Saturday, November 30, 2019

Advent 1



Advent 1 Series A
01 December 2019
Advent 1
Matthew 24:37-44
Be ready for the unexpected day of Jesus’ return

Vigilance is needed because the return of Christ will be unexpected for many living in this world.  It is a common failure among some people to ignore the signs of the times of impending disaster. It is confirmed at the time of an earthquake or hurricane. Such events were well documented and demonstrated in the storms of Katrina and Rita and in forest fires in California Arizona and other western states. 

People didn’t think things could get that bleak. They didn’t leave when they were suppose to and then it came to a point when evacuation was impossible there was no escape. At first they would not leave then they could not leave.  Some refuse to heed the warnings and so they suffer the consequences of the storm.



Vigilance is the price of preparedness.

1. Danger of preoccupation – V. 38 “For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark;”

For the people of Noah’s day it was a case of business as usual. They just did not think of a possible flood. The warning signs were all about. Noah would preach judgment, the approaching flood, and continued to build the ark. His message fell on deaf ears. The people were preoccupied with the business of living.

Some might lay the same claim against us Christians especially in this Advent season.  ‘You keep talking about Jesus coming back to this earth,’ they say. ‘It’s been 2,000 years, He hasn’t returned.  Maybe you’re just a little preoccupied with all this talk of Jesus and His 2nd coming’. 

And yet, in this world people are constantly thinking about their future. They plan for retirement, they pre-arrange for their funeral, they make provisions for financing their children or their grandchildren’s education – planning, investing, saving for future events years in the making. Yet, they fail to make provisions for their immortal soul. What’s the difference? Some have a different set of priorities in life.    

Why all this concern?  Because there are people living even in our own community “without a prayer”.  They are living their day to day lives “without a prayer” of tomorrow or of their future destiny. They are missing – missing from fellowship – missing from a relationship with the Savior – mission from spiritual union with other believers. They are on the outside looking in – and they don’t even know it. 

You and I make provisions for the eventual return of Jesus Christ. Like Noah we speak about the eventual return of Christ and His visitation and we build and invest in ministry now. We work now to in making disciples for the kingdom for there will come a time when opportunities will cease and there will be no more time or hours to work but only night.   

Transition: There is the danger of preoccupation of time. There is also a danger in the danger of judgment.  

2. Danger of judgment – Vv. 40, 41 “Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.”

One will be taken into glory and the other will face judgment. The one taken was prepared for the Lord’s coming. For the other, it was too late. Their time of grace was wasted. How many shattered lives? How many misspent years attempted to gain the whole world only to have lost their soul?

The coming day is not to be put off. What words can more strongly describe the suddenness of our Savior’s coming! Men will be at their respective businesses, and suddenly the Lord of glory will appear. Women will be in their place of employment, but in that moment every other work will be laid aside, and every heart will turn inward and say, “It is the Lord! Am I prepared to meet him? Can I stand before Him?” And what, in fact, is the Day of Judgment to the whole world, but the day of death to every one?  This the Savior reminds us, “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come” (Matthew 24:42 -KJV)

Transition: There is the danger of preoccupation, the danger of judgment, and the danger of the unexpected.

3. Danger of unexpectedness – V.43 “But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have left his house be broken into.”

A thief strikes when least expected. A Christian needs to live on the alert for Jesus’ coming. There needs to be a heightened awareness. Christ could return at any moment. Or, His return may be delayed.  No one is certain of the day or the hour.  Pay attention!  

In the verse just prior to our text, {V. 37} Jesus reminds us that the time of His return is unknown to men. “No one know about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”  Those who spend their time attempting to predict the date are like those who spend their hours attempting to break the bank at Vegas. Yet, know this; the date in time has been fixed.

“Oh, the Places you’ll go!” – happens to be the last book written and illustrated by children's author Dr. Seuss. A young boy, referred to simply as “you,” initiates the action of the story. Dr. Seuss tells us “The Waiting Place” isn’t fun for anyone. Here people wait for other people...for people just waiting. Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go or the mail to come, or the rain to go or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or No....

Waiting…is a part of life. And no, it isn’t fun. In life we wait - for anything and everything - even second chances.  In Advent it seems as if the saying or slogan is “Ready, set, Wait!”  Yet, vigilance is the price of preparation. Be on your watch. The end will come according to the Father’s appointed hour.

Words – 1,080
Passive Sentences –8% 
Readability – 75.9%
Reading Level – 5.8
Advent Image copyright  © Higher Things
Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Thanksgiving – the quintessential American Holiday



Thanksgiving Day
November 29, 2019
Luke 17:11–19  
“Thanksgiving – The Quintessential American Holiday”

Ten lepers cry out to Jesus with one voice: “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” All ten share in the same condition. They are all leprous. They are all outcasts. Cut off from society. All of them.  Have faith in Jesus to heal them. “Have mercy on us!

"Ten" is a perfect number. All together. They cry out for mercy. But at a distance. They have nothing left to lose.

Lepers were like death-row inmates. They were as good as dead. Dead men walking. For death itself was in their flesh. Lesions. Sores. And scabs. Bore witness to their decay. As living symbols of death. They were unclean. As such. They were shunned from society. They were cast out of the community. Barred access to home. Market. And synagogue. 

Their leprosy made them dead to family and friends. Leprosy made them dead to religious practice. Only a cure for their leprosy could bring them life. But cures were rare. So rare, in fact. That the rabbis of the day considered the cure of a leper equivalent with raising a person from the dead. Lepers were the living dead.

These men  didn’t call out to Jesus just to say “Hello.” They called out because they were sick. In fact dying a very slow death. And it is precisely those people. Whom our Lord came to rescue. Perhaps the greatest virtue of the Samaritan was his sense of self. The man knew precisely what he was. And what he needed. More to the point. He knew where to get it. [1] 

All ten are cleansed by Jesus. The skin of every leper is restored. As they go their way to the Temple. Only the Samaritan, however, goes back to Jesus to give thanks. And Jesus commends him for his faith. 

Rise and go your way,” says Jesus. “Your faith has made you well.”  Rise up. Go. And keep going.  Your faith has. And continues to save you. Faith is always busy and active.

Jesus doesn’t give the Samaritan any direction.  He simply says “Rise and go.” The implication is that the Samaritan can go wherever he wants. He worships God in Spirit and Truth. He doesn’t need to go to the Temple. Or the priests in Jerusalem. He is not merely cleansed of leprosy. He is also saved. His soul is clean. He is reconciled to God. There is no one to accuse him.



Today is Thanksgiving – the quintessential American Holiday. In the midst of the Civil War. Abraham Lincoln declared that a grateful nation would simply pause to give thanks to God. That is why you have gathered here today. As the people of this parish have gathered - for the past one-hundred fifty-six years. 


We pause to give thanks. To the one who has shown mercy. To the one who could have left us dead in our trespasses and sin. But instead determined to save and redeem us. 





Not with a wave of His hand. But with hands and feet which were pierced. And a side which was wounded. And with a back which was scared by the whip of and an oppressor. “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

Jesus took responsibility for our sin. By taking our curse. (Galatians 3:13) Our penalty. (2 Corinthians 5:21) Our consequences. (Matthew 27:46) Our punishment. (Isaiah 53:5).  

Nine were hesitant to give Jesus the glory. This stranger. This outcast.   The one who had no purpose. And no status. Returned to give thanks. 

Secure then of His promises. Let us believe the past. Recognize the present. Hope for the future. ‘The blessing of the Lord are for evermore. Amen and Amen.’ (Psalm 89. 51) Thanks to His mercy. Thanks to His grace. We express our thanks. We do not give them. Nor return them. Nor repay them. We express our thanks in words. He saved us for no reward. He heeded not our impieties. He searched us out. When we searched not for Him. He found. Redeemed. Emancipated us from the bondage of the devil. And the power of wicked angels.[2] 

Almighty God, in fulfillment of the promise made to David’s descendants You established a lasting covenant through Your firstborn Son. You anointed Your servant Jesus with holy oil and raise Him higher than all kings on earth. Remember Your covenant, so that we who are signed with the blood of Your Son may sing of Your mercies forever; through Jesus Christ Your Son.” Amen  [3] 
__________________
Words - 860
Passive Sentences – 6%
Readability – 86.3
Reading Level-2.7

[1] From a sermon delivered by Pr. Ken Kelly Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity posted 9.18.2019 via facebookTM

[2]  St Augustine on the Gospel (From Exposition on the Psalms  in Vol. VIII, NPNF) Exposition of Psalm 89:51  Psalm passages related to Ingratitude and Thankfulness http://www.lectionarycentral.com/trinity14/Augustine1.html
  
