12 February 2016

The Lord Has Come Down to Raise You Up

Jesus has come down from heaven, and He has come down from the mountain, in order to set you free and deliver you from sin, death, and the power of the devil.

Although you are attacked by all of these things, it is also the case that you are a willing victim.  Indeed, you are your own worst enemy, for you are sinful and unclean, perverse and unbelieving.

And yet, in love, the Lord Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God, has come down to save you — to cleanse and heal you, and to give you new life in and with Himself, with the Father and the Holy Spirit — through His free and full forgiveness of all your sins.

He has become true Man, born of Mary, flesh of your flesh and blood of your blood.  Not only that, but He has subjected Himself to all the trials, tribulations, and temptations that you are faced with, only without any sins of His own.  But He has borne all of your sins, and the sins of the whole world, in His own Body to the Cross; and there He has suffered all the curse and consequences of your sin, including the righteous wrath and judgment of God, so that by His innocent suffering and death in your place, He has destroyed the power that death and the devil held over you.

Here, then, in the Cross and Passion of the Christ, is the greatest Glory of God.  It is nothing you could ever do or accomplish for yourself; nor could you even begin to comprehend it by your own reason or strength.  Indeed, it is the Cross, above all else, that amazes you — and scares you!

But it is by the Cross of Christ that God has redeemed you and rescued you from your enemies and from every evil of body and soul, in order to make you His own and bring you into life with Him.

And to that end, it is from the Cross that Christ Jesus speaks His Word of forgiveness to you and feeds you with His own holy Body and precious Blood.

Thus, He who has come down from heaven, who has come down from the mountain and entered the valley of the shadow of death, who has been lifted up on the Cross for your salvation, now draws you to Himself by His Gospel; He raises you up in His own Resurrection from the dead; He lifts you up from the earth, and He brings you in Himself to your true God and Father in heaven.

Therefore, let these Words sink into your ears and into your heart: That the Lord Jesus Christ was delivered into the hands of sinful men, and handed over as a willing Victim to the Cross, in order to deliver you into the loving hands of God the Father.  And so does He hand Himself over to you now, and He places Himself into your hands and mouth and body in this Sacrament, so that He should thus abide in and with you, and you abide with Him in the bosom of the Father forever.

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

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