Sunday, May 16, 2010

Easter 7

...a.k.a. back to normal. I am at home, eagerly awaiting the start of life's next chapter. Today's readings were Acts 1:12-26 (sermon text); Psalm 133; Revelation 22:1-6, 12-20; and John 17:20-26.

Why did we sing an ordination hymn (LSB 682, "God of the Prophets, Bless the Prophets' Sons")? Today's text is about the office of the ministry, about which we can make three important points. Background: all is quiet after Ascension, so the disciples (sans Judas Iscariot) return to Jerusalem with the remnant to pray.

Point 1: Judas must be replaced to restore the original number of twelve. Why is 12 important? It is the number of the church, built on the foundation of the twelve apostles.

Point 2: This replacement must be someone who had been with Jesus for His entire earthly ministry. Faith is not blind; our faith is based on fact, actual historical events and acts of God. Also, pastoral training (i.e. having been in Christ's presence to become intimately acquainted with His teachings) is important so that they can discern truth. Doctors have the same amount of training as Lutheran pastors; the latter wield the sword of the Spirit, the two-edged counsel of God, to treat the soul as surgeons treat the body.

Point 3: How was Matthias chosen? Two candidates were proposed; they were prayed over; then they cast lots (!). God guided this casting. We look today for lists of attributes - but look at Biblical figures! Moses and Paul would fail the criteria so often proposed for pastors, but God chose and worked through them (i.e. divine monergism). Look therefore for faithful preaching of God's word; people skills come second.

Soli Deo gloria.

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