Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Parable of the Tenants

Isaiah 50:4-9a
Hebrews 12:1-3
March 31, 2010

He then began to speak to them in parables: "A man planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a pit for the winepress and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and went away on a journey. At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants to collect from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. But they seized him, beat him and sent him away empty-handed. Then he sent another servant to them; they struck this man on the head and treated him shamefully. He sent still another, and that one they killed. He sent many others; some of them they beat, others they killed. "He had one left to send, a son, whom he loved. He sent him last of all, saying, 'They will respect my son.' "But the tenants said to one another, 'This is the heir. Come, let's kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.' So they took him and killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard. "What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others. Haven't you read this scripture: " 'The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes'?" Then they looked for a way to arrest him because they knew he had spoken the parable against them. But they were afraid of the crowd; so they left him and went away. -Mark 12:1-12

Before we look at Mark, flip back and let’s take a look at the Old Testament. In Isaiah 5:1-7, God tells of His beloved who had a vineyard and what was done for this vineyard.

Everything that was necessary for this to be the best of all vineyards was done for this vineyard. All the rocks were cleared from the soil, the best seeds were planted, and the best of winemaking materials was put inside, and a hedge (a dense row of trees or shrubs, often of thorny, used as a fence to keep others out) was planted around it. The best grapes and choicest wine should flow from this vineyard.

Now jump ahead to Mark 12. Jesus now tells us about the wicked men who cared for this vineyard in place of the owner who was away. Many times he sent hired hands to check on the state of affairs, and repeatedly they went back beaten and empty-handed or were killed. Finally, he decides to send his own son, whom they also killed, figuring the inheritance would be theirs. In Mark, Jesus says that the wicked tenants would be destroyed and replaced with other tenants. Isaiah presents a different option. After finding sour, wild grapes, the man removes the hedge, allowing the vineyard to be trampled and destroyed, leaving it subject to the elements without any caretaking. Essentially, the vineyard is destroyed.

We are the vineyard and the wicked tenants, while God is the owner of the vineyard, His prophets and pastors the messengers, and Jesus Christ His Son. We surely deserve this type of destruction for yielding sin (sour grapes), but the beautiful message of Good Friday is that the destruction we deserve is placed upon Jesus. Instead of our destruction, the Son of God is destroyed for us so that, because of our baptism into Christ’s death and resurrection, we might once again be the pristine vineyard we once were.


Your soul in griefs unbounded,
Your head with thorns surrounded,
You died to ransom me.
The cross for me enduring,
The crown for me securing,
You healed my wounds and set me free.[1]

Seminarian Ryan Beffrey

[1] Lutheran Service Book Hymn Upon the Cross Extended stanza five © 2008 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis


Merciful and everlasting God, You did not spare Your only Son but delivered Him up for us all to bear our sins on the cross. Grant that our hearts may be so fixed with steadfast faith in Him that we fear not the power of sin, death, and the devil; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Collect for Wednesday of Holy Week Lutheran Book of Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House St. Louis

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Authority of Jesus Questioned



Isaiah 49:1-7
1 Corinthians 1:18-31
March 30, 2010

They arrived again in Jerusalem, and while Jesus was walking in the temple courts, the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders came to him. "By what authority are you doing these things?" they asked. "And who gave you authority to do this?" Jesus replied, "I will ask you one question. Answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. John's baptism—was it from heaven, or from men? Tell me!" They discussed it among themselves and said, "If we say, 'From heaven,' he will ask, 'Then why didn't you believe him?' But if we say, 'From men'...." (They feared the people, for everyone held that John really was a prophet.) So they answered Jesus, "We don't know." Jesus said, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things." - Mark 11:27-33
Why was Jesus’ authority questioned? People could not decide whether His authority was from heaven or from man. Jesus had asked that question. If they said His authority was from heaven then He would ask them why didn’t you believe in Me. But if they said His authority came from man the authorities feared the people for all counted Him as important as John.

So, by whose authority does Jesus do these things? Is His power from man or from God? Consider His works. Consider His words. Think about it. There has been no one like Him. He is the one who has come to bear your sin and carry you making every burden light.

Elliot Gehres

Almighty and everlasting God, grant us by Your grace so to pass through this holy time of our Lord’s passion that we may obtain the forgiveness of our sins; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one god, now and forever.



Collect for Tuesday of Holy Week Lutheran Book of Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House St. Louis

Monday, March 29, 2010

Time in the Word - Holy Week

Father, Into Thy Hands I commend My Spirit
Readings & Prayers for Holy WeekMarch 29 - April 03, 2010
Monday, 29 March, 2010 – Monday of Holy Week – Isaiah 50:5-10 - My sin and the Savior’s obedience

The Antiphon: Continue Your love to those who know you, Your righteousness to the upright in heart. – Psalm 36:10


Prayer for MondayGrant, we beseech Thee, Almighty God, that we, who amid so many adversities do fail through our own infirmities, may be restored through the Passion and intercession of Thine only-begotten Son.

Almighty God, whose Son Jesus Christ chose to suffer pain before going up to joy, and crucifixion before entering into glory, mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find this path to be the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ Your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

Tuesday, 30 March, 2010 – Tuesday of Holy Week – Jeremiah 11:18-20 – The plot against the Lord’s anointed

The Antiphon: In You, O Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame. – Psalm 71:1

Prayer for TuesdayAlmighty and everlasting God, grant us grace to pass through this holy time of our Lord’s Passion that we may obtain the pardon of our sins.

Almighty and everlasting God, grant us grace so to pass through this holy time of our Lord’s Passion that we may receive the pardon of our sins; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

Wednesday, 31 March, 2010 – Wednesday of Holy Week – Isaiah 62:11; 63:1-7 – God’s day of vengeance and redemption

The Antiphon: Hasten, O God, to save me, O Lord, come quickly to help me. – Psalm 70:1


Prayer for WednesdayGrant, we beseech Thee, Almighty God, that we, who for our evil deeds are continually afflicted may mercifully be relieved by the Passion of Thine only begotten Son.

Merciful and everlasting God the Father, who did not spare Your only Son but delivered Him up for us all that He might bear our sins on the cross, grant that our hearts may be so fixed with steadfast faith in our Savior that we may not fear the power of any adversaries; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Thursday, 01 April, 2010 – Maundy Thursday – 1 Corinthians 11:23-32 – A new covenant

The Antiphon: I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord. – Psalm 116:13

Prayer for Maundy ThursdayO Lord God, who hast left unto us in a wonderful Sacrament a memorial of Thy Passion, grant, we beseech Thee, that we may so use this Sacrament of Thy body and blood that the fruits of Thy redemption may continually be manifest in us.

Friday, 02 April, 2010 – Good Friday – Isaiah 52:13 to 53:12 – The suffering and glory of the servant Christ

The Antiphon: O Lord, be not far off; O my Strength, come quickly to help me. – Psalm 22:19

Prayer for Good FridayAlmighty God, we beseech Thee, graciously to behold this Thy family, for which our Lord Jesus Christ was contented to be betrayed and given up into the hands of wicked men and to suffer death upon the cross.

