1 Corinthians 1:26-31: Christ Jesus Stands, Forever Faithful and True

The fallen world and its coursings confirm this current creation is never far from self-destruction. Disasters push upheaval into our lives. The earth shakes, the heavens rumble, creatures cry, and rivers swell. The wind of change blows a chill.

Sturdy trees bend and twist, mere twigs against the storm’s power. Hurricane winds rampage through a city with no respite, leaving untold wreckage. Too many homes gone, absent wood beams and undergirding, non-existent from the twister’s wrath.

Smoke churns and swirls in the sky as burning firestorms engulf primeval woodlands. Hot flames devour with passion: a thousand-year-old forest reduced to ruin. Such is our fall into sin, engulfing this world in such misery.

So Christ descended from the heavens amid our chaos and distress. Downward, He came to release us from our woes and fears, calming the fiercest storms in Galilee to show this. Through His grace, we are secure, helpless and lost no more.

What else do we experience in this fallen creation? Illnesses strong-arm their changes, marring our lives with infirmity and sorrow. Life itself turns fleeting, enveloping too many in its eerie swell.

The claws of cancer strike, a hostile rebellion inside our bodies, attacking both the robust and weak. Without a sound, its ruthlessness pounces on the fit and frail alike. No matter one’s sturdiness or stature, its wrath is far-reaching, stalking every corner of existence, with no one too distant from its cruel grasp.

A myriad of sicknesses, dreaded and strong, steal the life of many too young. Multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, and cystic fibrosis strip someone’s strength away, dashing dreams and hopes astray. Limbs, once moved, now fail, oppressed by disease. Darkness looms as life loses, but we do not soon forget the toll and cost.

Undone by what we wrought, Christ came in the stillness of a Bethlehem night. The light of hope arrived on Earth, His presence giving solace to the broken and weary. From town to village, He went, healing the sick, restoring others, and showing forth His divine rule and reign. Such power He displayed over life and death in His capacity to restore health, granting us a glimpse into eternity.

Decay permeates our world as time passes, and we yet endure. Our Jesus warned us of moths and rust, which can erode and steal. Our protective paints we deploy, our mothballs and cedar chests, striving to preserve our goods. These slow the onslaught, though never stopping the destruction.

Oh, but Christ stands forever, faithful and true, who changes not, whose saving work will carry us home. Does He not join You to Himself, to live with Him in His abode of eternity? Not this corrupting world; no, a recreated heaven and earth with never-ending life in Jesus.

Ponder our lives, a journey we make, transforming and shifting as we go. What we are now isn’t what we were, as aging and decades coerce their changes. In adolescence, the crescendo of life erupts as we take our tentative steps into adulthood. Dreams and ambitions focus as our naivety ebbs away and the future strides forth. The shadows of childhood fade, replaced with a newfound sense of self.

Mysterious, pulsing life awaits the adolescent boy as he gazes upon a landscape of possibility and purpose. Now, girls aren’t icky. Lights dance in the night as he learns to drive and takes the wheel. No mere onlooker, life beckons him forward. So our days did thrum for those maturing men of my generation.

The Lord Jesus grew up in our world, dying a young man, still in His prime. Among humanity, only He stirred with a pure soul and an innocent heart. Such grace, to take our sins into Himself, His death, granting us the gift of eternal forgiveness. God’s only Son, His life now forever entwined in ours, bestowing everlasting freedom, love, and light.

In childhood’s sparkle, we dreamed of a life beyond, of advancing and desiring to be older. Whenever time marches on, leaving its stain too indelible, we yearn for a swallow of our younger years. Youthful zest yet looms in our minds, precious experiences remaining part of our fabric and being.

The era we once enjoyed dims and fades, denoted by the change in our calendars. Gone are the daydreams of marrying a dashing doctor. Today, you visit one every few weeks for other reasons. Weekend trips to the beach for revelry are history, replaced by seeking moments of solace in our homes. The rebound of raucous laughter echoing into the night now mutes, still as the humid summer air, silent as the distant stars.

