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Pastor’s Message

From latest newsletter: July & August 2019

            How do Jesus’ disciples see Him?  According to historical Christianity, Jesus is both human and divine.  He is both God and man.  The Athanasian Creed, historical Christianity’s traditional confession of the Holy Trinity, attempts to explain this idea: “For the right faith is that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and man; God of the substance of the Father, begotten before all worlds; and man of the substance of his mother, born in the world; Perfect God and perfect man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting.  Equal to the Father as touching his Godhead and inferior to the Father as touching his manhood; Who, although he is God and man, yet he is not two but one Christ: One, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh but by taking the manhood into God: One altogether, not by confusion of substance but by unity of person.  For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man, so God and man is one Christ.”  Both parts of Jesus, the human and the divine, are apparently necessary to (1) Jesus and His work of salvation and to (2) His disciples and their salvation.  Both, the human and the divine, are important.  But, how do Jesus’s disciples see Him?  Or, perhaps more importantly, how should they see Him?  As God?  Or as man?  Or as both?

             At the Transfiguration of Jesus, the inner circle of disciples (Peter, James and John) get a glimpse of Him as God (see Matthew 17:1-13, Mark 9:2-13, and Luke 17:1-13).  In Matthew’s version, Jesus says to His disciples, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man [Jesus] has been raised from the dead” (17:9).  Mark’s version is only slightly different: Jesus tells His disciples “not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man [Jesus] had risen from the dead” (9:9).  Luke’s version doesn’t mention Jesus telling His disciples this, at all (see below).  Differences aside, why doesn’t Jesus want His disciples to tell anyone that they saw Him as God?  Wouldn’t commonsense dictate that Jesus wants everyone to know that He’s God?  Doesn’t Jesus spend a lot of time trying to prove that He is, in fact, God?  Isn’t that why He does miracles, for example, so people see Him as God?  Jesus raises people from the dead because God gives life: for example, Jairus’ daughter (Mark 5:22-24, 38-42), the Widow’s son at Nain (Luke 7:11-15), and Lazarus (John 11:1-44).  Jesus stills the storm and walks on water because God controls nature: see Luke 4:37-41 and 6:48-51.  These are only a few examples.  There are others.  It isn’t that Jesus doesn’t want people to see Him as God: He does.  What Jesus doesn’t want is for people to see His as exclusively God.  Although Jesus’ divine nature is important, His human nature is important, also.  Perhaps, just as important as His divine nature.

            Someone like Martin Luther would refer to this as a conflict between the Theology of Glory and the Theology of the Cross.  How do Jesus’ disciples see Him?  As God, in His glory?  Or, as a man, suffering and dying on the cross for the sins of the world?  Notice Jesus’ words to His disciples in Matthew’s and Mark’s versions of the Transfiguration (see above).  The operative word in those verses is “until.”  Jesus’ disciples can tell others that they saw Him as God, but only after He is resurrected.  In other words, Jesus’ disciples can tell others that they saw Him as God, but only after He suffers and dies on the cross for the sins of the world.

            When Jesus suffers and dies on the cross, He does so in human flesh.  The Athanasian Creed, quoted above, continues this way: “Who suffered for our salvation, descended into hell, rose again the third day from the dead.  He ascended into heaven, he sits at the right hand of the Father, God Almighty, from whence he will come to judge the living and the dead.  At whose coming all men will rise again with their bodies and will give an account of their own works.  And they that have done good will go into life everlasting; and they that have done evil, into everlasting fire.  This is the Christian faith which, except a man believe faithfully and firmly, he cannot be saved.”  From His birth, Jesus is both God and man.  He is still both God and man when He suffers and dies on the cross for the sins of the world.  Jesus must be both human and divine because only a sinless sacrifice can atone for the sins of the world: human because a man must die for humanity’s sins and divine because God is sinless.  And He remains both God and man forever.  It is imperative that Jesus’ disciples see Him in this way when He suffers and dies on the cross.

About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray.  As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning.  Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus.  They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem.  Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him.  As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, “Master, it is good for us to be here.  Let us put up three shelters — one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what he was saying.)

While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and covered them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud.  A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.”  When the voice had spoken, they found that Jesus was alone.  The disciples kept this to themselves and did not tell anyone at that time what they had seen. – Luke 9:28-36

Prayer List

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity. This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. – 1 Timothy 2:1-4

Our Savior, Redeemer & St. Paul’s Lutheran Churches,

Paula Beil,

Renee Christ,

Brayden Christianson,

Grant German,

Charlotte Grohnke,

Dorline Guthmiller,

Ardeen Harr,

James Helmstetler,

Eric Hewitt,

Kurt Kramer,

Karen Lepitzky,

Sylvia Martin,

Wayne Martin,

Elaine Menz,

Jim Morlock,

Keith Peters,

Ralph Rudolph,

Ray Rudolph,

Julie Seil,

Norman Seil,

Ron Smith,

Elaine Timm,

Charlie Wanzek,

Arvilla Weber,

Duane Ziesch

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:4-7

After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:

“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.

“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. – John 17:1-11

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one — I in them and you in me — so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

“Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” – John 17:20-26


The Upcoming Alternating Fifth Sunday Services On September 29 At Pettibone And Kensal Are Cancelled.

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To God’s holy people in Colossae, the faithful brothers and sisters in Christ: Grace and peace to you from God our Father.

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people — the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel that has come to you. In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world — just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace. You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf, and who also told us of your love in the Spirit.

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. – Colossians 1:1-14