Saturday, 03 April, 2010 – Holy Saturday, Easter Eve – 1 Peter 3:17-22 – The victory lap through Hell

The Antiphon: From the depths of the grace I called for help, and You listened to my cry. – Jonah 2:2b

Prayer for Easter EveO God, who didst enlighten this most holy night with the glory of the Lord’s resurrection, preserve in all Thy people the spirit of adoption which Thou hast given so that, renewed in body and soul, they may perform unto Thee a pure service.

Abide with us, Lord, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. Abide with Your whole Church. Abide with us in the end of the day, in the end of our life, in the end of the world. Abide with Your grace and goodness, with You holy Word and Sacrament, with Your strength and blessing. Abide with us when the night of affliction and temptation comes upon us, the night of fear and despair when death shall come. Abide with us all the faithful through time and eternity.

Sources: THE LUTHERAN HYMNAL © 1940 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO
LUTHERAN WORSHIP © 1982 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO
LUTHERAN SEVICE BOOK LECTIONARY © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO
Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS Permission to use these copyrighted items is limited to personal and congregational use

Jesus Clears the Temple - The Withered Fig Tree



Isaiah 42:1-9
Hebrews 9:11-15
March 29, 2010

The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Then he said to the tree, "May no one ever eat fruit from you again." And his disciples heard him say it. On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. And as he taught them, he said, "Is it not written: " 'My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations'? But you have made it 'a den of robbers.'" The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching. When evening came, they went out of the city.

In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. Peter remembered and said to Jesus, "Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!" "Have faith in God," Jesus answered. "I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins
-Mark 11:12-26

Our reading begins with the half of the story of the withered fig tree, which is commonly grouped with our main story. The story of Jesu clearing the temple I one of my personal favorites. Jesus is lawfully angry at all the people who are making His father’s house into a marketplace. Speaking Isaiah 56:7 to everyone in the temple He makes a lot of enemies, including the high priests who looked for ways to kill him for the first time. Our reading demonstrates how mislead the general public was by the high priests. It also give us some very clear guidelines for how the church is to be operated.

Andrew Blomenberg

Almighty God, grant that in the midst of our failures and weakness we may be restored through the passion and intercession of Your only-begotten Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Collect for Monday of Holy Week Lutheran Book of Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House St. Louis
Schnorr von Carolsfeld, woodcuts © WELS Permission to use these copyrighted items is limited to personal and congregational use.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Jesus at the Temple

Isaiah 50:4-9a
Philippians 4:5-11
March 28, 2010

As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, "If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God's coming to you." Then he entered the temple area and began driving out those who were selling. "It is written," he said to them, " 'My house will be a house of prayer'; but you have made it 'a den of robbers.'" Every day he was teaching at the temple. But the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the leaders among the people were trying to kill him. Yet they could not find any way to do it, because all the people hung on his words -Luke 19:41-48


For so many of us Psalm Sunday brings back memories of Confirmation. Confirmation for most of us is one of those major events in our life. Most of us don’t remember our Baptism (fortunately m grandmother had my baptismal certificate framed.) But we remember Confirmation. It ranks right up there with graduations, our wedding day, the birthdays of our children and other family members. In many congregations your confirmation verse would also be the text for your funeral.

Confirmation is one of those “growth markers” in our Christian faith. It is a time when we affirm that the faith into which we were baptized is our faith and we promise never to leave this “one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.” It is a promise to serve our Savior.

Growing up it was always my desire to be a teacher or a pastor. God has used me as both and I can never thank Him enough for such a privilege. Whether this Psalm Sunday brings memories of Conformation or not it is the beginning of Holy Week. Our prayers then is that we follow again the path of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and that as we receive often His holy body and most precious blood that most blessed of all the Sacraments, we never depart from that path that leads us home to God.

Pr. Hinkle


Almighty and everlasting God, You sent Your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, to take upon Himself our flesh and to suffer death upon the cross. Mercifully grant that we may follow the example of His great humility and patience and be made partakers of His resurrection; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.


Collect for Palm Sunday Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House St. Louis

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Lent 6 - Facing Life with Jesus –Facing Triumph through Defeat

Almighty and everlasting God the Father, who sent Your Son to take our nature upon Him and to suffer death on the cross that all mankind should follow the example of His great humility, mercifully grant that we may both follow the example of our Savior Jesus Christ in His patience and also have our portion in His resurrection; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

Introduction: Our Savior Jesus is not only God’s eternal Son and His sinless Son, but He also shares our humanity completely, except, of course, without sinning. On two occasions during His earthly ministry the Scriptures report that He was moved to tears.

One occasion was at the death of His dear friend Lazarus recorded in John 11:35. The other, was when He beheld the city of Jerusalem, the city which from the days of King David had enjoyed God’s particular blessing and mercy, but whose history had been marked by rebellion against God. The tears that flowed from Jesus’ compassionate eyes are tears that still flow today as our Savior sadly views people like those living in Jerusalem who have rejected his mercy and will have to endure God’s wrath because of their unbelief. The tears of Jesus also warn us against such apathy or unbelief.

1. Apathy is reflected in one’s use of God’s Word and Sacraments.

A. In His Word God offers forgiveness and grace earned by Christ’s suffering and death.
1. Through His prophets God had given His Word to His people in the Old Testament; through this Word and by means of the sacrificial system of the Old Testament the people were directed to trust in the promised Savior who was to come.
2. Through the Word and Sacraments God points us today to the Savior who has come and who has paid our debt fully with His own sacrificial blood.

B. But many take God’s Means of Grace lightly despising the promised forgiveness offered to us there in the Word and at the Communion table and in Baptism.
1. Jus consider the history of Israel. It was marked by apathy and rebellion against God. The people assumed that “going through the motions” of religion would satisfy God but all it left the people was with a cold formalism and a hollow outward shell.
2. We also must so guard against the mistaken notion that mere religious rituals can benefit us spiritually.

Transition: God gave us His Word and Sacrament so that He might distribute to us today the benefits of our Savior’s atonement – forgiveness of sin, life, salvation. But those who despise these Means of Grace will not only forfeit the benefits, but will finally bring upon themselves God’s punishment.

2. Continued misuse of God’s Word will result in condemnation.

A. God will punish those who despise His Word of grace.
1. Because of their misuse of God’s Word the Lord Jesus warned the people in Jerusalem that God’s wrath would come. (Vv.43-44)
2. We see that this all came about in time in the course of human history. In the year 70 AD God through the Romans carried out this threat by destroying His “holy city” thoroughly.
3. Today, Jesus warns the people, “He that does not believe the Son will not see life, but God’s wrath remains on him.” (see also John 3:16-18)

B. But in His mercy God gives people opportunity to repent.
1. He gave Jerusalem forty years to repent before allowing Rome to sack and burn the city.
2. Today, the Lord is still patient ‘not willing that any should perish.’

Conclusion: Today the Lord Jesus still weeps tears when He encounters apathy and unbelief. His tears are not tears or anger, but of deep compassion. He loves us all. He suffered and died for the sins of all. God defend us from apathy and unbelief and give us true faith in Christ our Savior as we use His Word and Sacraments through which He bestows on us all the spiritual blessings earned for the world by His suffering and death.

