Time in the Word
30 January–4 February 2012
Preparation for next week, Epiphany 5
Collects for Epiphany 5—O Lord, keep Your family the Church continually in the true faith that, relying on the hope of Your heavenly grace, we may ever be defended by Your mighty power; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
O God, our loving Father: Through the grace of Thy Holy Spirit, Thou dost plant the gifts of love into the hearts of Thy faithful people. Grant to Thy servants soundness of mind and body, so that they may love Thee with their whole strength, and with their whole heart do these things that are pleasing in Thy sight; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
Morning Prayer – I thank You, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ Your dear Son, that You have kept me this night from all harm and danger; and I pray that You would keep me this day also from sin and every evil, that all my doings and life may please You. For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me.
Evening Prayer – I thank You, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ Your dear Son, that You have graciously kept me this day; and I pray that You would forgive me all my sins where I have done wrong, and graciously keep me this night. For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me.
Healing for Suffering Humanity
In the season of Epiphany we look at Jesus as He begins His earthly ministry and we ask the question, “is he legitimate?” The answer is found in what Jesus says and what He does. He fulfills the predictions and prescriptions set forth in the Old Testament Scriptures. With the Apostle John we can say, “And we behold His glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
Can Jesus deliver on this foretelling? He is the healer of a suffering humanity. That is our theme for this week. Sufferings, hardship and adversity are facts of life in this fallen world.
Monday, 30 January 2012 – Psalm 112:1, 3, 7-9; Antiphon, Ps 112:4 – In Hebrew, this psalm has a special form: it is an acrostic. After the opening Hallelujah, its 22 lines start with each letter of the Hebrew alphabet, in order. It extols the blessedness of the “man who fears the LORD;” that is, he acts out of reverence and awe of God’s commands and works, and gladly does what pleases his Lord. He is righteous, not by what he does, but by what God has done for him; as a result, he lives in an upright manner.
Tuesday, 31 January 2012 – Psalm 147:1-12 – “How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise Him!” We praise the Lord for His mighty power and unlimited understanding (v. 4); for His mercy shed upon the humble and needy (vv. 2, 3, 6); for His judgment upon the wicked (v. 6); and His provision and sustenance of all creation (vv. 8-9).
Wednesday, 1 February 2012 – Job 7:1-7 – Job endures physical as well as mental suffering. The lament of Job that life is hard is the lament of all men since the Fall of Adam. We suffer in countless ways, some more and some less, but look forward to the end of our days here in this vale of tears, for our God will gather us to Himself, and there will be no more pain, sorrow, or suffering. Jesus began this work, as we shall read in the Gospel, as He went about healing the sick and afflicted. His work shall be brought to completion on the Last Day.
Job experiences the misery of life. The depth of suffering is illustrated in Job’s experience. We know that God has allowed these sufferings. Job’s friend Eliphas hints that Job is somehow at fault as he suggests that God rewards the righteous and afflicts the wicked. Job maintains his innocence despite his despair and hopelessness.
Thursday, 2 February 2012 – 1 Corinthians 9:16-23 – Paul identifies with people of all conditions to win them for Christ. St Paul boasts, not of himself, but of the Gospel. What a privilege it is for him, and all of us, to proclaim the Good News of salvation in Christ Jesus! He cannot but go out to all – Jew, Gentile, weak, strong – and proclaim the forgiveness that belongs to all men through the merits of Christ.
Friday, 3 February 2012 – Mark 1:29-39 – Jesus heals various physical and mental diseases. Here we see Jesus, doing His proper work – delivering people from the effects of their sins. He goes about healing diseases, foreshadowing eternal life, where there will be no disease. He casts out demons, foreshadowing how He will defeat the devil on the cross and cast out the prince of this world into the abyss.
He preaches – preaches the Good News of salvation which God has delivered unto His people in the sending of His Son into the world for the redemption of our sins.
There is a spiritual side to human suffering. Jesus identifies the source of disease; demon possession. Yet the demons must keep silent until Jesus has gone to the cross. Notice the Centurion’s faith as he confesses Jesus as Lord.
Some questions this text raises:
That which cannot kill you can only make you stronger. True?
Does god only reward the righteous and afflict the wicked?
The church today “trauma center” or “gymnasium” which is it?
How can disease and hardship be in fact “the work of the devil”?
Can we say that sickness is akin to demon possession?
What if a person doesn’t get better?
Saturday, 4 February 2012 – Songs of Thankfulness and Praise (TLH 134) – “Epiphany” means “appearance.” In this season of Epiphany, we celebrate many of the epiphanies of God in human flesh: to the wise men, at His Baptism, and in His healing (stanzas 1-3). And, we look forward to His final appearance, when He shall come in judgment (stanza 4), and we shall sing His praises eternally, even as we sing them now (stanza 5).
Concordia Self-Study Commentary, © 1971, 1979, Concordia Publishing House.
Lutheran Worship, © 1982, Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series B John Brokhoff © 1981 CSS Publishing Company, Lima, OH
Lutheran Service Book © 2008 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
Artwork by Ed Rojas, © Higher Thing