20 February 2015

To Be with the Lord Jesus Where He Is

The Lord Jesus has come down from heaven, and He has come down from the Mountain, in order to raise you up from death to life; to set you free from your slavery to sin; to bring you into the good land that He has promised and prepared for you; and to bring you to His God and Father in and with Himself.  For that is the divine purpose of man, namely, to live with God in Christ Jesus.

You have been created for this divine Life, to abide with the Lord your God, receiving all good things from Him by His grace, even forevermore.

Yet, for now, you are distanced from God, lost and alone, threatened and afraid.  Not because you are a finite creature, but because you have preferred creation over the Creator.  Not because you are flesh and blood, but because you hunger for the flesh more than you hunger for the Lord.

You fear, love, and trust your flesh, even in its frailty and weakness, more than God and His Word.

So you worry about getting sick, and you work to fill your belly, but you doubt and question and too easily forget about the Word and work, the promises and providence of the Lord your God.

Even so, it is for you — with all your doubts and fears and misplaced loyalties — it is for you that Christ Jesus has come.  Not because you have been so faithful or even well-intentioned, but because He is faithful and just, and because He loves you.

And in His love for you, He has entered the wilderness to be with you.  He has hungered and thirsted in His mortal flesh and blood, just like yours, so He knows exactly how you feel.

But, above all else, He has hungered and thirsted in both His body and soul for the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, even to the point of His suffering and death for the Glory of God.

To save you for God, He has borne your sins and sickness, all of your iniquities, and all your griefs and sorrows in His flesh; so that by His stripes and by His wounds you are cleansed and healed.

He has passed through the waters of the Flood, the Red Sea, and the Jordan, in order to make a way for you, an Exodus from death into life.  He has gone alone, first of all, in order to bear the wrath and judgment of the Law of God in your stead.  And as the Passover Lamb of God, He has been sacrificed in your place, so that His blood covers you, and so that death passes over you.

Now, what the world perceives in this Sacrifice of Christ is nothing but utter defeat and hopeless despair, as though all were lost.  How, then, shall it ever suffice, or really do any good at all?

And how easily do you also give up hope and suppose that there is no help to be found?

Do you count the cost, and add and subtract appearances and variables, and come up empty?

Repent of such unbelief.  And do not despair, but believe the Gospel.  For Christ is risen from the dead and has returned to the Father in His glorified Body, and this He has done for your salvation.

He has taken His seat at the right hand of God the Father, and He has seated you with Himself there.  So that, where He is, there you are also — in the Body of Christ on earth as it is in heaven.  Indeed, He has brought you into this good land, with Himself, through the waters of your Baptism.

Recline yourself here at His Table, then, as He invites you, and rest yourself here in His Feast.  For He feeds you with Food that shall not perish, so that you shall not perish, either.  And there is more than enough:  Take and eat!  Drink of it, all of you!  And give thanks to the Lord your God.

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

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