06 April 2009

Come Up to Worship at the Feast

If you wish to see Jesus, come up to worship at the Feast. For the Hour has come in which the Son of Man is glorified. It is for this purpose that He has come into His holy city: to be lifted up and glorified in death, and thereby to call the whole world to Himself, both Jews and Greeks, slave and free, male and female, young and old, even the living and "the dead."

Thus will He be handed over to the chief priests, scribes and pharisees, crucified under Pontius Pilate, put to death and buried in a tomb. None of this comes upon Him by surprise; nor do suffering and death thwart His purpose, but fulfill and accomplish it.

In all of this, He does not become discouraged or despair. He does not wail and complain. He does not revile or strike back against those who betray, revile and hurt Him. But entrusting Himself to His God and Father, He enters the city as it has been written of Him, and He proceeds in faith and love to His voluntary suffering and death.

So does He become the Passover Lamb, who is sacrificed for all the sons of man and all the daughters of Jerusalem. And as He has thus given Himself and died for all, which is His divine glory, so His victory is for all: His forgiveness of sins, His resurrection from the dead, His place with the Father, and His life everlasting.

All of this is yours, as you are His. For by His voice of the Gospel, He has called you by name from death to life, from your darkness into His marvelous light.

In your Holy Baptism, you have been crucified, dead and buried, and raised with Him. And those whom Christ Jesus has raised from the dead, are also given to recline at His Supper Table with Him, here in His House.

Now, the fragrance that fills this house has the stink of death about it, which the world hates and sinful man abhors. But the sacrificial death of Christ is a sweet-smelling aroma in the nostrils of God, with which He also delights in you and gladly receives your worship.

Your presence, then, at the Table with Jesus, is a testimony to His Cross and Resurrection, by which some will be called to faith and life, and for which others will hate you and seek to kill you.

But either way, do not be afraid.

If you would see Jesus — and live — come up to His Feast and worship. Worship Him by receiving His gifts with thanksgiving. Worship Him, also, by serving within His Church, and by serving your neighbor in the world as you can. Worship Him in the confidence that you have been raised with Him to recline at His Table forever. There with Him, though you die, yet shall you live. In the Name + of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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