Monday, March 9, 2009

Time in the Word - Lent 3

The theme for the Third Sunday in Lent is Meeting the demands of the Law. Lent e points to the cross as the only means of fulfilling God’s demands. These demands are spelled out in the Old Testament lesson with the giving of the 10 Commandments and in the Gospel lesson which shows us that these demands are not being met so that Jesus, in righteous indignation, cleanses the temple of the commercial traffic conducted in the name of religion. The solution to the problem is in the cross where the price of disobedience was paid and where perfect obedience to God was demonstrated. Since Christ has fulfilled the demands of the Law, believers in Christ are free from the curse of the Law as a means of finding favor with God. The suggested Psalm emphasizes the excellence of God’s law the Lord requires.

Monday, 9 March 2009Psalm 69:14-16; antiphon, Psalm 69:9—The Introit sets the theme for the day: meeting the demands of the law. Without the Lord by our side there is nothing we can do but fall. Yet, with the Lord we are sustained, rescued, and we rise to new life rather then sink.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009Psalm 19 key verse v.8 and John 6:68 — You have the words of eternal life. In this psalm, David reminds us once again and emphasizes the excellence of God’s Law. The Theme of the Day reminds us that eternal life is in the words of Christ and not in the words of the Law.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009Exodus 20:1-17—The demands of God’s Law. God gives the Ten Commandments to Moses and his people. The Ten Commandments are unconditional demands of God. They are absolute laws that express the will of God for His people. Israel is His people for a covenant was established at Mt. Sinai. The commandments follow the covenant relationship as the people’s response to God’s grace in making the covenant. They are not conditions to be met before God is their God but rather because He is their God. They will live as His children according to these absolute laws. The laws were written on two tablets of stone by the finger of God indicating that the laws come from God and not from social development. The two tablets refer to the division of the laws as they relate to God and to people.

Thursday, 12 March 20091 Corinthians 1:22-25—The fulfillment of God’s law in the cross. The crucified Christ is preached as the power and wisdom of God. The message of Christ crucified has difficulty in gaining a sympathetic hearing in the world. Both Jews and Greeks were opposed to it. The Jews demanded a sign and found the cross to be a stumbling block. The Jews asked how God’s Son, the Messiah, could die on a cross, reserved for the worst criminals. Moreover, the Jews looked for signs in terms of their spectacular and startling. How could Jesus be the Messiah when He came as one meek and lowly and refusing to use violence? The Greeks, too, were hostile to the cross, for they wanted wisdom. But to them the message of the cross was foolishness. In spite of this hostile environment, Paul is determined to preach Christ crucified, the power and wisdom of God.

Friday, 13 March 2009John 2:13-22— Man’s failure to keep God’s law. Jesus cleanses the temple of those who traded in it. In the firs three Gospels Jesus begins His ministry in Galilee, but in John’s Gospel the focus is on Jerusalem. In the first three Gospels the cleansing of the temple comes at the end of Jesus’ ministry, but John’s Gospel puts it at the beginning. In the first three Gospels the cleansing of the temple becomes the immediate cause of Jesus’ arrest. In John the cleansing is related to the Jew’s demand for a sign authorizing Him to take such dramatic action. Jesus’ sign was the destruction of the temple and rebuilding it in three days – a forecast of His death and resurrection.

“Who are you to say or do what you said or did?” This question is the same as the Jews’ asking Jesus for a sign. The temple with its activities, services, and programs is the charge of the priests who were authorized to take care of the temple. Who is this itinerant peasant preacher to say what is right to do in the temple? This question is certainly in order. Jesus gives them the sign of the cross. He is the one whose temple will be destroyed and rebuilt on the third day. This proves who He is – the Messiah – and He has the right and the authority to cleanse the temple.

Saturday, 14 March 2009Psalm 67:1-2 - The hymn of the Day May God Bestow on Us His Grace {LSB 823}. The suggested reference reminds us. These verses introduce a prayer. The heart of the prayer is found in verse one echoing the priestly benediction that God’s people have received for thousands of years. The Lord blesses us as He comes to us in the person of Jesus Christ our Savior.

Collect for the Third Sunday in LentO God, whose glory it is always to have mercy, be gracious to all who have gone astray from Your ways and bring them again with penitent hearts and steadfast faith to embrace and hold fast the unchangeable truth of Your Word; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, on Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen
Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series B John Brokhoff © 1981 CSS Publishing Lima, OH

Illustration from a woodcut by Baron Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld, 1794-1872, a distinguished German artist known especially for his book, Das Buch der Bücher in Bilden (The Book of Books in Pictures).

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