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  • Writer's picturePastor Hans Fiene

Matins Devotion: February 16, 2023

John 5:30-47

It’s a strange thing. The Israelites of Christ’s day were overjoyed to receive a prophet but didn’t know what to do when the One the prophet prophesied about arrived. The people gladly heard the preaching of John. They gladly gazed upon his shining light that pointed them on the path of repentance. But when Jesus arrived at the end of that path, they didn’t want to walk to him because, quite strangely, they didn’t want the path to end.

It’s a strange thing. All of the Scriptures did what John did and pointed forward to the Son of God at the end of the path. But the people couldn’t see it because they didn’t want salvation to come from outside of themselves. They wanted it to come from within. The people should have been crying out for Jesus to set them free from the weight of the law that was placed on them by Moses. Instead, they worshiped the burdens of Moses and rejected the Son of God who’d come to set them free.

Same as it ever was. This is what our sinful nature wants. We don’t want Christ. We want rules. We don’t want to fall into the arms of God that Christ has opened to them. We want to open the arms of God ourselves. We want guides and gurus who will help us do a better job of earning salvation, but we don’t want the Son of God giving salvation to us freely.

But the Son of God giving us free salvation is the only way to receive salvation. We can’t open the arms of our Father. Only Christ can. And opening the arms of the Father is what every page of the Scriptures is about. When God covered Adam and Eve’s nakedness in animal skins, when Abel sacrificed a lamb to take away his sin, when Isaac’s life was spared by the ram caught in the thicket, the Bible was telling you the story of Christ. When David proclaimed the Savior whose hands and feet would be pierced and who sat at the right hand of God, the Bible was telling you the story of Christ. When Elijah slaughtered the prophets of Baal and foreshadowed Christ’s victory over Satan, the Bible was telling you the story of Christ. When Moses gave you the commandments you could not keep, He was showing you your need for the salvation that can only come from outside of you and this telling you the story of Christ.

And Christ has arrived. The Lamb of God shed the blood that took away the sins of the world. In His death and resurrection, and through your baptism in the Triune Name, Jesus Christ picked you up, healed you, breathed life back into you, walked the path of salvation and placed you into the arms of God that He had opened for you, arms that will never put you down, never stop embracing you, and never stop calling you His beloved child.

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