Reminiscere (Lent II) 2018
Be relentless! Do not lean on your own reason, your own experience, your own view of the situation! That is what Our Lord teaches us today by way of the Canaanite woman. He is not polite, the way we count politeness. He doesn’t give her what she wants so she is quiet and leaves everyone alone, like the disciples want Him to. Instead, He does what He knows is right for her, right for the disciples, right for us. Jesus teaches them and us to be relentless in prayer, always approaching the throne of grace with confidence. Jesus teaches them and us to rely solely on His Word and the promises it records.
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.