St Thomas 2022 (Jn 20)

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᛭ INI ᛭

The Lord shows up. That’s Advent. “He comes.” The Lord Jesus comes. He comes to His people. He comes because He is their God—“My Lord and My God”—and they are His people. And He comes with His Word!

Everything depends on His Word. I’d already planned to do the 3rd Commandment before I realized that it was St. Thomas’ Day. The tie in between St. Thomas and the 3rd Commandment is quite clear. “Blessed are those who have not seen,” Jesus says, “and yet have believed.” This has everything to do with the Third Commandment where God commands you “not to despise preaching and His Word, but hold it sacred and gladly hear and learn it.”

John the Apostle expands upon what Jesus says, “These things are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, and that by believing you may have life in His name.” That’s the point of the entire Bible! “The Scriptures make you wise unto salvation,” (2 Tim 3) Pauls says. “Whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that…through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” (Rom 15) Paul says that, too.

*[94] ...The force and power of this commandment lies not in the resting, but in the sanctifying... Here a work is to be done by which a person is himself made holy. This is done ... only through God’s Word. For this reason, particular places, times, persons, and the entire outward order of worship have been created and appointed. (LC I)*

St. Thomas’ day is an excellent day to rejoice over what God’s Word does for you and within you. Not only in what you know, but what you believe and in whom you believe. Namely, Jesus, who not only was born for you, but was crucified and raised for you. (Thomas saw and touched Him.) Jesus caused His Word to be written and sent out preachers so that you would hear His Word, hear Sermons about Him, and believe this Preaching and Word and thus be sanctified and saved.

[95] So much depends upon God’s Word. Without it, no holy day can be sanctified. Therefore, we must know that God insists upon a strict observance of this commandment and will punish all who despise His Word and are not willing to hear and learn it, especially at the time appointed for the purpose. (LC I)

Sundays, of course, were chosen for the sake of good order, along with confessing the Resurrection of Jesus. You actually have a time and place set aside to hear the Word! But it’s also an every day thing. Faith would never restrict or limit God and His Word. Faith receives always more. “These things are written that you may believe and have life.”

Faith wants more of Jesus’ life. Our flesh wants more of this life. “Our flesh has not those pure desires The Spirit of the Law requires.” (LSB 555) Thus, there’s a great neglect of God’s Word that comes to roost in our hearts, too. We all have excuses for setting aside the Word. Such excuses are certainly different in my case than yours, but the results are the same: God’s Word often falls silent.

We dis-“honor the Word of God highly by [not] studying it gladly, [nor] learning it by heart, [nor] living it.” We “despise the Word of God by neglect, paying no attention to it when it is read or preached.” Yet, Paul says: “Everything is made holy by the Word of God and Prayer.” (Phil 4) This is why it’s good and holy (it will make us holy) to “use the Word of God and prayer to make our time, work, study, and life holy [every] day.”

God’s Word will actually make you holy. That’s why it’s good to “read the Bible each day.” God’s Word was also why our forefathers wanted to have Lutheran Schools. But the devil uses that good gift to make us “lazy and bored with the Word of God.” (I know from personal experience. I’m a product of Lutheran education.) We learned and had enough of the Word of God there. 14 years of God’s Word enough. Confirmation is graduation. Do we “have any fear of God over this neglect?”

[96] [It’s] not only [those who neglect to hear God’s Word that] greatly misuse and desecrate the holy day [and] sin against this commandment. They [also sin who] listen to God’s Word like it was any other [unimportant thing] and only come to preaching because of custom. They go away again, and at the end of the year they know as little of God’s Word as at the beginning. [97] … We allow ourselves to be preached to and admonished, but we do not listen seriously and carefully. (LC I)

[99] Likewise, those [picky] spirits are to be rebuked who, after they have heard a sermon or two, find hearing more sermons to be [boring] and dull. They think that they know all that well enough and need no more instruction. … This is a malignant, dangerous plague with which the devil bewitches and deceives the hearts of many so that he may surprise us and secretly take God’s Word from us [Matthew 13:19]. (LC I)

*[98] Know, therefore, that you must be concerned not only about hearing, but also about learning and retaining God’ s Word in || memory. Do not think that this is optional for you or of no great importance. (LC I)*

That’s why driving God’s Word into our hearts, souls, minds, and strength is so important. This is why we often sing not only hymns, but sing God’s Word in Canticles or the Psalms or the Liturgy. A wise pastor (Pseudo-Augustine) once said, “He who sings, prays twice.” God’s Word with music travels into our ears and anchors itself in our heart and our throats! Remembering God’s Word is more important than where “you save big money, you save big money, when you shop.” (You heard jingle, didn’t you?)

[100] … [But] even though you know God’s Word perfectly and are already a master in all things: you are daily in the devil’s kingdom [Colossians 1:13–14]. He ceases neither day nor night to sneak up on you and to kindle in your heart unbelief and wicked thoughts against [the first] three commandments and all the commandments. Therefore, you must always have God’s Word in your heart, upon your lips, and in your ears. [Wherever it’s not], the devil breaks in and has done the damage before we are aware [Matthew 13:24–30]. (LC I)

[101] [But God’s] Word is so effective that whenever it is seriously contemplated, heard, and used, it is bound never to be without fruit [Isaiah 55:11; Mark 4:20]. It always awakens new understanding, pleasure, and devoutness and produces a pure heart and pure thoughts [Philippians 4:8]. For these words are not lazy or dead, but are creative, living words [Hebrews 4:12]. [102] … This truth ought to urge everyone to the Word, because thereby the devil is put to flight and driven away [James 4:7] … (LC I)

The devil will run from God’s Word. He will also run away from Christ’s body and blood. Jesus actually comes to you and dwells within you through His Words. In fact, the “words along with the bodily eating drinking are the main thing in the Sacrament.” “For you for the forgiveness of sins.” “Blessed are those who have not seen,” Jesus says, “and yet have believed.”

᛭ INI ᛭

Total:  1172
Outline: 57
Final:  1115

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