Lent 3—Oculi (Ps 25; Lk 10)

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My eyes are always toward the Lord for He will bring my feet out of the net.

᛭ INI ᛭

Eyes. Eyes? Yes, eyes! That’s the name of this Sunday: Oculi, eyes. Whose eyes? Your eyes. Your eyes toward the LORD. Not just your eyes. Your ears, too! “Blessed are those who hear the Word of God and cherish it,” Jesus says.

But why are our “ears” and “eyes toward the Lord”? Is it just because He commands you to? It is the First Commandment: “You shall have no other gods before Me.” You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. A commandment we play at but don’t actually cherish.

While that Commandment is good and we should do it. It is a good curb for our flesh that doesn’t want to. It’s the same with the other commandments, too. The Commandment is a hedge to protect the Gift. He gifts Himself to you as your God and Savior. This “eyes and ears on the Lord” has to do with what He’s already done and what He promises to do. It has to do with who He is for you, for your benefit.

What is that He does for you?

THE LORD HAS BROUGHT AND WILL BRING YOUR FEET OUT OF THE NET.

(I. The Lord has saved you.)

The Psalms often use the word “enemy,” and, while that was specific in the psalmist’s mind, he was nevertheless inspired by the Spirit to leave it broad for your sake. So it is, here. The Lord’s already done “brought your feet out of the net”—whatever the net may be!

He’s bound “the strong man,” the devil. He’s paid for your sins. He’s gone through death itself. He suffered in your place. He always kept His eyes on His heavenly Father, even in His dereliction, His abandonment, at Calvary. Jesus’ “My God, My God, why have Your forsaken Me?” ends with “Into Your hands I commit My spirit.”

Jesus has plundered you from the devil’s kingdom. He fought the devil at the expense of His own life. He paid for your sins that chain you and separate you from Him. “By His death He destroyed death, and by His bodily resurrection He brought life and immortality to light. (Funeral Collect)”

He did all these things not only through His Calvary and Easter, but He delivered them all to you in Holy Baptism. He gave you all of Himself there. He bound and silenced the devil there. He washed your sins away there. He gave you His empty tomb there so that you would have not only the promise of an empty tomb on the Last Day, but also the promise of daily new life.

(Transition.)

And that’s the key. “Daily new life.” That’s where the Psalmist is at. “My eyes are always toward the Lord.” This is so “because He will bring feet out of the net.” This confidence in what the Lord will do is based on what the Lord has already done. This confidence is also based on what the Lord has promised to do.

This is exactly the same with you:

THE LORD HAS BROUGHT AND WILL BRING YOUR FEET OUT OF THE NET.

(II. The Lord still turns toward you to save you.)

He really will. He continues to do it. His words and promises are all about that. We see that in the ministry of Jesus always going around casting out demons, forgiving sin, marching toward cross and Calvary. He continues to deliver His promises. He makes them again and again.

Our problem is we turn towards the net. We focus on that. We see the trouble. Just consider our preoccupation with the horrible events plaguing our world. We experience our afflictions, too. We feel pain. We’re confronted with our sins. “Like a heavy burden for me.” And in that spiral we’re caught, and, to top it all off, we expect the Lord to turn away from us, that He’ll turn His back on us.

We cry out, “Turn to me and be gracious to me.” Unfaith cries out as if He’s turned His back. Faith says this confidently trusting that the LORD is a God who is “merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love.” He “does not willingly grieve the children of men.” He is the God who “makes His face shine upon you.” He “lifts up His countenance upon you.” He “gives you peace.”

Where is face turns, there He is. He is there not to break and condemn, but to enliven and forgive. We ask Him to turn, but in the giving up of His Son, He’s already shown you his very heart, the depths of His love for you. You may be lonely and afflicted from a human perspective, but the Lord’s baptismal promise stands: “I am with you always.”

He “forgives all your sins.” Daily and much He does. He doesn’t turn away from doing that. In His Word He tells us of our need for forgiveness, and also about His forgiveness and love which are secured and displayed at Calvary. (His sermons do the same thing.) The Office of the Keys, that is, the Key-using Office, the Pastoral Office, delivers His cross-won, empty-tomb certain eternal forgiveness and peace. The Supper of His body and blood again and again delivers His body and blood right to you—in your very mouth—for the forgiveness of your sins.

(Conclusion.)

In all ways possible the Lord takes you out of the net. The devil can’t have you. Your sins don’t define you. Death isn’t your end.

THE LORD HAS BROUGHT AND WILL BRING YOUR FEET OUT OF THE NET.

Jesus’ sacrificial death and glorious resurrection do that. Hebrews 2 puts it this way: “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.” Simply said, ”He brings my feet out of the net.”

Not just calvary. Again and again the Lord snatches you, lays claim on you, has you as His own. From Font to Pulpit, Absolution to His Supper, Jesus is doing that very thing. His forgiveness for your sins, His peace for your fears, His life for you death.

“This is most certainly true.”

THE LORD HAS BROUGHT AND WILL BRING YOUR FEET OUT OF THE NET.

His cross, empty tomb, baptismal font, Bible, pulpit, Absolution, and Supper. Say so.

᛭ INI ᛭

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