Following God Today
I take seriously the responsibility I have been given to proclaim God’s Word and to administer the Sacraments. God knows our need. He desires to be gracious to us, and so He gives us precisely what we need - we need resurrection and life. The means of grace are the instruments which the Holy Spirit uses to deliver to us the forgiveness of sins and to create and strengthen faith in Jesus Christ. The work of Christ on the cross becomes the work of our salvation in our individual lives through these means of grace.
Following Jesus is Not a Metaphor
When I encourage people to participate in the worship of Our Shepherd Lutheran Church, I invite them to be present with God. God can choose to act in any way He desires, but we don’t have to play a game of scavenger hunt and try to figure out where He will be next. He has promised to work through the means of grace. It is time for the people who follow Jesus in this congregation to be present where God has promised to be present. The Sacraments are established by God. Through the Word of God that is delivered to us in Baptism and the Lord’s Supper we are connected to God’s gracious promises.
Isaiah told the people, “See the LORD while he may be found’ call upon him while he is near” (Isaiah 55:6). Jesus said to the first disciples, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). Sometimes we may think the call to follow Jesus is a metaphor for our spiritual journey. We follow Jesus by trusting Him in our heart to be our salvation, and we no longer follow after the false gods of our own choosing. Jesus was not calling those men to a metaphor. They left their nets and they followed Jesus. They showed up where Jesus showed up. They followed Jesus as he traveled from Galilee down to Jerusalem. Through the strength of the spirit they followed him. Today we still need to do more than follow a metaphor. He calls us to be present with Him where He has promised to be in this world. Be in the Word of God. Be in the waters of Baptism. Be with Him at the table. When John the Baptist was imprisoned and sent his messengers to Jesus, saying, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” Jesus told them to tell John what they have seen and heard. Jesus pointed these men to His ministry among the blind, the lame, lepers, deaf, dead, and poor. If we are going to follow Jesus, then we go where He pointed John’s messengers to look for Him.