Evening Prayer: LSB 243 Psalm 148 Hymn: The Strife Is O’er LSB 464 Scripture: Revelation 1.4-18 Canticle: Te Deum LSB 223 Hymn: By All Your Saints LSB 249 (1, 8, 3)
Two thousand years ago Jesus came to Jerusalem as He was bringing to a final violent and spectacular conclusion God’s mission to save this world from sin. We are all here because we believe in God. We believe that life is not an accident. It is a miracle, and we have a purpose to know our Creator and to love Him even as He knows and loves us. But we are also here today because we know there is a terrible problem in this world and in our own hearts – the problem of sin. We feel its bondage and its destruction. We read of it every day in the headlines – a constant repetition of injustice, jealousy, hatred and violence. We see it our own lives – a false sense of security as we tell ourselves that we are okay and all is well, or lingering fear that we might be wrong about that. In either case we do not have peace or ultimate rest from the problem of sin. We know that we need help. We know that we need what Jesus came to give – salvation and freedom from the slavery of sin.
The Parable of the Prodigal Son shows us just how patient God is in His love toward all people no matter how stupid, disrespectful and irresponsible they might be. The parable also shows us how to avoid being pharisaical toward people like this.
Our lives also resemble Jesus’ journey. We face the opposition of the devil and the opposition of the world. Right now, I am speaking with our young people who will be confessing their faith in confirmation. The rite of confirmation begins with the baptismal question: “Do you renounce the devil and all his works?” It ends with the question: “Will you be faithful to Christ even unto death?” The successful journey of Jesus to the cross and to the resurrection on the third day is the key to our successful journey through life as we face the opposition of the devil and the world. This is what Paul was speaking about when He said, “Join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern.” And, “Stand fast in the Lord, beloved.”