Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV) - Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
Home alone. Do you remember those movies? I really liked them, especially Home Alone 1 and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. The movie was about this little boy who always seems to get left behind when the family goes on a vacation. The family always makes it to the destination and he somehow gets left behind, left to fend for himself on his own. But when you get right down to it, the point of the movies is that he's never alone. He always has the love of his family, even the resources of his dad and mom, resources that allow him to deal with whatever seems to come against him. Home alone, even then, no, he wasn't totally by himself.
Sometimes I think that we Christians forget that we are never alone. Sometimes we get this feeling that just because things aren't going the way we'd hope they would at the moment that somehow God has left us to our own devices. Sometimes it might come from the stark reality that we've gotten lost from Him, disconnected, even left Him, as if we could make it by ourselves. Today's lesson calls us to dismiss that erroneous notion completely. Even as human beings, seemingly on our own, the Bible teaches that even then, we live, move, and have our very being because we are created in the image of God. Our rebellion, our sin, our willingness to go our own way would be like our Home Alone character trying to buy food without His dad's credit cards, with only the money in his pocket (not much), to sleep in a house that he provides on His own terms, as if he could. Can you say, homeless alone, or to protect himself with only the wits and strength of a ten-year-old in New York City or Chicago. Yikes! If that were the case, the movies would have had a very different ending than they do. Thank God, he realized that through it all, in spite of his foolishness and childishness, he knew and was thankful for the love of his parents, their protection, their blessing.
Jesus gets even more personal with us today. However things go in this life, in fact, even when you might not have a father and a mother who give you the love and resources you might need, Jesus Himself calls you to the exciting adventure of living life with Him, living it as His people for others. He gives you forgiveness, life, salvation, faith, joy, peace, and even His love as blessings to be received and resources to share. Wow! And then He makes this incredible statement to those who believe in Him: He himself will be with us always. You are never, ever alone when you are His people. Get it! This isn't the mushy ending of a holiday movie. This is so much more. It is the reality that through it all, there is One who will never let you down, who will never leave you to your own devices, who will be there for you with His wisdom through the Bible, with His presence through the Word and Sacraments, with an empowering Holy Spirit that will encourage, comfort, and strengthen you to live boldly, now and forever. Home alone, no, never alone, and always at home with Jesus Christ who lived for me and you, lives with us, and even lives in us until He brings us home with Him face to face.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, there are times when I do feel all alone, by myself. Give me strength to look again to You through the gifts of Your Word and Sacraments so that I can not only deal with such things, but realize that when You are with me, I'm never ever on my own. And please open me up, even now, to see the possibilities of friendship and camaraderie all around me in Your Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
To Download Devotion MP3 to your computer, right click here and select "Save Link As" or "Save Target As" or "Download Linked File As"