If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him.
Expect the Unthinkable
On December 7, 1941, the unthinkable happened. At 7:48 a.m., the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service launched a surprise military attack against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor. The attack lasted 90 minutes and came in two waves. When the smoke settled, the shocking results were tallied: all eight U.S. Navy battleships were damaged, with four sunk; the attack also sank or damaged three cruisers, three destroyers, an anti-aircraft training ship, and one minelayer. One hundred eighty-eight U.S. aircraft were destroyed; 2,403 Americans were killed and 1,178 others were wounded. Most did not expect such an attack and the devastating loss of life was correspondingly high.
This, however, was not the first time the unthinkable happened. The unthinkable happened when God said to Satan disguised as a serpent, in front of Adam and Eve, “The woman’s offspring will crush your head.” The unthinkable happened when God told Abraham, “All peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” King David did not, in fact he could not, expect that God would say about his son, “I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.” The virgin Mary did not, nor could she, expect that the angel Gabriel would say to her, “You will conceive and give birth to a son, and the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.” This—God’s plan of salvation—is not something that Adam or Eve or any other human being would have or could have come up with.
For us it is unthinkable that, rather than requiring us to approach him, God came to us in the person of his Son, who was put to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. For us it is unthinkable that God did this for all people, regardless of race or family background or lifestyle or record of good versus evil.
Yet God invites us to expect the unthinkable. Expect that the Holy Spirit creates and strengthens faith in his plan of salvation through the gospel in Word and Sacrament. Believe that God raised Jesus from the dead for your justification. Trust that anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame. Then, in faith, declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord!”
As it was on December 7, 1941, ultimately those who do not think that the unthinkable will happen will be unprepared and will awaken to a devastating loss of life. Thank God you expect the unthinkable!
Dear Lord, thank you for bringing me to faith and enabling me to declare, “Jesus is Lord.” Through your gospel and the witness of your people may more and more be led to expect the unthinkable. Amen.