The theme for the Fifth Sunday in Lent is the fruit of the cross. Formerly, the fifth Sunday in Lent was named, “Passion Sunday.” Though the name has changed, the theme of suffering and sacrifice of Christ is prevalent. The fruits or results of Christ’s passion are given. In the Gospel Jesus’ upcoming death is an hour of glory for both the Son and the Father. From this suffering Jesus learns obedience. (Epistle lesson) The new covenant, promised in the Old Testament lesson is fulfilled through the death of the Lamb. Christ’s cross enables God and man to enter a new ear of reconciliation. Because of the benefits of the cross, we can glory in it. With the end of Lent approaching, it is good to give consideration to the benefits of the cross of Jesus Christ.
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, 19 March 2012—Psalm 116:1-4, 8; antiphon, Psalm 43:1— In the antiphon, the psalmist cries out for deliverance from the wickedness that surrounds him. The rest of the Introit praises the LORD for His deliverance. When we are made to bear our crosses in our own lives, we, who are righteous by faith, also cry out for deliverance, and praise the LORD for the deliverance He has given us from our most fearsome enemies: the devil, the world, and our flesh.
Tuesday, 20 March 2012—Psalm 119:9-16 key verse v.10 — I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. As the cross and suffering of Christ loom near us we need the Lord’s presences in our life now more then at any other time. This Psalm speaks of this need.
Wednesday, 21 March 2012—Jeremiah 3:31-34— The cross establishes a new covenant. Through the prophet Jeremiah, God promises to establish a new covenant with His people – a covenant of grace. Through the atoning death of His Son, God has restored His relationship with rebellious mankind. All who trust in the sacrifice of Christ are incorporated into this new covenant (Romans 9:30). It is all God’s work; we can do nothing to earn our place in it.
Thursday, 22 March 2012—Hebrews 5:1-10— The cross teaches obedience and earns eternal salvation. Christ is the Mediator of the new covenant. It is by His perfect obedience, by His shedding of blood, by His death that we have received eternal life. He bore the cross, not for Himself, but solely for our benefit.
Here we see the human Jesus praying with tears and cries to avoid the cross. In an allusion to Gethsemane, Jesus’ appeal is denied. Through His suffering and death, Jesus learned obedience to God’s will. By His obedience He was made “perfect”; that is, He completed and fulfilled His God-given mission to die for the salvation of the world.
Friday, 23 March 2015—Matthew 10: (32-34) 35-45— The cross bears the fruit of eternal life. But at what price. Jesus clearly tells us, Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven. There are many loves we have in this life; family, work, church, country. The list is endless yet, our first love, our first priority must be to the Savior. Anything less is a violation of the first commandment. The Father will honor the Son as He gave honor and obedience to the will of the Father. In following Christ we must acknowledge Him and follow in His ways. Christ is the one who willingly submitted to the will of His Father. It’s now all about you. Jesus proved this in His obedience and His trudge to the cross.
Saturday, 24 March 2012— The hymn of the Day, Jesus, I My Cross have Taken – Jesus willingly bore our sins in His body, and carried them to the cross. We, who have been incorporated into the body of Christ by our baptisms, must also bear crosses in this life. When our hour of trial comes, we beseech the Lord that He would give us the strength gladly to bear whatever cross He would. Luther writes concerning this, in the Large Catechism: So there is just as great a need, as in all the other petitions, that we pray without ceasing: “Dear Father, Your will be done, not the devil’s will or our enemies’ or anything that would persecute and suppress Your holy Word or hinder Your kingdom. Grant that we may bear with patience and overcome whatever is to be endured because of Your Word and kingdom, so that our poor flesh may not yield or fall away because of weakness or sluggishness.”
Collect for the Fifth Sunday in Lent— Almighty and everlasting God, who hast willed that Thy Son should bear for us the pains of the cross that Thou mightest remove from us the power of the adversary, help us so to remember and give thanks for our Lord’s Passion that we may obtain remission of sins and redemption from everlasting death; through the same 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 Lima, OHIllustration from a woodcut by Baron Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld, 1794-1872, a distinguished German artist known especially for his book, Das Buch der Bücher in Bilden (The Book of Books in Pictures).