The Face of God
The Holy Innocents, Martyrs
28 December 2016
The God who reveals Himself in Christ in the New Testament is the God who revealed Himself in the Old Testament. He who became incarnate of Mary also spoke upon Mount Sinai when the holy law was given to His servant Moses. Moses considered his suffering under the yoke of leadership as service to the Christ, who spoke to him from the burning bush. He preferred the shame of the divine weakness to the power and splendor of the palace of the Pharaoh. Christ led the people of Israel by a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. Christ was their Rock (1Co 10:4), as He is ours.
Upon Mount Sinai Christ Himself was the Mediator between God and man (1Tm 2:5; Gal 3:19-20), After tracing the words with his own finger upon the tablets of stone, He gave the holy law into the hands of Moses. It is the back of Christ which passes before Moses in the majestic splendor of holiness, that in this hiddenness we might have a glimpse of the age to come, when we shall see him face to face (1Co 13:12).
The face hidden at Sinai is turned to us by the incarnate Christ, the Word whom the Apostles saw with their eyes. In the New Testament the law's author becomes the law's debtor. The law's mediator fulfills the law. He, who with a finger burns the law into stone, has the law burned into His heart and flesh for our sakes. He who hefts the tablets like pebbles on Mount Sinai when He promulgates the law to us is willing to be crushed by them at Mount Calvary for us. The giver of the law is its fulfiller. The God whose back Moses saw reveals His face to us.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

Hilary of Poitiers
"If you believed Moses, you would believe also in God, the Son of God; unless possibly you deny that it was of Him that Moses spoke. If you propose to deny that, you must listen to the words of God: "If you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me" (Jn 5:46). Moses, indeed, will refute you with the whole volume of the Law, ordained through angels, which he received by the hand of the Mediator. Enquire whether He, who gave the Law, would not be true God; for the Mediator was the giver. And was it not to meet God that Moses led out the people to Mount Sinai? Was it not God who came down to the Mount? Or was it, perhaps, only by a fiction or an adoption, and not by right of nature, that He, who did all this, bore the name of God? Mark the blare of the trumpets, the flashing of the torches, the clouds of smoke, as from a furnace, rolling over the mountain, the terror of conscious impotence on the part of man in the presence of God, the confession of the people, when they prayed Moses to be their spokesman, that at the voice of God they would die.
"Is He, in your judgment, not true God, when simple dread that He should speak filled Israel with the fear of death? He whose voice could not be borne by human weakness? In your eyes is He not God, because He addressed you through the weak faculties of a man, that you might hear, and live? Moses went up the Mount. In forty days and nights he gained the knowledge of the mysteries of heaven, and set it all in order according to the vision of the truth which was revealed to him there. From communication with God, who spoke with him, did he not receive the reflected splendor of that glory on which none may gaze? His corruptible countenance was transfigured into the likeness of the unapproachable light of Him, with whom he was dwelling. Of this God Moses bears witness, of this God he speaks; he summons the angels of God to come and worship Him amid the gladness of the Gentiles, and prays that the blessings which please Him may descend upon the head of Joseph. In the face of such evidence as this, dare any man say that He has nothing but the name of God, and deny His true divinity?" 

Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, 5.23
Matthew 2:13-18

When the wise men had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him."

And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, "Out of Egypt I called my son."

Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:

"A voice was heard in Ramah,
weeping and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they are no more." (ESV)
Collect for Holy Innocents
Almighty God, the martyred innocents of Bethlehem showed forth Your praise not by speaking but by dying.  Put to death in us all that is in conflict with Your will that our lives may bear witness to the faith we profess with our lips; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
For Michael Golchert, who has completed his chemotherapy for cancer, that the Lord would give him a full recovery from its ravages
For the family and friends of Bill Heine, whom the Lord has called into the kingdom of light, that they might look forward to the resurrection of the flesh and a glorious reunion in heaven where they shall see Christ face to face
For the members of the Board of Directors of the The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, that they might be strengthened in the work of Lord
Art: CORREGGIO, Holy Night (1528-1530)
Memorial Lutheran Church
© Scott Murray 2016
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
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