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The Scripture reading for today is John 1:19-33
19 And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” 21 And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” 22 So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23 He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”24 (Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.) 25 They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” 26 John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, 27 even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” 28 These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing. 29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” 32 And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33 I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”
The Catechism reading is the 2nd Commandment
You shall not misuse the Name of the Lord your God. What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not curse, swear, use satanic arts, lie, or deceive by His Name, but call upon it in every trouble, pray, praise, and give thanks.
Meditation: The 2nd Commandment demands that we use our mouths properly. This means that we are not to use our mouths to spread false teaching by God's Name, but instead to proclaim God's Name faithfully for the salvation of all. We are not to lie, but instead speak the truth in all situations. We are not to use God's Name and His Word to press our own agenda, but rather are to hand over the Word of Truth faithfully in order that those who receive it may receive it unto faith in Jesus for their salvation. We are commanded, out of Fatherly goodness, to keep our lips from speaking lies and instead have our mouths be haven's of absolution, love, mercy, and words of encouragement.
In our Scripture reading today we see the greatest example of God's Name being used for It's true purpose. St. John the Baptist did not point to himself as Savior, but instead pointed his finger at Jesus and declared, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who bears the sin of the world." St. John the Baptist, inspired by the Holy Spirit, used God's Name to point sinners to Jesus Himself as the blessed sacrificial Lamb. This is the greatest sermon that has ever been or will ever be preached. This little verse sums up for us the "Joyous Switch." In a blessed exchange, Jesus takes our sins from us, all our transgressions, all our times of breaking the 2nd Commandment and all the other ones as well, and He claims them as His own. He takes our anxiety, our anger, jealousy, doubt, laziness, lust, greed, and every other failure we have and makes them His own. He then took those sins and stood in our stead on the cross and took the punishment for our law breaking. He took the guilty sentence that we so deserve, because our sins became His sins. Jesus paid the price, in full, for our ransom, and rescued us from the wrath of the Father, the tyranny of the devil, the sting of death, and the eternal consequence of sin. Jesus took our sins, and now, in this joyous and happy switch, He gives us all that is rightfully His. In exchange for our sin, He gives us His righteousness, innocence, blessedness, holiness, forgiveness, and eternal life. He takes our sins and gives us His Sonship. Because of Jesus and this joyous switch, we are no longer children of wrath, but rather are adopted children of our Heavenly Father, destined for life eternal.
May you take comfort this day in this joyous and happy switch. Your sin is Jesus' sin. Jesus' righteousness and life are yours. Take heart. Jesus has and will always take care of everything for you.
Peace be with you. May the devil be silenced, the world be hushed, and the Old Adam be drowned anew so that you hear only the peaceful voice of your Savior Jesus who says, "I forgive you. I love you. I claim you as My own forever," Amen.