Sunday, May 30, 2010

Trinity Sunday: A Devotional Commentary

Isaiah 6:1-7 In the year that king Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up; and his train filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each one had six wings. With two he covered his face. With two he covered his feet. With two he flew. One called to another, and said, “Holy, holy, holy, is Yahweh of Armies! The whole earth is full of his glory!” The foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. Then I said, “Woe is me! For I am undone, because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for my eyes have seen the King, Yahweh of Armies!” Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar. He touched my mouth with it, and said, “Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away, and your sin forgiven.”

Romans 11:33-36 Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past tracing out! “For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor? Or who has first given to him, and it will be repaid to him again?” For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things. To him be the glory for ever! Amen.

John 3:1-15 Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. The same came to him by night, and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do, unless God is with him.” Jesus answered him, “Most certainly, I tell you, unless one is born anew, he can’t see the Kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?” Jesus answered, “Most certainly I tell you, unless one is born of water and spirit, he can’t enter into the Kingdom of God! That which is born of the flesh is flesh. That which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Don’t marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born anew.’ The wind blows where it wants to, and you hear its sound, but don’t know where it comes from and where it is going. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Nicodemus answered him, “How can these things be?” Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and don’t understand these things? Most certainly I tell you, we speak that which we know, and testify of that which we have seen, and you don’t receive our witness. If I told you earthly things and you don’t believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven, but he who descended out of heaven, the Son of Man, who is in heaven. As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

Unlike the gods of our imagination that end up being little more than bigger versions of ourselves, the true God can only be known through what He has revealed to us. Our sinful minds could never conceive of the true God, because the true God is Holy, Holy, Holy. Our sinful minds are too occupied with the unholy trinity of me, myself, and I. We could not stand in God's presence and live. We cannot get inside God's head. We are so sinful that we have no idea how sinful we are.

God owes us absolutely nothing but eternal wrath and damnation. But in His unsearchable judgment He determined to send His only-begotten Son to die for us. Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness and healed those who had been bit by the serpent. Christ became sin and was lifted up on the cross so that all who look to Him might be healed from their sins. If you insist on looking to yourself, you will die from the poison of your own good works. As attractive as your own good works may look to you, they will kill you. The poison of our good works cause us to live a life full of hallucinations and delusions. We become utterly convinced that we are alive and that God is pleased with us because of all the good that we do. Why would anyone need to die for us?

Only through the work of the Holy Spirit can we come to see how bad we really are. We are not in need of a moral improvement plan. We are in need of resurrection. We are in need of rebirth. The Holy Spirit works throught God's Word in the waters of Holy Baptism to regenerate us. Through the work of the Holy Spirit we catch a small glimpse of how holy God really is. We see how unclean we really are. Through the work of the Holy Spirit we believe the words of Christ. Through the work of the Holy Spirit we believe that Jesus was fully God and fully man. He did not cease to be God while on this earth. Although we cannot understand why, through the Holy Spirit we believe that God died for us. We see through the eyes of faith given through the Holy Spirit that God reigned by hanging dead on a cross for us. The reign of God was not demonstrated in any way that anyone would have expected. Jesus did not conquer the Romans. God was crucified by the Romans. God was crucified by the state. God was crucified by the church. In the crucifixion do we see how God reigns and is lifted up.

Only through the work of the Holy Spirit can we know the Holy Trinity. Only through the Holy Spirit can we believe that God is one and God is three and there is no contradiction in these statements. The Trinity is holy, holy, holy and loves unholy creatures like us. We are baptized into the singular name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Through baptism we are united to the Trinity. The Trinity now owns us. The Trinity has marked us. In baptism we are marked with the cross--the ultimate and incomprehensible expression of God's love for us. The Trinity is impossible to explain. By faith we confess what Scripture says. God's love is impossible to explain. By faith we believe what Scripture says.

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