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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Jesus Loves Me! This I See

I wrote the following hymn stanzas as a way of teaching children about Holy Communion.  It is to the tune of "Jesus Loves Me," and these two stanzas could follow stanzas 1 and 2 in Lutheran Service Book, hymn 588.

Jesus loves me when He says,
Take and eat this piece of bread.
It's My body, yes, it's true,
Which I sacrificed for you.

Jesus loves me!  This I see
In the cup He gives to me.
It's My holy blood, He says,
Which for you I gladly shed.

May we all believe so simply!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Who, Me?

"...He saw a man called Matthew" (Matt. 9:9).

The Dutch painter Terbrugghen has provided deep insight into the calling of St. Matthew.  The painting shows Jesus pointing at Matthew from close range.  We can almost hear the words, "Follow Me" (Matt. 9:9).  Matthew is shown pointing at himself.  Clearly he is thinking, "Who, me?  You must be joking."  And so the very center of the painting features two fingers: Christ's and Matthew's.

Because Matthew was a tax collector and "sinner," he considered himself a most unlikely candidate.  To Christ, this made him a natural choice.  "For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners" (Matt. 9:13).

Christ calls you to follow Him and His Word.  You are permitted sometimes to wonder, but never to doubt it.  The decision is Christ's - all Christ's!  We gain the ability to share the forgiveness of sins with others only after learning, and remembering, that it applies to us.

God used Matthew to write the very first book of the New Testament.  Through Matthew, we have the beautiful and life-giving words, "In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Matt. 28:19).  Remember your Baptism.  It is your call to follow.  God will use you today.

Who, me?

Yes, you!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Carried by Four Men

"And they came, bringing to Him a paralytic carried by four men" (Mark 2:3).

The healing of the paralytic in Mark 2 is recorded also in Matthew 9 and Luke 5.  But only Mark, a Gospel known for its details, mentions the fact that the litter on which the paralytic lay was "carried by four men."

Now why would the Holy Spirit include such a detail?  Could it have been to lead us to another question?  Namely, who are the four who carry you to Christ?  Think about it.

God uses different people in our lives to help bring us to faith.  Parents, pastors, teachers, a good friend.  But the four men whose mission it is to carry you to Jesus are named Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.  The very purpose of their Gospels is to bring you to Christ, crucified and risen, who says to you, "Child, your sins are forgiven" (Mark 2:5).

The Four Evangelists are the authorized biographers of our Lord Jesus Christ, and their writing takes you into His life.  Learn to see Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John not only as books of the New Testament, but as your four friends who carry you to the Savior.