Thursday, January 31, 2019

Morning Prayer Reading 86



Jesus Calms the Storm
Mark 4:35-41


35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” 36 And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. 38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 39 And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41 And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?


English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Schnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Morning Prayer Reading 85

Peter's Catch of Fish
Luke 5:1-11

5 On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret, 2 and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. 3 Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon's, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. 4 And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” 5 And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” 6 And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. 7 They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. 8 But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” 9 For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, 10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.”[a] 11 And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.

Footnotes:
Luke 5:10 The Greek word anthropoi refers here to both men and women

English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Luther's Seal © Higher Things permission granted for personal and congregational use

Monday, January 28, 2019

Morning Prayer Reading 84


The Wedding at Cana
John 2:1-11


2 On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2 Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. 3 When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” 4 And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” 5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.

6 Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons.[a] 7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. 9 When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom 10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” 11 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.

Footnotes:
John 2:6 Greek two or three measures (metrētas); a metrētēs was about 10 gallons or 35 liters

English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Schnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Epiphany 4 Series C


Epiphany 4 C Series
3 February 2019

Jeremiah 1:4–10 (17–19)
1 Corinthians 12:31b—13:13 
Luke 4:31–44

Almighty God, You know we live in the midst of so many dangers that in our frailty we cannot stand upright. Grant strength and protection to support us in all dangers and carry us through all temptations; through Jesus Christ our Lord

Jesus Has Authority to Forgive Your Sins and Give You Life

Jesus was sent to “preach the good news of the kingdom of God” (Luke 4:43). His preaching is an epiphany or manifestation of God, because His Word reveals the authority of His Cross and Resurrection, by which He has atoned for the sins of the world. By the preaching of His Gospel in every place, He silences the unclean spirits and casts out demons, heals the diseases of body and soul, and restores life and health to His creation (Luke 4:40–41). For the sake of His divine love, He is “patient and kind” toward us; He “bears all things,” “endures all things,” and “delivers up His body” to save us (1 Cor. 13:3–4, 7). So also for the sake of His love, He calls and sends His prophets, as ministers of His Word, “to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant” (Jeremiah 1:10).

For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits, and out they come!” (Luke 4:36) 

Jesus Heals a Man with an Unclean Demon

Luke 4:31 
 Καὶ κατῆλθεν εἰς Καφαρναοὺμ πόλιν τῆς Γαλιλαίας. καὶ ἦν διδάσκων αὐτοὺς ἐν τοῖς σάββασιν
And he went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee. And he was teaching them on the Sabbath, 

Luke 4:32
καὶ ἐξεπλήσσοντο ἐπὶ τῇ διδαχῇ αὐτοῦ, ὅτι ἐν ἐξουσίᾳ ἦν ὁ λόγος αὐτοῦ
and they were astonished at his teaching, for his word possessed authority. 

Luke 4:33
καὶ ἐν τῇ συναγωγῇ ἦν ἄνθρωπος ἔχων πνεῦμα δαιμονίου ἀκαθάρτου, καὶ ἀνέκραξεν φωνῇ μεγάλῃ•  
And in the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, 

Luke 4:34
Ἔα, τί ἡμῖν καὶ σοί, Ἰησοῦ Ναζαρηνέ; ἦλθες ἀπολέσαι ἡμᾶς; οἶδά σε τίς εἶ, ὁ ἅγιος τοῦ θεοῦ.  
“Ha![a] What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.” 
[a] Or Leave us alone

Luke 4:35
καὶ ἐπετίμησεν αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς λέγων• Φιμώθητι καὶ ἔξελθε ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ. καὶ ῥίψαν αὐτὸν τὸ δαιμόνιον εἰς [c]τὸ μέσον ἐξῆλθεν ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ μηδὲν βλάψαν αὐτόν.  
But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent and come out of him!” And when the demon had thrown him down in their midst, he came out of him, having done him no harm. 

Luke 4:36
καὶ ἐγένετο θάμβος ἐπὶ πάντας, καὶ συνελάλουν πρὸς ἀλλήλους λέγοντες• Τίς ὁ λόγος οὗτος ὅτι ἐν ἐξουσίᾳ καὶ δυνάμει ἐπιτάσσει τοῖς ἀκαθάρτοις πνεύμασιν, καὶ ἐξέρχονται
And they were all amazed and said to one another, “What is this word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out!” 

Luke 4:37 
καὶ ἐξεπορεύετο ἦχος περὶ αὐτοῦ εἰς πάντα τόπον τῆς περιχώρου.
And reports about him went out into every place in the surrounding region.

Jesus Heals Many

Luke 4:38 
Ἀναστὰς δὲ ἀπὸ τῆς συναγωγῆς εἰσῆλθεν εἰς τὴν οἰκίαν Σίμωνος. πενθερὰ δὲ τοῦ Σίμωνος ἦν συνεχομένη πυρετῷ μεγάλῳ, καὶ ἠρώτησαν αὐτὸν περὶ αὐτῆς
And he arose and left the synagogue and entered Simon's house. Now Simon's mother-in-law was ill with a high fever, and they appealed to him on her behalf. 

Luke 4:39 
καὶ ἐπιστὰς ἐπάνω αὐτῆς ἐπετίμησεν τῷ πυρετῷ, καὶ ἀφῆκεν αὐτήν• παραχρῆμα δὲ ἀναστᾶσα διηκόνει αὐτοῖς.
And he stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her, and immediately she rose and began to serve them.

Luke 4:40 
Δύνοντος δὲ τοῦ ἡλίουἅπαντες ὅσοι εἶχον ἀσθενοῦντας νόσοις ποικίλαις ἤγαγον αὐτοὺς πρὸς αὐτόν• ὁ δὲ ἑνὶ ἑκάστῳ αὐτῶν τὰς χεῖρας ἐπιτιθεὶς ἐθεράπευεν αὐτούς.
Now when the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various diseases brought them to him, and he laid his hands on every one of them and healed them. 

Luke 4:41 
 ἐξήρχετο δὲ καὶ δαιμόνια ἀπὸ πολλῶν κραυγάζοντα καὶ λέγοντα ὅτι Σὺ εἶ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ. καὶ ἐπιτιμῶν οὐκ εἴα αὐτὰ λαλεῖν, ὅτι ᾔδεισαν τὸν χριστὸν αὐτὸν εἶναι.
And demons also came out of many, crying, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Christ.

Jesus Preaches in Synagogues

Luke 4:42 
Γενομένης δὲ ἡμέρας ἐξελθὼν ἐπορεύθη εἰς ἔρημον τόπον• καὶ οἱ ὄχλοι ἐπεζήτουν αὐτόν, καὶ ἦλθον ἕως αὐτοῦ, καὶ κατεῖχον αὐτὸν τοῦ μὴ πορεύεσθαι ἀπ’ αὐτῶν
And when it was day, he departed and went into a desolate place. And the people sought him and came to him, and would have kept him from leaving them, 

Luke 4:43 
 ὁ δὲ εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτοὺς ὅτι Καὶ ταῖς ἑτέραις πόλεσιν εὐαγγελίσασθαί με δεῖ τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ θεοῦ, ὅτι ἐπὶ τοῦτο ἀπεστάλην
but he said to them, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.” 

Luke 4:44 
καὶ ἦν κηρύσσων εἰς τὰς συναγωγὰς τῆς Ἰουδαίας.
And he was preaching in the synagogues of Judea. [b]

[b]Some manuscripts Galilee

Jesus goes to Capernaum, the center of His Galilean ministry. The crowds are astounded at the authority of His teaching. They are amazed at the power demonstrated in his healing. Who is this Jesus? To what extent is he our authority, our standard for truth? What do we known of his power?

Jesus enters into His Father’s house and He begins teaching the people the Good News about the kingdom. But unlike the Pharisees and teachers of the law who quote the teachings of Moses and the Prophets, Jesus speaks by His own authority. Rather than speaking the teachings of others, Jesus speaks the Word Himself. With this speaking, He fulfills His role as the great High Priest.

Satan being cast down upon the earth in disobedience, hatred and spite has one of his demons take possession of a man in the synagogue. He recognizes Jesus as the One who has supreme authority and power. He cries cried out with a loud voice, “I know who you are— the Holy One of God.”

The evil spirit’s possession of the man is a direct assault upon the Father and His work of creation. Jesus as the great High Priest came to destroy the works of the devil. Jesus had the right, to set free the man held captive. Satan still considers it an infringement of his rights when God frees a “sinner” from bondage and destroys his influence. He still remains spiteful, malignant like a cancer - poisonous like a serpent - spreading his anger. He’s vicious. Striking out at all who come too close.
This demon was no different than his master. Still spiteful, though obliged to obey the divine will of God, the demon submits because he had to, not because he chose to. He exerted his last power, inflicting all the pain he could, and then bowed to the Son of God and came out.

Jesus came down from heaven in love and obedience to His Father. Jesus came to earth for the very purpose of paying the bills owed to the Father for your iniquity disobedience and sin. Jesus took the bills of your sin and paid the cost with His very own body and blood so that you could be free from the guilt over your iniquity and to relieve you from the burden of your sin. 

When you humbly turn to Jesus in faith, believing that His death on the cross accomplished your salvation, you are enabled to confess your sins and ask that your debts be forgiven. He freely gives you pardon and peace. His gifts He offers to all who love Him. Jesus enables you to stand upright before Him as He removes your sin so that you are free to serve Him. In doing this, Jesus makes you Holy. 

He made you holy in your Baptism. This is what our students learned in Morning Prayer this past week. What does Baptism with water signify? “It indicates that the Old Adam in us should by daily contrition and repentance be drowned and die with all sins and evil desires, and that a new man should daily arise to live before God in righteousness and purity forever.”

You are now free to live the life the Father intended for you to live. Your heavenly Father does not mean for you to live for yourself. You now live giving glory to God, as you serve your neighbor in the time given to you.

ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
The Greek New Testament: SBL Edition. Copyright © 2010 by Society of Biblical Literature and Logos Bible Software
LCMS Lectionary Summary © 2016
Luther’s Seal © Higher Things
Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

Time in the Word - Epiphany 4


Time in the Word
 January 28-February 2, 2019
Preparation for Epiphany 4




A prayer for newness of life in Christ—Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness and put upon ourselves the armor of life, now in the time of this mortal life, in which Your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility, that in the last day, when He shall come again in glory to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal.

A prayer for Home and Family—Visit, we implore You, O Lord, the homes in which Your people dwell, and keep far from them all harm and danger. Grant us to dwell together in peace under the protection of Your holy angels and may Your blessing be with us forever; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

A morning prayer—Faithful God, whose mercies are new to us every morning, we humbly pray that You would look upon us in mercy and renew us by Your Holy Spirit. Keep safe our going out and our coming in, and let Your blessings remain with us throughout this day. Preserve us in Your righteousness and grant us a portion in that eternal life which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Morning Prayer Readings for this coming week
Monday, Jan. 28 –Wedding at Cana – John 2:1-10
Tuesday, Jan. 29 –Peter’s Catch of Fish - Luke 5:1-11
Wednesday, Jan. 30 – Chapel Day
Thur. Jan. 31 – Jesus Calms the Storm Mark 4:35-41
Fri. Feb. 01 – Jesus heals a Paralytic-Mark 2:1-12
From the Catechism What is Confession, What sins ought we confess, What is the Sacrament of the Altar?

The Theme for Epiphany 4, “Opposition to the Word of God,” is seen in all three readings. In the Old Testament lesson, (Jeremiah 1:4-10), God promises to deliver those who fear the Lord. In the Epistle lesson (1 Corinthians 12:31b – 13:13), the solution to opposition is love. In the Gospel for Epiphany 4 (Luke 4:31-44), Nazareth rejects Jesus for preaching the truth. Because we live in a fallen world, our prayer is echoed by the hymn for the Day, “Lord, keep us steadfast in Your word.”

Collect for Epiphany 4—Lord, You know we live in the midst of so many dangers that in our frailty we cannot stand upright. Grant strength and protection to support us in all dangers and carry us through all temptations; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Monday, 28 January 2019Psalm 10:16-18, Antiphon, Psalm 10:12 Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up Your hand; forget not the afflicted.  Those who are at the mercy of the oppressors have no one to go to except the One who created heaven and earth. Thus, the psalmist pleads to the Lord to rescue him from the attacks of unscrupulous men. When wickedness rises against us, we run to the waiting arms of the only One who can help us. 

Tuesday, 29 January 2019Psalm 71:1-6 (7-11); key verse,  verse 12, Be not far from me O God; come quickly O my God to help me. This verse is a part of a prayer the psalmist prays in the waning years of his life. He knows his shepherd’s voice. He has the experience of the Good Shepherd’s guiding hand. Nothing will befall him without the Savior’s will being perfected in his life. In a quiet confidence, he waits patiently upon the Lord. In like manner, we commit our circumstances into the Lord’s safekeeping.

Wednesday, 30 January 2019Jeremiah 1:4-10—God promises to deliver the prophet Jeremiah from the fear of those opposing the Word. Before Jeremiah was born, he was called to be a prophet. The point of contact of this lesson with the Gospel is Jeremiah’s fear of preaching the Word as implied in verse 8. In the Gospel Jesus faced His opposition with courage. Here we are given the human side of the preacher. What would Jeremiah say concerning himself? He is destined to preach (verse 5).  This is his life’s calling, although at times he feels unworthy to preach (verse 6), and is at times afraid to preach (verse 8).But preach he must for he know that he speaks for God (verse 9).

Thursday, 31 January 20191 Corinthians 12:31b-13:13—The solution to opposition, of course, is love. In a third series on the Spirit, Paul explains that love is the best gift of the Spirit. Love, says St. Paul, is the best gift of the Holy Spirit. Love causes the hearer to love and accept the preaching of God’s Word regardless of his hurting. The Law condemns and accuses always. But it is important. It drives us to the Gospel.  
  
Friday, 01 February, 2019—Luke 4:31-44—In our Gospel lesson Jesus drives out an evil spirit. Here we find a man possessed by a demon. To pagans, a demon meant a supernatural being, either good or bad. Luke makes the point that this was an evil spirit. Such a demon could cause mental illness (see John 10:20), violence (see Luke 8:26-29), bodily disease (Luke 14:11, 16), and open rebellion against God (Mark 16:14).

Peter we know was married as we see Jesus heal his mother-in-law. This miracle is found in Matthew 8:14-15 and in Mark 1:29-31 but only Luke the physician tells us that she was suffering from a high fever.  The people were flocking to Jesus hoping He would help them. Luke reminds us this all happened on the Sabbath (verse 31) and as the sun was setting (verse 40). The Sabbath was over at sundown (around 6 p.m.).  Until then, according to the tradition of the Elders, Jews could not travel more than about two-thirds of one mile or carry a burden. Only after sundown could they carry the sick to Jesus. The eagerness of the crowd is seen in the fact that they set out while the sun was still setting. Only Jesus, the Great Physician, has the power to heal and to save.

Saturday, 02 February, 2019Psalm 119:5-10, John 3:31, Ephesians 4:3-6—Sunday’s Hymn of the Day is Lord keep Us Steadfast in Your Word (655 LSB). Because we live in a fallen world, because we face danger on every side, because there is only one source the Christian has for strength and sustenance, we go to the only place for personal protection – the Words and promises of our Lord. Thus, our prayer must be as found in the opening lines of our hymn, “Lord, Keep us steadfast in Your Word!” 


Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 and Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House
Schnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use
Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series C – John Brokhoff © 1979 CSS Publishing, Lima, OH

Epiphany 3 - Reflection

3rd Sunday of Epiphany Reflection
Luke 4:16–30

A morning prayerFaithful God, whose mercies are new to us every morning, we humbly pray that You would look upon us in mercy and renew us by Your Holy Spirit. Keep safe our going out and our coming in, and let Your blessings remain with us throughout this day. Preserve us in Your righteousness and grant us a portion in that eternal life which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

This Sunday Jesus begins his public ministry by proclaiming release (aphesis) to captives and the oppressed. He announces that today - in his hearers’ presence -- the prophecy of Isaiah has been fulfilled, and the year of the Lord’s favor has come.

The Theme for Epiphany 3 is “The Purpose of Your Life.” In the Old Testament lesson Ezra the scribe reads the Book of the Law in the presence of the people. Reading from the Book of the Law brought tears to the people. Their purpose was to be directed by the Word of the Lord. In the Epistle lesson Paul reminds us that by the Spirit Christians are members of one body. In the Gospel lesson Jesus finds His purpose in Isaiah’s words. The Hymn of the Day is a prayer asking the Christian to ever walk near to the Lord. 

When Jesus opens His mouth to preach, gracious words flow from His lips. "The Scriptures are, indeed, fulfilled in your hearing" (Luke 4:21–22). For Christ was anointed by the Spirit of the Lord “to proclaim good news to the poor,” “to proclaim liberty to the captives,” and “to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18–19). 

By reading from Isaiah 61 and declaring the acceptable year of the Lord, Jesus recalls the year of Jubilee. According to Leviticus 25, the year of Jubilee is a year of release. Every 50 years, God’s people are to observe a Sabbath of Sabbaths: “you shall proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants.” The law of Jubilee is designed to transform society and undo the damage that human greed has caused: it frees people who have been enslaved because of debt, and it returns land to its original owners so that every member of God’s people has a way of earning a living. During the year of Jubilee all the people return to their property and their families. Both land and people rest, and the people live off what the land produces by itself.

By this proclamation, Christ releases His people from captivity and gathers them to Himself in His Church. So it was when the Lord released His people from Babylon and returned them to Jerusalem. “Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people,” sanctified the whole congregation by the reading and preaching of the Law (Nehemiah 8:8–9). 

As the people then were urged to “eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready” (Nehemiah 8:10), so are you anointed by the Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ to share in His feast and to serve the fellow members of His Body with His good gifts, “giving greater honor to the part that lacked it” (1 Corinthians 12:12, 24).

In Nazareth Jesus is now recognized as mature, (30 years of age) a consecrated Rabbi. Where he was raised. These are the people who saw Him grow up. 

Jesus preaches good news and forgives. A lot of creed here. Not a social justice mandate. It is Christ doing it himself. It involved preaching...proclaiming the year of the Lord's welcome. Jesus is God's address to the world. He proclaims victory. See 1 Peter 3:19 

How did the people respond to the sermon? See Vv. 20-23"This is Joseph's son is it not?" To bear witness is to speak of what you know.”This can't be the Christ, we remember him, as Joseph's son. What are these words of grace coming from his mouth?” 

And he said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘“Physician, heal yourself.” What we have heard you did at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well.’”

What was Jesus doing in Capernaum? 

Can Jesus heal? Of course! But we dare not press Him, or demand of Him. 

Why do you suppose the crowd reacted as they did? Does a miracle happen in Nazareth? How? 

Compare and contrast the Old Testament Lesson and today’s Gospel.

A prayer for steadfast faithAlmighty 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

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Epiphany 3



3rd Sunday after the Epiphany - Series C
27 January 2019

Luke 4:16–30
But who can endure His coming?

Almighty and everlasting God, mercifully look upon our infirmities and stretch forth the hand of Your majesty to heal and defend us; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.[1]
It was on a Sabbath. That Jesus arrived in Nazareth. As was His practice, He entered the synagogue. Now the synagogue worship service was divided up into three parts. In the worship section prayers were offered.
The reading of the Scriptures consisted of lessons from the Law, usually read verse by verse by seven persons, and lessons from the prophets were read three verses at a time.
Teaching formed the third part of the service. “Jesus rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them,Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
On that day, Jesus was both reader and preacher. Quoting from the prophet Isaiah Jesus proclaims that a new day has dawned. He is the one anointed by God and because He alone was anointed, only He can deliver on what the prophet had predicted.
The folk in Nazareth missed it. True. All spoke well of Him. They marveled at the gracious words that were coming from His mouth. "This is Joseph's son is it not?" But he couldn’t be the Christ! We remember him…as…Joseph's son. “Do in your hometown what we heard that you did in Capernaum.” Yet, no prophet is truly favored, welcomed, accepted. Especially in the neighborhood where he went to school.
One might think that Jesus would be welcomed in Nazareth. Yet they turned down the messenger because they rejected the message; which involved preaching and proclaiming the year of the Lord's welcome. 
Jesus is the Father's address to the world. He was rejected in Nazareth and is often dismissed today for some of the very same reasons. They were seeking a political king. Who would break the yoke of Rome. And who among us have, at one time or the other, been swayed by a politician’s promises?

They were seeking pleasure and security; freedom from want and freedom from worry.  Why blame them? Who doesn’t want freedom?  Who doesn’t want liberty, autonomy, independence? But at what cost?

And at what price? In this American culture there are many who desire, “rigor without submission. This offers confession without execution. Orthodoxy without obedience”. Making promises to obey. But doing nothing. [2]

The Father sent Jesus in fulfillment of His promise. The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD'S favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor. (Isaiah 61:1-3)

Jesus came with power and compassion, which were seen in His healing signs. Jesus said to them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Physician, heal yourself! Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.’ ” (Luke 4:23) Certainly Jesus would heal one of His own!

Of course, Jesus has the power to heal. Yet we must never presume that He must. Paul writes of his own physical affliction. “Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness’” (2 Corinthians 12:7–9).

A thorn in the flesh. Such vivid imagery.
The sharp end of a thorn pierces the soft skin of life and lodges beneath the surface.
Every step is a reminder of the thorn in the flesh.
The disease in the body.
The sadness in the heart.
The sister in the rehab center.
The Dad moving out.
The D on the report card.
The craving to be one of the cool crowd.
The tears in the middle of the night.
All thorns in the flesh.

“Take it away,” you’ve pleaded. Not once, twice, or even three times. You’ve out-prayed Paul. He prayed a sprint; you’ve prayed the Boston Marathon. This wound oozes pain, and you see no sign of tweezers coming from heaven. But what you hear is this: “My grace is all you need.”

God’s grace is not a gentle shower washing away the problem. It is a raging, roaring river - whose current knocks you off your feet - and carries you into the presence of God.  [3]

Whenever we recite the creed we confess, “Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate…” which simply means Jesus became a man to rescue and redeem you.  When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick.  This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: “He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases.” (Matthew 8:16-17; Isaiah 53:4)

Neither life nor death shall ever
From the Lord His children sever;
Unto them, His grace He showeth,
And their sorrows all He knoweth.[4]

To the poor – those in utter spiritual destitution – Christ preaches the good news of God’s mercy, which frees us. To the prisoners of war - under Satan’s control - He proclaims release. To the oppressed – those broken in pieces by sin and shame - He proclaims freedom. To all - in spiritual bondage, blindness, poverty and oppression - He announces the arrival of a new era in human history. “And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.” (John 1) The Father now regards with favor and grants His blessings in abundance as Jesus has entered time and space to save you.

These mercies are witnessed above all in Jesus’ atoning death and resurrection. Jesus predicted the cleansing death and resurrection of the temple of His body. The disciples (and many from Nazareth no doubt!) would later believe these words after the resurrection. It is only the resurrection of Jesus Christ, which makes the passion, and death of Jesus makes any sense.

Without the empty tomb, the cross makes no sense. Without the empty tomb the sufferings of Jesus, appear to be failure. Without the empty tomb, the entire earthly ministry of Jesus becomes only an exercise in futility.

The solution to the problem of brokenness is the cross. Where the price of disobedience was paid. Where a submissive and compliant Son demonstrated perfect obedience to His Father. That great exchange – God’s mercy and forgiveness purchased at the cost of His own Son! “For God so love the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

Since Christ has fulfilled the demands of the Law, believers in Christ are now free from the curse of the Law as a means of finding favor with God.

Jesus today proclaims liberty. These words are fulfilled in your hearing. As He speaks this word from the cross into your ears this day – “It is finished!” The Father is satisfied. Christ has come to set you free to proclaim liberty and freedom for you. Not as some might define freedom - but as He has established it - at the cross and into your life. As the Son has set you free, you truly are free indeed!

Words – 1,545
Passive Sentences – 10%
Readability –73.8%
Reading Level – 5.4
Image: Luther’s Seal © Higher Things




[1] Collect for Epiphany 3, Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

[2] BOBO’s in Paradise The New Upper Class and How They Got There, David Brooks © 2001, Simon & Schuster - The thesis is that during the late 1970s a new establishment arose that represented a fusion between the bourgeois world of capitalist enterprise and the hippie values of the bohemian counterculture. He refers to these individuals as bobos, a portmanteau word for "bourgeois bohemians".

“This bobo reconciliation I talk about is really a product of the information age, what they're creating, because in this economy, ideas and information are as important to creating wealth as natural resources and finance capital. So the people who thrive are the ones who can take ideas and emotions and turn them into products. So they really do have one foot in the world of Bohemia, which are ideas, emotions, creativity, and one foot in the world of the bourgeoisie, which is the world of the marketplace. And that's what's reconciled this 150-year-old culture war between the Bohemians and the bourgeoisie.

[4] Children of the Heavenly Father, stanza three, Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

Friday, January 25, 2019

Morning Prayer Reading 83


Jesus Calls His First Disciples 
John 1
(Selective Verses)

35 The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. 38 Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” 39 He said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour.[j] 40 One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus[k] was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. 41 He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). 42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter[l]).

Jesus Calls Philip and Nathanael
43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” 48 Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” 49 Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50 Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” 51 And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you,[m] you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

Footnotes:
John 1:39 That is, about 4 p.m.
John 1:40 Greek him

John 1:42 Cephas and Peter are from the word for rock in Aramaic and Greek, respectively
John 1:51 The Greek for you is plural; twice in this verse

English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Schnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Morning Prayer Reading 82


The Temptation of Jesus 
Matthew 4:1-11


4 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4 But he answered, “It is written,

“‘Man shall not live by bread alone,
    but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple 6 and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written,

“‘He will command his angels concerning you,’

and

“‘On their hands they will bear you up,
    lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”

7 Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written,

“‘You shall worship the Lord your God
    and him only shall you serve.’”

11 Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.

English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Schnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Morning Prayer Reading 81


The Baptism of Jesus 
Matthew 3 
(Selective Verses)

13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. 14 John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15 But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. 16 And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him,[c] and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; 17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son,[d] with whom I am well pleased.

Footnotes:
Matthew 3:16 Some manuscripts omit to him
Matthew 3:17 Or my Son, my (or the) Beloved

English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Schnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use

Monday, January 21, 2019

Morning Prayer Reading 80


John the Baptist Prepares the Way  
Matthew 3; Mark 1; Luke 3; John 1 
(Selective Verses)


3 In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, 2 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”[a] 3 For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said,

The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare[b] the way of the Lord;
    make his paths straight.’”

4 Now John wore a garment of camel's hair and a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. 5 Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him, 6 and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.

4 John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.

19 Now this was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders[c] in Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. 20 He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Messiah.”

21 They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?

He said, “I am not.”

Are you the Prophet?

He answered, “No.”

22 Finally they said, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?

23 John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’”[d]

24 Now the Pharisees who had been sent 25 questioned him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?

16 John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire."

English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Schnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use


Sunday, January 20, 2019

Epiphany 3 Series C



3rd Sunday after the Epiphany - Series C

27 January 2019
Nehemiah 8:1–3, 5–6, 8–10
1 Corinthians 12:12–31a
Luke 4:16–30

The Lord Is Manifested as Our Savior through the Preaching of the Gospel
Almighty and everlasting God, mercifully look upon our infirmities and stretch forth the hand of Your majesty to heal and defend us; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. 

When Jesus opens His mouth to preach, gracious words flow from His lips. The Scriptures are, indeed, fulfilled in your hearing (Luke 4:21–22). For Christ was anointed by the Spirit of the Lord “to proclaim good news to the poor,” “to proclaim liberty to the captives,” and “to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18–19). 

By this proclamation, Christ releases His people from captivity and gathers them to Himself in His Church. So it was when the Lord released His people from Babylon and returned them to Jerusalem. “Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people,” sanctified the whole congregation by the reading and preaching of the Law (Nehemiah 8:8–9). 

As the people then were urged to “eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready” (Nehemiah 8:10), so are you anointed by the Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ to share in His feast and to serve the fellow members of His Body with His good gifts, “giving greater honor to the part that lacked it” (1 Corinthians 12:12, 24).

Jesus Rejected at Nazareth
Luke 4:16-30

Luke 4:16 – 
Καὶ ἦλθεν εἰς Ναζαρά, οὗ ἦν τεθραμμένος, καὶ εἰσῆλθεν κατὰ τὸ εἰωθὸς αὐτῷ ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τῶν σαββάτων εἰς τὴν συναγωγήν, καὶ ἀνέστη ἀναγνῶναι.
And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read.

You had to be invited to read. Recognized as mature, (30 years of age) a consecrated Rabbi. Where he was raised. These are the people who saw Him grow up. Has Jesus returned because Joseph had died? Why didn't you heal him? Is this not Joseph's father?

Luke 4:17 – 
καὶ ἐπεδόθη αὐτῷ βιβλίον τοῦ προφήτου Ἠσαΐου καὶἀναπτύξας τὸ βιβλίον εὗρεν τὸν τόπον οὗ ἦν γεγραμμένον
And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,

Isaiah the prophet was handed to him...was Jesus using a free text or was it appointed?  Text does not say. 

Luke 4:18 – 
Πνεῦμα κυρίου ἐπ’ ἐμέ, οὗ εἵνεκεν ἔχρισέν με εὐαγγελίσασθαι πτωχοῖς, ἀπέσταλκέν με κηρύξαι αἰχμαλώτοις ἄφεσιν καὶ τυφλοῖς ἀνάβλεψιν, ἀποστεῖλαι τεθραυσμένους ἐν ἀφέσει,
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed,

This is witness that this is the Christ. He preaches good news and forgives. A lot of creed here. Not a social justice mandate. It is Christ doing it himself. It involved preaching...proclaiming the year of the Lord's welcome. Jesus is God's address to the world. He proclaims victory. See 1 Peter 3:19 the descent into hell. 

Luke 4:19 – 
κηρύξαι ἐνιαυτὸν κυρίου δεκτόν.
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.

The year of the Lord's favor - year of jubilee. Christ is the hand in the glove. All the high days are fulfilled in Christ. Leviticus 5:10. Proclaim a release every 50 years. Is the year of Jubilee the year Christ dies? See John 8:31ff. The Jews didn't realize they were in captivity. We do not have the credentials to stand before God. 

Luke 4:20-
καὶ πτύξας τὸ βιβλίον ἀποδοὺς τῷ ὑπηρέτῃ ἐκάθισεν• καὶ πάντων οἱ ὀφθαλμοὶ ἐν τῇ συναγωγῇ ἦσαν ἀτενίζοντες αὐτῷ.
And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him.

Luke 4:21-
ἤρξατο δὲ λέγειν πρὸς αὐτοὺς ὅτι Σήμερον πεπλήρωται ἡ γραφὴ αὕτη ἐν τοῖς ὠσὶν ὑμῶν.
And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

Luke 4:22-
καὶ πάντες ἐμαρτύρουν αὐτῷ καὶ ἐθαύμαζον ἐπὶ τοῖς λόγοις τῆς χάριτος τοῖς ἐκπορευομένοις ἐκ τοῦ στόματος αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἔλεγον• Οὐχὶ υἱός ἐστιν Ἰωσὴφ οὗτος;
And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth. And they said, “Is not this Joseph's son?”

Luke 4:20-22
 "This is Joseph's son is it not?" To bear witness is to speak of what you know. This can't be the Christ, we remember him, as Joseph's son. What are these words of grace coming from his mouth?  How much more did He preach? Is this merely a synopses?  

Luke 4:23 – 
καὶ εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτούς• Πάντως ἐρεῖτέ μοι τὴν παραβολὴν ταύτην• Ἰατρέ, θεράπευσον σεαυτόν• ὅσα ἠκούσαμεν γενόμενα εἰς τὴν Καφαρναοὺμ ποίησον καὶ ὧδε ἐν τῇ πατρίδι σου.
And he said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘“Physician, heal yourself.” What we have heard you did at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well.’”

"So he said to them...certainly you say to me this proverb, Physician heal yourself do in your home town what we heard that you did in Capernaum."  What's the context of what he did elsewhere? 

Luke 4:24 – 
εἶπεν δέ• Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι οὐδεὶς προφήτης δεκτός ἐστιν ἐν τῇ πατρίδι αὐτοῦ.
And he said, “Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown.

No prophet is favored, welcomed, accepted. (same word as :19)

Luke 4:25 –
ἐπ’ ἀληθείας δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν, πολλαὶ χῆραι ἦσαν ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις Ἠλίου ἐν τῷ Ἰσραήλ, ὅτε ἐκλείσθη ὁ οὐρανὸς ἐπὶ ἔτη τρία καὶ μῆνας ἕξ, ὡς ἐγένετο λιμὸς μέγας ἐπὶ πᾶσαν τὴν γῆν,
But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens were shut up three years and six months, and a great famine came over all the land,

But in truth I say to you many widows were in Israel when there was a famine great in the land. 

Luke 4:26- 
καὶ πρὸς οὐδεμίαν αὐτῶν ἐπέμφθη Ἠλίας εἰ μὴ εἰς Σάρεπτα τῆς Σιδωνίας πρὸς γυναῖκα χήραν.
and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow.

Luke 4:27 – 
καὶ πολλοὶ λεπροὶ ἦσαν ἐν τῷ Ἰσραὴλ ἐπὶ Ἐλισαίου τοῦ προφήτου, καὶ οὐδεὶς αὐτῶν ἐκαθαρίσθη, εἰ μὴ Ναιμὰν ὁ Σύρος.
And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.”

Many lepers there were in Israel in the days of Elijah the prophet and none of them were healed except for the Syrian. What the prophet has to say is more important than the miracles.  

Even the Gentiles were healed in the OT. They want temporal blessings because of who they were. Had they heard of widows and leapers before? 

Leprosy was a term for several skin diseases; see Leviticus 13

Luke 4:28-
καὶ ἐπλήσθησαν πάντες θυμοῦ ἐν τῇ συναγωγῇ ἀκούοντες ταῦτα,
When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath.

Luke 4:29-
καὶ ἀναστάντες ἐξέβαλον αὐτὸν ἔξω τῆς πόλεως, καὶ ἤγαγον αὐτὸν ἕως ὀφρύος τοῦ ὄρους ἐφ’ οὗ ἡ πόλις ᾠκοδόμητο αὐτῶν, ὥστε κατακρημνίσαι αὐτόν
And they rose up and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff.

Luke 4:30  
αὐτὸς δὲ διελθὼν διὰ μέσου αὐτῶν ἐπορεύετο
But passing through their midst, he went away.

They were filled with wrath everyone of them in the Synagogue.  They connect, it strikes a cord. He will not give them what they want what they believe they deserve. They drag him in order to throw him but passing through their midst he continues his journey. 


ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
The Greek New Testament: SBL Edition. Copyright © 2010 by Society of Biblical Literature and Logos Bible Software
LCMS Lectionary Summary © 2016
Luther’s Seal © Higher Things
Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

Time in the Word - Epiphany 3

Time in the Word
 January 21-26, 2019
Preparation for Epiphany 3 


Collect for Epiphany 2 –– Almighty and Everlasting God, who governs all things in heaven and on earth, mercifully hear the prayers of Your people and grant us Your peace through all our days; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever

A prayer for steadfast faithAlmighty 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. 

A prayer for newness of life in ChristAlmighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness and put upon ourselves the armor of life, now in the time of this mortal life, in which Your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility, that in the last day, when He shall come again in glory to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal. 

A morning prayerFaithful God, whose mercies are new to us every morning, we humbly pray that You would look upon us in mercy and renew us by Your Holy Spirit. Keep safe our going out and our coming in, and let Your blessings remain with us throughout this day. Preserve us in Your righteousness and grant us a portion in that eternal life which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

This week’s Morning Prayer Schedule 
Mon. 21 Jan. John prepares the way - Matthew3; Mark 1l; Luke.3; John.1 - Selective Verses
Tue. 22 Jan. Baptism of Jesus Matthew 3- Selective Verses
Wed. 23 Jan. Chapel Day
Th. 24. Jan. Temptation of Christ - Matthew 4:1-11 
Fri.25.Jan. Jesus calls His first disciples - John 1 (Selective Verses)
This Week’s Catechism review: What is the Office of the Keys?& What is Confession?

The Theme for Epiphany 3 is “The Purpose of Your Life.” In the Old Testament lesson Ezra the scribe reads the Book of the Law in the presence of the people. Reading from the Book of the Law brought tears to the people. Their purpose was to be directed by the Word of the Lord. In the Epistle lesson Paul reminds us that by the Spirit Christians are members of one body. In the Gospel lesson Jesus finds His purpose in Isaiah’s words. The Hymn of the Day is a prayer asking the Christian to ever walk near to the Lord. 

Collect for Epiphany 3Almighty and everlasting God, mercifully look upon our infirmities and stretch forth the hand of Your majesty to heal and defend us; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with  You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. 

Monday, 21 January 2019Psalm 102:18-22, Antiphon, Psalm 102:13 – You will arise and have pity on Zion; it is the time to favor her; the appointed time has come. The antiphon is the centerpiece of the entire psalm. The psalmist’s distress was occasioned by the Babylonian exile. Yet, he sees an appointed time – a time set by God for judgment and deliverance to come. As we pray this prayer, we too look for a time of deliverance to come. We pray that deliverance might come to us now and ultimately on the last great day, that day when we shall live beyond time and space. 

Tuesday, 22 January 2019Psalm 19: (1-6) 7-14; key verse, verse 14—May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. These words are quite familiar – they are often uttered by the pastor before the sermon. By these words the preacher is asking that he only proclaim God’s Words and not his own. By these words the hearer asks that these words of the Lord penetrate the heart and mind so that faith may be strengthened and nourished. May the Word of the Lord give us both direction and encouragement not only this coming Sunday but throughout this New Year. 

Wednesday, 23 January 2019Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10–Notice how the worship practices of Ezra and Nehemiah are quite similar to ours today. Ezra the scribe reads the Book of the Law in the presence of the people. After they heard the word, they responded in two ways. First they feasted. Delicious festive food prepared with much fat. The fat of sacrificial animals was offered to God as the tastiest element of the burnt offering, the fellowship offering, the sin offering, and the guilt offering. The fat was not to be eaten in these cases. They also remembered the poor and those less fortunate on these joyous occasions. Likewise, we today respond in two ways. We come to a worship service to hear the Word. We eat the sacrifice of Christ in the Sacrament and then we respond in sacramental living. In service, we worship God. We respond by reaching out to our neighbors and especially to those whose need is great. We respond as the Word of the Lord has taken root in our lives.   

Thursday, 24 January 20191 Corinthians 12:12-31a—The Christian finds his purpose in the body of Christ. By the Spirit Christians are members of one bodyS. The unity of the church is the unity of Christ. We are one in Christ, as members of the body of Christ. Regardless of our differences, Jews, Greeks, bond, or free, we are all one. Last names cease when we enter the church door. We are one in the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Paul will remind us in verse 13, “For by one Spirit we were baptized into one body – and all were made to drink of one Spirit.” The church is not a human institution held together by its leaders and members’ contributions. If that were the case, the church would have died long ago. The Spirit calls, gathers, enlightens, sanctifies, and preserves the church from age to age.  

Friday, 25 January 2019Luke 4:16-30—Many today are seeking self-identity. They are seeking to understand who they are and what their purpose in life is. Many do not have a reason for living. They are confused because they are aimless. They have no goals for life. As Christians who follow Christ in all things, our purpose in life should be the same as Jesus’ purpose. Luke tells us where Jesus came from – He came from God to fulfill God’s promises. He tells us who Jesus is – He is the Messiah, God’s servant – commissioned and called. He tells us what Jesus was to do – preach the Good News.   

Saturday, 26 January 2019—-Matthew 16:24; 1 Peter 4:12-13; Matthew 10:38-39; Romans 6:2-5, 8.Sunday’s hymn of the day is Let us Ever Walk with Jesus (685 LSB).  The purpose of Jesus’ life was fulfilled by the words of the prophet. The purpose of your life is that the will of God might be fulfilled in us. Thus this wonderful hymn encourages the believer to daily walk with the Lord, to follow Christ’s example and Word that daily we might be conformed to His will and way. 


Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 and Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House
Schnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use
Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series C – John Brokhoff © 1979 CSS Publishing, Lima, OH