29 March 2019

From the Jordan Up to Jerusalem in Christ Jesus

Here now is the new and greater Joshua, who leads the Israel of God through the Jordan River into Canaan, who brings down the walls of Jericho and defeats the enemies of God’s people.

He is not the son of Nun but the promised Son of David, the true King of Israel, the Christ, the Lord’s Anointed.  Anointed by the Spirit in His crossing of the Jordan through Holy Baptism, He is the great High Priest who remains forever, who ever lives to make intercession for you and all.

More than that, He is the Ark of the New Covenant, and as the final great High Priest He offers His own Body of flesh and blood as the Sacrifice of Atonement once for all.  There is therefore no condemnation for you, because He has been handed over to death bearing all of your sins, and on the Third Day He has risen again.  In Him, God the Father has also raised you from death to life.

So it is that all is forgiven, and death has thus been defeated.  For this same Lord Jesus Christ is not only your Priest and your King, but He is the Prophet who has fulfilled and accomplished all the words of the Prophets by His Cross and Passion and His Resurrection from the dead.

Of course, all of that is easy enough for you to grasp and comprehend if you are thinking about the historical facts, the Bible stories, the life and times of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.  But when it comes to following Jesus up to Jerusalem and actually bearing the Cross after Him, then you are likely just as blind to what it all means as the disciples were back then.

Even the Twelve were oblivious to what was really going on.  It was hidden from them, and they could not understand the Cross of Christ — not until after the fact, when it was all said and done.

Now, it is true that you know the Cross of Christ in the light of His Resurrection.  And yet, you are no different and no better than those disciples were when it comes to the Cross in your own life.

How are you mocked and mistreated, spit upon, scourged, and put to death?  It’s one thing to suffer for your own mistakes and failings, and to consider that you are getting what you deserve for your sins.  But how do you deal with the Cross that you bear and suffer because of your faithfulness?

What about those times when even your own family and friends criticize and ridicule you for doing what is good and right, for doing what you are called and given to do?

And what about the infirmities in your mortal flesh and blood, which can render you so powerless and helpless, and over which you have little or no control?

Do not kid yourself, supposing you can just rise above it all and ride the storm out by yourself.

But do consider the irony in the Holy Gospel before us, that a blind man knows and understands the Lord Jesus, and sees Him by faith, in a way the disciples could not perceive or comprehend.

That blind man, much like yourself, had nothing but the Word of Christ to cling to and rely upon.  And that is good and right, exactly as it should be, that is, by faith in His Word, and not by sight.

Do not listen to the voices in your head or in the world around you, which tell you to sit down and shut up.  No, but just as Christ is risen from the dead, you also rise, and come to Him at His Word.  For He is coming to you in mercy, and He is calling for you.  Therefore, call upon His Name in confidence, and keep on crying out to Him for mercy.  For He hears and answers your prayers.

He does have mercy upon you, and He helps you.  By His Cross, He bears your pain.  And in His Resurrection, He raises you up to life and health and strength forever, in both body and soul.

Follow Him up to His Jerusalem, to His Church on earth as it is in heaven, and to His Holy Altar, and there receive what is handed over and given to you for your salvation.  Taste and see that He is good, and know for sure that He guards and keeps you forever in body and soul, for this life and for the Life everlasting, according to His tender mercies and His steadfast loving-kindness.

In the Name + of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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