The Cross Lies Only on the Flesh and the Old Adam

Easter 5 Tuesday

John 14:2-3

“In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, I would tell you: I go to prepare the place for you. And if go to prepare the place for you, I will return and take you to myself, so that you are where I am.”

 

Christians are those who recognize the Lord Christ as God’s Son who was crucified and died in order to open for us the gate to eternal life by his death. They are the ones who enjoy this preparation and they comfort themselves by it in all adversity. For they think: “It does not harm me that I am poor and miserable on earth. I have no room here on earth; Christ did not prepare a place for me here. I must hang in there for a short while, like in a bad hotel where you only stay for one night. When I come home, in the true fatherland, then it will be better. For this temporal life is too insignificant for Christ to have suffered for the sake of such life. The eternal life is at stake, so that death may not harm me forever, so that sin may not damn me, and so that I may live with my Lord Christ Jesus forever.” These are the kind of thoughts that make light of all misfortune we suffer here on earth. They are the ones that preserve the heart so that it does not become frightened. For what is it about Lazarus, a poor, miserable man, full of boils and wounds, who did not have enough dry bread to eat? Is it not true that he is richly delighted by the fact that he is and lives with God forever and that he does not wish that it would have gone better for him on earth? Especially because there must be the concern that, as Abraham says, those who receive good things in his life, must be tortured there? Similarly, it seems like a miserable deal that, when Christ sends out his apostle into the whole world to preach the gospel, the world treats them so badly, chasing them from one city to the other, not allowing them to rest anywhere, but additionally plaguing them in all kinds of ways. But this matters little to them, and they, moreover, are also joyful and of good cheer that, as it says in Acts 5:41, they are worthy to endure shame for the name of Jesus. In this way, the cross lies only on the flesh and the old Adam, but does not touch the heart in the least. Now, where does this come from? It only comes from the fact that they had firmly grafted into their hearts the comfort of which Christ here speaks: If the world does not want to put up with them, chase them, and inflict all sorts of pain on them, they know of a different and better dwelling that has certainly been prepared for them by their Lord Christ by his death. Now, since such room cannot and shall not fail them, they are at peace, no matter how they fare in the world as in an unreliable, noisy hotel. For they do not intend to remain in it any longer and would gladly put up with departing this world soon and arriving at their place of safety and in their true home and fatherland. We are to learn such comfort. For if we want to be Christians, if we, in particular, want to teach, retain, and confess God’s Word, there will be no shortage of affliction and adversity. Those who do not want to have peace in this life and also do not want to take comfort in such future and eternal rooms sit between two chairs; it is impossible that they could be at peace. But what will set our hearts at peace is when we see where our Lord went and what he accomplished by such going, namely, that he prepared a room for us and does not want to leave us forever in the evil, faithless world. He wants to come and get us so that, where he is, we will also are and remain. Those who do not long for such joy and do not want to comfort themselves thereby in all kinds of adversity and affliction cannot be given advice or help.

 

St. Louis ed., 13.1: 1131-1133.

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