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Twenty-first Sunday after Trinity (1891)

John 4:47-54 The first sign Jesus did was at a wedding; He revealed His glory to would-be married couples and their guests. Even with the second miracle that the Lord performed, He has revealed Himself to married couples as a helpful Savior, people, who had already lived in a married state for a while and now had to experience the dear domestic cross. For today we deal with The Domestic Cross of Pious Spouses. We consider 1. what this is; a. We Christians are not all equal in earthly things. One is higher, nobler, the other lower class. The father in the Gospel was a king, from a king's house or in a king's service 1; under him were his servants2, slaves who also, because they were believers, remained in their slave class. Thus there are Christians among the rich and poor, preachers, teachers, peasants, artisans, merchants, day laborers. And each state has its burden and nuisance. From this arises also many domestic cross. How much trouble arises from many a parsonage, that a faithful preacher must experience in his office! What misery crop failures can bring on the family of the farmer! How much misery unemployment brings in its wake for the house of artisans and day laborers! How serious calamities can fill the house of the trader with woes! And how many crosses arise in the Christian home precisely because the house father is a Christian and wants to preserve a good conscience, especially in our time! b. in addition, there are particular crosses. It is the child of the king, which is why he lives in anguish. Sickness, severe sickness has broken into his house. And today, how many Christian father's and mother's hearts squeezes out sighs upon sighs a son or daughter, whether by things that the world feels as shameful and miserable, whether by behavior over which the world does not grieve, however, these things, such as illness and death of the poor soul, waste for the world, or for false doctrine, etc., want to break the heart of Christian parents. Even Christian houses were not spared from physical illness either. Yes, there is not only terminal illness in Christian homes, but also the dying and the dead; and that is also great sorrow for Christians; c. the cross of the king is thus made more difficult, in that he lacks faith. His faith and the faith of his own was so weak, that they wanted to see signs and wonders before they were able to grasp in the cross a quite confident heart.3 So it is in many cases even with Christians. Instead of rejoicing in the Lord always, to be joyful in hope, to wait on the Lord confidently in time of need, they are depressed and despondent and
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John 4:47. John 4:51. 3 John 4:47-48, 53.

virtually want to pass away under the load of the cross. And the king is impatient; because the Lord, instead of coming immediately and to help in the way that the king wants, instead hesitates and reproaches, the request sounds like a reproach, "Lord, come down before my child dies."4 Thus we find Christians easily impatient in crosses, surly, opinionated, and the harder we bear it, if God does not now go our way with us, but His way. Yes, married people, who should encourage one another to patience and submission to God, can probably still embitter the hearts of one another in lack of faith and impatience. Thus this cross is the most difficult. We have now seen what pious married people's domestic cross is, so let us still consider. 2. What blessed fruit shall grow out of it. a. The cross-bearers should be kept thereby humbled or in humility. That even a king and a king's spouse must bear the yoke of the cross5 can serve for this purpose, that they are not presumptuous, not over others, not over God; that they recognize their powerlessness6, the poverty of their heart, the weakness of their faith.7 For this purpose rich, aristocratic married people, houses of the scholarly, the skillful, are afflicted with crosses before other diligent housefathers; and even the poor and the simple-minded still have an arrogant natural heart and require, that they are humiliated in the cross, that they may be grateful for this, what they have by God's gentle goodness, they learn to remember God's way and submit themselves to it, they also notice how much of the inner man still lacks in them; b. they should find occasion to seek God's help in need, where to find it, in heartfelt prayer8, to practice an art form in which one far too easily forgets a good day. And for this purpose God probably also allows His assistance to wait a while, so that they learn persistence in prayer.9 Thus the Christian house will be a college, in which the right master of this high art is educated. Blessed is the man who uses it faithfully! c. they should learn in temptation to remember His Word, like the king10, grow in the knowledge of the Truth, in reliance upon God's promise.11 Therefore the study of God's Word should not be stopped in a Christian home in days of sorrow; but also so that, because such an omission still often happens in times of need, God's Word should dwell richly in Christian homes in good, calm days, so that the heart grasps in itself what it can remember in the storms of the cross;

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John 4:49. John 4:47, 53. 6 John 4:47, 49. 7 John 4:48. 8 John 4:47. 9 John 4:49. 10 John 4:50, 52. 11 John 4:50, 53.

d. they should be delighted through experience of help and deliverance12; there are also other such "signs" that He does to His own, they should be attentive to God's way and also give glory to God and hear and embrace the Word that makes men saved here and there. A.G.


John 4:51.