Devotion and Prayer for Week of June 8, 2014

Meditation for the Week of June 8, 2014

 

Every summer my congregation reviews a section of the Small Catechism.  This treasure of the faith contains the basic texts of the Christian life, along with brief explanations that apply them to us personally.  Although many Lutherans learn the catechism in confirmation class, we often forget and neglect this wonderful resource.  Martin Luther himself said, “I must still read and study daily, and yet I cannot master it as I wish, but must remain a child and pupil of the Catechism, and am glad so to remain.”  This summer we are reviewing the creed and its explanation, and so the FHP devotions for the month of June will focus on these texts.

 

The Second Article:

And in Jesus Christ, His only Son our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried.  He descended into hell.  The third day He rose again from the dead.  He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.  From thence He will come to judge the living and the dead.

 

What does this mean?

I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and true man, born of the Virgin Mary, is my Lord, who has redeemed me, a lost and condemned person, purchased and won me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil; not with gold or silver, but with His holy, precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death, that I may be His own and live under Him in His kingdom and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, just as He is risen from the dead, lives and reigns to all eternity.  This is most certainly true.

 

Meditation:

The second article of the creed has two parts.  It begins by confessing who Jesus is, and then continues by confessing what Jesus does.  We call these two teachings Jesus’ “incarnation” and His “redemption.”  The first few words of the creed cover Jesus’ incarnation.  They aren’t very long, but they are packed full of meaning.

It starts with Jesus’ name.  The name Jesus means, “The LORD saves.”  His name tells you what He has come to do.  His entire purpose in life is to save you.  “Christ” is not Jesus’ last name; it’s His title.  “Christ” is the Greek version of the Hebrew word “Messiah,” or “anointed one.”  Jesus is the one God chose to fulfill the work of salvation promised from the earliest days of the Old Testament.

Jesus Christ is the “Son of God.”  This is something hard for us to wrap our head around.  Jesus has always existed as the Son of God.  There wasn’t a time when there was just God the Father, and then He later had a Son.  Jesus, God the Son, has always existed, and He is equal to the Father in every way.

And yet, He is different from the Father.  He was the person of God who became human, who is like us in every way.  God took upon Himself flesh and blood.  God even had a human soul.  It’s not as though He had a human body and a divine soul.  Every last bit of Jesus was completely God and completely human.

Jesus became like you so that you would become like Him.  Jesus became a child of man, so that you would become a son of God.  This happened at a specific time and place.  He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.   Just like you were conceived and born, so was He.  But His conception and birth were different also.  Because He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, Jesus did not inherit original sin.  And yet Jesus chose to take your sin as His own, so that He could die in your place.  We’ll continue next week with this act of redemption for you.

 

Our Weekly Prayer 

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of Man, You became like me to make me like You.  Take away my sin and fill me with Your holiness, for you are, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.