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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
The Large Catechism – part 59

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From the Word: And about the ninth hour, Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46)

From the ConfessionsThe Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments

The First Commandment

You shall have no other gods before me.

As terrible as these threats are, far more powerful is the consolation in the promise that those who cling to God alone may be confident that he will show them mercy. That is, he assures them of pure goodness and blessing, not only for themselves, but also for their children and their children’s children, down to the thousandth generation and beyond. If we desire every temporal and eternal good, we should be moved and driven to fix our hearts with all confidence in God, since the Supreme Majesty graciously offers such a companionable incentive, and so rich a promise.

Pulling It Together: It may seem, at first, that God’s offer is not so friendly, for we see readily enough in the commandment, the threat of his wrath if we disobey. And how can we not disobey? There are countless other things in which we put our trust, and these things, as we have learned, are idols. Nonetheless, God’s command—and with it, promise and motivation—is entirely gracious. Knowing that we are utterly incapable of keeping the First Commandment, let alone any others, he became us, bearing his own wrath on the cross. He became so thoroughly human that when Jesus cried out, “Why have you forsaken me?” he was speaking for us all. For in our sinful, broken humanness, we are forsaken, rejected by God. Yet through faith in God’s gracious gift of a Justifier, we are forgiven, reconciled, cherished, and loved.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord Jesus, for satisfying the commandments for me. Amen.

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