Blind Bartimaeus Receives His Sight

Exodus 10:21-11:8
2 Corinthians 4:13-18
March 27, 2010


Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (that is, the Son of Timaeus), was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!" Jesus stopped and said, "Call him." So they called to the blind man, "Cheer up! On your feet! He's calling you." Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus. "What do you want me to do for you?" Jesus asked him. The blind man said, "Rabbi, I want to see." "Go," said Jesus, "your faith has healed you." Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road. - Mark 10:42-52

Jesus heals a blind beggar by the name of Bartimaeus. This is a transition from Jesus’ general ministry to His ministry in Jerusalem. The blind man persistently cried out for the “Son of David” to have mercy on him He raises such a fuss that Jesus’ attention was called to him. Jesus asks Bartimaeus what he wants and the answer was “sight.” Jesus attributed the healing to the beggar’s faith evidenced in his persistent cries for help and in his faith in Jesus to help him. Thought Jesus told him to go his way, he followed Jesus as he went toward Jerusalem.

Bartimaeus was blind and therefore was forced to beg. We do not know whether he was born blind or whether he was blinded by an accident or a disease. He was the kind or a blind man who had spiritual sight. He could see what few others say, that Jesus was the Messiah who could heal him even if it required a miracle. Many of us have good physical vision but we are spiritually blind just as the scribes and Pharisees were blind. If one has to be blind physically blindness is to be preferred.

Here we have two sons; the son of Timaeus and the son of David. The one is plainly human – helpless and handicapped. The other is the Messiah, the son of David, who is human but also divine. One son cries to another Son. Through the divine Son both can be sons of the Father.


Almighty God, we pray, show Your humble servants Your mercy that we, who out no trust in our own merits, may be dealt with not according to the severity of Your judgment but according to Your mercy; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series B John Brokhoff © 1981 CSS Publishing, Lima, OH
Collect for the Twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost Lutheran Book of Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House St. Louis

Friday, March 26, 2010

Jesus Again Predicts His Death - The Request of James and John

Exodus 9:13-35
2 Corinthians 4:1-12
March 26, 2010


They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid. Again he took the Twelve aside and told them what was going to happen to him. "We are going up to Jerusalem," he said, "and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise."

Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. "Teacher," they said, "we want you to do for us whatever we ask." "What do you want me to do for you?" he asked. They replied, "Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory." "You don't know what you are asking," Jesus said. "Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?" "We can," they answered. Jesus said to them, "You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared." When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John. Jesus called them together and said, "You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."
- Mark 10:32-45

The disciples of Jesus were without doubt a strange and peculiar group. Arrogant and rude conceited and condescending they were. Two of them asked permission to sit at the Savior’s side in glory to which the rest argued with them with much indignation. Were they upset that James and John had broached such a question or were they disgusted with themselves that the brothers Zebedee had beaten them to the punch? At the same time they were astonished, while those who followed were afraid. His disciples were probably astonished because of the determination with which Jesus proceeded to His goal. (See Isaiah 50:7) Astonished - because Jesus would not stop until He had reached His goal in Jerusalem. As for the crowed why were they afraid? There is always fear of the unknown. What would happen next? It is only after the resurrection of Jesus and His appearance to His disciples that all of the events of His passion make sense. Likewise for you - nothing in your life, your past, your present circumstance, nor the future makes any sense without the reality of the resurrection. As we journey through Lent we know the Lord is with us. We know that He orders our days and directs our steps. Yet sometimes we can become lost and overwhelmed by the burdens of living. Thus we are encouraged to walk daily with the Savior especially today in the midst of Lent – the cross looms before us – but with the cross there is the open tomb and the promise of hope and restoration. Always and forever we are Easter people.

Lord, we pray that Your grace may always precede and follow us that we may continually be given to good works; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

Collect for the Twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost Lutheran Book of Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House St. Louis

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Rich Young Man

Exodus 7:25-8:19
2 Corinthians 3:7-18
March 25, 2010

As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. "Good teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" "Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.'" "Teacher," he declared, "all these I have kept since I was a boy." Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." At this the man's face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!" The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, "Who then can be saved?" Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God." Peter said to him, "We have left everything to follow you!" "I tell you the truth," Jesus replied, "no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first." - Mark 10:17-31

Wealth prevented a young man from following Jesus. The lection deals with the power of wealth to keep one from entering God’s kingdom and thereby inheriting eternal life. (v.25) On the other hand, if wealth is secondary to Jesus, a rich man can enter the kingdom. (v.27) The occasion for this teaching is a man who asks Jesus how he can receive eternal life, life not necessarily in its quantitative but in its qualitative dimension. His kneeling shows that he really wants more than physical life; he comes begging. Does he see Jesus as the Son of God because he calls Jesus “good”? Jesus points out to him that only God is good. Though he obeys the commandments, he still does not have true life. Jesus perceives that his problems is wealth which keeps him from God, the Author of life. The man refuses to give up his welt hot follow Jesus and walks away from eternal life.

Look and love. How can we love if we do not see the person? Jesus looked at the young man and saw his fine qualities, eagerness for life, and bright potential as a follower. Often someone asks, “What does he see in her?” He sees something he can love. Also, Jesus looked at His disciples when they were discussing the possibility of rich people entering the kingdom. To get His point across, He looked at them. Look me in the eye when you say it and I will probably believe you!


Enlighten our minds, we pray, O God, by the Spirit who proceeds from You that, as Your Son has promised, we may be led into all truth; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series B John Brokhoff © 1981 CSS Publishing, Lima, OH
Collect for the Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost Lutheran Book of Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House St. Louis

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Divorce - The Little Children and Jesus

Exodus 7:8-24
2 Corinthians 2:14-3:6
March 24, 2010

Jesus then left that place and went into the region of Judea and across the Jordan. Again crowds of people came to him, and as was his custom, he taught them. Some Pharisees came and tested him by asking, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?" "What did Moses command you?" he replied. They said, "Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away." "It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law," Jesus replied. "But at the beginning of creation God 'made them male and female.' 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.' So they are no longer two, but one. 9Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. He answered, "Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery."



People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them. - Mark 10:1-16

Jesus teaches the disciples concerning divorce and blesses children. This section deals with two accounts; marriage/divorce and Jesus’ love of children. In regard to marriage and divorce Mark has Jesu take the position that neither husband nor wife should get a divorce. For the Pharisees divorce is a legal matter; for Jesus, it is a divine matter – not what is legal but what is right. Jesus points out to the Pharisees that the legal right to get a divorce was due to a human’s sinfulness, but this was contrary to god’s intention that marriage is permanent. To substantiate this Jesu refers twice to the creation account.

Jesus receives children for marriage and children go together. Jesus urges that children should be brought to Him and teaches that one should receive the kingdom of God as a child in terms of openness and receptivity.

To enter the kingdom of God is not to be a child nor to be childish. A person enters the kingdom “like” a child. There is an innocence, openness, and a receptivity on the part of a child that a person wanting to enter the kingdom of God must have. A child is ready to believe and trust what an adult says. Children eagerly believe myths such as Santa Clause and the Tooth Fairy. They readily obey without questioning.

