The Daily Office | February 23, 2018
Psalms 110, 111, 112, 113
Psalms 114, 115
Genesis 49:33-50 end
Collect: The First Sunday in Lent
Almighty God, whose blessed Son was led by the Spirit to be tempted by Satan: Come quickly to help us who are assaulted by many temptations, and, as you know the weaknesses of each of us, let each one find you mighty to save; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Collect: Ember Days
O God, you led your holy apostles to ordain ministers in every place: Grant that your Church, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, may choose suitable persons for the ministry of Word and Sacrament, and may uphold them in their work for the extension of your kingdom; through him who is the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls, Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Colossians 1:15 says that Jesus is “the image of the invisible God.” Verse 19 adds, “For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.” This passage is a declaration of the supremacy of Jesus. That is obvious in the context. But it also says something radical about the nature of God.
The Gospel reading for today features Jesus being stripped, mocked, spit upon, hanged for execution, and mocked again before breathing his “last” breath. The fullness of God was not just pleased to dwell in Jesus when he was a popular teacher before the cross or in his resurrection and ascension after the cross. The writers of our New Testament suggest over and over that Jesus’ descent to humiliation and execution is the defining moment in his existence as a human.
The victory of God is seen most clearly in the resurrection, but the character of God may be more clear in the crucifixion. We don’t get to see God himself in our daily lives, but Jesus is the image of the invisible God.
If we want to follow Jesus, we must be willing to have the same attitude of caring more about God’s kingdom and about other people than our own prosperity, comfort, or reputation. That was Jesus’ attitude.