The theme for the Fourth Sunday in Lent is Salvation by Sight. On the fourth Sunday in Lent we begin to see the cross in the distance and learn of its healing power of salvation by grace. As Moses raised a brazen serpent, Jesus must be raised up on a cross. The upraised serpent in the Old Testament lesson brought healing through the forgiving love of God. This took place simply by looking to the upraised serpent. The cross brings eternal life to those who look to the cross with the eyes of faith in the Gospel lesson. With Christ we are raised to heavenly places where we see the riches of grace in the Epistle lesson. Salvation comes simply in a look – a look at the cross and a look in faith. Salvation is the theme of the Psalm of the Day. The Hymn of the Day is based on John 3:16 a verse from this week’s Gospel lesson. Next Sunday’s lessons present us with tremendous texts as Ephesians 2:8 and John 3:16 as well as basic themes; salvation by grace, the cross, the amazing love of God, and the healing power of forgiveness.
A Prayer for aid against temptation: O God, You justify the ungodly and desire not the death of the sinner. Graciously assist us by Your heavenly aid and evermore shield us with Your protection, that no temptation may separate us from Your love in Christ Jesus, our Lord.
A Prayer in times of temptation: Almighty and everlasting God, through Your Son You have promised us forgiveness of sins and everlasting life. Govern our hearts by Your Holy Spirit that in our daily needs, and especially in all time of temptation we may seek Your help and, by a true and lively faith in Your Word, obtain all that You have promised; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord.
A Prayer for humility: O God, You resist the proud and give grace to the humble. Grant us true humility after the likeness of Your only Son that we may never be arrogant and prideful and thus provoke Your wrath but in all lowliness be made partakers of the gifts of Your grace; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
For blessing on the Word: Lord God, bless Your Word wherever it is proclaimed. Make it a word of power and peace to convert those not yet Your own and to confirm those who have come to saving faith. May Your Word pass from the ear to the heart, from the heart to the lip, and from the lip to the life that, as You have promised, Your Word may achieve the purpose for which You send it; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Monday, 12 March 2012—Psalm 27:3-5; antiphon, Psalm 27:1— The antiphon for Sunday’s Introit, Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord, reflects David’s confidence and faith in the Lord, exhorting all people also to place their trust in the Lord. This psalm is the entire psalm from which the Introit was taken. This is a psalm of David, a plea for deliverance from his enemies – evil men who breathe out violence and advance against him to devour his flesh. David boldly asserts that he is not afraid, for the Lord is his light and salvation. What is the source of David’s confidence? Continual fellowship with God. Our best defense against the assault of our enemy, the devil, is to follow David’s example: worship in the house of the Lord. In the day of trouble, He will keep us safe in His dwelling.
Tuesday, 13 March 2012—Psalm 107:1-9 key verse v.1 — Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures for ever. In all things we are encourage to praise and return thanks to the Lord, especially in light of Christ’s redeeming work He did for us on the cross.
Wednesday, 14 March 2012—Numbers 21:4-9— Sight of the uplifted serpent brings healing. The complaining Israelites are healed of their serpent bites by looking at Moses’ upraised bronze serpent. Because of the Israelites’ rebelliousness – speaking evil of Moses and God – the Lord sent poisonous serpents among the people. They were bitten and many died. When Moses interceded with the Lord on the peoples’ behalf, the Lord instructed Moses to make a bronze snake; when the people looked upon it in faith that the Lord would deliver them from the snakes, they were spared. There was nothing magical about the snake. The healing came from God alone, and depended on faith in His Word.
Thursday, 15 March 2012—Ephesians 2:1-10— Sight of the exalted Christ reveals the riches of God’s grace. Our lesson teaches that salvation is a gift of God’s grace received by faith.
This passage is justly famous among Lutherans, for it clearly shows that our salvation is in no way dependent upon our works, but solely upon the incomparable riches of God’s grace. What a turnabout! We, who were dead in our transgressions, have been made alive in Christ! Even more, we have been seated with Christ in the heavenly realms.
Friday, 16 March 2012—John 3:14-21— Sight of Christ crucified results in eternal life. Eternal life comes to those who believe in the crucified Son of God. During Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus, He explained how God had showed His love and mercy to a rebellious people by providing the remedy for the deadly snakes. Like the bronze serpent that Moses lifted up in the wilderness, Jesus, the Son of God, would be lifted up on a cross to provide the remedy for sin and death for all people. However, those who have no faith – those who reject the Word of God – condemn themselves.
Saturday, 17 March 2012— John 3:16-18 - The hymn of the Day God Loved the World So that He Gave) – Here is a wonderful Gospel hymn. The first stanza restates the “Gospel in a nutshell,” John 3:16. The following four stanzas expand upon the first, proclaiming the love of God for sinners – a love so deep that He sacrifices His own Son in our stead, that we might have everlasting life. It clearly proclaims Holy Baptism as the means by which our Lord grants forgiveness to us unworthy sinners. Stanza 6 expresses our grateful response to God’s grace poured out upon us in a hymn of praise to the Holy Trinity.
Collect for the Fourth Sunday in Lent— Almighty God, our heavenly Father, whose mercies are new unto us every morning, and who, though we have in no wise deserved Thy goodness, dost abundantly provide for all our wants of body and soul, give us, we pray Thee, Thy Holy Spirit that we may heartily acknowledge Thy merciful goodness toward us, give thanks for all Thy benefits, and serve Thee in willing obedience; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House.
Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series B John Brokhoff © 1981 CSS Publishing
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