Holy History
Thursday in Pentecost 26
17 November 2016
Historical consciousness is characteristic of the Western mind. Eastern culture does not have the same temporal consciousness. It matters not at all to Hindu culture when Hare Krishna came from heaven to cavort among humans, nor to Buddhists when Siddhartha Gautama (the Buddha) achieved Nirvana, and although we know the history of Mohammed, it matters little when he was said to have received his so-called revelations.
 
But it does matter to Christianity when Jesus of Nazareth lived, died and rose. The Christian Scriptures set his life and work into a specific historical time frame, while Caesar Augustus was emperor and Quirinius was governing Syria, and at a specific time He died and rose again. For Christians, temporal consciousness is itself a gift of God arising from the prophetic revelations of the Old Testament, "In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne" (Is 6:1).
 
So temporal consciousness in the West is not a cultural quirk, but is a divine gift appropriated where Christianity and its precursor, Judaism, grew and had influence. Timeless myths are the stuff of non-Christian religion. The radical inbreaking of God into time in the person of His Son is a temporal anchoring of God's self revelation in time. God's Word does not come floating on the mythical mists from swamp-fevered imaginations, but it is established in His Son who has spoken God's Word to us in these last days. This inbreaking of God into time is the pivot on which the whole world turns, so that Christians commonly described time by dividing it into two eras, the division being the incarnation of Christ of Mary.
 
Thus the time of salvation is always in relation to Jesus. Although He was not yet incarnate, He was the coming One, even for Adam and Eve (Gen 3:15). His coming was to bring the kingdom for which all the faithful hoped in the Old Testament and in which they shared by reason of the hope of His once and for all atonement. His coming brought the end to the law. Its time was up. We still live in that time. "Today is the day of salvation" (2Co 6:2). He still works among us in word and sacraments bringing His bloody death into the world and into our time. He is not afraid to be put into time and tied down to flesh and blood limitations, in the holy Supper, holy absolution, holy baptism and holy ministry. These are not our limitations of Him, but are His self-limitations for our sakes. He who once came, also now comes, set upon the throne of our tongues, foreheads and hearts marked by the cross, and ears cleansed by His speaking. He who came in time still comes into our time. When He comes it is His time, no more the time of the law. This is truly holy history.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

Martin Luther
 
"The time of the law is finished in two ways: first, through the coming of Christ into the flesh at a time set by the Father. For Christ became man in time just once, 'God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law' (Gal 4:4-5). 'He entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption' (Heb 9:12). Secondly, that same Christ who once came in time comes to us in spirit every day and every hour. With His own blood, to be sure, He redeemed and sanctified all men just once. But because we are not yet perfectly pure but remnants of sin still cling to our flesh and the flesh wars against the spirit, therefore He comes spiritually every day; day by day He completes the time set by the Father more and more, abrogating and abolishing the law.
                                     
"Thus He came in spirit to the patriarchs every day before He came once and for all at a specified time. They had Christ in spirit; they believed in Him as One who was to be revealed, as we believe in Him as One who has been revealed; and they were saved through Him just as we are, in accordance with the statement, 'Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever' (Heb 13:8). Yesterday, before the time of His coming in the flesh; today, when He has been revealed in time; now and forever He is the same Christ. Through one and the same Jesus Christ, therefore, all believers, past, present, and future, are delivered from the law, justified, and saved."

Martin Luther, Lectures on Galatians, 4.3
2 Corinthians 5:14-6:2

For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
 
Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For he says, "In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you." Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. (
ESV)
Prayer
O Lord Christ, in the fullness of time You came born of woman under the law, that we might be freed from the law and its burdens. Grant that we might live in this time of salvation looking back to Your redeeming work in faith and looking forward to Your coming kingdom in hope. Amen.
 
For the family of Gerald Tackett, whom our Lord Jesus Christ admitted to His nearer presence yesterday, that they would have hope in the midst of sorrow

For President Ken Hennings and all the pastors of the Texas District of the LCMS, that God the Lord would uphold them in the holy faith
 
For all doctors, nurses and other health professionals, that they might always uphold life as a gift of God and do no harm
 
For all children and youth, that they would remain in the Word of God and not be misled by straying and careless adults into misbelief and other great shame and vice
Art: Durer, Albrecht  The Adoration of the Trinity (1515) 
Memorial Lutheran Church
smurray@mlchouston.org
http://www.mlchouston.org
© Scott Murray 2016
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
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