Children of my generation can still hear the robot on Lost in Space cry out: "Danger, Will Robinson! Danger! No, Will Robinson! Danger!"
I pray that the Holy Spirit opens our ears to hear that cry in our readings for today.
In Matthew 12:15-37, Jesus warns the Pharisees about the sin against the Holy Spirit. The crowds saw Jesus cast out demons and their response was reverent awe. The Pharisees saw the same miracles and ridiculed Jesus. "It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.” The Pharisees knew better, but they ridiculed the work of the Holy Spirit.
By rejecting the work of the Holy Spirit, they were in danger of committing the unforgivable sin. It is unforgivable, not because of its magnitude, but because it closes the door to the only way that forgiveness can be found.
This warning against on-going, deliberate sin is also found in Numbers 15:27-31 and Hebrews 10:26-31. Hebrews 6:4-6 describes it as "crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace."
May we, who have experienced God's grace, never take that grace for granted. When we know something is a sin and want to continue in that sin, may we hear these Scriptures cry out. "DANGER! DANGER! DANGER!"
That warning is also sounded in our Old Testament reading (Genesis 41-42). The brothers knew their treatment of Joseph in Genesis 37 was sinful. Twenty years later, they travel to Egypt and still are haunted by their sinful actions. Danger! Danger! Danger! There are long-term consequences of sin in this life too.
In the midst of this warning, find comfort and hope as well!
- The brothers sinned by selling Joseph into Egypt, but in Genesis 41 we see the LORD's ability to bring good out of this horrible crime. Trust that our gracious God can overcome the ongoing consequences of our sin and bring blessings where we think none are possible.
- Matthew quotes the prophet Isaiah about Jesus' ministry. When we see how often we have been guilty of holding on to a sin and how weak our faith is, rejoice in the Savior's mercy toward weak believers like us:
A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out
till he has brought justice through to victory.
In his name the nations will put their hope.
In repentance, our defiant sins of the past become the last thing that we would want to do again. In repentance we find comfort that the Savior "pronounces justice to the nations." His just judgment is forgiveness because he took upon himself the guilt of our sin. He brought this justice, this just judgment of forgiveness purchased at the cost of his death on the cross... he has brought this justice to victory by rising victorious from the grave. In his name we put our hope!
Prayer: Lord Jesus, how often hasn't my conscience cried out, "Danger! Danger! Danger!" and yet I have been unwilling to give up a sin. I ask today, Lord Jesus, that you would turn me away from the danger. Send fellow Christians into my life who love me and will speak words of warning to me. Let your Spirit continue to work in my heart. I recognize that my faith is only a bruised reed and a smoldering wick. In the midst of this weakness, I put my hope only in you. Amen.