Twenty-Fourth Sunday after Trinity
November 18, 2018
"The man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way.” John 4:50 (KJV)
Seeing is not believing. Seeing trusts in the evidence of the senses and is often deceived. Faith trusts in the sure and truthful Word of God and is never deceived. We all too much resemble this nobleman of Capernaum, who thought Jesus had to come in person and lay His hand on his sick son in order to heal him. But Jesus chides him for his weak faith and gives him only the word of promise: "Go thy way; thy son liveth." This word of Jesus so strengthens the weak faith of the nobleman that he returns home, firmly trusting in Jesus' promise. And his trust in Christ's word did not deceive him. On his return home he hears the joyful news that his dying boy revived and grew well the very hour Jesus had said so. Now he believes with even greater and firmer trust and brings his whole house to saving faith in Christ.
How joyfully we could go our way through life if we would not look so often for signs of God's favor in happy feelings of our heart or fortunate circumstances of our life, but would simply and solely rely on the sure and infallible Word of our Savior! But our faith grows so lamentably weak when our sins assail us or sorrow and sickness or poverty darken the sky. At such times we crave for a reassuring sign from God, when all the while we have His unfailing promise: "Son, daughter, be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven thee." And: "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee." And: "He shall deliver thee in six troubles; yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee.”
We ourselves are often to blame if our faith grows weak and our hearts are downcast and unhappy, because we read and meditate so little in the precious Word of our God. Let us learn to cling simply to the blessed Word of Jesus. Then we can also go on our way through life comforted and rejoicing.
Lord, open Thou my heart to hear,
And through Thy Word to me draw near;
Let me Thy Word e'er pure retain,
Let me Thy child and heir remain.
Thy Word doth deeply move the heart,
Thy Word doth perfect health impart,
Thy Word my soul with joy doth bless,
Thy Word brings peace and happiness. (The Lutheran Hymnal 5:1-2)
Absolve, we beseech Thee, oh Lord, Thy people from their offences that from the bonds of our sins which by reason of our frailty we have brought upon us, we pray be delivered by Thy bountiful goodness; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord.
(Luther, adapted, reprinted from 2005)