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1 Kings



There Elijah came to a cave and lodged in it. And behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" He said, "I have been very jealous for the LORD, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away." And he said, "Go out and stand on the mount before the LORD." And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him. (ESV)



Christ Condescends

Wednesday of Pentecost 3

17 June 2015

Let us never forget who Christ is. He is the thrice holy of whom Isaiah speaks in Isaiah 6. The very angels tremble to behold him. Yet He comes here as a Friend of sinners. He is willing that He should be humiliated unto death, even unto the death of the cross. He is the One who was humbled in His incarnation of the Virgin Mary. He stands at Jacob's well thirsting (Jn 4:6-7). He requires water of the woman. He has fled to Samaria in weakness, because of the persecution of the Pharisees. How humble He is! He sees our need. He sees our weakness and incapacity and He humbles Himself for our sakes that we might embrace Him and receive Him.


He condescends to our churches. He dwells between the cherubim on our altars under bread and wine. He connects His name and reputation with water splashed here and there. He cleanses the lips of the preachers and bids them speak peace to God's people in the promiscuity of holy absolution. He gives sight to us through the cleansed lips of the preachers, and our brothers and sisters in Christ. Instead of receiving Him in His humility, we doubt that He can speak and act through those whom He sends to us as His representatives. Dr. Martin Luther says of this "I do not hear this with my ears or see it with my eyes; all I hear is the voice of the preacher, or of my brother or father, and I behold only a man before me. But I view the picture correctly if I add that the voice and words of father or pastor are not his own words and doctrine but those of our Lord and God."


The One who has gone to such extraordinary lengths to change the world's relationship with Him, who sees the white fields, who creates the uncountable 12 x 12,000 by the power of His Word, focused not upon those uncounted myriads, but upon this one, single woman. The 99 are left behind. He only has eyes for her in this moment at the well. And with her, and through her, He brings the town to salvation. John's text is so focused on the one woman that she has become proverbial among us who share the faith that she confessed. How easy it is to lose sight of the need of one when we are confronted with field after field whitened unto harvest.


We can despair thinking that the job is too big for us. Of course it is! But it is not our job in the first place. It is the work of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is a work in which He makes use of a sinner to reach a sinner. Who then will that sinner reach whom He has reached through us? The Samaritan woman reached a whole town in her gratitude and clear confession of the divinity of Christ. This is the Christ who condescends to our need.


Martin Luther


"Would to God that we could gradually train our hearts to believe that the preacher's words are God's Word and that the man addressing us is a scholar and a king. As a matter of fact, it is not an angel or a hundred thousand angels but the Divine Majesty Himself that is preaching there. To be sure, I do not hear this with my ears or see it with my eyes; all I hear is the voice of the preacher, or of my brother or father, and I behold only a man before me. But I view the picture correctly if I add that the voice and words of father or pastor are not his own words and doctrine but those of our Lord and God. It is not a prince, a king, or an archangel whom I hear; it is He who declares that He is able to dispense the water of eternal life. If we could believe this, we would be content indeed.


"However, a fault which is manifest throughout the world and also in us is that we fail to recognize the gift and its Giver. I, too, am not at all perfect in this respect. My faith is not as profound and strong as I would like to have it. Flesh and blood are an impediment. They merely behold the person of the pastor and brother and hear only the voice of the father. They cannot be induced to say: 'When I hear the Word, I hear a peal of thunder, and I see the whole world filled with lightning.' No, we cannot be brought to do that, and this is most deplorable. Flesh and blood are at fault. They refuse to regard the oral Word and the ministry as a treasure costlier and better than heaven and earth. People generally think: 'If I had an opportunity to hear God speak in person, I would run my feet bloody.' This is why people in times past flocked to the Oak, to Aachen, and to the Grym Valley. Because the people believed that Mary would help them in these places, they all hurried there. If someone at that time had announced: 'I know of a place in the world where God speaks and anyone can hear God there'; if I had gone there and seen and heard a poor pastor baptizing and preaching, and if I had been assured: 'This is the place; here God is speaking through the voice of the preacher who brings God's Word,' I would have said: 'Well, I have been duped! I see only a pastor.'


"We would like to have God speak to us in His majesty. But I advise you not to run hither and yon for this. I suppose we could learn how people would run if God addressed them in His majesty. This is what happened on Mt. Sinai, where only the angels spoke and yet the mountain was wrapped in smoke and quaked. But you now have the Word of God in church, in books, in your home; and this is God's Word as surely as if God Himself were speaking to you."

Martin Luther, Sermons on John's Gospel, 4.10

Lord Jesus, You have not spoken to us in Your bare majesty. Many say you are here and there and that we should run out to see You. All praise to You that You have hidden Your unapproachable majesty under the cloak of human weakness. Now you have given us the Word of God in church, in books, in our homes; and this is God's Word as surely as if God Himself were speaking to us. Help us to walk in the faith that seeks You where You make Yourself known. Amen.


For the family of Louise Rosser, whom the Lord called home, that they would comforted by the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting


For those who are suffering from the torrential rains from Tropical Storm Bill, that they would be kept safe


For President Dale Meyer and the faculty and staff of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, that they would confess Christ faithfully
Art: Dürer, Albrecht  The Adoration of the Trinity (1515) 

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