Old Testament Lesson Jeremiah 20:7-13
Second Lesson Romans 6:12-23
Gospel Lesson Matthew 10:5a, 22-33
Grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen. The text for our meditation this day is the Gospel lesson just read. [Matthew 10:5a, 22-33]
In Genesis, chapter two, God institutes marriage as a life-long commitment between one man and one woman. And, then he says this: Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
When I got married, I thought I understood what that meant, but it’s much deeper than a person can imagine on their wedding day. After almost forty-five years of marriage, I’m here to tell you, this ‘two shall become one’ stuff can be so true that it’s spooky.
I have a thought, and before I can express it, Patricia says exactly what I was about to say! She starts to speak, and if she pauses, I finish the sentence with the very words she was going to use! I make a suggestion … about changes to our property, or what I think would be a really great project for All School Art Day, or something as simple as what we ought to have for dinner tonight; and she looks at me as if to say, “Really? That’s exactly what I had in mind.”
It wasn’t always like this, but over the years, more and more the two have become one. In Ephesians chapter five, the Apostle Paul tells us what this relationship ought to look like. And in fact, he tells us the order, the plan that God has for our lives.
The Bride is to be willing to submit to her husband, be willing to find her place in the plan that God has put in motion for all of his creation and being satisfied in that position because the husband shows her the absolute, complete and perfect love he has for her.
Who wouldn’t want to follow a plan that positions them in the place where they’re lavished with total and ultimate love? Who wouldn’t want to show that love to his wife; especially because the two have become one and in that sense, loving your wife is loving yourself?
But, that isn’t the way marriage always goes, is it? Our sinful nature gets in the way. It tells us we should care more about ourselves than for our spouse. It builds dividing walls between us; walls made of doubt and mistrust; walls of resentment instead of forgiveness; walls that keep us apart, and separate; walls designed to divide and conquer, to return to a time when we were two incomplete beings, not one complete being.
This is what we devolve to in our sin. No joy, no enjoyment, no laughter; only disappointment, frustration, and sadness. A broken relationship, constantly in need of repair. A corrupted union that we’re doomed to inhabit in our sin.
But we’re not left alone in our sin. Our God does love us despite our sin. He loves us with an unconditional love; and he sent the perfect Bridegroom with that perfect, unconditional love, to rescue us from our own sinful flesh; so that we could be made one with his flesh.
You see, after St. Paul tells us what the relationship between a husband and wife should look like, he says this: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.”
God doesn’t give us the gift of marriage only as this beautiful state for a man and a woman to be in, but even more importantly, he gives it as a reflection of our relationship with him. In our relationship with Christ, the Holy Spirit draws us to repentance, and in repentance we leave our life of sin behind and cling to Christ, our Bridegroom, who willingly gave up his life to save us. Now in our marriage to Christ, we’ve become one with him.
We see it in our Baptism, as God places his Word in the water and the Holy Spirit unites himself with us and dwells in us. We see it every time we come to Holy Communion and receive the body and blood of the Bridegroom, uniting us with him as he builds up our faith.
It’s a beautiful picture and a beautiful proclamation of our life in Christ; but by now, you’re probably wondering what all of this has to do with the Gospel lesson today.
We have become one with Christ, and when people look at us they see Christ. Jesus said: “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household.”
We’ve become one with Christ, and just as they rejected Christ and persecuted Christ they’ll do the same to us when we proclaim Christ crucified. And yet we need not fear, for Christ is with us always. We are one flesh with him! Remember that Jesus said: “So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.”
Let your life proclaim Christ to all those around you. Reveal him to them, proclaim him from the rooftops. And don’t be afraid. The one who has married you loves you with a love so great he’ll give up his life rather than let any harm come to you.
He’s married you and he has a plan for you, for all his people. Listen to him and understand your place in the plan. He’ll show you. He’ll give you the abilities and the knowledge to fulfill your part in his plan; and his Holy Spirit will use those gifts to ensure you’re successful.
The Bridegroom himself will ensure that you’re equipped to acknowledge him before man, so that it may be said of you: So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven.
Those words of Jesus are the proclamation of our salvation. This is the promise of the Lord! How do we know it to be true? Because he’s placed the knowledge of our salvation in our hearts; knowledge that is shared with his Bride, the Church, you and me. Why? Because the two have become one flesh.
In Christ’s service,