Our devotional reading as we commemorate Clement of Rome comes from A Year with the Church Fathers.
Clement was a first-century Roman bishop, one of the first after the apostle Peter. The devotional reading for today comes from Clement’s Letter to the Corinthians. Therein, he reminds the Church that faithful preachers and teachers are a means through which God delivers His holy and saving Word to us.
The Lord gives us none but His messengers from whom to hear His Word. The preeminent of those messengers are Moses in the Old Testament, with whom God spoke face to face clearly and who beheld the form of the Lord (Numbers 12:8), and Christ Jesus, who is the form of the Lord incarnate of Mary in the New Testament, so that “in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son” (Hebrews 1:2). Moses merely saw God’s form. Jesus is God’s form (Philippians 2:6) and thus is God of the same substance with the Father.
Humility adorned the ministry of them both. “Now the man Moses was very meek, more than all people who were on the face of the earth” (Numbers 12:3). Christ’s humility was meekness to death, even the death of the cross (Philippians 2:8). Neither of them had need of boasting. They could have done it. Moses had not merely received the divine revelation through an intermediary. He was the intermediary from God (Galatians 3:19–20). Christ is not merely an intermediary from God. He is God (John 1:17).
Now, however, we are left with intermediaries, who take what the Lord has said and repeat it and proclaim it into our lives. They meet our deepest needs. When suffering and sin plague us, they absolve. They preach life when death or grief approach. They also have every reason to be meek and humble of heart (1 Peter 3:8), because of themselves they are nothing, but have only had the Word of God set on their lips. They will create the kingdom of God among us because they preach the living Word of God. They will call us to gather where God is in our midst. We, too, may be profoundly humble because the servants of the Lord will cry to Him for us, “O God, please heal [them]—please” (Numbers 12:13). We need no other messengers.
“Moses was called faithful in all God’s house (Numbers 12:7). God made him an instrument to punish Egypt with plagues and torments. Yet he, although greatly honored, did not boast, but said, when the divine oracle came to him out of the bush, ‘Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?’ (Exodus 3:11). ‘I am slow of speech and of tongue’ (Exodus 4:10). And again he said, ‘I am but smoke from a pot’” (Clement of Rome, Letter to the Corinthians, 17).
Lord Jesus, Your kingdom continues to be in our midst as You come to us now through holy water, holy words, and holy food. Help us to see that Your kingdom is a kingdom of suffering, but that through suffering, we will be prepared to enter into glory when You return on that final day; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Devotional reading and prayer are from A Year with the Church Fathers, page 156 © 2011 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.