Jesus comes in mercy, and by His Word heals you in body and soul. “Go and show yourselves to the priests,” for you are cleansed (Luke 17:14), and you are granted access to the Lord’s Temple. It is “at Jesus’ feet, giving Him thanks” (Luke 17:16), that you worship God, for Christ Jesus is your great High Priest; His Body is the true Temple. In Him you “find rest, each of you in the house of her husband” (Ruth 1:9), for the Lord has “visited His people and given them food” (Ruth 1:6). The person of Jesus Christ lodges Himself in holy food—bread and wine for believers to eat and drink. You lodge where Jesus lodges; His Father is your God, His people are your people. Death cannot part you from Him, because His death and resurrection are eternally yours through Holy Baptism. “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead” (2 Tim. 2:8–9). As surely as death could not hold Him, so surely “the Word of God is not bound” (2 Tim. 2:9). His Gospel is entrusted “to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Tim. 2:2), so that you “may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 2:10). Such is the confession of faith for all the saints, who believe, teach, and confess the one Lord and Savior—Jesus Christ.
Collect for the Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost: Almighty God, You show mercy to Your people in all their troubles. Grant us always to recognize Your goodness, give thanks for Your compassion, and praise Your holy name; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Prayer for the sick: O Father of mercies and God of all comfort, our only help in time of need, look with favor upon Your servant. Assure him/her of Your mercy, deliver him/her from the temptations of the evil one, and give him/her patience and comfort in his/her illness. If it please You, restore him/her to health, or give him/her grace to accept this tribulation with courage and hope; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Prayer for deliverance from sin: We implore You, O Lord, in Your kindness to show us Your great mercy that we may be set free from our sins and rescued from the punishments that we rightfully deserve; 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 in times of unemployment: O God, You have always been the help and comfort of Your people. Support the unemployed in the day of their trouble and need. Give them faith to cast their cares on You, and preserve them from all bitterness and resentment. According to Your goodness increase the opportunity for their employment that with thankful hearts they may earn a just wage. Give to Your people everywhere a ready willingness to share their blessings with those in need. Make us merciful, even as You are merciful, O Father, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Monday, 4 October 2010—Psalm 34:2–4, 17; antiphon, Psalm 48:1—The Introit calls upon us to praise the Lord for His deliverance of His righteous ones out of all their troubles. Who are the righteous? We learned in the Old Testament reading from last week that those who place their trust in the Lord are the ones who are righteous—by their faith.
Tuesday, 5 October 2010—Psalm 111—Psalm 111 is a song of high praise to the LORD for His many and continued blessings upon His people—physical and spiritual blessings. The LORD’s great works and His provision of food are recounted before the His greatest blessing is extolled: He sent redemption to his people. In the face of the mighty deeds, awesome power, and goodness of the Lord, the psalmist concludes, The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!
Wednesday, 6 October 2010—Ruth 1:1–19a—Sunday’s Old Testament reading is the opening portion of the book of Ruth. Ruth was not an Israelite, but a Moabite woman, whose husband had died. During a famine, Ruth’s husband died, as did his brother. When Naomi, the brothers’ mother, planned to go to Bethlehem, because she had heard there was food there, she urged her daughters-in-law to remain in Moab where, as still-young women, they might find husbands. Orpah did, but Ruth remained with Naomi, resolutely declaring, “Where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.” This strong foreign woman, who took the Lord GOD of Israel—the true God—as her own God, would become an ancestress to the Christ, the incarnate Son of the only true God (Matthew 1:5).
Thursday, 7 October 2010—2 Timothy 2:1–13—Our reading through Paul’s second letter to Timothy continues with encouragement to remain a good soldier of Christ Jesus, even in the face of suffering. But, this is no advice to Timothy simply to look deep inside himself for strength, or keep a stiff upper lip. No, the Christian’s source of strength in the midst of adversity always comes from the fact that we are strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus (v. 1). Paul then quotes what he had written in his epistle to the Romans, in connection with Holy Baptism: If we have died with him, we will also live with him. Our Baptism into Christ gives us strength daily to face whatever hardships we may face in this life.
Friday, 8 October 2010—Luke 17:11–19—There was no love lost between Jews and Samaritans. Had they been healthy, the nine Jewish lepers would have had had nothing to do with this person whom they considered a half-breed, little better than a heathen. But leprosy had made them all outcasts from society, depending on the kindness of strangers in for daily sustenance.
On the way to Jerusalem, on the road that would ultimately lead to His death, Jesus encountered these ten pitiable men. He had mercy on them, and, foreshadowing the restoration of all creation at the Last Day, healed them of their dread disease. Only one returned to Jesus to give thanks—a foreigner, the Samaritan.
Christ came into the world to save all people, regardless of ethnicity, skin color, or other outward characteristics. We Gentiles, too, ought to fall at Jesus’ feet and give thanks for having rescued us from the far more dread disease of sin and its consequences of eternal, and not just temporal, death. This Descendant of a foreign, Moabite woman has made us clean. He Himself is the High Priest who declares us clean to His Father, and gives us a place in His kingdom.
Saturday, 9 October 2010—Sunday’s Hymn of the Day is Your Hand, O Lord, in Days of Old (LSB #846). It also makes the connection between Christ healing disease and infirmities of the body when he walked the earth and His redemptive work in cleansing us from our sins. The last stanza asks that we, too, may be delivered from the sickness of sin, that we might offer up our praise and thanksgiving, as the Samaritan did in the Gospel reading.
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House.
This week's Time in the Word written by Pr. Jeffrey Keuning service Zion, Casey and St. John Dexter congregations.