Christ Jesus Has Paid the Cost of Discipleship for You
A disciple of Jesus Christ will “carry his own cross” (Luke 14:27) and follow the Lord through death into life. Discipleship is costly because it crucifies the old man with “all his own possessions” (Luke 14:33), in order to raise up the new man in Christ. The disciple disavows “his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life” (Luke 14:26), in deference to Christ. That way of the cross is impossible, except that Christ Jesus has already paid the cost. His cross is set before you as “life and prosperity, and death and adversity” (Deut. 30:15). Taking up His cross is to “choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him” (Deut. 30:19–20). To live that life in Christ is also to bear His cross in love, “that your goodness should not be as it were by compulsion, but of your own free will” (Philemon 14).
Collect for the Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost: O merciful Lord, You did not spare Your only Son but delivered Him up for us all. Grant us courage and strength to take up the cross and follow Him, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Prayer for Christian vocation: Heavenly Father, grant Your mercy and grace to Your people in their many and various callings. Give them patience, and strengthen them in their Christian vocation of witness to the world and of service to their neighbor in Christ's name; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Prayer for likeness to Christ: O God, by the patient suffering of Your only-begotten Son You have beaten down the pride of the old enemy. Now help us, we humbly pray, rightly to treasure in our hearts all that our Lord has of His goodness borne for our sake that following His blessed example we may bear with all patience all that is adverse to us; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Prayer for agriculture: Almighty God, You bless the earth to make it fruitful, bringing forth in abundance whatever is needed for the support of our lives. Prosper the work of farmers and all those who labor to bring food to our table. Grant them seasonable weather that they may gather in the fruits of the earth in abundance and proclaim Your goodness with thanksgiving; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Prayer for industry and commerce: Lord Jesus Christ, as once You shared in our human toil and thus hallowed the work of our hands, bless and prosper those who maintain the industries and service sectors of this land. Give them a right regard for their labors, and grant them the just reward for their work that they may find joy in serving You and in supplying our needs; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Monday, 30 August 2010—Psalm 119:28–32; antiphon, Psalm 119:27—The readings for Sunday reflect the theme of discipleship. Whose disciples shall we be? That is, in whom shall we place our trust? Let us be like the psalmist, who boldly pronounces, I have chosen the way of faithfulness . . . I cling to your testimonies, O Lord. This he can say with confidence, not because of anything in him, but because he prays, Make me understand the way of your precepts, and the LORD answers.
Tuesday, 31 August 2010—Psalm 1—The contrast between the righteous and the wicked is brought into sharp contrast in this, the first of the psalms. We know that we are not righteous in ourselves, but, since we are in Christ, His righteousness is our righteousness. Those who are in Christ are fit the description of the description of the blessed man, the righteous man, in the psalm.
Wednesday, 1 September 2010—Deuteronomy 30:15–20—In Moab (Deut 29:1), before they entered the Promised Land, Moses re-iterated the covenant between the LORD and His people, the Children of Israel. He reminded them of how the LORD led them out of bondage in Egypt and cared for them throughout their sojourn in the wilderness. Then, Moses tells the Israelites that they must follow one of two paths: to continue as God’s Chosen People or to turn their backs on the One who chose them, made them His own, preserved them, and promised to take them into a land where He would continue to shower blessings upon them. It seems that the decision would be easy to make: Choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the LORD your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, yet we know that most people, including most of the Jews, the descendants of the Children of Israel, have chosen instead the way that leads away from God, and into death, eternal death. Let us ever remain faithful to the One who provides life through His Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Thursday, 2 September 2010—Philemon 1–21—During the summer months, our epistle readings make their way through some of the letters (epistles) in the New Testament. This summer, we read through Galatians, the first half of Colossians, and, last Sunday, we finished the latter portion of Hebrews. Sunday’s reading is from Philemon, but it is the only reading we shall have from that book, as it is only 25 verses long.
Philemon is a personal letter from St Paul to a man named Philemon. Paul intercedes for Philemon’s runaway slave, Onesimus, who had stolen from his master, but subsequently became a Christian. In what is a model of Christian reconciliation, Paul pleads on behalf of Onesimus, just as Christ pleads to His father on our behalf. “We are Christ’s Onesimi,” wrote Luther, “restored by Christ, who, by giving up his rights, compelled the Father to lay aside his wrath.”
Friday, 3 September 2010—Luke 14:25–35—We are told that great crowds accompanied Jesus, but accompanying Him is not enough. A person must be ready and willing to turn his back on the things of this world: his family, his life, indeed, all he has. The things of this life must never stand in the way of our discipleship with Christ, that is, our faith in Him as the sole procurer of our salvation, and the only thing that matters.
Saturday, 4 September 2010—Sunday’s Hymn of the Day is Oh, That the Lord Would Guide My Ways (LSB #707). Our readings speak of the necessity of being Christ’s faithful disciples, shunning the things and ways of this world. This, we can only do when the Lord guides our ways: He grants us grace to know and do His will.
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House
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]) ©WELS
This week's Time in the Word was written by Pr. Jeffry Keuning serving St. John, Dexter and Zion Casey IA of the Iowa West Disitrict of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod