Saturday, January 25, 2014

Christ crucified: the right bauer

Nothing trumps Christ crucified for sinners.  
In place of the sweet comfort and healing power of the Gospel, I've heard moms deified, fathers chastised, the Law lionized, cows advertised, tips for good living hyperbolized and prayer 
So when I read this Higher Things devotion from Friday, January 24, I was reminded that Christ crucified for my sins is the comfort every preacher and every sermon needs to deliver every time.
Nothing trumps the power of Christ cleansing the sins of His people.

Today's Reading: Acts 16:1-5
Paul came also to Derbe and Lystra. A disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek. (Acts 16:1) 
In the name of + Jesus. Amen. We don’t know a lot about St. Timothy. His father was a Greek unbeliever. His mother, Eunice, was a Jewish Christian. Both Eunice and Lois, his grandmother, catechized him. We also know he was a close associate of St. Paul, and served the Church as a pastor to Gentiles in Asia Minor. Tradition even says he was the bishop in Ephesus until his martyrdom in A.D. 97. 
But the most important thing we know about St. Timothy is what he didn’t say. He is remembered as a pastor and confessor. And that means he didn’t spend his time wandering around Asia Minor talking about himself. And he wasn’t martyred for preaching touchy-feely sermons with personal stories about his hobbies or his goofy Greek relatives. He preached Christ crucified, just like St. Paul had taught him. 
St. Timothy was a pastor, which means shepherd. God used him to guide Jews and Gentiles to streams of living water in Holy Baptism. God used him to speak the words of Christ, the Good Shepherd. God used him to prepare a table of the Lord’s body and blood in the presence of many enemies. 
Sound familiar? It should. You have a “Timothy” as well in your pastor. He’s been called by the same Lord and Savior to do the same things for you St. Timothy did for the early church: to wash your sins away in Baptism; to announce God’s absolution for you; to feed you with Jesus’ body and blood. His job isn’t to spend his time wandering around church preaching and teaching about himself, but rather to preach the Gospel to you week after week: Christ was crucified and risen for you. That’s what pastors and confessors do. They point us to Jesus, just like St. Timothy does. In the Name of + Jesus. Amen. 
All praise for faithful pastors, Who preached and taught Your Word; For Timothy and Titus, True servants of their Lord. Lord, help Your pastors nourish The souls within their care, So that Your Church may flourish And all Your blessings share. (By All Your Saints in Warfare, LSB 517:11) 

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