The Cross of Christ is the Way into the Kingdom of God
With the cross of Christ, the time has come “to gather all nations and tongues” (Is. 66:18). The sign of the cross is set forth in the preaching of the Gospel, the declaration of the Lord’s glory “among the nations” (Is. 66:19). Many “will come from east and west, and from north and south, and will recline at the table in the kingdom of God” (Luke 13:29), but only by the narrow way of the cross. Those who refuse to follow Christ crucified will ultimately find only “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Luke 13:28), whereas Christ’s disciples, called from all the nations, will eat and drink with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of God. They will come into “the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem” (Heb. 12:22).
Collect for the Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost: O Lord, You have called us to enter Your kingdom through the narrow door. Guide us by Your Word and Spirit, and lead us now and always into the feast of Your Son, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Collect for the Commemoration of St Bartholomew (24 August): Almighty God, Your Son, Jesus Christ, chose Bartholomew to be an apostle to preach the blessed Gospel. Grant that Your Church may love what he believed and preach what he taught; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Prayer for faithfulness: Lord God, we thank You that You have taught us what You would have us believe and do. Help us by Your Holy Spirit, for the sake of Jesus Christ, to hold fast Your Word in hearts that You have cleansed that thereby we may be made strong in faith and perfect in holiness and be comforted in life and death; through Jesus Christ, our Lord
Prayer for the blessedness of heaven: Almighty, everlasting God, You gave Your only Son to be a High Priest of good things to come. Grant unto us, Your unworthy servants, to have our share in the company of the blessed for all eternity; through Jesus Christ, our Lord
Prayer for hope of eternal life in Christ: Almighty, everlasting God, Your Son has assured forgiveness of sins and deliverance from eternal death. Strengthen us by Your Holy Spirit that our faith in Christ may increase daily and that we may hold fast to the hope that on the Last Day we shall be raised in glory to eternal life; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Monday, 19 August 2013—
antiphon, Psalm 96:6a;
115:18— Psalm 117, the shortest of the
psalms, comprising only two verses, is paired with an antiphon that announces, Splendor
and majesty are before him; we will bless the Lord
from this time forth and forevermore. Praise the Lord. The splendor and majesty of the Lord are shown chiefly in His steadfast
love toward us and in His faithfulness, which endures forever.
Tuesday, 20 August 2013—
Psalm 50:1–15—This psalm of Asaph speaks of the Lord as a mighty Judge. The Lord will judge all men based on their
faithfulness and trust in Him, not on the outward show of ritual and religion.
We must ever be on our guard, that we do not just “go through the motions,” but
that our hearts are right: that is, that we trust not in ourselves, nor in any
earthly rulers or things, but solely in God the Lord for our salvation. He alone can accomplish it, and
He delights in our trust in Him. Call upon me in the day of trouble, He exhorts us, and promises, I will deliver you, and you shall glorify
Wednesday, 21 August 2013—
this, the last chapter of the great Gospel-drenched Book of Isaiah, the Lord speaks to His faithful. They will
rejoice at the revelation of His glory, especially at the Last Day, when this
present age shall pass away and God will bring forth new heavens and a new
earth. The adoration of the Lord
by the faithful shall never cease. Tragically, however, the torment of those who
have rebelled against the Lord shall also not cease. Let us, then, ever
remain faithful to the Lord and to
His Word, that we may be counted among those whom the Lord, through the Holy Spirit, brings in from all the
Thursday, 22 August 2013—
our reading through the latter chapters of Hebrews with an exhortation to
remain faithful, even when suffering or persecution befalls us. We are not to
regard such as punishment, but as discipline, as from a loving Father. the goal
of such discipline is not the suffering, but the peaceful fruit of
righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Friday, 23 August 2013—
Luke 13:22–30—Christ Jesus was born for one purpose: to suffer and die for the
sins of the world. In the Gospel reading for Sunday, we see Him journeying
toward Jerusalem, where His mission will be accomplished. Along the way, He
performed many miracles and also taught the people, as He does here. A common
question, then as now, is, “Who will be saved?” Instead, Jesus answers the
question, “How will they be saved?” The answer is: only through Christ. He is
the narrow door through which the heavenly banquet is entered. He
counsels us to strive and to struggle to enter. Our struggle is against
our own flesh and blood, which wants eternal life on its own terms, and against
the demonic forces of the devil, who wants all men to be damned. We are not to
delay in entering the door, that is, trusting in Christ alone for our
salvation, and turning our backs on the devil, the world, and our sinful
desires. For those who reject Christ, there is only weeping and gnashing of
Saturday, 24 August 2013—Sunday’s Hymn of the Day A Multitude Comes from the East and the West (LSB #510) uses the imagery of the feast from the Gospel reading. Partaking of the unending feast in the kingdom of heaven will be the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, along with all the faithful from the East and the West, people from every nation under heaven. What they have in common is their trust in the goodness of the Lord.
Lectionary summary on front page from the LCMS Commission on Worship
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House
Artwork by Ed Riojas, ©Higher Things.
The Pr. Jeffrey M. Keuning writes this week’s Time in the Word