By the Cross of Our Lord Jesus, We Inherit Life Everlasting with God
In His covenant with Abraham, the Lord promised to be with him, to bless him, and to make him “the father of a multitude of nations.” It is “an everlasting covenant” in Christ Jesus, the seed of Abraham who is blameless before God Almighty. All who believe in this Lord Jesus are the offspring of Abraham and are blessed “throughout their generations” (Gen. 17:1–7), because the Christ has suffered many things, He was rejected and killed, and after three days He rose again (Mark 8:31). To comprehend this theology of the cross, we must set our mind “on the things of God,” and not “on the things of man” (Mark 8:33). “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). Therefore, having been “reconciled to God by the death of His Son,” much more “shall we be saved by His life” (Rom. 5:10). Baptized into His cross and resurrection, “we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,” and by faith we rejoice in the hope of His glory (Rom. 5:1–2).
Collect for the Second Sunday in Lent: O God, You see that of ourselves we have no strength. By Your mighty power defend us from all adversities that may happen to the body and from all evil thoughts that may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Prayer for life as a baptized child of God: Merciful Father, through Holy Baptism You called us to be Your own possession. Grant that our lives may evidence the working of Your Holy Spirit in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, according to the image of Your only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior,
Prayer for deliverance from sin: We implore You, O Lord, in Your kindness to show us Your great mercy that we may be set free from our sins and rescued from the punishments that we rightfully deserve; through Jesus Christ, our Lord,
Prayer for grace to love and serve God: O God, through the grace of Your Holy Spirit You pour the gifts of love into the hearts of Your faithful people. Grant Your servants health both of mind and body that they may love You with their whole heart and with their whole strength perform those things that are pleasing to You; thr through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord,
Monday, 27 February 2012—Psalm 115:11-13, 18; antiphon, Psalm 25:6—The Introit sets the theme for the day: Lent is a time of suffering, as the way of the cross often involves suffering for the Christian. In the midst of our suffering we cry out with the Psalmist “Remember Your mercy O LORD, and Your steadfast love. We ask the Father to look at us through His eye of mercy as He remembers the work of Christ our Savior.
Tuesday, 28 February 2012—Psalm 22:23-31—In this psalm, David vows to praise the Lord when the Lord’s sure deliverance comes. The vows proper appear in verses 22 and 25. Verses 23-24 anticipate the calls to praise that will accompany the psalmist’s praise. Verses 26-31 describe the expanding company of those who will take up the praise—a worldwide company of persons form every station in life and continuing through the generations. No psalm or prophecy contains a grander vision of this scope of the throng of worshipers who will join in the praise of God’s saving acts.
Wednesday, 29 February 2012—Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16—In our Old Testament reading, Abram’s name is changed to Abraham as the Lord gives him the covenant of circumcision. The covenant is God’s. God calls it “my covenant” as He initiates and established it. God has covenanted to keep His promises. The Lord gives us His pledge to be the protector of His people and the One who provides for their well-being and guarantees their future blessings.
Thursday, 1 March 2012—Romans 5:1-11—Paul teaches that Christians have peace with God through the reconciliation made possible by the cross. This lesson is a transition from justification by faith to a life of faith beginning with chapter 6. Hence we have Paul’s “therefore” (v.1) By grace through faith, we are one with God in peace and harmony. Out of this relationship come reasons to rejoice: that we share in the glory of God (v.2) that we experience suffering that eventuates in hope (vv.3, 4); and that we are reconciled to God through Christ (v.11). In our suffering, sin and weakness, God comes to us in love expressed in the death of our Savior Jesus Christ.
Friday, 2 March 2012—Mark 8:27-38—Jesus teaches that He must suffer and die and calls
upon His disciples to follow Him in the same. Jesus and the Disciples are at Caesarea Philippi. Peter had confessed Jesus as the Christ. Thereupon Jesus explains to His disciples that as the Messiah He must go to Jerusalem to suffer and die. This did not fit into Peter’s conception of the Messiah and therefore he rebukes Jesus. Jesus sees this as a temptation not to go to the cross. He turns down the temptation by seeing Satan in Peter. Then, in the second part of the lesson (vv. 34-38), Jesus explains to both disciples and people that they, too, are to take the way of the cross that involves denial, suffering, and sacrifice.
The rugged cross means a rugged way of life for a follower of Christ. The Christian style of life is a hard life. Jesus’ life consisted of sorrow, rejection, suffering, and death. His followers can expect no less. The Christian life has a cross at its center. John Donne said, “No cross is so extreme, as to have none. There is no gain without pain.” President Truman had a sign on his desk: “Bring me only bad news. Good news weakens me.” In Tom Sawyer, Mark Twain wrote, “He had discovered a great law of human action, without knowing it—namely, that in order to make a man or a boy covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to obtain.”
Saturday, 3 March 2012—The hymn of the day is Lord, Thee I Love with All My Heart (LSB #708). This can serve also as a beautiful prayer that we may never forsake our Lord Jesus, but that He would be with us all our days and keep us strong in faith until He takes us from this vale of tears to Himself in heaven.
Lectionary summary on the front page from the LCMS Commission on Worship
Artwork by Ed Riojas, © Higher Things
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House