Kruiz edited
Unworthy of God?
Friday in Lent 3
24 March 2017
Cyril of Jerusalem must have encountered naysayers while on his catechetical walks through the city of Jerusalem. As a Christian bishop he was required "to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it" ( Ti 1:9). He takes the opportunity afforded by theological hecklers to refute the idea that it is unworthy of God or even foolish on the face of it to say that the Lord God suffered and in that suffering to be placed in the power of sinful men. On the basis of human reason such an idea seems both unworthy of God and irrational. Human reason unaided by the Holy Spirit will never swallow the Lord's Word that we have a Christ who has been crucified for us, that He has taken in our corruptions, or that He took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows. While we sinful humans cannot swallow these ideas, Christ has swallowed, not mere ideas, but all our corruptions, our infirmities and our sorrows. Woe unto us miserable rebels because we, in our sin and weakness, are naysayers heckling not just the bishop, but the truth, and on the other hand, swallowing anything but the faithful Word of God.
 
Who made us judges of what is worthy of God? If God only did what is worthy of himself (or what we consider to be worthy of Him), He would not do what is beneficial for us. Perhaps we better not dictate to God what is worthy of Him and let Him tell us what He wants to do for us miserable rebels to save us from our rebellion. Arguments based on what we determine to be worthy of God aren't worth much; for ultimately we could argue that it is unworthy of God to even pay the slightest attention to us sinners, as is the case in deism, where God creates the world and leaves it fend for itself. There is no reason I can see why God should pay us any mind. The divine self-revelation ultimately becomes an unworthy act of God as it is in higher critical approaches to the Bible. Why should we expect God to reveal Himself in the prophets, in the Word, and in Christ?
 
Is it unworthy of God to be betrayed into the hands of sinful men? Is it unworthy for God to be nailed to the tree of the cross, suffer, die, and be buried? Is it unworthy of God to be laid in the tomb of a rich man in His death? No doubt all this is humiliating to Him in the extreme. But God chooses this; He chooses this for our benefit. God is not motivated in the least by our miserly ideas of worthiness but He is driven by a burning desire to save us. He thinks it worthwhile to give Himself up in our place to save us. No wonder the New Testament acclaims the Lamb of God worthy because He was slain (Rev 5:12). 

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

Cyril of Jerusalem
 
"Our opponents speaking against us say, 'Does the Lord then suffer? What? Had men's hands power over His sovereignty?' Read the Lamentations. For in those Lamentations, Jeremiah, lamenting you, wrote what is worthy of lamentations. He saw your destruction, he beheld your downfall, he bewailed Jerusalem which then was. For that 'which now is' ( Gal 4:25) shall not be bewailed; for that Jerusalem crucified the Christ, but that which now is worships Him. Lamenting then he says, 'The breath of our countenance, Christ the Lord was taken in our corruptions' ( Gal 4:25). Am I then stating views of my own? Behold he testifies of the Lord Christ seized by men. And what is to follow from this? Tell me, O prophet. He says, 'Under His shadow we shall live among the nations' ( Lm 4:20). For he indicates that the grace of life is no longer to dwell in Israel, but among the nations.
 
"But since there has been much gainsaying by our opponents, come, let me, with the help of your prayers, (as the shortness of the time may allow,) set forth by the grace of the Lord a few testimonies concerning the passion. For the things concerning Christ are all put into writing, and nothing is doubtful, for nothing is without a text. All are inscribed on the monuments of the prophets; clearly written, not on tablets of stone, but by the Holy Spirit. Since then you hast heard the Gospel speaking concerning Judas, should you not receive the testimony to it? You have heard that He was pierced in the side by a spear; should you not see whether this also is written? You have heard that He was crucified in a garden; should you not see whether this also is written? You have heard that He was sold for thirty pieces of silver; should you not learn what prophet spoke this? You have heard that He was given vinegar to drink; learn where this also is written. You have heard that His body was laid in a rock, and that a stone was set over it; should you not receive this testimony also from the prophet? You have heard that He was crucified with robbers; should you not see whether this also is written? You have heard that He was buried; should you not see whether the circumstances of His burial are anywhere accurately written? You have heard that He rose again; should you not see whether we mock you in teaching these things? For 'my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom' ( 1Co 2:4). We stir now no clever-sounding plots; for these become exposed. We do not conquer words with words, for these come to an end. But 'we preach Christ crucified' ( 1Co 1:23), who has already been preached in advance by the prophets. I pray that you receive the testimonies, and seal them in your heart.
 
"Since they are many, and the rest of our time is narrowed into a short space, listen now to a few of the more important as time permits; and having received these beginnings, be diligent and seek out the remainder. Let not your hand be only stretched out to receive, but let it be also ready to work. God gives all things freely. 'For if any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God who gives' ( Jm 1:5), and he shall receive. May He through your prayer grant utterance to us who speak, and faith to you who hear."

Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures, 13.7-8
Revelation 5:6-14

Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. He came and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song: "You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth."
 
Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they sang: "Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!" Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: "To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!" The four living creatures said, "Amen," and the elders fell down and worshiped.
(ESV)
Prayer
Worthy are You, O Christ, because you have been slain to take away the sins of the world. We are unworthy that You should be our sacrificial Lamb to atone for us. Rescue us from being held captive to human reason so that we might confess You as the Lamb of God who was slain for us. Amen.
 
For Kirstyn Harvey and all who suffer, that they would cast their cares on Christ, the Lord of life
 
For Christians who are being persecuted by so-called church authorities who are enemies of the gospel and are enforcing politically correct manias in place of the gospel of Christ, that God the Lord would keep these persecuted Christians steadfast in His Word

For all marriages that God the Lord would continue to grant peace and forgiveness in the marital estate, that husbands and wives would live in harmony
Art: GRÜNEWALD, Matthias   Isenheim Altarpiece (c. 1515)
Memorial Lutheran Church
smurray@mlchouston.org
http://www.mlchouston.org
©  Scott Murray 2017