Adam and Eve expelled from the Garden, but with God’s provision of animal skins for clothing. Woodcut illustration from Gustave Doré (1832-1883).
Bible Readings and Devotion for August 16 & 17, 2020
Here are the references for the readings. Please look these up in your print Bible, your smartphone app Bible, or your online Bible:
Devotion for August 16 & 17, 2020
By Pastor David Tinker
We are at the start of a new school year. A common ritual for many families at this time of year is to acquire new clothes for school. This points to another school ritual regarding clothes. Near the end of the school year for high school students is prom time. During the rest of the year students wear all sorts of different things which are acceptable for the classroom. Students generally wear clothes at the prom which give them a totally different look. The dresses, shirts, vests, suits, and tuxedos which are worn give the youth a dramatically different look.
In our reading from Mark we have one of the more surprising scenes in all of scripture. We read in Mark 14:51-52, “A certain young man was following him, wearing nothing but a linen cloth. They caught hold of him, but he left the linen cloth and ran off naked.” There is no name give for who this young man was, nor do any of the other three Gospel accounts have this scene. Church tradition suggests that this might have been Mark himself. It is suggested that he included this unique interaction because he personally experienced it.
This brief interaction points to two truths of our life with Jesus.
1 – The Work of Jesus. As noted in The Lutheran Study Bible, from Concordia, “Jesus is abandoned by His disciples, including a young man (possibly Mark) who has witness the arrest. We cannot count on our own courage or strength in the face of Satan and his forces. Jesus accomplishes the plan of salvation without aid from any human ally.”
2 – God’s clothes us. In various places in the New Testament the image of being clothed is a sign of God’s mercy and grace for us. God’s grace is the final word on our lives. It is an important aspect of being restored to God. Here are some examples:
*In teaching about God’s gift of the new life we have in Jesus, Paul writes these things: “But now you must get rid of all such things—anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive language from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have stripped off the old self with its practices and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator.” (Colossians 3:8-10)
*And also in Galatians 3:27, “As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”
*After Jesus heals the naked, demon possessed man at the Gerasenes (Luke 8:26-39), “Then people came out to see what had happened, and when they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid.”
*In the Old Testament we read of God’s grace being expressed for Adam and Eve through the gift of clothing. They had sinned against God, and they realized they were naked. In this fall from God’s will they were facing death away from the Lord. Out of loving grace God restores them to fellowship with himself. They had tried to cover themselves with fig leaves, which left a lot to be desired. In Genesis 3:21 we read, “And the Lord God made garments of skins for the man and for his wife, and clothed them.”
In all this, we come before God with nothing. We are beggars before him, seeking relief from the burden of sin and shame. By his merciful goodness he clothes us with the garment of salvation, the life and forgiveness we need from final power of sin, death and evil in our lives.
As our prayer I give you the text of the great hymn, Rock of Ages. Pay special attention to verse 3.
Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me
1 Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
let me hide myself in thee;
let the water and the blood,
from thy riven side which flowed,
be of sin the double cure;
cleanse me from its guilt and pow’r.
2 Not the labors of my hands
can fulfill thy law’s demands;
could my zeal no respite know,
could my tears forever flow,
all for sin could not atone;
thou must save, and thou alone.
3 Nothing in my hand I bring;
simply to thy cross I cling.
Naked, come to thee for dress;
helpless, look to thee for grace;
foul, I to the fountain fly;
wash me, Savior, or I die.
4 While I draw this fleeting breath,
when mine eyelids close in death,
when I soar to worlds unknown,
see thee on thy judgment throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
let me hide myself in thee.
Text: Augustus M. Toplady, 1740-1778