30 December 2015

God Is With You Under the Cross

It’s certainly not as though God can’t handle Herod easily or take care of Himself.  For all things derive from Him and depend on Him, and He upholds all things by the Word of His power.  He needs nothing from anyone, but all things in heaven and on earth must look to Him.

And yet, it is according to His wisdom, grace, and mercy that the Lord your God works through means, behind the scenes.  The Creator takes care of His creation by way of His own creatures.  He thereby affirms the goodness of His Creation, and He brings His creatures into harmony with Himself, that they should live and work with Him in the giving and preserving of life.

It is also the case that He, the one true God, has entered into His Creation and become one with it in Christ Jesus.  The Creator has become a creature.  Not only to fulfill the purpose of creation in Himself, in the Person of the incarnate Son, but also to redeem and sanctify the fallen creation and make all things new in the Resurrection of His Body from the dead.

This is what it means for Him to be Immanuel — God With Us.  He has become one of us, flesh of our flesh and blood of our blood, and tabernacles with us.  His own Body is the Temple of God among men, both now and forever, that we might dwell with Him and He with us.

Not only has He become true Man, but to begin with, as God in the flesh, He also enters fully into the mess along with us, bearing our sins and their consequences.  He suffers the curse of the Fall in His own Body and Life, and yet He lives by faith and confidence in His own God and Father.

As the true and perfect Man, He relies upon the Word and promises of God in order to fulfill the Law and the Prophets in Himself on our behalf.  He also depends upon the means that God provides to guard and protect, to nourish and sustain His body and life on earth unto the Hour of His Cross, when He lays down His life in faith that His Father shall raise Him up from the dead.

Already His Cross and Resurrection are anticipated in His journey to and from Egypt.  For so shall He also, in due time, pass through death and the grave into the Resurrection of His Body and the life everlasting in the heavenly Promised Land of Paradise.  Thus has He opened up that way of Life for you and all His people, for all who believe and are baptized into Him.

You have heard, have you not, again and again, that it is “the Child and His Mother” who go in and out of Egypt into Israel.  He is with His Mother because the Son of God has become true Man by His conception and birth of the Woman.  And she is with Him, because He has accomplished all things for His people, His Church, so that, where He is, there you may be also.

By the same token, consider all the ways that His God and Father in heaven cares for “the Child and His Mother” by the faithful and steady service of St. Joseph here on earth.  So does the Lord care for His Church to this day by His called and ordained servants of the Word, in much the same way that He provides husbands and fathers to care for His families in the world.

But St. Joseph is also an example to you, no matter what your particular calling and station in life may be.  Therefore, learn from him to navigate your way through the challenges and difficulties of life under the Cross, by hearing and heeding the Word of the Lord, and by exercising the true wisdom that begins and continues with the fear of the Lord.  But do not be afraid of anything or anyone else in doing so, regardless of appearances.

Think of the contrast between King Herod’s impotent rage, which could not prevail against God’s purposes, and St. Joseph’s quiet obedience, by which the Lord fulfilled the Word of His Prophets and preserved St. Mary and the Christ Child in the midst of mortal peril.

Such is the truth of the matter, even now.  Those who appear to be powerful are not; whereas those who seem to be so weak and powerless find security and strength in Christ by faith.

Such faith listens to the Lord, trusts His Word and promises, and lives and works according to His commandments in all circumstances.  And just so, according to His divine Wisdom under the Cross, He accomplishes His purposes for you and for your neighbors.  For the Cross of Christ conquers death and brings forth the Resurrection, and God calls forth His children out of Egypt.

The Lord is faithful, and He shall do it.  Rest assured that He has not lost track of you or forgotten you, no matter where you are.  No, He is still Immanuel.  He is with you in His flesh and blood, and so are you with Him, both body and soul, unto the life everlasting.

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

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