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In the Treasury this morning, the Old Testament lesson is from Exodus 4, the account of God sending Moses to Egypt to lead the Israelites out of captivity. Moses doubted his ability to be this voice for God, and to comfort him, God said, "You shall speak to him (Aaron) and put the words in his mouth, and I will be with your mouth and with his mouth and will teach you both what to do." (Exodus 4:15). Moses and Aaron would not come up with the words to say to Pharaoh and others. No. God would put words in their mouths. God would speak through Moses and Aaron. God didn't tell Moses that he had a lot of good ideas and that Aaron was an awesome organizer. No. God did not correct Moses' weakness, but covered it instead in His mercy. God said that He would speak and use Moses and Aaron as His instruments to deliver His people out of bondage.
God continues to do this today through the office of the Ministry. When your pastor absolves you your sins, he doesn't do so by his own authority, or based on his righteousness and pious character. No. He says, "In the stead and by the command of my Lord, Jesus Christ, I forgive you all your sins." He absolves you because Jesus tells him to. He absolves you in the stead of, in the place of Jesus, so that when the pastor speaks the Law and the Gospel to you, it is Jesus Himself speaking these words to reveal your sin and forgive you all your failures. The pastor, like Moses, is sent to you to deliver you from Bondage, and he does this in the stead of God. It is not the pastor that delivers you by means of personality traits or oratory skills. No. God delivers you from your bondage to sin, death, world, and the devil as He preaches to you the Good News of the Cross through the mouth of your pastor and hands you the gifts of the cross by means of your pastors hands in the distribution of the sacraments. Just as God worked to deliver the Isrealites from their captivity in Egypt, so the same God continues to rescue you from your bondage to sin and the devil today. Be at peace. It's your pastor's vocation to be God's instrument to deliver you from bondage and despair, and guess what? He loves doing it.
Peace be with you. May the devil be silenced, the world be hushed, and the Old Adam be drowned anew so that you hear only the peaceful voice of your Savior Jesus who says, "I love you. I forgive you. I claim you as My own forever," Amen.