O God, whose almighty power is made known chiefly in showing mercy and pity, grant us the fullness of Your grace that we may be partakers of Your heavenly treasures; through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series B John Brokhoff © 1981 CSS Publishing, Lima, OH Collect for the Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost Lutheran Book of Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House St. Louis




5th Word - "The Word of Personal need"


I Thirst
INTRODUCTION: One can only imagine the personal sufferings of Jesus on the cross. There is trauma on a number of levels. Jesus suffered sleep depravation, the trauma of four trials; three Jewish and one Roman. For a period of roughly twenty-four hours he was beaten flogged; spat upon, humiliated and mocked. Jesus shows us that there is human suffering on the cross as he cries His fifth word: "I thirst!"
1. The 5th word of Jesus "I thirst" shows us the extent of His physical suffering.
A. One can only imagine the level of Jesus' suffering. The monitoring of physical pain has become a major concern of those in the health care field. Those enrolled in the hospice program, for example, must meet certain criteria. To enroll, they must have a physical sign off on their care. They must certify that the patient in question has six months or less to live. A terminal condition must be verified. The patient must also sign off on any prohibitive measures. In hospice care creature comforts and pain tolerance needs are the most critical issues.
In our day and time we strive to alleviate pain. We can do this with continuous dosages of morphine. The Romans of Jesus' day the focus was on inflicting pain and making a science out of it. Once I remember a twenty-six year old medical school resident at the Indiana University medical center telling a parent not to trust any pain medication older then he. Modern man is fixated on relieving pain. At the time of Christ the Romans spent decades perfecting the craft of human torture through the art and craft of crucifixion. As Jesus cried from the cross "I thirst" He was ravaged by extreme physical pain.
B. Yet, in the midst of His sufferings and pain Jesus will not speak until words of concern for others are spoken first. Did you notice that? First He has compassion the world's sin followed by words of comfort for the dying thief. Next His own mother. Not until He has addressed the needs of others does He consider His own.
Jesus would not place His needs about any other. If this were not so His goal of winning the world's salvation would have been diverted. Had He placed His own needs above others the Father's plan of salvation would have been perverted. Jesus would not think of His own needs thus He remains for us the Lord's suffering servant being abandoned by God and by men
Transition: Why was it necessary for Jesus to utter this phrase "I thirst"? As Jesus cries out "I thirst" we find Him to be truly human.
2. These words demonstrate Christ's complete humanity.
A. As true man Jesus felt separated by God. God the Father turned His back on the Son as He once turned His back on Adam and Eve, by the inhabitants of the world at the time of Noah, and by the citizens of Sodom and Gamier when He rained down fire from heaven. Now God will never turn His back on you for He did it once at the cross when He turned away from His own Son.
B. As true man Jesus was allowed to feel extreme human pain. We might have to experience extensive and extreme human pain but it will only last for a short season. Even if you have some sort of debilitating or disabling condition it will end in death. Those who don't know Christ will continue enduring the same pain Christ endured into eternity because they rejected the Son of God. The rich man crying out to the Father says "send even Lazarus to dip his finger in cool water and rub it on my tongue for I am in torment in this flame!" Any human pain the Christian will experience is temporary for Jesus has endured eternal physical pain at the cross.
C. Thank God Jesus did suffer the manner in which He suffered. The fact that Jesus did suffer makes His humanity real for us. The work of Jesus, that suffering servant, is a valid and certain work - recognized by the Father. The Father accepts the Son's suffering for you. As the prophet Isaiah reminds us: "By His stripes you are healed".
Transition: There is still a matter of Old Testament prophecy that needs to be cleared up. Jesus' suffering fulfills prophetic predictions.
3. These words spoken from the cross shows the fulfillment of prophecy.
A. Jesus' suffering was predicted in Psalm 22 and Psalm 69. Although they were written centuries before Jesus was born David speaks as if He is standing there at the cross. Read through these wonderful Psalms this week. The prophecies have been fulfilled by Jesus at the cross when He cried out "I thirst"
B. Fulfilled prophecy authenticates Christ. If Jesus were to fail in any of the clear Old Testament prophecies which predict what the Son of God would do Jesus would be considered a fake, a fraud, a false Christ. Yet because prophecy has been fulfilled we can say with Thomas "Jesus you alone are my Lord and my God!"
CONCLUSION: The 5th word spoken from the cross: "I thirst" shows the extent of Jesus' human suffering. It helps us endure our own hurts and pains and authenticates Christ as our one and only Messiah - the Savior of the world.

Schnorr von Carolsfeld, woodcuts © WELS Permission to use these copyrighted items is limited to personal and congregational use.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Causing to Sin

Exodus 5:1-6:1
1 Corinthians 14:20-40
March 23, 2010


And if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck. If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where "their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.' Everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with each other."- Mark 9:42-50

Any sacrifice is worth eternal life rather than going to hell forever which is described as eternal torment. Jesus refers to His followers as salt. He calls His followers to radical obedience rather than to accommodation to the world.

It is clear that Jesus believed in the reality of hell. He says that sinners go to hell unless they repent and seek forgiveness. The condition of hell is misery and torment. Here there is no thought that all people ultimately will be saved and live forever in heaven. Hell is a reality to Jesus and the church. We may not believe in the description of hell as a place of fire, but all can agree it is a condition of misery resulting from sin, separation from God.

Jesus wants His followers to enjoy the fullness of life. All that God created is good. However, if any part of us or any habit causes us to sin, we are to get rid of it. It would be better to abstain and deny ourselves certain pleasures and privileges than to allow one pleasure to ruin the whole.

Almighty God, we beseech thee graciously to behold this Thy family, for which our Lord Jesus Christ was contented to be betrayed and given up into the hands of wicked men and to suffer death upon the cross; through the same Jesus Christ. Thy Son, our Lord.


Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series B John Brokhoff © 1981 CSS Publishing, Lima, OH
Collect for Good Friday The Lutheran Hymnal © 1940 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

Monday, March 22, 2010

IN MEMORIAM

PAUL FUHRMANN
11.30.1917 - 3.22.2010
Born into this world a sinner - November 30, 1917
Born again baptized into Christ - December 9, 1917
Confirmed in the Faith - March 20, 1932
Born into glory with Christ in peace -March 22, 2010
Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart. Whom have I in heaven but Thee and there is none upon earth that I desire beside Thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever. Psalm 73:1, 25-26

Time in the Word - Palm Sunday



The Theme for Palm Sunday is “The Nature of God’s Love”. In the Old Testament lesson (Deuteronomy 32:36-39) Love is seen as compassion. God has compassion on His people in their extremity. In the Epistle lesson (Philippians 2:5-11) Love is shown in humble service. Christ humbled Himself and God exalted Him. In the Gospel lesson (Luke 23:1-49) Love as sacrifice is seen as Christ goes to the cross and we observe the trials and death of Jesus. If the church observes Palm Sunday the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem (Luke 19:28-40) is read.

Collect for Palm Sunday Almighty and everlasting God, You sent Your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, to take upon Himself our flesh and to suffer death upon the cross. Mercifully grant that we may follow the example of His great humility and patience and be made partakers of His resurrection through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Monday, 22 March 2010Psalm 24:7-10, Antiphon, Psalm 118:26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! We bless You from the house of the Lord. The one who with god’s help defeated the enemies “in the name of the Lord” from God’s very presence. The plural is used as a reference to God alone who deserves worship and praise. The crowd that gathered around Jesus when He rode into Jerusalem on His Triumphal Entry sang Vv. 25-26 of this famous psalm.


