The season of Lent is quickly coming to an end, and the Easter Season will soon begin. Amid all the special services connected with the historical events of Jesus’s death and resurrection, we might easily lose sight of why they occurred, namely, that Jesus’s death and resurrection were for you!
Everything Jesus did He did for you, as recounted by the Litany: His holy incarnation; His holy nativity; His baptism, fasting, and temptation; His agony and bloody sweat; His cross and passion; His precious death and burial; His glorious resurrection and ascension. They were all for you!
Of course, Jesus objectively did all those things for me, too, and for everyone else in the whole world: whoever has been, is now, and ever will be. But, unless we subjectively recognize our own sinfulness and trust God to forgive our sins for Jesus’s sake, then Jesus’s death and resurrection do not benefit us individually.
We might like to think wrongly that God’s law applies not to us but only to others. But then, to be perfectly consistent, we also would have to hold wrongly that His Gospel applies not to us but only to others.
When we receive God’s forgiveness in the ways that He gives for us to receive His forgiveness, then holding that His Gospel applies to us individually is not difficult. In Holy Baptism, water is poured on your head individually. After you privately confess your sins, your pastor speaks the words of Holy Absolution to you individually. And, in the Sacrament of the Altar you individually both eat the bread that is the Body of Christ given for you and drink the wine that is the Blood of Christ shed for you.
Especially in that Sacrament of the Altar, you are united with Christ and so also with all the faithful of every time and every place, including those who have gone before you and even now are alive with Christ. All the faithful so wait for the resurrection and glorification of the body assured to them because Jesus died and rose for all people, including you!
The Rev. Dr. Jayson S. Galler is Pastor of Pilgrim Lutheran Church in Kilgore. You can reach him through the congregation’s website: www.pilgrimlc.org.