Saturday, March 31, 2012

Saturday of Lent 5



Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us – for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree’ –” Galatians 3:13


We find salvation only in the Gospel. It is the Gospel, which tells us that Christ has become our substitute and fulfilled the Law for us by suffering and dying for us on the cross.  St. Paul reminds us in Romans 10:4, “Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”

No one can fulfill the Law either for himself or for someone else. Jesus our Savior had to be God in order that, being put under the Law, He might fulfill the Law for those who could not do it for themselves. His obedience is sufficient for all people. Jesus fulfilled the Law to the full satisfaction of God. By this obedience, we are now declared righteous before God. The writer to the Hebrew encourages us to fix our gaze upon Jesus. “O come let us fix our eyes on Jesus the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)

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.

Collect for Second Sunday in Lent, Lutheran Service Book © 2008 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld ©WELS

Palm Sunday




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.

Mark 11:1-10; 15:1-39
The Way of the Cross-Gives an Opportunity to Decide


We come to the last of our Lenten meditations on the way of the cross. This morning we see that the way of the cross gives an opportunity to decide. Pilate’s question “What then shall I do with Jesus?” makes everyone responsible to give an answer. How we answer depicts our faith in Jesus and determines our destiny. In the Passion story there are various answers given to Pilate’s question. Today, as when they were first asked, the same answers are possible.

What will you do with Jesus?

I. You can Praise Him. – 11:1-10

A. At this point, a new section in the Gospel of Mark begins. Jesus arrives in Jerusalem and the rest of His ministry will take place within the confines of the Holy City of Jerusalem.

B. Nothing is left to chance as far as Jesus is concerned. Beginning with His triumphal entry into the city of Jerusalem Passion Week has begun. Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem is a deliberate Messianic action – He offers Himself as the people’s Savior knowing that this will provoke the leaders of the ruling Council to take action against Him.

C. And yet, the people praise Him. They shout, Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! This is a direct quote from Psalm 118:25. The people understand what they are saying. Their praises are a prayer – a prayer for the Lord to continue to save and sustain His people.

Transition: One option is to praise Him another is to mock Him.

II. Mock Him – 15:16-20

A. At the headquarters of the Roman Governor, the soldiers place a purple robe upon Him and place upon His head a crown of thorns. The robe was probably an old military cloak, whose color suggested royalty. The crown of thorns was made of briers, which grew in the region. Both the robe and the crown were parts of the mock royal attire place upon Jesus.

B. While under the care of Pilate, the soldiers mock Jesus. They cry out “Hail, king of the Jews!” which is nothing more than a mocking salutation that similar to the Roman salute “Hail Caesar!

C. Finally they struck Him with their fists and beat Him with a staff. It was customary in the Near East that when in the presence of royalty one was to offer a kiss. The homage Jesus received. They spat in His face!

Transition: Some will praise Him, others will mock Him, and still others will condemn Him.

III. Condemn Him– They crowd shouted in one accord “Crucify Him!”15:13

A. A Romans means of execution was that of crucifixion. Heavy wrought-iron nails were driven through the wrists and the heel. If the life of the victim lingered too long, death was hastened by breaking the victim’s legs.

B. Only slaves, the basest of criminals, and offenders who were not Roman citizens were executed in this manner.

Transition: There are plenty of options the world may choose to consider when asked what one should do with this Jesus. For the believer there is but one choice to consider.

IV. Confess Him With the Centurion we say; “Surely this man was the Son of God!” - 15:39

A. The Centurion was a commander of 100 men in the Roman army. Mark specifically mentions that he “saw how Jesus died” The strength of Jesus’ cry indicates that Jesus did not die the ordinary death of those crucified. Normally one suffering crucifixion suffered long periods of complete agony, exhaustion and finally unconsciousness before dying. Not so, with Jesus – within three hours He was dead!

B. Luke in his Gospel would tell us that the Centurion “praised God” and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!” The writers of the Gospels saw in the Centurion’s declaration a vindication of Jesus, and especially since the centurion was the Roman official in charge of the crucifixion, his testimony was viewed as significant.

Pilate announced to the chief priests as well as to the crowd, “I find no basis for a charge against this man!” What would be a similar circumstance in our world? It would be almost as if a grand jury announced in the press “there is insufficient evidence to go to trial…” to which the Governor expedites the papers for an execution! Is this an injustice? Possibly, so, but in these events of Christ’s Passion we find salvation and life. What will you do with Jesus? Will you mock Him, will you condemn Him, will you praise Him, or will you hail Him? Now, let you be the judge.

Artwork by Ed Riojas, ©Higher Things; - Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld ©WELS;

Friday, March 30, 2012

Friday of Lent 5



“He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed.” 1 Peter 2:24


To assure us of our salvation Jesus took the initiative taking to Himself our sins to Himself. Here we see God’s great exchange. Your sins are replaced with God’s perfection. This was the Father’s only plan. There is no other way. The only way for you to have your sins removed is for Jesus to take them and bear them in His own body. In this death we find life, not to be lived at our own choosing but according to His direction.  Holy Week will soon be upon us. As we mark the Savior's Passion we will find salvation offered to all who come in faith.

O God, You see that of ourselves we have no strength. By Your might 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.

