In Many and Various Ways, God Spoke to His People by the Prophet Moses
The Lord knew him face to face, and he was faithful in all God’s house as a servant. There was no other prophet like him, who performed such signs and wonders in the Name of the Lord, with mighty powers and great terrors in the sight of all the people, and over pharaoh with all his hosts.
But what the Prophet Moses saw and spoke and wrote, he did not yet receive or enter into apart from you. He longed to perceive and to know the fulfillment of the Word that was revealed to him, but it was veiled and hidden, even from that great and faithful man.
Not the one through whom the Law was given, but the One in whom grace and truth are realized, He is the One who brings the Israel of God into the promised Land. For this Joshua, the Son of Mary, He is the High Priest and Apostle of our Confession, the Author and Perfecter of the faith.
He is the Seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to whom the Land was promised. He is the Seed of the Woman, of whom St. Moses wrote, to whom he testified in all that he said and did. He, too, was drawn out of the water: From the waters of His Mother’s womb, an Infant at His Mother’s breast, He too escaped from a vicious king who sought to kill him, in and out of Egypt, as God’s Son, for the redemption of His people. Then again, as an Adult, from the waters of Baptism He arose and emerged to open up the Jordan and all waters to you, to draw you out of death into life.
In those same waters, He has also been revealed as the true Passover Lamb, the Firstborn Son of the true and only God, who has been sacrificed for all the sons and daughters of man; who was crucified for your transgressions; whom God raised from the dead for your justification, as surely as both He and you have been drawn out of the waters of Holy Baptism, unto the life everlasting.
Now, then, as the Lamb who was slain (and yet, behold, He lives!), His flesh is your Meat indeed: His Body is your Manna in the wilderness, the living Bread from heaven, which His own Father gives to you by grace, that you should eat from His hand and live forever. So, too, His Blood is your true Drink, which atones for all your sins and covers you from sin and death and every evil.
For He is the Rock in whom St. Moses was hidden on Mt. Sinai, wherein the great Prophet heard the preaching of the Name of the Lord: that He is gracious and merciful, long-suffering, patient, and slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love for a thousand generations. He is the Rock in whom St. Moses was given a glimpse of the Glory of God, which is the goodness of the Gospel.
This Rock, which is Christ Jesus, accompanied Israel throughout the wilderness. He is the Rock that was stricken, smitten, and afflicted by the rod and the staff of the Law, so that from His riven side there flow streams of living water in the desert; and the spiritual drink of His holy, precious Blood, which is poured out for you and for the many, for the forgiveness of all your sins.
This is the Blood of the New Covenant, which all the blood of bulls and goats could not seal or secure. With this Blood of Christ you are redeemed; you are sprinkled and anointed, within and without; you are cleansed and sanctified in body and soul, so that you behold the Glory of God.
For here you have come to a better Mountain than Sinai, to Mt. Zion; and to the City of the Living God, the heavenly Jerusalem; and to myriad of angels; to the general assembly and Church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven; and to God, the Judge of all; and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect; and to Jesus, the Mediator of the New Covenant, and to His sprinkled Blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.
Here, then, the veil is lifted and removed, so that you are able to see the Light of the revelation of the Glory of God in the face of Christ Jesus. He stretches out His hand, not to strike you, not to punish or destroy you, but to feed you, to give you His Body and Blood to eat and to drink.
For all the Law and the Prophets are fulfilled in Him, for you and for all; for Moses and Israel; for all the descendants of Abraham, that is, for all who share the faith of Abraham; for all who believe in Him, whom the Father has sent; and for all the nations, even to the furthermost ends of the earth.
He is the One who has kept the Ten Commandments in perfect faith and love. For He has been a faithful Son in the House of His God and Father, even unto His death upon the Cross; so that, now, in His Resurrection from the dead, His Body has been established as the true Temple of God. And you belong to the household and family of God, as you belong to His Body, the Church, by faith in His Gospel within this Holy Communion.
