Sun, 4 March 2018
(2Kgs.5:1-15; Ps.42:2-3,43:3-4; Lk.4:24-30)
“There is no God in all the earth, except in Israel.”
“There is a prophet in Israel,” brothers and sisters, and this prophet is God. Jesus Christ has come, salvation from the Jews. Do you recognize Him? Will you accept Him?
It is only in “the waters of Israel” that we are made clean. As wonderful as may be the waters of our native land, it matters not, for it is these alone that are blessed; these alone will make our flesh again “like the flesh of a little child.” For a little child has come through these waters, has been baptized in this River, and it is His blood which baptizes us all and makes us clean as the flesh of God.
“Bring me to your holy mountain, to your dwelling-place,” our souls should sing with our psalmist as they seek “the running waters” of “the living God” that alone will satisfy all our needs. Oh to “behold the face of God,” to “go in to the altar of God” in “gladness and joy”! How we should search for His grace and His presence! Like Naaman who came from a distant land upon the word of a servant girl, so should we obediently seek the grace that comes only from God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – the Word made flesh in Jesus Christ. He is our dwelling place, the Temple of God.
“No prophet gains acceptance in his native place,” Jesus proclaims to those of His hometown. And His prophecy is true. For though salvation is from the Jews and they are Jews who serve as its foundation stones, yet the Church shall be constituted greatly by those of other lands. The Jews who follow Him shall be greatly persecuted by their own, and the Word shall bear fruit to the ends of the world before the eyes of the Chosen shall be opened to the living water, the healing grace, in their midst.
Come in faith, brothers and sisters, to this holy mountain where the Lord does dwell, to find the cleansing of your sins. Through none else does salvation come; in no one else is the Word made known. The flesh of God is Jesus alone.
O LORD, let us not turn away
from your Word to our souls
but be compassionate as you.
YHWH, you are a compassionate God calling us to your mercy and love. Forgive us all our transgressions against you that we might know your favor. Though we have sinned and done what is evil in your sight, though we have rebelled against you and your command, refusing to listen to the Word of truth you utter in our midst, hear our cry for deliverance from the prison into which our sins have cast us. Save us in your love!
O LORD, if we do not judge we shall not be judged. If we do not condemn we shall not be condemned. If we but forgive others their transgressions against us, you will forgive our transgressions against you. And we shall return to your pasture.
Help us to give, O LORD, to give as you give, to give as your Son gives… to lay down our lives for the sake of others – to seek pardon for their sins. Jesus stands in the breach to reconcile us to you and one another; may we join Him in His mission of love.