Christ Jesus, rules the world.

We began with the verse from Romans which said, “We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) All things work for our good is because Christ is not only risen, but ascended to the right hand of God.

So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” 9 And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven. (Acts 1:6–11)

The right hand of God by which the world is ruled is everywhere. Therefore our Savior and Friend Jesus Christ is everywhere ruling all things to blessing of all who love Him.

Christ Jesus even now rules the nations.

Psalm 2 sings of His rule:

Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying, 3 “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.” 4 He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. 5 Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, 6 “As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.” 7 I will tell of the decree: The Lord said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you. 8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. 9 You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” 10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. 11 Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him. (Psalm 2:1–12).

From all this, we know that the Lord is with us at all times and especially in these times of a worldwide crisis. This faith and knowledge are our strength, joy and hope. In these days, let us rise anew each day together with Jesus through the power of our Baptism and say “This is the day which the Lord hath made; We will rejoice and be glad in it” then meet the day trusting in His kindly providence and anticipating His blessings.

Amen.

 

Jesus said:
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace.In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

2 Replies to “A devotion for a time of national crisis.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *