Monday after Exaudi
Scripture: St. John 10:17-21 (NKJV)
10:17 “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. 18 No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”
19 Therefore there was a division again among the Jews because of these sayings. 20 And many of them said, “He has a demon and is mad. Why do you listen to Him?”
21 Others said, “These are not the words of one who has a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”
The believing, baptized children of God (according to the New Man, born from above) flock to this message of Christ laying down His life. For it is only through His fully atoning merits that true life is offered.
Is this message acceptable to the world, our sinful flesh, and the devil? Of course not. The world, sinful flesh, and the devil despise Christ and His works. Thus division does come about. There will always be those who want to be righteous by works. But there will also be, by God’s grace, those who are righteous through faith! Thanks be to God that He does not leave us blind to His truth, but creates (and sustains) eyes of faith to behold His glorious scars as marvelous in our sight!
It is Christ and His fully atoning merits that are delivered through His Word and Sacraments. Through such means of grace He is the author and perfecter of faith, ever calling us as His own to feed us with the Bread of Life and send us out to contend with the world, our flesh, and the devil. It is Christ’s laying down of His life that creates proper faith and love of neighbor—as we pray in the Post-Communion Collect, “…we beseech Thee that of Thy mercy Thou wouldst strengthen us through the same in faith toward Thee and in fervent love toward one another…”
And so it is that we rightly pray the Collect for the Week as well: Almighty, everlasting God, make us always to have a devout will toward You and to serve Your majesty with a pure heart; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.