January 12, 2013
... I saw the Lord always before me, for He is at my right hand that I may not be shaken; therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; my flesh also will live in hope. Acts 2:25b-26
Some events are so big, so wondrous, or so unthinkable that they shake the world.
People often talk about where they were when they heard of the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, the assassination of John Kennedy, when a man landed on the moon, or when New York's Twin Towers were brought down.
That was the way it was for the people of the fifth century when they received news that Rome had fallen.
Understand, Rome's sickness and weakness had been known for a long period of time. The symptoms of that great city's illness were numerous. No longer was there dignity in the home. Increasingly, taxes were designated for entertainment of the masses and maintenance of the bureaucratic social welfare system.
Individuals were involved in a mad chase after pleasures, which were becoming more brutal. The military was built up and financed to fight against enemies from across the border, while the real enemy -- the degradation and decadence of the people -- was ignored.
Of course, there was the decay of religion, which came when the faith of the fathers was forgotten and religion was transformed into formality. Nevertheless, Rome had survived so many previous attacks that when the end finally came, people were shocked.
They felt they were living in a land of darkness and under the shadow of death.
No doubt, many of the readers of this devotion have felt that way, too.
You don't have to spend hours searching to remember those personal events which have shaken your world. If such moments pop readily to mind, there is good news for you. There is comfort: the Savior has come.
Jesus, God's Son, our Redeemer is the Light who illuminates this dark and sinful world. His birth in Bethlehem, and His resurrection 33 years later, is the one, unchanging, irrevocable event that continues to give hope and happiness to a sin-darkened world.
His ongoing presence is the light which can put depression, despondency, death and damnation into a proper perspective. As Peter said in the first Pentecost sermon, "I saw the Lord always before me. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will live in hope."
It is a special thing, a great blessing when we Christians have that light in our hearts. It is a blessing which comes from Jesus Christ, the Babe of Bethlehem, the Christ of the cross, the Lord of the empty tomb.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, because of sinful hearts who live in a sinful world, evil comes. When it comes to me I pray the darkness may be dispelled by the light of my Lord Jesus. He has done all that is necessary to save me and shed light on the path of my days. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries