Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America

Festival of Saints Philip and James the Less, Apostles and Martyrs

Posted on May 1, 2021 by Pastor Dulas under Devotions
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Scripture: Revelation 7:9-17 (NKJV)
7:9 After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 11 All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying:
“Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen.”
13 Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?”
14 And I said to him, “Sir, you know.”
So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them. 16 They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; 17 for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
Remembering the saints who have gone before us in the Church should stir our faithful humility. Thousands of years have passed before our short time, and a vast multitude of people—faithful and unfaithful—have lived and died. Some, like the blessed Apostles Philip and James, have played major roles in the story of God’s Kingdom; while others, like many of us, serve in smaller parts. None of us has the right to be vain or puffed up. We are made saints only by the grace of God, and our work as His people has value only because of Jesus Christ’s divine work for our salvation.
The chosen disciples who would become our Lord’s Apostles had their own moments of being dim or vain, but Christ still exalted them to places of glory because they were part of His will. We are always tempted by Satan to exalt ourselves and seek glory, often taking him up on his twisted offers and bowing down before his corrupt will. But that throne of glory is deadly, and it is nothing like what our Lord shows us in His Word in Revelation. All the company of heaven is brought to their knees, with faces on the ground, because all the faithful are rightly humbled before the profound presence of the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
Prayer: Almighty God, who showest to them that be in error the light of Thy truth to the intent that they may return into the way of righteousness, grant unto all them that are admitted into the fellowship of Christ’s religion that they may avoid those things that are contrary to their profession and follow all such things as are agreeable to the same; through 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.

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