Wednesday after Misericordias Domini
Scripture: St. John 5:31-47 (NKJV)
31 “If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true. 32 There is another who bears witness of Me, and I know that the witness which He witnesses of Me is true. 33 You have sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. 34 Yet I do not receive testimony from man, but I say these things that you may be saved. 35 He was the burning and shining lamp, and you were willing for a time to rejoice in his light. 36 But I have a greater witness than John’s; for the works which the Father has given Me to finish—the very works that I do—bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me. 37 And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form. 38 But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe. 39 You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. 40 But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life. 41 I do not receive honor from men. 42 But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you. 43 I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive. 44 How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God? 45 Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you—Moses, in whom you trust. 46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”
“Lord, to whom shall be go? You have the Words of eternal life.” These words of Peter, recorded later in John’s Gospel, fit quite well with today’s reading. The Jews were enamored with Moses. As Jesus said, “Moses, in whom you trust.” But for all their love of Moses they missed the One of Whom Moses wrote: Jesus. Every Word of God recorded in Holy Scripture points to Christ. If we wish to know anything that God is wanting to tell us, we need only look to Jesus.
As Lutherans, we have been instructed to always rightly divide Law from Gospel. For the Jews, Moses was seen as the lawgiver. The Jews thought they understood all that Moses had written. Thus, they spent their time trying to keep the Law, but failed. What the Jews missed was the glorious Gospel recorded throughout the writings of Moses. They missed Christ. From Genesis through Deuteronomy, Moses was pointing people to Christ. From the Gospel spoken to Adam and Eve recorded in Genesis, “He shall bruise your head,” to Moses’ word of blessing in Deuteronomy, “Happy are you, O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the Lord?”, Moses was pointing to the God who saves.
All that was recorded by Moses pointed to Jesus’ work, including the fulfillment of the Law. How could they even begin to think they could do the impossible, that is, keep the Law perfectly? Yet, that was the delusion under which they lived because they failed to hear all the Moses had written. Thus, they stand accused by the very person they invoke, Moses.
“I am content! My Jesus liveth still, in Whom my heart is pleased. He hath fulfilled the Law of God for me, God’s wrath He hath appeased.” Amen.