Wed, 20 February 2019
(Gn.9:1-13; Ps.102:16-23,29; Mk.8:27-33)
“The children of your servants shall abide,
and their posterity shall continue in your presence.”
In our first reading from Genesis, God remakes the world. As once He sent forth Adam and Eve upon their creation, so now He blesses Noah and his sons with the same words: “Be fertile and multiply and fill the earth.” Here we are reminded that “in the image of God has man been made,” and once again God calls man to “abound on the earth and subdue it,” giving him power over all its living creatures. And now a promise is added, a covenant is made “between [God] and the earth,” sealed with the sign of the rainbow – “never again shall all bodily creatures be destroyed by the waters of a flood; there shall not be another flood to devastate the earth”… We shall endure on the land He has made for us.
And the Lord works to remake His people in our gospel as well, as “on the way He ask[s] His disciples… ‘Who do you say that I am?’” He is the new Creation, He is “the Messiah,” and in Him all children shall be remade in the image of God, shall become as His only Son. And these truly shall endure, their posterity shall continue forever in the presence of Him who never dies. Even after the final destruction of this earth and those who cling to it by the fire of God, even beyond the covenant made with Noah, which shall so soon pass with the dust from which we were made… eternally we shall remain in the new heavens and the new earth, the ones which themselves will never pass away. For God’s promise to Noah is only for as long as the earth endures, but the earth is indeed passing away: only the covenant Jesus is bringing to His disciples and their posterity is one which is lasting as Heaven.
But to achieve this covenant, to found it firmly in the soul of Peter and his brothers and all us children of these servants, death must come to the only Son, and so surely to us all. The paradox seems difficult to comprehend, but with the vision of God, who “look[s] down from His holy height,” it is easy to see: as long as the earth endures and we upon it, so long shall sin also endure. (This is what the Lord sees when “from heaven He [beholds] the earth.”) Thus the only way to “release those doomed to die” by their imprisonment to sin is for the corrupted vessel in which we dwell to pass from the Lord’s sight. Thus does Jesus Christ die. This must He do in the place of evil man and all his abominations that the world now in the hands of Satan might be destroyed, and the Spirit of God come to life. And so His sacrifice brings our salvation, brings us new life in the New Jerusalem, where the servants of the Lord increase and multiply. In the domain He has prepared by His blood, let us ever remain.
O LORD, look down and save us from destruction
by the sacrifice of your only Son.
YHWH, what do you see as you look down on us from your holy height? Can you be pleased with your creatures if they do not follow your ways? You desire to give us the earth and all it holds, but we are not worthy of such a gift. And so you send your only Son to redeem us, to remake us in your image, that we might be pleasing to you and that we might inherit not just this world but eternal life in Him who dies for us. Praise you for your kindness toward us! Let us come to Him and follow in His way.
Jesus dies for us, LORD. In flesh He comes and offers His life that all the corruption upon us might be taken away, that it might die with Him on the Cross. And should we not follow Him to the Cross? Should we not see that all that is evil in us dies with Him that we might rise unto your heavenly kingdom? O let it be so! Let us come to the place where we shall never be destroyed. Look down upon us and hear our prayer.