Kruiz edited
The Cross Leads to Him
Tuesday in Lent 4
28 March 2017
The persuasive power of the Word of God is the message of the cross of Christ. The Word is full of the testimonies of the reality of Christ's death and resurrection. In that sense the best witnesses to the cross and resurrection are those in the New Testament; for although Cyril of Jerusalem pointed to the nearby tomb and stone as he delivered his catechetical lectures in Jerusalem, he immediately directs his listeners to the details of the Gospels' message of the resurrected Lord, who was "seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world" (1Ti 3:16). Thomas puts his finger where we long to abide, in his doubt seeing and touching what we receive with our mouths at the table set with the Lord's body and blood.
 
The Apostles of Christ, whom Christ sent to teach and baptize, preached the life of the Lord in the world. And in a great miracle these twelve led the whole world into the confession of Christ. The religion of Christ triumphs through the cross that these men bore in their own bodies and proclaimed with their own mouths. Now in the fourth century Cyril could point to the conversion of whole peoples, the Lord bringing them out of death to life by the triumph of the cross. Those inured to slavery became slaves of Christ. Those noted for reckless living became fools for Christ giving up their lives for Him. Those habituated to drugs and the occult the Lord Christ brought out of the darkness into His marvelous light. Those whose lives were centered around domestic animals by making gods of pets were freed from obedience to that over which God had given man dominion (Gn 1:26). All this the cross worked as the sign of Christ's victory.
 
None of these victories were worked by force of arms or dusty tramp of blooded armies. The advance of the armies of the Lord is always preceded by the cross of Christ and is never followed by any sword other than the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. The white-robed martyrs come ready for battle armed only with Christ's cross and the Word that conveys it to them. Despite our weakness now, on the last day the cross will lead to endless exultation on our lips. We look forward to the return of the Lord who triumphed, led by the cross which has led us to Him.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

Cyril of Jerusalem
 
"The sepulcher where He was laid is nearby; and the stone which was laid on the door, which lies to this day by the tomb. The angels were then present. The women worshiped Him after His resurrection. Peter and John ran to the sepulcher. Thomas thrust his hand into His side and his fingers into the prints of the nails. For it was for our sake that Thomas so carefully handled Him. What you, who were not there, would have sought, Thomas, being present by God's providence, sought.
 
"The twelve Apostles are witnesses of the cross; and the whole earth, and the world of men who believe on Him who hung on it. Let your very presence here now persuade you of the power of the Crucified. For who brought you to this assembly? What soldiers? With what bonds were you constrained? What sentence held you fast here now? No, the trophy of salvation, the cross of Jesus brought you all together. This enslaved the Persians, tamed the Scythians; gave to the Egyptians, for cats and dogs and their manifold errors, the knowledge of God that to this day heals diseases, to this day drives away devils, and overthrows the juggleries of drugs and charms.
 
"This shall appear again with Jesus from heaven. For the trophy of the cross shall precede the King, that seeing Him whom they pierced (Zech 12:10), and knowing by the cross Him who was dishonored, the Jews may repent and mourn. The cross appears that we may glory, exulting in it, worshiping the Lord who was sent, and crucified for us, and worshiping also God His Father who sent Him with the Holy Spirit, to whom be glory forever. Amen." 

Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures, 13.39-41
1 Timothy 3:14-4:11

I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of truth. Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory. 
 
Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer. If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed.
 
Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe. Command and teach these things. (ESV)
Prayer
Lord Jesus Christ, lead us by Your cross and suffering that we might understand our own suffering only under the shadow of Your own. Amen.
 
For Carl and Gladys Ferm, who have moved into a retirement community, that the Lord be with them as they live out their days as obedient children redeemed by Christ
 
For all those struggling with addiction to drugs or alcohol, that they might be servants of Christ instead
 
For all those following Christ during this Lenten season, that God their Lord might enable them to watch with Him but one little hour
Art: GRÜNEWALD, Matthias   Isenheim Altarpiece (c. 1515)
Memorial Lutheran Church
smurray@mlchouston.org
http://www.mlchouston.org
©  Scott Murray 2017