SIMILAR SOUNDS SHOW STRANGE SOLUTION
Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost
Analysis by Mark Marius
18It was the LORD who made it known to me, and I knew;
then you showed me their evil deeds.
19But I was like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter.
And I did not know it was against me
that they devised schemes, saying,
“Let us destroy the tree with its fruit, let us cut him off from the land of the living,
so that his name will no longer be remembered!”
20But you, O LORD of hosts, who judge righteously,
who try the heart and the mind,
let me see your retribution upon them,
for to you I have committed my cause.
DIAGNOSIS: Reality Revealed
Step 1: Initial Diagnosis (External Problem) : Going against God’s Gospel
Doing dirty deeds defies the Divine. Disobedience gets discovered and is denounced.
Step 2: Advanced Diagnosis (Internal Problem) : Covering up Our Culpability
Getting caught calls for creating a course of action culminating in cutting down our accuser, chancing our corrupt actions can no longer be recalled.
Step 3: Final Diagnosis (Eternal Problem) : The Lord Remembers Everything.
The Lord justifiably judges judiciously. Justice will be adjudicated. Payment is prescribed for all penalties. Plan to perish.
PROGNOSIS: Leaving it to the Lord
Step 4: Initial Prognosis (Eternal Solution) : Jesus Frees Us!—Christ’s Conviction
God does take up our cause. And his scheme is far more outrageous than our evil plans. He willingly becomes the one who is cut down on our behalf in the person of Jesus. His death, though, bears much fruit while his name is not forgotten. Instead, our evil deeds end up being what is forgotten.
Step 5: Advanced Prognosis:(Internal Solution) : About Face with Grace—Retribution Reversal
Our hearts and minds are now renewed. We are grafted into the life-giving tree of Christ through our baptism. God’s forgiveness of sins and body and blood keep us growing and producing fruit.
Step 6: Final Prognosis: (External Solution) : Now We Know, Now We Show—Giving God’s Gospel Gratuitously
Now we make known what the Lord has shown us; his love for evil doers, just as we were and still are. We get to show them God’s retribution, which is the atoning work of Christ. And we require nothing from them but rather entrust them all to Christ.