05 January 2016

Come and See the Lord Jesus

The Lord has seen you from afar, from before the foundation of the world.  He has known you as you are — His own beautiful handiwork and good creation — and yet with all your sins and foibles — and for all of that, in spite of all that, He loves you for His own sake, and His deepest desire is to give you life with Himself.  So has He come to you, to seek you out and call you to Himself.

Follow Him.  Learn from Him, and live with Him.

Follow Him in finding others and calling them to come and see this Lord Jesus, the fulfillment of all the words and promises of God.  And follow Him to the tree of the Cross, to give yourself in love for your neighbor, as Christ has given Himself for you and for all.  Follow Him, because there is no good thing to be found anywhere else, nor is there life at all except in Him, the Son of David.

But do you see it?  Do you recognize the Lord?  Do you comprehend and understand His Word, His Person, and His work?  Truth be told, you cannot, except by faith in His Gospel; and even such faith is not by your own reason or strength, but by the gracious working of His Word and Spirit.

From your natural birth, you are sinful and unclean, full of deceit, and suspicious of others, too.  You are skeptical of that which is true, and yet too easily impressed by that which is superficial, temporary, and passing away.  You are routinely swayed by what you imagine to be so, by what you think you know, and by the reputations and accolades of this perishing world.

But now, forget all of that, and trust what has been written concerning Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

In Him alone has all the fulness of God been manifested and revealed for you and your salvation — in His unassuming flesh and blood, and in His innocent suffering and death.  He is hidden for now under the Cross, contrary to all the world’s expectations and all the hopes of your own flesh.

If you would see this truly and trust this grace of God in Christ Jesus, you must hear and receive the Gospel, and let the Lord your God have His way with you.  For it is not really you who are seeking Him, but He is seeking you in divine and holy love.  Before you have ever called or even known to call, He has answered your need; and while you are yet speaking, He has already acted.

Here in this place, He has come down from heaven to be with you, to save you.  The one true God who has become flesh and blood — true Man, just like you — He is here dwelling with you.

He calls you to follow Him — to become as He is — to dwell with Him in the presence of the Father.  Of yourself, of course, you could not heed His Call or follow Him; heaven would be and remain closed to you.  But He has opened heaven to you, and He now brings you into heaven with Himself.  Which is to say that, already now by faith, you are able to receive and to embrace His forgiveness and His righteousness in the Gospel, so that you are at peace and rest with God in Him.

For by His death for you and for all, in His flesh and with His holy, precious bloodshed, He has atoned for your sins and conquered your death and damnation.  Therefore, it is in His Resurrection that heaven has been opened to you and to all who are baptized into Him.  For His Resurrection from the dead is your righteousness in the presence of God, which cannot ever be undone.  Only believe this Word, and it is yours, as sure and certain as Christ Himself is risen, never to die again.

It is His Atonement and His Resurrection that He shares with you even now, here at His Altar in His Body and His Blood.  Come, taste, and see.  Feasting on His flesh, at His gracious invitation, you dwell with Him and live in Him with the Father, already here in time, as hereafter for eternity.

This Altar, then, truly is the House of God and the very gate of heaven.  And all the angels and archangels of God are gathered here with you around the Lamb upon His throne.  Behold, He was slain for your salvation, and even so He lives and reigns forever in His risen and glorified flesh.

Therefore, also, when He appears in glory at the last, you shall see Him as He is; and you shall know Him as you are known; and you shall be like Him who loves you, even unto life everlasting.

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

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