Collect for the Second Sunday in Lent, Lutheran Service Book © 2008 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld ©WELS

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Thursday of Lent 5



How can bodily eating and drinking do such great things?

It is not the eating and drinking, indeed, that does them, but the words, which stand here, namely: Given, and shed for you, for the remission of sins. Which words are, beside the bodily eating and drinking, as the chief thing in the Sacrament; and he that believes these words has what they say and express, namely, the forgiveness of sins.

Who, then, receives such Sacrament worthily?

Fasting and bodily preparation is, indeed, a fine outward training; but he is truly worthy and well prepared who has faith in these words: Given, and shed for you, for the remission of sins. But he that does not believe these words or doubts is unworthy and unfit; for the words For you require altogether believing hearts.



 When Christ tells us that His body was given and His blood was shed “for the remission of our sins” He expects us to believe this; and believing these words, we have “what they say and express namely the forgiveness of sins”. Faith is the hand that takes what the words of Christ here offer. Such faith is spiritual eating and drinking. We appropriate to ourselves the blessings of the Sacrament, while with our mouths we receive the pledge of this promise, namely, the body and blood under the bread and wine.

O Lord, our God, in Holy Baptism You have called us to be Christians and granted us the remission of sins. Make us ready to receive the most holy body and blood of Christ for the forgiveness of all our sins, and grant us grateful hearts that we may give thanks to You, O Father, to Your Son, and to the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Collect For the right reception of the Lord’s Supper, Lutheran Service Book © 2008 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld ©WELS

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wednesday of Lent 5



What is the benefit of such eating and drinking?

That is shown us in these words: Given, and shed for you, for the remission of sins; namely, that in the Sacrament forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation are given us through these words. For where there is forgiveness of sins, there is also life and salvation.


 These words tell us that in the Sacrament Christ offers and assures to every communicant forgiveness of all his sins. As a seal and pledge of this offer He gives him under the bread and wine the very body and blood with which He earned this forgiveness for him.

This Supper is indeed a means of grace, in which God deals with each person individually to assure him personally of the forgiveness of all his sins. We do not go to Communion to earn favor with God, but to receive from Him blessings and benefits for ourselves.

Blessed Savior, Jesus Christ, You have given Yourself to us in this holy Sacrament. Keep us in Your faith and favor that we may live in You even as You live in us. May Your body and blood preserve us in the true faith to life everlasting. Hear us for the sake of Your name.

Collect for right reception of the Lord’s Supper, Lutheran Service Book © 2008 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld ©WELS

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tuesday of Lent 5





Holy Communion

What is the Sacrament of the Altar?

It is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, under the bread and wine, for us Christians to eat and to drink, instituted by Christ Himself.

Where is this written?

The holy Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and St. Paul, write thus:

Our Lord Jesus Christ, the same night in which He was betrayed, took bread: and when He had given thanks, He brake it, and gave it to His disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is My body, which is given for you. This do in remembrance of Me.

After the same manner also He took the cup, when He had supped, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Take, drink ye all of it. This cup is the new testament in My blood, which is shed for you for the remission of sins. This do ye, as often as ye drink it, in remembrance of Me.



Together with bread and wine we receive the true body and blood of Jesus. Christ took bread and gave it to His disciples, and they actually ate bread. But at the same time He informs them, “This is my body, which is given for you”. The disciples ate, together with the bread, the body of Christ; the same is true of the wine and the blood. Four things then are really and truly present and received by all communicants; bread, body, wine and blood. While we can understand the meaning of Christ’s words, we cannot comprehend it, but are to believe that Christ by His almighty power joins His body and blood to the bread and wine in the Sacrament.

It is the Word that spake it,
He took the bread and brake it,
And what the Word doth make it
That I believe and take it.

Essence of the Lord’s Supper, Luther’s Small Catechism annotated by Edward Koehler Annotations Copyright © 1981 by Concordia Theological Seminary Press
Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld ©WELS

Jesus I will Ponder Now



Help, O Christ, Thou God’s own Son,
Through Thy bittern anguish.
That our wills with Thine be one,
Zeal for evil vanquish.
On Thy death and its true cause
Contrite thoughts will render,
And Though weak and full of flaws,
Thee our thanks will tender.

They will look on the one they have pierced - John 19:37

Introduction:

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the prince of glory died
My riches gain I count but loss
And pour contempt on all my pride

The Passion of the Christ has been our focus through the sacred music of Johan Sebastian Bach these past three Wednesdays. We turn now to our final chorale – it is simply a prayer - that we may be one in Christ.

Help O Christ Thou God’s own Son
Through Thy bitter anguish
That our wills with Thee be one
Zeal for evil vanquish

I. We pray that our Will - may be one in the same as Christ’s. This we pray every time we pray the 3rd petition of the Lord’s Prayer – “Thy will be done” – Lord!

A. How is this done?

1. God’s good and gracious will is done among us by Himself – not us!

2. Specifically, when God breaks and hinders every evil counsel and will which would not let us hallow God’s name nor let His Kingdom come.