[3] Collect for Psalm 89, For All The Saints, A Prayer Book For and by the Church © 1995 the American Lutheran Publicity Bureau, Delhi, NY 

Images copyright © Google Images 

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Thanksgiving Eve



Thanksgiving Eve
 Psalm 118:1
27 November 2019
A Prayer for Thanksgiving

The prayer for Thanksgiving is more than our feeble attempt at communication with God.  It is a wonderful opportunity for the Lord to teach us the lessons of Thanksgiving.  As we speak to the Lord He speaks back to us. This evening as we pray to the Lord may He speak to us through this powerful prayer:

Almighty God, whose mercies are new every morning and whose goodness though undeserved still abundantly provides for all our wants of body and soul, grant us, we humbly 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; through Jesus Christ, Your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

I.       Almighty God.  In thanksgiving we address the Lord, the author of all life. What is it that we can say about the Lord? Our prayer suggests three important realities.

A.     Whose mercies are new every morning. The Psalmist reminds us that “His mercy endures forever.”[1]  Yet they come to us each day. Every day is a new day. Every day is an opportunity to serve the Lord in this generation. Every day is the Lord supplies us with everything we need to support our body and life. In the 4th Petition of the Lord’s Prayer the question is asked: What is meant by daily bread? Luther sums it up with these words. “Daily bread includes everything that has to do with the support and needs of the body such as food, drink, clothing, shoes, house, home, land, animals, money, goods, a devout husband or wife, devout children, devout workers, devout and faithful rules, good government, good weather, peace, health, self-control, good reputation, good friends, faithful neighbors, and the like.[2]

B.    Whose goodness though undeserved.  The Lord’s goodness has nothing to do with you. Notice that we must acknowledge the complete opposite. The Lord’s goodness is completely undeserved. We daily sin much and deserve nothing but punishment. Yet, in spite of our sinfulness, in spite of our pettiness, in spite of our haughtiness, in spite of our meanness and condescension the Lord chooses to bless us. And we don’t deserve it!

C.     Still [He] abundantly provides for all our wants of body and soul, So also with you – without your Heavenly Father you could not survive. The Lord not only provides but He does it abundantly for every want of body and soul.  We used this evening the explanation of the 1st Petition of the Apostles’ Creed as our confession of faith. During this Thanksgiving Holiday read through it again. It’s quite a list. It explains so well how our Lord chooses to provide for you - everything you need not just physically but spiritually as well.

II.    Grant us, we humbly pray, Your Holy Spirit 

A.     That we may heartily acknowledge Your merciful goodness toward us. We need the Holy Spirit for the things of God are spiritually appraised. We need the Holy Spirit so that we can come to understand the things of God. We need the Holy Spirit so that we can come to a greater understanding of everything the Lord has done for us. 

B.    Give thanks for all Your benefits.  In thanksgiving we offer to Him our worship and praise. In thanksgiving we offer our praises in worship. In thanks living we praise God as we serve our neighbor.

C.    And serve You in willing obedience. Reflecting on the blessings of God allows us to want to serve God faithfully. Reflecting on the blessings of God allows us to follow His statutes with a willing heart. Reflecting on the blessings of God allows us to follow His commandments obediently.  

III. Through Jesus Christ, Your Son our Lord,

A.     Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit. All three persons of the Godhead are involved in the blessings I receive. Each person of the Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Ghost are active in my life.       As we have just celebrated Christ the King Sunday we worship the King of Kings and Lord of Lords who lives and reigns through all eternity.

B.    One God. He is one true God, the only true God. He is without beginning and without end. Yet, He has broken into time and space to be our Redeemer, Savior, Shepherd and friend.

C.    Now and forever. This is not a simple phrase. It reminds us that the truths of God will never cease. Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today, and forever.  The praises we offer Him tonight we last into eternity. The blessings He bestows on us today will continue once time ceases. We worship an eternal God whose mercies cannot be counted.

The only thing left to say after any good prayer is simply the Word Amen. What is meant by the word “Amen”? This means that I should be certain that these petitions are pleasing to our Father in heaven and are heard by Him; for He Himself has commanded us to pray in this way and has promised to hear us. Amen, amen means “yes, yes, it shall be so.”[3] And it shall be so – in Jesus’ Name! A blessed Thanksgiving!