Tuesday, 23 March 2010Psalm 118:19-29; key verse v26 Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord. Again, these are the words used to praise Jesus when He came in triumph. At the end of that day and by the end of the week He would be rejected. The people simply wanted a different kind of King. What sort of king are you seeking? Does Jesus fit the profile? If not, for what sort of king should you seek?

Wednesday, 24 March 2010Deuteronomy 32:36-39– God has compasis0on on His people in their extremity. God’s opportunity is Man’s extremity. Consider the condition of man. He is powerless – “Their power is gone.” He is nothing – “There is none remaining” Then there is God’s opportunity – Vindication – “The Lord will vindicate His people” and compassion – “Compassion on His servants.”

Thursday, 25 March 2010Philippians 2:5-11 – Paul seems to be going in two opposite directions. Christ’s going down in humility and going up in exaltation. The key is that no one can go up unless he first goes down. Holy Week is the period of Christ’s going down even to the depth of death. Because of this, we can anticipate His rising from the dead to the right hand of the father. Paul urges his people to have this same mind of humility that God may exalt them.

Friday, 26 March 2010Luke 19:28-40– Jesus sent two disciples to bring Him a colt upon which He could ride into Jerusalem. This is probably the humblest animal available. To this day we use “ass” or “Jackass” to heap scorn on people. You may consider yourself an ass and thus feel unworthy of being a servant of Christ.


Even if you are an ass, Christ can use you. During the Medieval period, a young man with not too many brains was examined for the priest-hood. His examiner was in despair and told him that he was so stupid that he was only half an ass. The candidate replied that is Samson could kill thousands with the jawbone of an ass, maybe God could do wonders with a whole ass. Though you may consider yourself of little value ponder these realities. You are needed. (v.31) And you can carry Jesus to others. (v.35)

Saturday, 27 March 2009—-John 12:12-15; Psalm 118:26; Psalm 24:7-9- Sunday’s hymn of the day is All Glory, Laud, and Honor (442 LSB). Today is the day in which we worship Jesus as He rode into the streets of Jerusalem as Lord and King. In many churches the youth are confirmed. If not it is a wonderful opportunity to reaffirm your confirmation vows. Some of the most moving and dramatic readings and reflections happen on Palm Sunday it is both a happy and somber mood. Christ is hailed and at the same time rejected. He offers Himself only to be refused. If Jesus were to come to your fair city what sort of reception might He receive?

Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 and Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House
Schnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use
Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series C – John Brokhoff © 1979 CSS Publishing, Lima, OH

Who is Greatest? - Whoever Is Not Against Us Is for Us

Exodus 4:10-31
1 Corinthians 14:1-19
March 22, 2010

They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, "What were you arguing about on the road?" But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest. Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, "If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all." He took a little child and had him stand among them. Taking him in his arms, he said to them, "Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me."

"Teacher," said John, "we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us." "Do not stop him," Jesus said. "No one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us. I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward
.-Mark 9:33-41

Respect! Arethra Franklyn the queen of soul sang about giving it. Rodney Dangerfield the comedian complained that he never got it. Often we too, may feel that we get no respect – from our peers, from our parents, from our teammates, and from others around us. People often resort to bizarre means to get respect from others, but so often they end up as fools, still crying for – respect.

We are so concerned about getting respect from other people. What about respect from God? God respects all people in the sense that we all are important to Him. After all, He created us in still preserves us. Are we respectable enough by God’s standards to be in heaven one day with Him? How do we get from God the respect that makes us worthy of eternal life? Today our lesson asks the question how we get respect in God’s sight.

God’s respect is not earned. Our humility and service do not measure up to God’s perfect standard. Like the disciples, we would rather be served then serve. Even when we serve, our motive is often self-serving. We make comparisons: “I have served more than you have.” Pride creeps in to stain our service.

We labor under the false pretense if we think we can earn God’s respect by our humble serving. Jesus refused to seek people’s respect under a false pretense. They went on from there and passed through Galilee. He did not want anyone to know it (v.30) The way to God’s respect is opened by honest admission that in ourselves we are not respectable people.

Keep, we pray You, O Lord, Your church with Your perpetual mercy; and because without You we cannot but fall, keep us ever by Your help from all things hurtful, and lead us to all things profitable to our salvation; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Collect for the Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost Lutheran Book of Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House St. Louis

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Bach Collegium


Saturday, March 27, 2010 the Bach Collegium will be featured on WBNI 94.1 FM from 6:00-8:00 pm If you have time give them a listen! You'll be glad you did.


photo comes from the Bach Collegium web site http://www.bachcollegium.org

The Claims of Jesus About Himself

Exodus 3:16-4:12
Romans 12:1-12
March 21, 2010


The Jews answered him, "Aren't we right in saying that you are a Samaritan and demon-possessed?" "I am not possessed by a demon," said Jesus, "but I honor my Father and you dishonor me. I am not seeking glory for myself; but there is one who seeks it, and he is the judge. I tell you the truth, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death." At this the Jews exclaimed, "Now we know that you are demon-possessed! Abraham died and so did the prophets, yet you say that if anyone keeps your word, he will never taste death. Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?" Jesus replied, "If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and keep his word. 56Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad." "You are not yet fifty years old," the Jews said to him, "and you have seen Abraham!" "I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!" 59At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds. - John 8:48-59

Jesus did not want to give glory to himself, but only to his father in heaven.
Jesus was trying to make it clear to the Jews that he was of God and he did as his father had told him. The Jews had no understanding of this and wanted to kill Jesus. They were afraid of him and thought he was trying to take over there earthly kingdom.
We should also honor him. Of course, we should give honor to our earthly father but so much more important that we give honor to our heavenly father.
“If anyone keeps my word, He will never taste death” We will live forever, not on earth but in heaven. What a true glory that we will experience when we finally get to heaven.
Have you ever imagined what a wonderful place heaven would be? Whenever you read about heaven it is described in detail as so glorious, the music, the sights. It sounds so wonderful that anyone on earth cannot truly understand what awaits us there.
What a real gift this will be for all believers.
Bonnie Buuck

Almighty God, by Your great goodness mercifully look upon Your people that we may be governed and preserved evermore in body and soul; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Collect for the Fifth Sunday in Lent Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House St. Louis

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Healing of a Boy with an Evil Spirit

Exodus 2:23-3:15
1 Corinthians 13:1-13
March 20:2010

When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them. As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him. "What are you arguing with them about?" he asked. A man in the crowd answered, "Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not." "O unbelieving generation," Jesus replied, "how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me." So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth. Jesus asked the boy's father, "How long has he been like this?" "From childhood," he answered. "It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us." "'If you can'?" said Jesus. "Everything is possible for him who believes." Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the evil spirit. "You deaf and mute spirit," he said, "I command you, come out of him and never enter him again." The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, "He's dead." 27But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up. After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, "Why couldn't we drive it out?" He replied, "This kind can come out only by prayer." They left that place and passed through Galilee. Jesus did not want anyone to know where they were, because he was teaching his disciples. He said to them, "The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise." 32But they did not understand what he meant and were afraid to ask him about it. - Mark 9:14-30


Every confrontation between Jesus and Satan results in the victory of life over death. But no one could see it. No one could understand. This victory will come at a serious price. The devil does not give us easily. He takes what does not belong to him. He will not give up without a fight. A desperate father finds himself in a hopeless situation. His son has been both demon-possessed and epileptic. He’s fraught with fear. He wants healing for his son before the demon kills him. The boy, who had been sick since childhood, had experienced numerous vicious attacks. The demon had often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. He had faith. He brought his son to Jesus’ disciples. After all, they had been given charge over the demons. Yet even they could not help. All they could do was fuss and fight with the authorities and each other. Now His faith was shaken. “Lord I believe, help my unbelief!”

