SIXTH SUNDAY IN LENT – PALMARUM
LESSON: MATTHEW 13:45-46
“If anyone keeps my word.” John 8:51
It is quite clear from the context in which these words stand what Jesus means here by “keeping” His Word. He does not mean “keeping” in the sense that “keep” has when one speaks about “keeping” the Law. One “keeps” the Law by means of works. When Christ speaks here of “keeping” His Word, He means “keeping” it in one’s heart by faith, not keeping it with the fist or with works.
This is the wrong idea that the Jews have when they rage in such a horrible fashion against Christ and say to Him, “Now we know that you have a demon. Abraham died, as did the prophets; and you say, ‘If anyone keeps my word, he will never taste death’” (John 8:52). They do not know what “keep,” “dying,” and “living” mean in this context.
It is not without good reason that Jesus employs the word “keep” here, because keeping His Word involves a struggle and a battle, for sin bites, death exerts its presence, and hell threatens. Under such conditions we must “keep” Christ’s Word, cling to it firmly, and not let ourselves be parted from it.
Note how Christ replies to the Jews in praise of His doctrine. “You claim,” He says, “that my Word is from the devil and you want to suppress it even beneath hell. But I say that it has divine power within it and exalt it above all the heavens and all creatures.”
SL 11:570 (9)
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, You have clearly shown us in our Gospel that Your teaching is the most precious thing we can ever learn in our earthly lives. Grant us Your grace to appreciate this fact at all times so that we keep Your Word, for Your truth’s sake. Amen.