3. Those forces we contend with are the will of the devil, the world and our own sinful flesh.

B. God’s Good and gracious will is...

1. To strengthen and preserve us steadfast.

2. Keeping us faithful to His Word and faith unto our end. “Fear not, little flock, for it is Your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” -Luke 12:32

Transition: We pray that the Father’s will might be done in us. Viewing Christ’s Passion we render Him our thanks and praise.

II. Our focus thus is on Christ and His Cross

On Thy death and its true cause
Contrite thoughts will render

A. When we consider all that Jesus endured - His suffering, agony and bloody sweet we cry out for the Father to have mercy upon us.

1. With the beggar we cry, “Jesus, Master have mercy on me!”-Mark 10:47

2. Or, as the Kyrie would remind us; “Lord, have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord, have mercy.”

3. And, in the words of the Agnus Dei; “O Christ Thou Lamb of God, that takest away the sin of the world have mercy upon us and grant us Thy peace.”

B. And we thank Him!

And though weak and full of flaws
Thee our thanks will render

1. Thank You Jesus, that you have taken
away my guilt and my sin.

2. Thank you Jesus, that You prayed;
“Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” -Luke 23:34

3. Thank You Jesus, who gave Stephen the
strength to pray; “Lord do not hold this sin against them!” –Acts 7:60 For this is how we ought to pray.

Conclusion: As we have pondered Christ’s holy Passion during this Lenten journey may we be moved to pray;

Grant that I may willingly
Bear with Thee my crosses,
Learning humbleness of Thee,
Peace mid pain and losses.
May I give thee love for love!
Hear me, O my Savior,
That I may in heaven above
Sing Thy praise forever.

Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS used by permission for personal and congregational use. Bach's St. John Passion
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1P8SjJYamsU

Monday, March 26, 2012

Monday of Lent 5



Then shall the confessor say:

God be merciful to thee and strengthen thy faith! Amen.

Furthermore: Dost thou believe that my forgiveness is God's forgiveness?

Answer. Yes, dear sir.

Then let him say: As thou believest, so be it done unto thee. And by the command of our Lord Jesus Christ, I forgive thee thy sins, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen. Depart in peace.


Absolution comes from the verb “absolve,” to “loose” and “set free”. Absolution means to declare loose and free from sin, to forgive. Absolution from the pastor does not mean that he does the actual forgiving. This only God can do.

Absolution presupposes that Christ has atoned for all your sins, and that God has forgiven them. It means that this forgiveness, which is the Gospel, is proclaimed as an accomplished fact. All the pastor does is offer, apply and assure you that your sin is gone!

Almighty God, through the resurrection of Your Son You have secured peace for our troubled consciences. Grant us this peace evermore that trusting in the merit of Your Son we may come at last to the perfect peace of heaven; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Collect for Easter Tuesday, Lutheran Service Book © 2008 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
Artwork by Ed Rojas, © Higher Things

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Time in the Word - Palm Sunday




Time in the Word
26-31 March, 2012
Preparation for next week, Palm Sunday

Collect for Palm SundayAlmighty 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 Jesu Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

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.

The theme for Palm Sunday reminds us that Lent is a time of opportunity. Our lessons ask us to come to a decision as we ponder who is this Jesus who comes riding on a donkey through the streets of Jerusalem.  In the Old Testament lesson (Zechariah 9:9-10) - our king comes with a promise. In the Epistle lesson (Philippians 2:5-11) in humility Christ came to earth to die. In the Gospel lesson (John 20:20-43) Christ came to Jerusalem to be king. The Psalms and hymn for the day fill in to round out this basics theme. On Sunday Christ has hailed as King and Lord. By Friday He would be dead. Yet in His rejection do we find life eternal, peace and rest. We are preparing for the most important weeks of the Church Year. The cross is coming into clear focus. What do you think of Jesus? How you answer this question will determine you destiny.

Monday, 26  March 2012Psalm 24:7-10; antiphon, Psalm 118:26— In the antiphon the Psalmist echoes the cries of the crowd on that first Palm Sunday, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” The long sought after King has finally arrived. Along with the children and crowd we hail Jesus as King and God forever.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012Psalm 118:19-29 key verse v.26 — Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. From the housed of the Lord we bless you. The one who with God’s help has defeated the enemies is blessed. Yet as we look deeper at this passage we will see that it is written in the plural and of course, this makes it a reference to God and to Christ in particular. When the crowd would quote these verses upon Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem on the first Palm Sunday we see Divine prophecy being fulfilled.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012Zechariah 9:9-12— Israel shall rejoice over the coming of a humble, victorious and peaceful king.  God’s judgment is coming upon Israel’s wicked neighbors, but God as King will come to Israel. This is cause for loud rejoicing. He is coming as a humble king, symbolized by his riding on an ass. He is coming to conquer Israel’s enemies, and peace will result. In fulfillment of this, Jesus rides into Jerusalem on an ass and presents Himself to the nation as their king to the waving of palms and to the tune of hosannas.

Holy week with its horrors and tragedies begins with a shout of joy – “Rejoice”…”Shout aloud.”  Even in the depth of pain and gore, there is a joy. Jesus endures the cross for the joy that was set before Him. The joy is that the Savior is coming to die for our sins and to assume kingship over our lives.

The Messiah comes on an ass, not on a mighty horse. An ass is a humble animal and symbolizes peace. The ass carried the Christ to the people. Today we can serve as asses to carry Christ to the world. To do so we must be humble. 

Thursday, 29 March 2012Philippians 2:5-11— Jesus’ humiliation and God’s exaltation of Him.  Paul is pleading for unity in the Philippian congregation. He uses Jesus as an example of humility. In this passage Paul shows the dual reality of the humanity and divinity of Jesus. His deity is indicated in the words “in the form of God” and “equality with God.” His humanity is expressed in the phrases, “emptied himself,” “the likeness of men,” “in human form,” “obedient unto death.” 

This humility, obedience, and self-renunciation led to Christ’s exaltation by God who gave him a name above all names – “Lord”.   It is God’s will that every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord.

As a result of this horrible death, God honors Jesus with not a name but with “the name.”  In Biblical thinking a name denotes the nature and character of the person. The name given to Jesus was “Lord” which every tongue is to confess and before which every knew is to bow. 
Paul claims that Jesus before the Incarnation was on an equality with God – “very God of very God,” as the Creed says. If He were equal with God, there was no need for Jesus to grasp any honor, authority, or power. This is a confession of the deity of Jesus Christ.

Friday, 30 March 2012John 12:12-19— This is the accounting of Christ’s entry into the city of Jerusalem.  Prophecy is being fulfilled. The King is being hailed. The very stones cry out if the crowd is silenced. The religious authorities will have nothing of it. They will see to it that Jesus is destroyed and His praises silenced. Soon His sufferings will begin but for this day we shall worship Him along with the crowd as our Savior and Lord.  

Saturday, 31 March 2012Psalm 24:7-9 - The hymn of the Day, All Glory, Laud and Honor – {LSB 442} The Lord Almighty the Lord mighty in battle has triumphed over all his enemies and comes now in victory to his own city. This is what Jesus proclaimed on the day of His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Tomorrow we worship our Savior as Lord, Christ and King. Worship at its best happens when Christ is the focal point of our praise.

Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House.
Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series B John Brokhoff © 1981 CSS Publishing Lima, OH
Illustration from a woodcut by Baron Julius Schnorr 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).

Lent 5



A Brief Form of Confession.

You should speak to the confessor thus: Reverend and dear sir, I beseech you to hear my confession, and to pronounce forgiveness to me for God's sake.

Proceed!

I, a poor sinner, confess myself before God guilty of all sins; especially I confess before you that I am a man-servant, a maidservant, etc. But, alas, I serve my master unfaithfully; for in this and in that I have not done what they commanded me; I have provoked them, and caused them to curse, have been negligent [in many things] and permitted damage to be done; have also been immodest in words and deeds, have quarreled with my equals, have grumbled and sworn at my mistress, etc. For all this, I am sorry, and pray for grace; I want to do better.

A master or mistress may say thus:

In particular, I confess before you that I have not faithfully trained my children, domestics, and family for God's glory. I have cursed, set a bad example by rude words and deeds, have done my neighbor harm and spoken evil of him, have overcharged and given false ware and short measure.

And whatever else he has done against God's command and his station, etc.

But if any one does not find himself burdened with such or greater sins, he should not trouble himself or search for or invent other sins, and thereby make confession a torture, but mention one or two that he knows. Thus: In particular, I confess that I once cursed; again, I once used improper words, I have once neglected this or that, etc. Let this suffice.

But if you know of none at all (which, however is scarcely possible), then mention none in particular, but receive the forgiveness upon your general confession which you make before God to the confessor.

I want to do better.”  That’s what we desire. We want to DO BETTER.  So often we get hung up in our quest for perfection. We can’t get over those sins which trouble us. We can’t get over those nagging and besetting sins. We can’t get past what’s in our past. So what shall we do? Do nothing. Instead, receive. Receive the gift of the Savior’s merit. Receive the gift of the Father’s love. Receive the clemency and absolution that Jesus has earned for you.  When it comes to forgiveness there is absolutely nothing that we do. We simply receive, with joy and thanksgiving.

O Christ, Thou Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, have mercy upon us and grant us Thy peace.

Agnus Dei, Lutheran Service Book © 2008 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
Artwork by Ed Rojas, © Higher Things

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Saturday of Lent 4




Which are these?

Here consider your station according to the Ten Commandments, whether you are a father, mother, son, daughter, master, mistress, a man-servant or maid-servant; whether you have been disobedient, unfaithful, slothful; whether you have grieved any one by words or deeds; whether you have stolen, neglected, or wasted aught, or done other injury.


St. Paul reminds us in Romans 3:20 “By the Law is the knowledge of sin.”  Consider your life lived under the Ten Commandments. What will you find?  You find failure. You find iniquity. You find you have missed the mark of God’s perfection. You find frustration, misery and sin. Repent! You can’t get around it. You can’t make excuses for yourself. You can’t work yourself out of your sin. Confess you sin and repent.

But do more than confess and repent. Believe! Believe in the Father’s promises. Believe in Jesus’ work for you. Trust the Father’s promise to forgive, restore and renew. Confession, is it good for the soul? Only so far. Absolution, the Father’s pronouncement of Jesus’ forgiveness. Grace, God’s do-over! Now that is what is good for your soul!

