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Pastor’s Corner

April 22, 2013
Phillip Hannemann St. Paul Lutheran , Pierce County Tribune

"Sir, we would see Jesus." That phrase is imbedded in the pulpit of St. John Lutheran Church, Seward, Nebraska. The quote comes from John 21:21, where some Greeks spoke this request to the disciple Philip. The phrase in the pulpit is positioned so that the pastor can see it. It reminds him why he is a pastor. His ministry ultimately has one task-to show people Jesus.

And it's a special task. More than a job, the pastor has the Lord's mission imperative. Paul spoke it to pastors in Acts 20:28, "Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood" (ESV).

Paul emphasizes pastoral care because in his next words he warns about others who will twist the word of God to suit their own fancy. Paul likens them to "wolves going after the flock."

The pastor is, consequently, always a student of the Gospel. He doesn't just wing his own ideas about God. Although Paul's statement is to pastors, the emphasis is on God.

First of all, the Holy Spirit initiates the overseer, likening his work to that of a shepherd. This is where we get the word bishop-which is the one who "pastures the sheep." What the pastor provides his sheep are the gifts of the Spirit. The main gift, out of which all the other gifts flow, is the Gospel of Jesus.

Christ's sacrificial death and powerful resurrection bring us forgiveness of sins and life with God. People receive these blessings as they receive the word of the Lord. The Holy Spirit is the one who makes the hearing turn into faith.

Secondly, the church is always and only God's property. The "word-twisters" Paul refers to manipulate the church as though they have control, rather than the Spirit's Gospel. Their message focuses on human qualities rather than the function of the Son of God.

Thirdly, the function of the Son of God was to pay for the church with "his own blood." That baby in the manger grew up to be the Savior on the cross. From conception to ascension, Jesus demonstrated his uniqueness of bringing the divine and the human into one body, a function initiated again by the Holy Spirit.

What a joy for a pastor to feed his flock with the awesome work of Jesus Christ: true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the virgin Mary.

Sir, we would see Jesus.



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