In today’s commemoration of Emperor Justinian, our reading from A Year in the Old Testament highlights the humble ambitions of this ancient Christian ruler as he served as God’s appointed instrument.
As we remember the life and work of Christian Emperor Justinian, we give thanks for all those who are in authority over us. May God grant us the willingness to honor, serve, and obey our leaders as we seek to keep the Fourth Commandment.
Emperor Justinian, Christian Ruler and Confessor of Christ
Justinian was emperor of the East from AD 527 to 565, when the Roman Empire was in decline. With his beautiful and capable wife, Theodora, he restored splendor and majesty to the Byzantine court. During his reign, the empire experienced a renaissance, due in large part to his ambition, intelligence, and strong religious convictions. Justinian also attempted to bring unity to a divided Church. He was a champion of orthodox Christianity and sought agreement among the parties in the Christological controversies of the day as the groups disputed the relation between the divine and human natures in the person of Christ. The Fifth Ecumenical Council in Constantinople in AD 533 was held during his reign and addressed this dispute. Justinian died in his eighties without having accomplished his desire to forge an empire that was firmly Christian and orthodox.
Prayer for the Day
For Responsible Leaders
O merciful Father in heaven, from You comes all rule and authority over the nations of the world for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do well. Graciously regard Your servants, those who make, administer, and judge the laws of this nation, and look in mercy upon all the rulers of the earth. Grant that all who receive the sword as Your servants may bear it according to Your command. Enlighten and defend them, and grant them wisdom and understanding that under their peaceable governance Your people may be guarded and directed in righteousness, quietness, and unity. Protect and prolong their lives that we with them may show forth the praise of Your name; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Biography is from A Year in the Old Testament, pages 382–83 © 2012 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.
Prayer is from Lutheran Service Book: Altar Book, page 454 © 2006 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.