Almighty and everlasting God, You despise nothing You have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent. Create in us new and contrite hearts that lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness we may receive from You full pardon and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Collect for Ash Wednesday, Lutheran Service Book © 2008 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
Artwork by Ed Rojas, © Higher Things

Lent 5




John 12:20-33
The Way of the cross Demands Sacrifice of Self

Almighty and eternal God, because it was Your will that Your Son should bear the pains of the cross for us and thus remove from us the power of the adversary, help us so to remember and give thanks for our Lord’s Passion that we may receive remission of sins and redemption from everlasting death.

The way of the cross demands sacrifice of self. This sacrifice was most significant in the suffering and death of Christ on the cross. What will be Death for most is the hour of defeat and tragedy. For Jesus the hour of His death was the hour of His glory – it was His finest hour! When you are remembered what will stand out? When people reminisce what will they recall? Jesus saw His death as a good thing. Though He had to struggle with His human nature, which wanted to live, He accepted the Father’s will to die as an opportunity to glorify the Father. When we contemplate Jesus’ attitude and of His own death on the bloody cross, we can be helped to face our own hour of death and transform it into an hour of glory.

Consider today Jesus’ most glorious death –

I. His death brings new life – I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. V.24

A. New life is made possible because our sin, with all of its evil lusts is drowned and killed. Our old sinful self, our old nature is terminated.

B. In place of this old sinful self and new man comes forth and will arise to live before God in righteousness, innocence and blessedness. Soon area farmers will be about the busy season of spring planting. Jesus gives an illustration of what we have experience repeatedly. Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. V.24 Jesus Christ died once for all that we might be given this new life.

Transition: The death of Jesus brings new life. His death also glorifies the Father.

II. His death glorifies God -Father, glorify your name!”Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” – V.28

A. The Father glorified the name of Jesus. It was glorified first on the night Jesus was born. The angelic host cried out in one voice; “glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace good will with men” (Luke 2)

B. The Father glorified the name of Jesus a second time at the cross and empty tomb. The Son gave Himself into the Father’s hands and the Father was pleased with this ultimate sacrifice. The curtain in the midst of the temple that once reminded the people of a great separation between God and man was ripped in two. Now God and man are reconciled. Because of this reconciliation, you can be reconciled with your neighbor.

1. Satan might tempt us to think – what is done is done the past can’t be forgotten and the future is uncertain because of a broken relationship.

2. Yet alienation will not last, it cannot last. Because the Father and sinful men are now at last reconciled we have the hope of reconciliation between people as well.

C. The Father will glorify the name of His Son at His Second Advent – His 2nd Coming. At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.

Transition: The death of Jesus brings new life, it glorifies the Father. In this most vicious death, Satan is defeated.

III. His death defeats SatanNow is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out -V.31

A. Jesus came for one purpose – the judge the world. To render a just verdict He must defeat the enemy – Satan was totally defeated at the cross when the Son of man cried out “it is finished!”

B. Jesus tells us now the prince of this world will be driven out! One of the joys Tammy found while living in the South Suburbs of Chicago was voting for the retention of Federal judges. Each received a no vote - because they were so corrupt. But, you see, a majority of votes were necessary for the corrupt judges to be removed. The corrupt of the corrupt was voted out with the violence inflicted on an innocent man.

Transition: The death of Jesus brings new life to a new people and in so doing, it glorifies the Father. It is at the cross that the Devil is defeated. It is through His death that people will come to Him.

IV. His death attracts people to Himself"But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” V.32

A. Christ was lifted up on the 3rd day when He broke down the door of death. Death is the last enemy. It could not hold Him. Jesus has swallowed up death in victory.

B. This is what drew men to Jesus and continues to draw men to this very hour. The early disciples had only one message- Jesus is alive and we are witnesses to these events. We are witnesses to the new life He has given us. The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and His appearance to His disciples and the changed lives in those who have met Him is what has turned this world up-side-down, or as we might rightly say has turned this world now right-side-up!

The death of Christ on the cross is what draws people. Our responsibility is simply to proclaim Christ and Him crucified. When the cross is seen and understood, it draws men to the Savior.


Artwork by Ed Riojas, © Higher Things; - Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld ©WELS;

Friday, March 23, 2012

Friday of Lent 4



What sins should we confess?

Before God, we should plead guilty of all sins, even of those, which we do not know, as we do in the Lord's Prayer. But before the confessor we should confess those sins alone which we know and feel in our hearts.


But what about those sins that bother me? What about those sins with which I struggle?  What should I do when I question, wrestle, and sometimes doubt? It is at those times that we make confession before the pastor. When we confess our sins to our pastor and ask for forgiveness especially of those sins with which we struggle we receive the comforting assurance that these sins are forgiven. King David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord” And Nathan said to David, The Lord also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.” (2 Samuel 12:13) 

Almighty and everlasting God, the consolation of the sorrowful and the strength of the weak, may the prayers of those who in any tribulation or distress cry to You graciously come before You, so that in all their necessities they may mark and receive Your manifold help and comfort; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Collect for the afflicted and distressed, Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
Artwork by Ed Rojas, © Higher Things

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Thursday of Lent 4



Confession

How Christians should be taught to confess.

