This is a seven-week devotion by Pastor Ricky Jacob, of Winnebago, Nebraska.
(Read the full series here)
It is still all about Jesus.
This year marks the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation. Some of you may wonder, just what do we Lutherans believe?
Today, I will attempt to summarize just one of the chief articles of faith that we Lutherans believe and teach, based solely on the sacred Word of God.
Today's chief article of faith: What is Ecclesiastic Order?
Our Lutheran churches teach that nobody should preach publically in the church or administer the Sacraments unless he is rightly called. Lutheranism desire to maintain whatever best contributes to good order, peace, and harmony in the church. Therefore, Lutherans insist on a rightly ordered call and ordination for those who will serve the church as ministers, or servants of Word and Sacrament.
These ministers, or servants, are often called pastors. The Latin word "pastor" means shepherd. Jesus refers to himself as the "Good Shepherd." Jesus said:
"I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep." (John 10:14-15 ESV)
Pastors serve as called under-shepherds of The Shepherd, Jesus Christ. As an under-shepherd, a pastor is called by God to be like John the Baptist, unworthy even to untie the sandals of Jesus, but rather to point others to the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
Another way to describe the role of a pastor is to be an overseer, tending God's flock. The Apostle Paul wrote these words regarding the qualifications for an overseer:
The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach. (1 Timothy 3:1-2 ESV)