Time in the Word September 14-19, 2015 Proper 20
Preparation for next week Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost
Sunday’s Theme: The Christian and his opposition can be clearly seen in the three main readings for this coming week. In the Old Testament lesson [Jeremiah 11:18—20], Jeremiah asks vengeance upon his enemies. In the Epistle [James 3:13-4:10], opposition has its source in worldly wisdom. In the Gospel, [Mark 9:30-37], Jesus goes to Jerusalem to face his oppressors. Christians live in a hostile world, for friendship with the world is enmity to God.
Collect for Proper 20 – O God, whose strength is made perfect in weakness, grant us humility and childlike faith that we may please You in both will and deed; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever. Amen.
Collect for Pentecost 17 –O God, without whose blessing we are not able to please You, mercifully grant that Your Holy Spirit may in all things direct and govern our hearts; through Jesus Christ, Your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen
Monday, 14 September 2015—Psalm 37:5-7, Antiphon, Psalm 37:4 – Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. No matter what you are up against, trust in the Lord and He will sustain you. He will prove Himself worthy as you read the rest of the appointed readings for the coming week.
Tuesday, 15 September 2015—Psalm 54; key verse, verse 4— It is the Lord who sustains my life. The Psalmist finds his life is threatened, as were Jesus’ and Jeremiah’s, and he finds God as his helper who rescues him from death. In our opposition God does not forsake those who trust in Him.
Wednesday, 16 September 2015— Jeremiah 11:18-20—Jeremiah asks vengeance upon his enemies. Jeremiah feels like a lamb led to the slaughter by his enemies and he asks to see God’s vengeance upon them. Jeremiah cries out for vengeance upon those seeking his life. God informs Jeremiah that his enemies were out to destroy him. Jeremiah felt like a “lamb led to the slaughter.” His enemies were offended by his preaching of judgment, doom, and the captivity of the nation. Like other prophets (Elijah and Amos), Jeremiah experienced persecution: beaten, threatened with lynching, imprisoned, and thrown into a pit to die. Even his family was a part of a plot to kill him. Jeremiah calls upon God not only for protection but for vengeance upon his enemies.
Thursday, 17 September 2015—James 3:13-4:10—Opposition has its source in worldly wisdom. James says the wars, quarrels, dissension, and strife have their source in earthly wisdom. It is a bad spirit that causes opposition. James will contrast earthly and heavenly wisdom. In this lesson James distinguishes between the types of wisdom. Earthly wisdom is characterized by ambition, rivalry, and selfishness. This kind of wisdom provides disorder and confusion. Heavenly wisdom comes from God. This wisdom is “pure, peaceable, gentle,” etc. The heavenly side; do not boast of themselves, but promote peace and reap a harvest of righteousness. The source of fighting and killing each other is the heart which is full of selfish desire.
Friday, 18 September 2015—Mark 9:30-37— Jesus goes to Jerusalem to face his oppressors. Jesus again announces His approaching passion and teaches the disciples the meaning of greatness. On His way to Jerusalem, Jesus announces a second time that He is going there to suffer, die, and rise on the third day. To avoid being detained, he travels incognito.
Unlike the first announcement, the disciples do not understand it and are afraid to ask Him the meaning of it. When the group reaches Capernaum, Jesus asked them what they were discussing during the walk. They were too embarrassed to answer, for they had discussed who would be Number One in the coming Kingdom. Jesus taught that the one to be first must be last as a servant.
To illustrate He takes a child in His arms, for in that day women and children were considered second-class citizens. Jesus makes the point that the greatest will minister to one like a child in His name, and when He does, He serves both Christ and God.
Saturday, 19 September 2015— Exodus 20:1-17 - The hymn, These Are the Holy Ten Commandments (LSB 581) Recall the Lord’s requirement of faithfulness to His Law. A good review of the Ten Commandments.
A Prayer for grace to use our gifts – O Lord God Almighty, since You bless Your servants with various and unusual gifts of the Holy Spirit, grant us grace to use them always to Your honor and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
A prayer for God to guide us – Direct us, O Lord, in all our doings with Your most gracious favor, and further us with Your continual help, that in all our works begun, continued, and ended in You we may glorify Your holy name and finally, by Your mercy, obtain eternal salvation; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
A prayer for steadfast faith – Almighty God, our heavenly Father, of Your tender love towards us sinners You have given us Your Son that, believing in Him we might have everlasting life. Continue to grant us Your Holy Spirit that we may remain steadfast in this faith to the end and come to life everlasting; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
For the Hope of Eternal life in Christ – 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 to 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.
For those in distress - 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.
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 and Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House and from Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House.
Schnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series B – John Brokhoff © 1981 CSS Publishing, Lima, OH