Peace Lutheran Church Sussex, Wisconsin

Congregation at Prayer: August 13, 2023

The Catechism: The Creed—The Third Article

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Catechesis Notes for the Week — The Final Challenges to Jesus’ Ministry and the Signs of the End — Should we honor and obey the government, or should we honor and obey Christ? The answer is YES to both! When Jesus says, Render to Caesar the Things that Are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s, He teaches us the sublime doctrine of how God rules and governs in two kingdoms. In the secular kingdom, represented by Caesar, God rules through the force of Law to protect the innocent, maintain order in society, and to punish law-breakers. God stands behind the authority of all civil rulers and they are to be honored because of this, but their authority stops at what God’s Word allows. Civil authorities have no right to bind our conscience or to demand something of us that is against God’s Word and our faith in Christ. In the spiritual kingdom, God governs the heart by faith through the ministry of the Lord’s Word and Sacraments. Here the Gospel reigns supreme and the heart is not governed by the coercion of the Law, but by faith in Christ created by the Gospel. In Questions About the Resurrection, the Sadducees, who do not believe in the resurrection or in life after death, challenge Jesus with a snarky question about a woman who had multiple husbands saying, “in the resurrection whose wife will she be?” Here Jesus reprimands them by clarifying that marriage does not exist in the resurrection as we know it today, but rather we will all worship the Lord in the life to come as the angels of heaven do so now. In the Greatest Commandment, Jesus teaches us that the foundation of the Ten Commandments rests upon love for God above all things and love for the neighbor as oneself. When Jesus speaks Woe to the Scribes and Pharisees, He upbraids them for what is the greatest sin of all, namely, to reject the mercy of God in the Gospel of Christ in the self-righteousness of impenitence. In Jesus Predicts the Signs of the End, He weeps over the impenitence of Jerusalem for rejecting Him and He foretells both the destruction of the Temple as God’s judgment for unbelief and the rise of false prophets and lawlessness as His Second Coming approaches. “This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.”CP230813