Christ Does not Want to Push us Away

Easter 3 Tuesday

Luke 24:25-26

“And [Christ] said to them: “You fools and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken. Did not Christ have to suffer this and enter into his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted for them the things concerning himself in all of Scripture.”

 

There are two obstacles that make it hard to believe this article of the resurrection. First, this work is too lofty and great in itself. It cannot be sufficiently grasped in this life, even if faith were strong and without any weakness. For it is such a strength and might we will rightly see and experience first in the next life. Second, our flesh and blood and the heart of all people are by nature much too weak and timid to believe God’s Word. When they consider this work, they must be frightened and awed by the greatness of such work when they compare it to themselves and their own unworthiness. God cannot do anything about the first reason and obstacle. He does not have any patience with it. For the work must and shall remain as great as it is and not be lessened. In fact, it must be the strength and might to which all creation, man, angel, devil, and hell must yield and lie under them. And this is also necessary for the sake of our salvation. For if this work were not so great, we would have to remain dead under sin and God’s eternal wrath. But as for the other obstacle, God can be lenient and have patience with the fact that we are too weak to grasp such great work and strength by faith. We see that Christ acts in this way with his disciples who, to be sure, had heard that he had risen, but who still remain in great doubt, even to the point of completely despairing of Christ, since they say: “We hoped that he would redeem Israel,” etc. And just look with what great diligence he attends to them and provides for them, doing everything to help them in their weakness and to strengthen their faith. Because he sees and knows that they – worried and sad because of this matter – left the other apostles and do not know what they should think or hope, he does not want to leave them stuck in such doubt and affliction. Rather, in order to help them to get out of these, he comes and joins them on the road, leaving the other apostles sitting together, who are also worried and weak enough in the faith because of these things. But because these two are in great danger of unbelief, he soon finds them alone, as if he now after his resurrection had nothing else to do, and talks and discusses Scripture with them in such a kind way. This causes them to delay him and ask him to remain with them and to eat and drink with them until their faith was reawakened and they had lost all doubt and are so strong in faith that they now recognize and see: It is the very Christ whom they previously had with them on the road as living and whom they had seen crucified three days earlier, but whom they had been unable to recognize on the road due to the doubt and weakness that was still in them. This is how Christ himself wanted to present and show for our instruction and comfort how his government should be done after his resurrection among his Christians: He does not want to reject or push away those who are weak believers or even the erring and those who do not understand or the hearts and consciences that are infirm, timid, and despondent. Rather, they are the ones in whom he wants to exercise and demonstrate the strength of his resurrection … He does that so that we would know and look to him in the comfort that we have such a Lord in him who can also bear and put up with our weakness; who does not want to push us away and damn us who cannot right away believe and live as we should – so long as we have such hearts that do not despise or deny Christ and his Word but who love and delight in him and who gladly would be strong and perfect in faith and life.

 

St. Louis ed., 11:665-667.

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