Devotion for Tuesday, May 12, 2020
Lectionary Readings for Fifth Sunday of Easter:
Acts 6:1-9, 7:2a, 51-60
1 Peter 2:2-10
Collect of the Day: O God, You make the minds of Your faithful to be of one will. Grant that we may love what You have commanded and desire what You promise, that among the many changes of this world our hearts may be fixed where true joys are found; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Hymn of the Day: At the Lamb’s High Feast We Sing (LSB 633)
This week’s Gospel lesson is such a comforting passage of Scripture for God’s faithful children. Jesus assures us that heaven is big enough to take us all in, no modifications required for that. He assures us that by having faith in Him, that we also know the Father, and He us. He assures us that He is The Way to heaven, and that access is through Him, the object of our faith. He assures us that when we pray in His name, and in line with that faith, He will give us all that we need, and do what we ask. And yet, all of this is secondary to the fact that He, Himself, is going to prepare our place for us.
John’s Gospel is interesting when it comes to the Holy Week account. We have Palm Sunday in John 12, but unlike the others, we don’t get a play-by-play of the days ahead, we just hear some of the teachings that Jesus shared with them in the following days – how the Son of Man must be lifted up like a snake in the wilderness (pointing to how He would die), how He would save the world through their faith in Him, and then we hit Maundy Thursday and the washing of the Disciples’ feet.
That blessed Thursday night, when Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper, the Sacrament of the Altar, He continues to teach and encourage His disciples. He knows what’s going to happen the next day, and He wants them to be ready for it. This is the context into which this passage of Scripture was given to us. Jesus and the Disciples lounging at the table, having just been cleansed of their physical uncleanliness through the Teacher’s washing of their feet, are being told here that now He was going to prepare a place for them in heaven by washing them of their spiritual uncleanness as well.
That night, after the washing, He warns them of the impending betrayal of one of their members; then He charges them to love one another as He has loved them; He then warns Peter that he would deny Him before the night was through; and finally we get to our text where He reveals the ultimate goal of the Father’s plan – heaven for His children through Jesus.
How will this be accomplished? By Jesus going to prepare a place for them.
You see, heaven wasn’t barred to us because it wasn’t big enough, or because Jesus didn’t yet have time to finish the renovations on the heavenly mansion to make room for everyone. No. It was barred to us because we were unfit to go there. We are poor, miserable sinners. We are, by nature, children of wrath and enemies of God. We not only didn’t deserve heaven, there was no way for us to be admitted, pure and simple. That’s what He was going to prepare – going to fix.
On that Friday, Jesus prepared the place in heaven for us by taking our place in death. His sacrifice paid for our sins and reconciled us to God. That was the preparation He was talking about; that’s all that was needed to be done, as He pronounced “It is finished.” His work was done, and salvation was won for us.
That’s what Easter Sunday, and this whole Easter season actually, is all about! It was Him coming back to say that It worked! – The place was prepared. We are now invited to heaven to be with Him there thanks to The Work He came to do here on earth in our stead. Alleluia! Christ is Risen! (He is risen indeed. Alleluia!)
Dear Lord God, heavenly Father, we thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to bear our sins and be our Saviour. We thank You, that through that great plan of Yours, He has prepared a place for us with You forever. Remind us, that just as You promised to save us and fulfilled that promise, so also do You fulfill Your promise to be with us and help us through all our earthly struggles. Help us, we pray, to ever hold fast to that blessed news, that it would be our comfort in times of sorrow, and encouragement in times of doubt. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
In Christ and His service,