Blessed are the eyes which see the things you see; for I tell you that many prophets and kings have desired to see what you see, and have not seen it, and to hear what you hear, and have not heard it.” What are those things of which Jesus speaks? What did the prophets and kings, all of the faithful of the Old Testament long to see? They longed for the Messiah! And now Jesus tells them, You’re looking at Him! You are face-to-face with the One whom seers in old time chanted of with one accord, whom the voices of the Prophets promised in their faithful Word! And how does Jesus explain that to them? He reveals this to those who have ears to hear by way of a Parable to a lawyer who wanted to justify himself. To that lawyer and to all of us was explained that the only hope for salvation is not your own action, but the action of a merciful God in His promised Messiah.
Why does the Pastor preach? Scripture explains that the role of preaching the Word of God is how saving faith is created: “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’ … So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the Word of Christ” (Romans 10:14-17). The Augsburg Confession, seeing this connection between the Preaching Office and saving faith, summarizes Scripture on the Office of the Holy Ministry in this way: “To obtain [saving, justifying] faith, God instituted the Office of Preaching, giving the Gospel and the Sacraments. Through these, as through means, He gives the Holy Spirit who produces faith, where and when He wills, in those who hear the Gospel. It teaches that we have a gracious God, not through our merit but through Christ’s merit, when we so believe” (AC V 1-3). The whole reason the Pastor preaches is so saving faith can be created, so we know that “we have a gracious God” who loves us and has saved us from our sin by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.