12 March 2010

From the Jordan through Jericho up to Jerusalem

Here is the Joshua who leads Israel through the Jordan 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 Himself is the Ark of the New Covenant, and He offers Himself 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 sin, and the third day He has risen again. In Him, God the Father has also raised you from death to life.

Therefore, all is forgiven, and death is 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.

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

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.

Now, you know the Cross of Christ in the light of His Resurrection, and yet, you are no different, no better than the 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 then getting what you have deserved. But how do you deal with the Cross that you bear and suffer precisely for your faithfulness?

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

And what about the infirmities of your flesh, over which you have so little control, and which render you so powerless and helpless?

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

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

That blind man, like you, had only the Word of Christ to cling to and rely upon. And that is good and right, exactly as it is to be; by faith, and not by sight.

Do not listen to the voices, whether inside or out, which tell you to sit down and shut up. No, 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. You, then, call upon His Name, and keep on crying out to Him for mercy. 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, to His Altar, and receive what is handed over to you there, for your salvation. Thereby see and know the Lord your God, according to His tender mercies, which guard and keep you forever.

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

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