Today’s collect revealed a great truth about our God: He shows His power, not by destroying, not by being filled with rage—no matter how righteous it may be—but He shows His almighty power by showing mercy and pity. Today’s Gospel is a prime example of this. What is recorded for us reveals Jesus’ mind at the outset of Holy Week. Today’s Gospel is what Jesus said and thought as He rode into Jerusalem on the first Palm Sunday. He wasn’t concerned about Himself. He didn’t lament what that week held. He lamented that the people of Jerusalem didn’t want what was about to happen. They not just rejected but vehemently opposed the one thing that would give them peace. Not the temporary peace of those days of David so long ago, but the true peace, the peace of sin forgiven and eternity with God.
Our God is a God of peace. We sing it each week: Glory be to God on high, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men. That angelic Christmas hymn is one of the many reminders in each Divine Service that Jesus has come to bring us peace, to restore communion between God and man. All of those works which He does to restore that peace are His natural works. This is what we prayed about in today’s Collect, confessing that God’s almighty power is shown, first and foremost, in His mercy and pity.
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.