Oh, we joke around, claiming we prefer aging to the alternative, trying to laugh away our fear of growing old. Is this to shield us from the undeniable truth our withering years will unfold? Of course, we know that death shall one day come. The beating of our hearts reminds us we are both alive and mortal. Astride on eternity’s precipice, we want our lives to end well-lived and spent.

The difference is what the Gospel brings, for God takes what we often disregard and uses them to further His works. “God chose what the world considers insignificant and despised, regarded as nothing, to destroy what is something so no one may boast before God” (1 Corinthians 1:28-29). God grasps our brokenness and crafts a masterpiece, since nobody is beyond redemption. Heavenly grace shines upon the overlooked and set aside. In Christ Jesus, God grants us a new purpose, surpassing this temporal life into eternal ages.

The world disregarded the Corinthians, considered of no accomplishment. Nothing impressive stood out in their education, social standing, or influence. No matter, the Lord plucked them from obscurity to be His own. Against the cultural conventions of their day, God chose them—as He does for us.

Here’s what’s astonishing: God spots our every fault and failure, making us undeserving in His eyes. So, we’re far from desirable, as God counts desirability. Yet, here we are as His people.

In Corinth, rifts arose, and factions formed. Abuse of grace, of sacraments for sensual pleasures, not divine. Adultery became too commonplace, false doctrines spilling from their mouths and minds. The Spirit’s gifts misused and profaned as they tottered, nearly forgetting their God and losing their way.

Let’s glimpse into ourselves and discover what we behold. Do fractures exist among us? Are we neglectful of the Sacrament, staying away from Church, bothering little to receive the goodness God gives? Do we trade in the Lord’s mercy for gain in this world, or do we stay planted on holy ground?

No wonder God took matters into His hands. In grace, He walked a path of agony and shame toward His destination—the cross. Nails pierced Him, forfeiting His life for ours. He humbled Himself to take on human form in perfect love and peace, submitting Himself to our mortality. On His shoulders, Jesus bore the heft of our sins, bearing the weight of our transgressions.

Being God and man, Jesus endured the pain to redeem and restore, more immense than we can measure or comprehend. The sinless Son devoted Himself to His task of dying for every wrong ever committed as He descended into our darkness, full of guilt. Divine blood poured forth so we might gain endless life. Each time we partake of Jesus in His Supper, His sacrifice of long ago still echoes, as we proclaim His death until He returns.

You and I, the ones lost in sin, the lowly and despised, receive Jesus’ reprieve. By His Word and declaration, we wallow in condemnation no more. Declared not guilty, this now becomes our way of perceiving ourselves and this world. His heavenly wisdom brings us clarity, enabling us to view another as someone we should forgive. Such is His grace, which changes how we act and regard ourselves.

Don’t mistake another’s greatness as the measure of your life. Reducing life into a simple comparison misdirects your focus, where you lose sight of the truth as you value others’ opinions more. This breeds hypocrisy, favoring façade and false appearances over actual reality.

The Lord’s selfless sacrifice for us is beyond compare. So, if we view ourselves through the lens of His cross, His single act redefines and renews our lives. How? We recognize Christ releases us from the stranglehold of our sin as we live free from the shackles of our guilt. Your Lord Jesus calls this forgiveness.

Our Jesus does more, rescuing you and me from the harshest storms of uncertainty. The oppressive worries plaguing us as we near death need not be. In our Savior, we can foresee a glorious future. This He hails as eternal life.

Between now and then, we strive each day, taking up arms against the darkness. So we do not succumb to fear or surrender our strength in this fight. Remember, the Spirit joined those baptized into Christ’s death and resurrection! United with Him, we will never become lost in the night.

The magnificence of Jesus unfurls in our lives. Gracious is His forgiving hand healing those wounds within our hearts. The warmth of His shepherding love is present in our joys and sorrows, bringing us through life’s pleasures and difficulties. So, whatever elegance, gifts, or the many ways we bless others are nothing other than the graces of Christ Himself.

What a change our Savior makes, becoming a beacon of hope to us. At night, His grace illuminates our paths, His mercy guiding us past the darkness. In our weakest hour, He is our Strength, as His benevolence lights our way forever home. Amen.

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