What is Confession?

Confession embraces two parts: the one is, that we confess our sins; the other, that we receive absolution, or forgiveness, from the confessor, as from God Himself, and in no wise doubt, but firmly believe, that our sins are thereby forgiven before God in heaven.


These are simple yet powerful words. We confess our sins and we receive forgiveness. Daily we need plead for mercy. Daily we need to have the assurance that our sins have been forgiven. We need to be penitent sinners – sinners who feel sorry for their sins and who believe in their Lord Jesus as the only Savior.  David reminds us in Psalm 51:17 “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heat, O God, Thou wilt not despise.” When we are heart sorry for our sins ,we will readily want to confess our sin and turn away from them. Having confessed our sins, we will rejoice in hearing those wonderful word, “your sins are forgiven!” “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved”. (Acts 16:31)  Contrition and faith are the two ingredients necessary for a true confession.

O almighty God, merciful Father, I, a poor, miserable sinner, confess unto Thee all my sins and iniquities with which I have ever offended Thee and justly deserved Thy temporal and eternal punishment. But I am heartily sorry for them and sincerely repent of them, and I pray Thee of Thy boundless mercy and for the sake of the holy, innocent, bitter sufferings and death of Thy beloved Son, Jesus Christ, the be gracious and merciful to me, a poor sinful being.

The General Confession, The Lutheran Hymnal © 1941 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
Artwork by Ed Rojas, © Higher Things

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wednesday of Lent 4




Baptism Part 4

What does such baptizing with water signify?

Answer - It signifies that the old Adam in us should, by daily contrition and repentance, be drowned and die with all sins and evil lusts, and, again, a new man daily come forth and arise; who shall live before God in righteousness and purity forever.

Where is this written?

Answer - St. Paul says Romans, chapter 6: We are buried with Christ by Baptism into death, that, like as He was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.


Your baptism is a death certificate it is also a birth certificate. A death certificate testifies that a person is deceased, lifeless, extinct. Likewise, a birth certificate declares that a person is alive and well.

Our Baptism signifies that being buried with Christ by Baptism into death, our life of sin should cease and being planted in the likeness of His resurrection, we should walk in newness of life. Baptism is a daily reminder that we shun the old paths of sin and walk in the new way of righteousness.

Death, you cannot end my gladness; 
I am baptized into Christ!
When I die, I leave all sadness 
To inherit paradise!
Though I lie in dust and ashes 
Faith’s assurance brightly flashes;
Baptism has the strength divine 
To make life immortal mine.

God’s Own Child, I Gladly Say It stanza four, Lutheran Service Book © 2008 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld ©WELS

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

IN MEMORIAM



Barbara Geyer
Born into this World: 11-9-1932
Baptized into Christ: 8-18-1996
Confirmed in the Faith: 8-18-1996
With Christ in Peace: 3-18-2012
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid –John 14:27

Tuesday of Lent 4




Baptism Part 3

How can water do such great things?

Answer - It is not the water indeed that does them, but the word of God which is in and with the water, and faith, which trusts such word of God in the water. For without the word of God the water is simple water and no baptism. But with the word of God it is a baptism, that is, a gracious water of life and a washing of regeneration in the Holy Ghost, as St. Paul says, Titus, chapter three: By the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost, which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ, our Savior, that, being justified by His grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a faithful saying.



 Water does not wash away our sins, only the blood of Christ can do this. “The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7) Christ’s action plus faith, trusting in Christ’s work, is what produces such great blessings. We trust that what God has promise will happen to us. God’s Word not only puts these great things into Baptism but through this same Word He also operates on our hearts and works and creates saving faith.

Naaman a man afflicted with leprosy was told to dip in the Jordan River and he would be healed. (See 2 Kings 5:8-14) The promise of God was connected with the water. While Naaman had to bathe in the water it was the Word of God that really cleansed and healed him. Even so, in baptism, “without the Word of God the water is simple water and no Baptism, but with the Word of God it is a Baptism, that is, a gracious water of life”, which offers the forgiveness of sins, delivers from death and the devil and gives eternal salvation to all who believe.

Satan, hear this proclamation;
 I am baptized into Christ!
Drop your ugly accusation, 
I am not so soon enticed.
Now that to the font I’ve traveled, 
All your might has come unraveled,
And against your tyranny, 
God my Lord, unites with me!

God’s Own Child, I Gladly Say It stanza three, Lutheran Service Book © 2008 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld ©WELS

Jesus I will Ponder Now



He of everything took heed
In his hour of dying
Caring for His mother’s need,
On His friend relying.
O man, do all things aright
Love God and thy neighbor,
Die then without pain and fright
Rest from care and labor.

Introduction: Hanging on a cross suspended between earth and heaven Jesus bore our sins in His body. In the midst of His cruel agony He provided for His mother’s care. John records for us the Savior’s word of dying concern. “When Jesus saw His mother, there and the disciple whom He loved, standing nearby, He said to His mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on this disciple took her into his home.” How beautifully Bach relates these events.

