Like yesterday, the recording of this morning’s Matins service failed halfway through in the middle of my explanation on the reading. Instead of a replacement video devotion today, I’m providing a written one.
Go ahead and go through the Congregation at Prayer sheet on your own and then, after the reading, scroll down for my explanation on a section of the reading.
36b When Jesus had said these things, he departed and hid himself from them. 37 Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him, 38 so that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: “Lord, who has believed what he heard from us, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” 39 Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said, 40 “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, lest they see with their eyes, and understand with their heart, and turn, and I would heal them.” 41 Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him. 42 Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God. 44 And Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. 45 And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. 46 I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. 47 If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. 48 The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. 49 For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak. 50 And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.”
In verses 44-50 (above), we ought to see what Jesus says about Himself as a template for His Apostles and reflecting their relationship to Him, because He sent His Apostles individually in the same way that He Himself was sent by the Father. This helps us to understand that though these sinful men wrote the New Testament, yet we hold their writings to be the very Word of God (not just the red letters in the Gospels!). This then even applies to pastors today, whenever they, who have been ordained of God, faithfully preach and teach His Word. Let’s look at those verses again but modified as applying now to the Apostles and then also to pastors:
[As Jesus cried out, so does each of His Apostles], “Whoever believes [that I am Christ’s representative], believes not in me but in him who sent me. 45 And whoever sees me [Christ’s rep.] sees him who sent me. 46 I [point you to the One who has] come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in [Him] may not remain in darkness. 47 If anyone hears [His words through me] and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but [to point the world to Him who saves]. 48 The one who rejects me [as Christ’s rep.] and does not receive [His words through me] has a judge; [Christ’s] word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. 49 For I have not spoken on my own authority, but [Christ] who sent me [as the Father sent Him] has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak. 50 And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as [Christ] told me.”
So in the original (above), we read Christ explaining His earthly office, which then also reveals to us the office of Apostle, and even what is carried into the office of Pastor. We see from this what a travesty it truly is when a pastor preaches and teaches contrary to Christ’s Word and/or misrepresents Him in the way He lives. On the other hand, we also see beautifully fulfilled, in one of many ways, what Christ spoke in Matthew 28:20:
Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.
Peace in Christ,