07 August 2017

Through a happy conjuncture

I got to teach on the first three chief parts today after we studied Matthew 10 in Bible Class at St. Paul's on Sunday. Has it ever bothered you in the explanation to the first article, when we teach our little ones: "He defends me against all danger and guards and protects me from all evil"? How can we teach our children such lies? Ah, but is it not like what our Lord told the 12 as He sent them out to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. He was quite blunt with them: "Behold I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent of doves. Beware of men...they will flog you in their synagogues and drag you before governors and kings... Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents have them put to death, and you will be hated by all for my name's sake." (Matt 10:16ff).

Nevertheless, NEVERTHELESS, "So have no fear of them.... Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows." (Matt. 10:26ff.)

Have no fear of them. Think of the men he addressed. They would go on with the single exception of St. John to be martyred for the good news they spread. And yet I believe everyone of them would have echoed the promise in Luther's Catechism: "He defends me against all danger and guards and protects me from all evil." You see, it's the perspective of the END. This is what Jesus invited the disciples into. Being wise as serpents and innocent as doves meant that they were to live from under an eschatological perspective. In the END, not a hair from their head would perish. They could not fall to those who hated them apart from the Father, and if they fell in the presence of the Father, what was there to fear? He would indeed raise them up. They will not be forgotten.

Your Father's got you covered, Jesus seems to be saying, so don't be afraid of them. They can't do one thing to you apart from Him who will in the end vindicate you with resurrection, raising you into the glory that was prepared for you before the world's foundations were laid. In that confidence, we teach our children that their Father will indeed defend them against all danger and guard and protect them from every evil. On the Last Day they will see and understand and rejoice. So, no, not a lie. Not at all.

O little flock, fear not the foe
Who madly seeks your overthrow;
Dread not his rage and power.
And though your courage sometimes faints
His seeming triumph o'er God's saints
Lasts but a little hour.

Be of good cheer; your cause belongs
To Him who can avenge your wrongs;
Leave it to Him, our Lord.
Though hidden yet from mortal eyes,
His Gideon shall for you arise,
Uphold you and His Word.

As true as God's own Word is true,
Not earth and hell's satanic crew
Against us shall prevail.
Their might? A joke, a mere facade!
God is with us and we with God—
Our vict'ry cannot fail.

Amen, Lord Jesus, grant our prayer;
Great Captain, now Thine arm make bare.
Fight for us once again!
So shall Thy saints and martyrs raise
A mighty chorus to Thy praise
Forevermore. Amen.
LSB 666

Thy martyrs. They raise a mighty chorus. They have not lost. They have won. They were not hurt and found Satan's might indeed to be that mere facade. So shall you.

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