I. The death of Jesus was complete. “He of everything took heed In His hour of dying.”

A. All sin was paid for by Jesus’ vicious death.

1. There is not one sin left unaccounted.

2. The payment is marked: “paid in full!”

B. The proclamation of the cross is what frees us.

1. It is good news.

2. It is the power of God.

II. On the cross Jesus singles Mary out for attention. “Caring for His mother’s needs on His friend relying.”

A. He calls her “woman”.

1. A desire to spare her the hurt of “mother.”

2. He imparts a proper perspective – Mary will have to be saved like anyone else. She receives no dispensation!

B. He turns her over to John.

1. From that time on he became her son.

2. He provides for her taking her into his own house.

a. By way of history John will be the only disciple not to be martyred.

b. He will be exiled to the island of Patmos. – Revelation 1:9

III. By this act of love Jesus demonstrates the proper regard for family. “O man, do all things aright love God and thy neighbor.”

A. Jesus summed up the life of the Christian when He taught us;

1. “Love the Lord Thy God with all your heart, soul and all your might This is the first and greatest commandment.” - Matthew 22:37

2. “And the second is like it. Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and Prophets hang on these two commandments.” -Matthew 22:38-39 There is no commandment greater than these.

B. “To love Him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” - Mark 12:33

IV. Through Jesus’ example expressed to His mother He demonstrates a deep concern for others. Thus Bach concludes tonight’s hymn verse with these words; “Die then without pain and fright rest from care and labor.”

A. We can leave this world in death without pain or fright.

1. Christ bore our sins in His own body on the cross so that we will not have to suffer the terrors of a guilty conscience.

2. We receive Christ’s peace as He has secured for us peace with God.

B. Thus we rest from care and labor.

1. Luther possibly put is best when, in the conclusion to his morning and evening prayers he wrote: “Into Thy hands I commend myself [placing] my body and soul and all thing [into Thy care]. May Your Holy Angel [Spirit] be with me that the wicked foe may have no power over me.”

2. This moved Luther to conclude in the morning the Christian should: “then go joyfully to your work” and in the evening we rest confidently: “then go to sleep at once and in good cheer.”

3. Here is evidence of a clear conscience; not based on what we do but rather on what Christ has finished. Our salvation is complete. We can rest in peace because our Father is at peace with Jesus’ work. At the cross and empty tomb Christ’s mission was accomplished!

Conclusion: Jesus showing compassion and care for His mother and His dear disciple has shown us how we too must act. Of the seven words Jesus spoke from the cross half of His last words are concerned with others. May His words and actions so move us to will and to do His good pleasure.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vx7kfx1Auh8
Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS used by permission for personal and congregational use. Bach's St. John Passion

Monday, March 19, 2012

Monday of Lent 4



Baptism Part 2

What does Baptism give or profit?

Answer - It works forgiveness of sins, delivers from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this, as the words and promises of God declare.

Which are such words and promises of God?

Answer - Christ, our Lord, says in the last chapter of Mark: He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.



Jesus gives us His promise – he that believes and is baptized shall be saved. This was the message of those first disciples. On the day of Pentecost Peter’s message was simple – “repent, be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus, for the remission of your sins.” (Acts 2:38) God has promised us that all our sins are covered. What a relief, God has promised us full forgiveness for all our sins. Paul reminds us, “Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” (Galatians 3:26, 27) As we have been baptized we have received both the benefits and the merits of Christ. By His suffering and death Jesus has earned these blessings for us. In baptism, these blessings become our own.

Sin disturb my soul no longer; 
I am baptized into Christ!
I have comfort even stronger; 
Jesus’ cleansing sacrifice.
Should a guilty conscience seize me, 
Since my Baptism did release me
In a dear forgiving flood, 
Sprinkling me with Jesus’ blood

God’s Own Child, I Gladly Say It stanza two, Lutheran Service Book, © 2008 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld ©WELS

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Time in the Word - Lent 5



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 2012Psalm 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 2012Psalm 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 2012Jeremiah 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 2012Hebrews 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 2015Matthew 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 LentAlmighty 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, OH
Illustration 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).

Lent 4




Baptism Part 1

What is Baptism?

Answer - Baptism is not simple water only, but it is the water comprehended in God's command and connected with God's Word.

Which is that word of God?

Answer - Christ, our Lord, says in the last chapter of Matthew: Go ye into all the world and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.


It is Christ Himself who speaks the command to make disciples of all the nations. This includes all peoples old and young alike. We do this by baptizing and teaching all that Christ has commanded us.  Since it is Jesus who has given the command to baptize, to reject baptism is to reject Christ. The word “ye” speaks not only of the disciples who were present when Jesus gives this command but all Christians living at all times and in all places as Jesus has promised, “I am with you always.”

Jesus gives the command “to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” And one of these things is Baptism. Thus, the Christian Church is by Christ commanded to baptize. We have no other option. Christ has given us His command to baptize, but He has also given us the promise of the blessings of baptism.


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

Collect for Life as a baptized child of God,  Lutheran Service Book, © 2008 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld ©WELS

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Saturday of Lent 3




Amen.

What does this mean?

Answer - That I should be certain that these petitions are acceptable to our Father in heaven and heard; for He Himself has commanded us so to pray, and has promised that He will hear us. Amen, Amen; that is, Yea, yea, it shall be so.