This same Jesus, to whom the Father testifies — this beloved and well-pleasing Son, the Lord’s Anointed — He has hallowed the Name of His God and Father, not only by His faithful preaching and teaching, but with His whole Body and Life. Wherefore, He has received — also in His own crucified and risen flesh, in His human nature, which He shares with you as your Brother, as your Kinsman — He has received that holy Name, which is above every Name in heaven and on earth.
Thus He has done, that He might name you with His Name, as a Christian, and with His Father’s Name, as a beloved and well-pleasing child of God.
So has He also become your Sabbath Rest, in whom you are at Peace with God: Not by any works of your own, but by His keeping of the Law on your behalf and for your benefit.
He has honored His Father (and Mother), that you might have life and health and strength, and that you might live forever in the good Land He has promised you, which He gives to you by grace.
He does not hate or murder you, but guards you and keeps you, in body and soul, unto the life everlasting. He does not run around or cheat on you, but He is your always faithful Bridegroom, who forgives you all of your unfaithfulness, and who freely reconciles you to Himself in love. He does not rob you, nor withhold from you any good thing, but He has yielded His riches for you, and He has made Himself poor, that you might inherit all the treasures of His Kingdom. He does not accuse or condemn you, but defends you, speaks well of you, covers all your shame with His own honor and glory, and justifies you with His own righteousness.
Thus, all that God spoke to His people of old through His servant St. Moses, the Prophet, He has accomplished for you in this Lord Jesus Christ, His own dear Son — through whom He now speaks to you through the Gospel in these last days.
He is the new and greater Joshua, filled with the Holy Spirit and the Wisdom of His Father in the waters of the Jordan, that He might bring you through those waters into Canaan: Into His Church, flowing with the milk and honey of His Word, and with the Meat and Drink of His Paschal Feast; and at last, in the resurrection of your body, into Paradise, where you shall know Him face to face.
What the Prophet Moses once saw from afar, from the cleft of the Rock on Mt. Sinai, and from the heights of Mt. Nebo outside the Promised Land, he has rejoiced to see fulfilled in the One of whom he wrote and testified. On the Mountain of Transfiguration, he spoke with Him concerning that great Exodus, which the Lord Jesus was about to undergo and accomplish in Jerusalem. For was it not necessary that the Christ should thus enter into His Glory through suffering? Surely it was, and surely He has done it.
He has opened the way through death into life. He has opened the Kingdom of heaven to all who believe and are baptized into Him.
As Moses carefully constructed the Tabernacle according to the sacred pattern that the Lord God showed to him, so has the true Image and Likeness of God been manifested in His Incarnate Son, Christ Jesus, who is the radiance of His Glory and the exact representation of His Nature, and who upholds all things by the Word of His power. In Him, who has become Flesh and tabernacles among us, all the fullness of God dwells bodily.
And in the Resurrection of the Body of Christ Jesus, Moses has finally entered into the good and glorious Land of God: Into the heavenly places, into the holy City, and into the Tabernacle not made with hands — where you also, no less, and your life, are safely hidden with Christ in God.
Oh, come, let us sing to the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously! The horse and his rider He has thrown into the sea. But you He has drawn out of the water — into His gates with thanksgiving, into His courts with praise, and into the Most Holy Place by the flesh and blood of Jesus, who is your Strength and your Song, because He has become your Salvation.
In the Name + of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
A sword in the hat is better than a foot in your mouth. All the better if it is that double-bladed sword that slices and dices between bone and marrow. But I have always liked to sort things out by thinking out loud with friends and colleagues. And since my opportunities to do so are limited, I figure I can multiply my thinking and sorting here.
Married 31 years, my wife and I have had ten children born to us (six boys, four girls); we have another son and daughter by marriage (and will soon have another daughter by marriage), a son who went ahead of us to heaven from the womb, six grandchildren and counting. I was ordained in 1996, and have been the pastor of Emmaus since then. I have a Ph.D. in Liturgical Studies from the University of Notre Dame (2003), and an S.T.M. from Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana