The Glory of God is the Passion and Cross of Christ Jesus
After St. Peter confessed that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, our Lord “began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised” (Matthew 16:21). Upon hearing this “theology of the Cross,” Simon Peter stumbled into a satanic “theology of glory.” But the glory of God is revealed in the Passion and Cross of His incarnate Son. The faithful prophets, such as Jeremiah, suffered persecution and rejection in anticipation of Jesus’ Cross. Yet the Lord did not abandon them; He remembered them, and He was with them to deliver them (Jeremiah 15:15–20). By His Cross Jesus has redeemed the world, and in His Resurrection He has vindicated all who trust in Him. Thus the Christian life is a discipleship of self-sacrificing love. Since Christ Jesus has reconciled us to God, we “live peaceably with all” (Romans 12:18). By the certainty of His Cross and Resurrection, we “rejoice in hope,” and we are “patient in tribulation” and “constant in prayer” (Romans 12:12).
Almighty God, Your Son willingly endured the agony and shame of the cross for our redemption. Grant us courage to take up our cross daily and follow Him wherever He leads; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Prayer for patience: O God, by the patient endurance of Your only-begotten Son You beat down the pride of the old enemy. Help us to treasure rightly in our hearts what our Lord has borne for our sakes that, after His example, we may bear with patience those things that are adverse to us; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns…
Prayer in times of affliction and distress: Almighty and most merciful God, in this earthly life we endure sufferings and death before we enter into eternal glory. Grant us grace at all times to subject ourselves to Your holy will and to continue steadfast in the true faith to the end of our lives that we may know the peace and joy of the blessed hope of the resurrection of the dead and of the glory of the world to come; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns…
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, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns…
Time in the Word
28 August – September 2 2017
Monday, 28 August 2017—Psalm 37:5–7; Antiphon, Psalm 37:4—Those who trust in the Lord and in His promises may sometimes be frustrated and tempted to question the goodness and righteousness of God when they suffer trials, tribulations, and afflictions in this life. David exhorts us here to ‘trust in the LORD . . . delight in the LORD . . . commit your way to the LORD . . . be still before the LORD and wait patiently for Him.’ We Christians should remind ourselves that the Lord has demonstrated His goodness and righteousness in many ways, but especially by sending His only-begotten Son to be our Savior. Through Christ, He has already ‘brought forth our righteousness and . . . justice.’ He has given us ‘the desires of our heart’ in the person of our Savior, Jesus, and will, at the Last Day, deliver us out of this vale of tears and take us to himself in heaven.
Tuesday, 29 August 2017—Psalm 26—The psalmist, David, asks the LORD to vindicate him—clear his name—of false accusations. For what reason? Because David has ‘trusted in the LORD without wavering’—he belongs to the LORD by faith. Though Christ has died to forgive every one of our sins, the devil will try to throw our transgressions in our face, and make us despair of salvation. In such situations, we must call upon the LORD to vindicate us—not because we are without sin, but because Christ has redeemed us from sin and its eternal consequence and, by faith, we belong to Him. ‘There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.’ (Rom 8:1)
Wednesday, 30 August 2017—Jeremiah 15:15–21—Jeremiah calls upon the LORD to deliver him from the assaults and slander of his enemies. On what basis—his own righteousness? No; like David in the psalm for Sunday (above), Jeremiah pleads on the basis of his trust in the Lord: ‘I am called by your name, O LORD, God of hosts.’ We can call upon the LORD in our times of trouble for the same reason: we belong to Him. Though the proclamation and preaching of His Word, and through the holy Sacraments, God makes us His own and delivers us from the tyranny of sin.
Thursday, 31 August 2017—Romans 12:9–21—St Paul has spent much of his letter to the Romans showing how we are saved by grace alone through faith alone. But faith always manifests itself in love, especially toward our neighbor.
Here, Paul illustrates what Christian love, borne of faith, looks like. This is a description of the Christian—not in order to earn our salvation, but because our salvation has been earned for us by Christ.
Friday, 1 September 2017—Matthew 16:21–28—In Sunday’s Gospel account, Jesus tells the disciples very clearly what must become of Him: ‘suffer many things . . . be killed, and on the third day be raised.’ This is the plan of God for our salvation, which is why Jesus speaks so harshly to Peter when he contradicts Him. The theology of the cross—that salvation entails suffering—is difficult for the natural man to accept. This is why so many Christians in our world are theologians of glory—looking away from the cross and focusing on temporal blessings, rather than seeing the blessings we have by the cross and by suffering.
Jesus begins to show His disciples what He must endure to win salvation. ”From that time on Jesus began to explain to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things.”(v.21) Suffering is a part of the Christian life. What is the sacrifice God demands?1. Consider Christ’s sacrifice.
A. Denied self.
B. Took up the cross.
C. Followed the will of the Father.
2. Consider the Christian, a little Christ.
A. Deny self.
B. Take upon yourself your own suffering.
C. Follow Christ.
3. Consider the stakes in terms of winners and losers.
A. Losers – Gains the world, loses his soul.
B. Winners –loses life for Christ’s sake and finds his life.
Saturday, 2 September 2017—The hymn of the day, Hail, Thou Once Despised Jesus (LSB #531), connects the suffering of Jesus with our salvation and shows that the glory of God is revealed in the suffering and death of His Son. ‘Worship, honor, power, and blessing / Thou art worthy to receive’ because ‘Thou didst suffer to release us…Thou universal Savior, Bearer of our sin and shame.’
Lectionary summary on front page from LCMS Commission on Worship
Woodcut by Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld, © WELS
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006Concordia Publishing House
Photo © Greg Gallmeyer