There are three things for which we pray when we come to the conclusion of the Lord’s Prayer. We ask the Lord to hear us for He alone is the King of kings. It is He alone that we seek in times of need and in periods of joy and blessing. As the Lord of life, our Father alone has the power to grant us these petitions. He is both willing and capable of not only hearing our prayers, but to answer them according to His perfect will for our life. He alone is given all glory and praise in all that He has done for us.

Almighty God, since You have granted us the favor to call on You with one accord and have promised that where two or three are gathered together in Your name You are in the midst of them, fulfill now the prayers of Your servants, granting us in this world knowledge of Your truth and in the world to come life everlasting; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Collect for an answer to prayer, Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
Artwork by Ed Rojas, © Higher Things

Lent 4




John 3:14-16
The Way of the cross Calls for Faith in Christ who hangs on the Cross

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, Your mercies are new every morning, and though we have in no way deserved Your goodness, You still abundantly provide for all our wants of body and soul. Give us, we pray, Your Holy Spirit that we may heartily acknowledge Your merciful goodness toward us, give thanks for all Your benefits, and serve You in willing obedience.

On this, the 4th 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 bronze 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. The way of the cross calls for faith in Christ who hangs upon the cross.

Look and know that God loves you –

I. Look beyond the cross – the source of God’s love – “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

A. The Father offered up His only Son although it was done through the sinful acts of others.

1. The 30 pieces of silver Judas received is quite a cheap price for God’s only Son. Equivalent to 120 days work – that’s 24 weeks - about ½ a year’s pay.

2. The cash spent to betray Jesus was recognized as blood money. It was currency, which had been compromised – so it couldn’t be placed back into the treasury.
a. It was the price of betrayal
b. At what price would we sell out a friend? Examples; taking a life over a pair of shoes may be an extreme act of violence. Betraying a secret to win another’s attention or admiration? Refusing to help because we didn’t want to get our hands dirty? Can we be charged with similar crimes against humanity?

3. Sin simply causes life to be cheapened and our integrity to be compromised.

B. The purpose of offering His son was the reconciliation of the world. Sin only cheapens life – Christ restores it to its original value. You have worth – real worth not based on what we see or value in ourselves but on what the Father determines to be of real worth.

Transition: We look to the one on the cross to see the source of God’s love. Look to the one on the cross who is giving you this worth!

II. Look to the One on the crossJust as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, John 3:14

A. Sin produces nothing but sickness, and death. Israel rebelled only to have deadly snakes devour the people. Where could they go? What could they do? They were trapped – only the Great Physician could heal them. By placing serpent on a pole and lifting it up the people were drawn to it for restoration and life.

B. Likewise Jesus was lifted up on a cross. The cross was the supreme exaltation of Jesus – in being lifted up Christ draws all sorts of people to Himself - without any regard for nationality, ethnic affiliation or status.

Transition: We look to the one on the cross to see the source of God’s love. We look to the one on the cross who is giving you this worth. We look at the cross where there is a sacrifice of life for you!

III. Look at the cross – sacrifice for you that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. John 3:15

A. The sacrifice of Christ on a cross was a sacrifice for a purpose that people might believe in Him. John will use the word “believe” 98 times in his gospel. John’s purpose was that his readers might believe and continue to believe in Christ and Him alone. People are not to believe in John the Baptist or their preacher or anyone else. To this day people are called to believe in Christ through the testimony and the message of the cross.

B. The purpose of such believing is to have eternal life. This life, which Jesus offers, is an infinitely high quality of life in living fellowship with God both now and forever. It is a life, which has no end. It is an abundant life – a life with purpose, and power.

The story is told that when Thomas Aquinas returned form worshiping at the foot of the cross, he said, “That which I have seen today makes all that I have written seem as trash! I shall not write another word!” Salvation comes simply in a look – a look at the cross and a look in faith. Certainly, the way of the cross calls for faith in Christ who hangs upon the cross.


Artwork by Ed Riojas, © Higher Things; - Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld ©WELS;

Friday, March 16, 2012

Friday of Lent 3





The Seventh Petition.

But deliver us from evil.

What does this mean?

Answer - We pray in this petition, as in a summary, that our Father in heaven would deliver us from all manner of evil, of body and soul, property and honor, and at last, when our last hour shall come, grant us a blessed end, and graciously take us from this vale of tears to Himself into heaven.


In this petition, we ask God to keep every form of evil from us. We are living outside of Eden. This is a broken and fallen world.  As long as we are in the world, we will have to endure all sorts of evil, the consequence of living in a sinful world and the results of our own individual sins. By this prayer we ask the Father to guard and keep us in the faith until we die, that He would grant us a blessed end, and usher us into His kingdom of glory.

When we pray this petition in sincerity and faith we can pray also the prayer of Simeon, “Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace according to Thy word; for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation.” (Luke 2:29,30)

Almighty, everlasting God, whose Son has assured forgiveness of sins and deliverance from eternal death, strengthen us by Your Holy Spirit that our faith in Christ increase daily and we hold fast the hope that we shall not die but fall asleep and on the last day be raised to eternal life; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.


Collect For the hope of eternal life in Christ, Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
Artwork by Ed Rojas, © Higher Things