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I am with you

June 30, 2013
Pastor Boyce - St. John’s Lutheran Church, Reinbeck , Reinbeck Courier

"You shall not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain."

"We should fear and love God so that we do not curse, swear, use satanic arts, lie,

or deceive by His name, but call upon it in every trouble, pray, praise, and give thanks." (Luther's Small Catechism)

Before God sent Moses to face Pharaoh as prophet, Moses did not know the name of God. Moses asked, "Who shall I say sent me?" God answered "Tell them, I AM sent you."

The name of God in the Old Testament is YHWH, which means "I am," or "I exist," or more fully "I am with you." That name is holy.

The names of the false gods are very different. The name "Baal", for instance, means "slave-master." He is the god who works by levels of obedience. His name is not holy.

Unlike the false gods, the name of our God is one that brings peace wherever we go. The name that God has placed upon us in Holy Baptism goes with us. He is the "I am with you" God. Therefore, He descends to our world to free us from that which we could not escape on our own. Echoing the name of the Father, Jesus would be called "Immanuel," that is "God with us." He is the God who is still with you today in the Gospel and in the Sacraments.

Those who are baptized carry Jesus with them wherever they go (Galatians 2:20). The Savior cannot abandon the baptized any more than He can abandon His own name. Where His name goes, He goes. Where the people marked by His name go, He goes. When He ascended into heaven, He literally declared to His people, "I - with-you - AM, always". He holds us within His name. Therefore, God's name is kept holy?when we are kept in His forgiveness, when we are in His presence and when we receive from Him gifts that bring to us eternal life. Conversely, His name is profaned (disrespected) especially when we, who are baptized, despise Him and His gifts.

The name "Jesus" means, "He saves." Therefore, the name of God has never been more glorified than on the occasion when Jesus defeated sin in His dying on the cross. In His living among sinners, in His saving death among sinners, and in His burial among the dead, the name of the "with you" God is truly glorified.

For this reason, we bring our sins to the place where Jesus has made Himself to be with us. His name is holy in us. We call upon His name. We pray, we praise, and we give thanks to God. In Christ, the Second Commandment is kept.

 
 

 

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