At Christ’s command evry demon must leave but not without a fight. The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, "He's dead." But with the touch of the Savior the boy is redeemed, restored, forgiven. Jesus came to a wicked and unbelieving generation. Only by death and prayer can the demons be defeated. The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise. Only His death will cause Satan to fall.

Grant, we beseech thee, Almighty God, that we, who for our evil deeds are continually afflicted, may mercifully be relieved by the Passion of Thine only-begotten Son.


Collect for Wednesday of Holy Week The Lutheran Hymnal © 1940 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Transfiguration




Exodus 2:1-22
1 Corinthians 12:27-13:3
March 19, 2010

After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. 3His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Peter said to Jesus, "Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah." (He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.) Then a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and a voice came from the cloud: "This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!" Suddenly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus. As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus gave them orders not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead. They kept the matter to themselves, discussing what "rising from the dead" meant. And they asked him, "Why do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?" Jesus replied, "To be sure, Elijah does come first, and restores all things. Why then is it written that the Son of Man must suffer much and be rejected? But I tell you, Elijah has come, and they have done to him everything they wished, just as it is written about him."- Mark 9:2-13

The Transfiguration of Jesus Christ was and is an historic occasion. The challenge, is to answer the question “so what?” What does the fact that the Lord Jesus was transfigured mean to you living in the 21st Century? How is it relevant to your daily life? What is the Lord saying to us in this experience? Let us take a look.

The Lord’s glorious Transfiguration is an example to follow – go to a mountain of prayer. “Jesus went to a mountain where they were all alone.” Vs. 2 It was Jesus’ pattern to pray. It was Jesus’ pattern to get away from the crowd, away from the hustle of life, away from His plans and priorities. We too are busy people. There are commitments and deadlines, appointments and schedules that have to be kept. Yet, Jesus first priority was to His heavenly Father. He said to Mary and Joseph, “Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49) He said to his disciples, ‘But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33) In the midst of our busy lives we need to turn off the computer, disengage the cell phone, walk away from our television series and spend both quality and quantity time with the Lord in prayer.

O God, in the glorious transfiguration of Your only-begotten Son You once confirmed the mysteries of the faith by the testimony of the ancient fathers, and in the voice that came from the bright cloud Yu wondrously foreshowed our adoption by grace. Therefore mercifully make us coheirs with our King of His glory, and bring us to the fullness of our inheritance in heaven; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Collect for the Transfiguration of our Lord Lutheran Book of Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House St. Louis
Schnorr von Carolsfeld, woodcuts © WELS Permission to use these copyrighted items is limited to personal and congregational use.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Peter's Confession of Christ - Jesus Predicts His Death

Exodus 1:6-22
1 Corinthians 12:12-26
March 18, 2010


Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, "Who do people say I am?" They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets. "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?" Peter answered, "You are the Christ" Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.


He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. 32He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. "Get behind me, Satan!" he said. "You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men." Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life[c] will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels." Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, "Who do people say I am?" They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets." But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?" Peter answered, "You are the Christ. Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him. - Mark 8:27-38


At Caesarea Philippi Peter confesses that Jesus is the Christ. We have come to a crucial point in Jesus’ ministry. Before Jesus goes on to Jerusalem to die, He must be certain that His disciples grasp who He is. He asks the disciples what people are saying about Him. Now He asks them who they think He is> Peter responds, ‘You are the Christ.” Then Jesus explains that He must suffer, die and rise again. This does not fit into Peter’s understanding of the Messiah. He rebukes Jesus for saying it but Jesus in turn rebukes Peter as the mouthpiece of Satan. God wills for Jesus to suffer and die, not to go to the cross would be Satan’s wish. What He Himself must do, His followers also must do: self-denial, cross-bearing, and following Christ. In this self-giving, His followers will find themselves.


How does one come to Christ? Preachers say, “Come to Christ, accept Christ.” The laity ask; “How do you do this? Give us some handles.” Jesus answers the question: To come is to deny self, embrace a cross, and follow Jesus into a life of service and sacrifice. Who said discipleship was easy?

Almighty and everlasting God, grant us grace so to pass through this holy time of our Lord’s Passion that we may obtain the pardon of our sins; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series B John Brokhoff © 1981 CSS Publishing, Lima, OH
Collect for Tuesday of Holy Week The Lutheran Hymnal © 1940 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Yeast of the Pharisees and Herod - The Healing of a Blind Man at Bethsaida

Genesis 50:15-26
1 Corinthians 12:1-11
March 17, 2010

The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, except for one loaf they had with them in the boat. "Be careful," Jesus warned them. "Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod." They discussed this with one another and said, "It is because we have no bread." Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked them: "Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? 18Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don't you remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?" "Twelve," they replied. "And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?" They answered, "Seven." He said to them, "Do you still not understand?"

They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man's eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, "Do you see anything?" He looked up and said, "I see people; they look like trees walking around." Once more Jesus put his hands on the man's eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. Jesus sent him home, saying, "Don't go into the village.-
Mark 8:14-25

When watching the news at night, it is easy to become discouraged by stories of our struggling economy. We might start to worry about our own situation and wonder whether our families will have enough to get by.


In Mark 8:14-21 the disciples find themselves in a similar situation when they forget to bring some bread with them to eat. Jesus sees that they are distressed and tells them “Watch out; beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Herod” (8:15). Jesus wants the disciples to keep from the sinful ways of the Pharisees and their teachings. He wants them to understand that real spiritual nourishment comes only from him.

However, instead of listening to Jesus the disciples continue to complain about the fact that they have no bread. They get so distressed over their empty stomachs that they forget that Jesus has already miraculously fed five thousand people and then four thousand people. Jesus reminds them by saying, “Do you not yet perceive or understand…and do you not remember when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand?” (8:18-19).

Like the disciples we often forget that God provides for all our needs, physical and spiritual. Though we may forget about our daily blessings, God does not forget us. In fact, the Father had you in mind when he sent his only begotten son to suffer and die for you, so that you would receive salvation and forgiveness of sins. Jesus gives himself to us through his word and sacraments so that we may have everlasting life with him in heaven.

During this season of Lent, remember that God not only provides for your physical needs, but your spiritual needs as well by the suffering Christ endured on your behalf.

Seminarian Brian Flemme

Grant, we beseech Thee, Almighty God, that we, who amid so many adversities do fail through our own infirmities, may be restored through the Passion and intercession o f Thine only-begotten Son.

