Festival of Philip Melanchthon, Confessor
Posted on April 19, 2021 byunder
Scripture: St. John 10:1-10 (NKJV)
10:1 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. 2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6 Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them.
7 Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
The voice of Christ, our Good Shepherd, is the holy Word of the Scriptures. And that voice is clearly and powerfully carried on in the confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran teaching. Today we commemorate Philip Melanchthon, so we also remember the immensely valuable role that he served in authoring our confessional documents and in teaching the true faith in our Lord’s Church.
The devil constantly entices men to be thieves and robbers, to think and do unrighteous things. Teachers and leaders in the Church throughout the centuries drifted from the voice of Christ and acted like villains. But God also continued to use men to confess the true Word so that His people could be called back to faithfulness and obedience. The Lutheran confessors served in this way, and all who continue to believe, teach, and confess in word and deed the doctrine of the Book of Concord still serve to carry forth the voice of our Lord!
God graciously keeps speaking to us in His Law and Gospel. His Word does not change with the passage of time. His voice is sure and constant. The Good Shepherd calls us to repent of our many sins, but He also continues to graciously call us in the Church to believe in the forgiveness that comes only through Christ crucified and to receive the blessed Sacraments that keep us as His beloved lambs.
Prayer: God, who by the humiliation of Thy Son didst raise up the fallen world, grant unto Thy faithful ones perpetual gladness, and those whom Thou hast delivered from the danger of everlasting death do Thou make partakers of eternal joys; through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.