Collect for Monday of Holy Week The Lutheran Hymnal © 1940 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

4th word - "The word of Abandonment"


My God, why have You forsaken Me?
INTRODUCTION: Christ our Savior suspended on the cross cries out with a heart felt cry: "My God, why have You abandoned Me?" To understand these words is to understand not only what the cross preaches but also what Jesus hanging on that cross offers for a lost and dying world.
1. These words express the extent of Jesus' suffering.
A. Jesus endured enormous physical agony. Jesus endured a most shameful death. The Old Testament Scriptures remind us of the curse: "Cursed be anyone who hangs on a tree" Thus the sufferings Jesus endured from God were even more profound.
Roman citizens were exempt from crucifixion. It was reserved for the vilest of offenders. Crucifixion would take days for death to become a reality. It could take a week before crucifixion would run its full course. The cause of death by crucifixion was asphyxiation; a slow, methodical excruciating form of torture. Pain, dehydration, hallucinations were all accompanied this mad form of capital punishment.
B. The silence of God and nature demonstrate how profound the death of God's only begotten Son would become. The sun hid its face - there was a total eclipse of the sun from noon until 3 PM as darkness covered the earth.
C. What are we to make of all this? What was God the Father doing as His Son was dying? The Father was actually turning His back away from His Son. The Father abandoned His Son so that He would not have to abandon you for He bore your sins in His own body on the tree that dying to sin you might live unto righteousness.
2. Then there is the cause of Jesus' sufferings.
A. On the cross, abandoned by God and by man Jesus Christ was made sin for us. He carried our sin; He became sin for us. At the cross we see the great exchange all of the world's sin including your own is placed on the shoulders of Jesus. Jesus became sin for us. At the cross the Father accepts the Son's sacrifice and removed your sin, stills the Father's anger, and forgives your sin.
B. Thus, all of the world's sin was poured out on Him. "In Adam we have all been one; one huge rebellious man. We all have heard that lonesome voice that called us when we ran" Jesus became the world's substitute. All of the world's hatred, misery, sins and guilt have been transferred to the Son of Man. If the world's sin has been transferred to Him what else remains on you? There can be only one thing left -the Lord's innocence, righteousness and peace.
CONCLUSION: At the cross the Father abandoned the Son so that you and I could never experience being abandoned by God. Thanks be to Jesus for this most precious gift.

Schnorr von Carolsfeld, woodcuts © WELS Permission to use these copyrighted items is limited to personal and congregational use.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Jesus Feeds the Four Thousand


Genesis 49:29-50:14
1 Corinthians 11:17-34
March 16, 2010

During those days another large crowd gathered. Since they had nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples to him and said, I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. If I send them home hungry, they will collapse on the way, because some of them have come a long distance. His disciples answered, But where in this remote place can anyone get enough bread to feed them? How many loaves do you have? Jesus asked. Seven, they replied. He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. When he had taken the seven loaves and given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to set before the people, and they did so. They had a few small fish as well; he gave thanks for them also and told the disciples to distribute them. The people ate and were satisfied. Afterwards the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. About four thousand men were present. And having sent them away, he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the region of Dalmanutha. The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. To test him, they asked him for a sign from heaven. He sighed deeply and said, Why does this generation ask for a miraculous sign? I tell you the truth, no sign will be given to it. Then he left them, got back into the boat and crossed to the other side. -Mark 8:1-10

Jesus fed 4,000 with seven loaves of bread and a few fish. They ended up with seven baskets of leftovers! Kinda like when Mom makes spaghetti – you have it for leftovers for days! This is one of Jesus’ many miracles. He shows compassion on the multitude and feeds them with what He has. After blessing it He gives it to the people. 4,000 men were fed, not to mention wives and children. In all it may have been about 12,000 fed! Wow! Jesus set the table and the people left satisfied.

Kathy Jenkins

Almighty and everlasting God, who hast sent Thy Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, to take upon Him our flesh and to suffer death upon the cross that all mankind should follow the example of His great humility, mercifully grant that we may both follow the example of His patience and also be made partakers of His resurrection; through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Collect for Palmarum Sunday The Lutheran Hymnal © 1940 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
Schnorr von Carolsfeld, woodcuts © WELS Permission to use these copyrighted items is limited to personal and congregational use.

Monday, March 15, 2010

March Madness is almost here

Here are my brackets for the four post season tournaments this year...



The College Insider.com Postseason Tournament has no set bracket. The CIT uses the old NIT model of determining future round opponents following the conclusion of the previous round. I'm liking Harvard and Southern Mississippi.





The College Basketball Invitational is a 16 team single elimination tournament. The final four teams are re-seeded and the championship is a best of three game series with the higher seed receiving home court advantage. Indiana State takes on a tough St. Louis team in the opening round played in Akron, OH I have Akron, Eastern Kentucky, Orgean State, and Prinston in the final four with Akron and Prinston in the championship. Akron wills themselves a championship in a close one.

The National Invitation Tournament a 32 team tournament which pre-dates the NCAA. Opening games are played on college campuses until the final four which is always played in New York City. I have Dayton, Mississippi, Northwestern and Mississippi State in the final four with Mississippi and Mississippi State battling it out for state bragging rights with State walking away in the championship. The NCAA will be played during Holy Week in Indianapolis. My Elite Eight are Northern Iowa, Ohio State, Butler, Xavier, Wisconsin, New Mexico, Duke and Notre Dame. My final four picks include Duke, New Mexico, Butler, and Ohio State. Ohio State will knock off Duke in the championship game on Easter Monday.

Disclaimer: I have watched little if any basketball this season as we do not have a dish and it has been quite a busy Advent - Lent. Still it's fun to fill out the brackets. One year Lydia filled out her brackets based on the team's color scheme and mascot and got seven of the elite eight, the final four and the champion all correct so anything is possible.

Logos found at each tournament's web site.







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The Faith of a Syro-Phoenician Woman - The Healing of a Deaf and Mute Man

Genesis 49:1-28
1 Corinthians 10:14-11:1
March 15, 2010

Jesus left that place and went to the vicinity of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it; yet he could not keep his presence secret. In fact, as soon as she heard about him, a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an evil spirit came and fell at his feet. The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter. First let the children eat all they want, he told her, for it is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs. Yes, Lord, she replied, but even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs. Then he told her, For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter. She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.

Then Jesus left the vicinity of Tyre and went through Sidon, down to the Sea of Galilee and into the region of the Decapolis. There some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged him to place his hand on the man. After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers into the man's ears. Then he spat and touched the man's tongue. He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, Ephphatha! (which means, Be opened!). At this, the man's ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly. Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone. But the more he did so, the more they kept talking about it. People were overwhelmed with amazement. He has done everything well, they said. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak
. -Mark 7:24-37

Mark assures us that there is absolutely no reason to doubt any of God’s promises or wonder about the sufficiency of His plans for us. Why? Because His promises are all based on the One whose word and work are totally reliable. He has always delivered on what He has promised.

He has perfectly met all our needs. Mark convinces us to count on Jesus Christ because He has done all things well. “He has done all things well” says Mark. This is there definitive conclusion of the men who brought their deaf and speech-impaired from to Jesus for healing. It might sound strange the way Mark put it in the original Greek text but he writes it this way to bring out the emphasis of these friend’s exclamation “Well (Kalos) all things He has done!” A standard of excellence has been stamped on everything Jesus has done.

Jesus does everything well. Christ always does what is exactly appropriate, just, right and totally sufficient for the situation.

Everything that Jesus does is done in just the right way, the best way, - the perfectly sufficient and appropriate way. The friends of the man who was healed praise the Savior’s action which is all inclusive. Literally everything Jesus has done meets the standard of perfection.

These men were eyewitnesses of Jesus perfect healing of their friend in a way that was totally adequate and just for him. They observed Christ’s deep compassion for their friend and His penetrating understanding of the man’s need. They watched as Jesus sensitively led their friend away from the confusion and sensation of the crowds so he could focus his full attention on the Healer. They marveled when they saw the personal, reassuring, intimate touch Jesus gave to their friend’s ears and tongue. And their exuberant exaltation of Jesus could be contained no longer when their friend, so long imprisoned by his impediments, was set free for the joys of hearing and speaking. No wonder they couldn’t contain their testimony about the Lord, even though He requested their silence. Who wouldn’t want to tell the world? He has done all things well!

Grant, merciful Lord, to Your faithful people pardon and peace that we they may be cleansed from all their sins and serve You in a quiet mind; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Collect for the Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost Lutheran Book of Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House St. Louis

Time in the Word - Lent 5




The Theme for Lent 5, “Forecast of the Future” helps us see the purpose and the necessity of the cross. It is a one time act but has eternal consequences. In the Old Testament lesson (Isaiah 43:16-21) God will do a new thing for His people as He promises to do a new thing for His people, something good. In the Epistle lesson, (Philippians 3:8-14) Christians strain forward to the future goal of Christ. Paul says that he forgets the past and looks forward to the future. In the Gospel lesson, (Luke 20:9-19) Judgment will come to those who reject God’s Son. This is brought out in the parable of the wicked tenants. The Hymn of the day is a contemplative hymn which focuses on Christ’s crucifixion. It is one of the most powerful hymns in our hymnal.

Collect for Lent 5 Almighty God, by Your great goodness mercifully look upon Your people that we may be governed and preserved evermore in body and soul; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever. Amen

Monday, 15 March 2010Psalm 3:3-6, Antiphon, Psalm 3:8 Salvation belongs to the Lord; Your blessings be on Your people! Though threatened by many foes, the psalmist prays confidently to the Lord. A common feature in the prayers of the Psalter is a concluding expression of confidence that the prayer will be or will be heard. David’s confidence becomes a testimony to God’s people. As he stands before God the psalmist King David prays on behalf of the nation.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010Psalm 126; key verse v3The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. Psalm 126 is a song of joy for restoration to Zion. If not composes for those who returned from Babylonian exile the place of exiles is not names it surely served to voice the joy of the restored community. The psalm divides into two stanzas of four Hebrew lines each with their initial lines sharing a common theme. Thematic unity is further served by repetition and other key words

Wednesday, 17 March 2010Isaiah 43:16-21– In this passage4 God asks us to stop thinking and talking about all the good things God did for us in the past such as the Exodus from Egypt. Something better is going to happen to us – a new and better Exodus from the slavery of sin. God promises to do a new thing. (v.19) God will make a way out of bondage. (v.19) God will provide provisions on the way. (v.20) God will give you reason to praise Him. (v.21)

Thursday, 18 March 2010Philippians 3:8-14 –In this reading Paul shows us how the past, present and future come together in a Christian’s life. We do not live in any on tense. All of time is involved in a Christian’s life. The past –we consider it refuse. (v.8) The present – we have Christ by faith. (v.9) The future – we look to the future goal of oneness in Christ. (V.12-14)

Friday, 19 March 2010Luke 20:9-20– In the parable packed with truths in allegorical form, the Savior teaches us.

He tells us about God – God is the owner of our world and is entitled to rent. God is patient with us. Three times He sent a servant, then a son. God’s patience has an end-judgment will be enacted. God has no other plan to reconcile us – Christ was His only Son. He can do no more. If the world does not accept Christ, nothing but destruction lies ahead.

He tells us about Christ. He is God’s Son. Other before Him were only “servants.” He holds a unique position with God the father, an intimacy and a oneness. He was sent by God – to receive us our obligation to God. Jesus has a mission. He was obedient to God’s will. He knew that his end was death at the hands of wicked men. His death was not an accident, not bad luck, not forced. In obedience to God, He faced the cross courageously and voluntarily. The parable announces His approaching end.

He tells us about mankind. Man is only a steward, not the owner. As such he owes God a return. Man is a rebel – in constant rebellion against God. He refuses to render to God what is God’s. He rejects servants and son. Man wants to be the owner-God. He refuses to give God his portion and hopes to take over the vineyard by killing the son. Man is prone to violence – beating and killing servants and son. Elijah was driven into the wilderness. Isaiah was sawn asunder. Zachariah was stoned to death before the altar. John the Baptizer was beheaded. Jesus was crucified.

Saturday, 20 March 2009—-Isaiah 53:3-6, Acts 4:11-12, Romans 4:23- Sunday’s hymn of the day is Stricken Smitten, and Afflicted (451 LSB). We move deeper into Lent and the cross now becomes the focal point of our Lenten journey. The cross can not be denied the Savior. This week’s hymn is one of the most profound hymns written in the Lent and Holy Week section of the hymnal. It speaks for itself. Take some time as you prepare for worship tomorrow to contemplate all the Savior has done for you.


Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 and Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House
Schnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use
Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series C – John Brokhoff © 1979 CSS Publishing, Lima, OH

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Jesus the Bread of Life

When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, "Rabbi, when did you get here?" Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval." Then they asked him, "What must we do to do the works God requires?" Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent." So they asked him, "What miraculous sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? Our forefathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written: 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'" Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." "Sir," they said, "from now on give us this bread." Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day." -John 6:25-40

Jesus provides physical food to 5,000 hungry people. Some of them follow Him to Capernaum. He explains that they have come for more physical bread, but He would rather that they had spiritual food which comes from heaven, food for the soul. He then identifies Himself as the bread from heaven similar to the manna God sent to His people in the wilderness.

The disciples had gone alone in a boat across the Sea of Galilee and Jesus met them by walking on the water. Knowing that Jesus did not go with the disciples and yet He was with them, and only one boat was there – the people wondered how He got there. Jesus ignores their query and says they came for more bread rather than for the signs He performed. Jesus urges them not to work for physical bread but for spiritual food. This leads them to ask what the work of God is. Jesus replies that the world of God is to believe in Him. They ask for a sign that would persuade them to believe in Hid and refer to the manna received in the wilderness. Jesus assures them that God sent the bread from heaven, the bread that gives life to the world. Then they ask Him to give this kind of bread. He reveals that He is the Bread of Life. Whoever comes to Him and believes in Him will never hunger nor thirst.

Jesus means “life” as more than human existence. One can live daily without having life in terms of quality. As the bread of life Jesus has something to offer that makes existence worthwhile and a life that has no ending in spit of physical death.

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, Your mercies are new every morning; and though we deserve only punishment, You receive us as Your children and provide for all our needs of body and soul. Grant that we may heartily acknowledge Your merciful goodness, give thanks for all Your benefits, and serve You in willing obedience; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series B John Brokhoff © 1981 CSS Publishing, Lima, OH
Collect for the Fourth Sunday in Lent Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House St. Louis