Words -1045
Passive Sentences -8%
Readability -75.2%
Reading Level – 5.9
________________________________________
[1] Psalm 118
[2] Explanation to the 4th Petition of the Lord’s Prayer
[3] Luther’s Small Catechism Conclusion to the Lord’s Prayer

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Morning Prayer Reading 58: Elijah and the prophets of Baal Pt.1



1 Kings 18 
(selective verses)


20 So Ahab sent to all the people of Israel and gathered the prophets together at Mount Carmel. 21 And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” And the people did not answer him a word. 22 Then Elijah said to the people, “I, even I only, am left a prophet of the Lord, but Baal's prophets are 450 men. 23 Let two bulls be given to us, and let them choose one bull for themselves and cut it in pieces and lay it on the wood, but put no fire to it. And I will prepare the other bull and lay it on the wood and put no fire to it. 24 And you call upon the name of your god, and I will call upon the name of the Lord, and the God who answers by fire, he is God.” And all the people answered, “It is well spoken.” 25 Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose for yourselves one bull and prepare it first, for you are many, and call upon the name of your god, but put no fire to it.” 26 And they took the bull that was given them, and they prepared it and called upon the name of Baal from morning until noon, saying, “O Baal, answer us!” But there was no voice, and no one answered. And they limped around the altar that they had made. 27 And at noon Elijah mocked them, saying, “Cry aloud, for he is a god. Either he is musing, or he is relieving himself, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.” 28 And they cried aloud and cut themselves after their custom with swords and lances, until the blood gushed out upon them. 29 And as midday passed, they raved on until the time of the offering of the oblation, but there was no voice. No one answered; no one paid attention.

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.


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). © WELS used by permission for personal and congregational use. 


Morning Prayer Reading 57: Elijah Pt.2


1 Kings 17 
(selective verses)



10 So Elijah arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow was there gathering sticks. And he called to her and said, “Bring me a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.” 11 And as she was going to bring it, he called to her and said, “Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.” 12 And she said, “As the Lord your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. And now I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it and die.” 13 And Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said. But first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterward make something for yourself and your son. 14 For thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘The jar of flour shall not be spent, and the jug of oil shall not be empty, until the day that the Lord sends rain upon the earth.’” 15 And she went and did as Elijah said. And she and he and her household ate for many days. 16 The jar of flour was not spent, neither did the jug of oil become empty, according to the word of the Lord that he spoke by Elijah.

Elijah Raises the Widow's Son

17 After this the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, became ill. And his illness was so severe that there was no breath left in him. 18 And she said to Elijah, “What have you against me, O man of God? You have come to me to bring my sin to remembrance and to cause the death of my son!” 19 And he said to her, “Give me your son.” And he took him from her arms and carried him up into the upper chamber where he lodged, and laid him on his own bed. 20 And he cried to the Lord, “O Lord my God, have you brought calamity even upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by killing her son?” 21 Then he stretched himself upon the child three times and cried to the Lord, “O Lord my God, let this child's life come into him again.” 22 And the Lord listened to the voice of Elijah. And the life of the child came into him again, and he revived. 23 And Elijah took the child and brought him down from the upper chamber into the house and delivered him to his mother. And Elijah said, “See, your son lives.” 24 And the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is truth.”


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.

Ilustration 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). © WELS used by permission for personal and congregational use. 

Monday, November 25, 2019

MORNING PRAYER READING 57 - Elijah PART.2



1 Kings 17 
(selective verses)



10 So Elijah arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow was there gathering sticks. And he called to her and said, “Bring me a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.” 11 And as she was going to bring it, he called to her and said, “Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.” 12 And she said, “As the Lord your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. And now I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it and die.” 13 And Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said. But first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterward make something for yourself and your son. 14 For thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘The jar of flour shall not be spent, and the jug of oil shall not be empty, until the day that the Lord sends rain upon the earth.’” 15 And she went and did as Elijah said. And she and he and her household ate for many days. 16 The jar of flour was not spent, neither did the jug of oil become empty, according to the word of the Lord that he spoke by Elijah.

Elijah Raises the Widow's Son
17 After this the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, became ill. And his illness was so severe that there was no breath left in him. 18 And she said to Elijah, “What have you against me, O man of God? You have come to me to bring my sin to remembrance and to cause the death of my son!” 19 And he said to her, “Give me your son.” And he took him from her arms and carried him up into the upper chamber where he lodged, and laid him on his own bed. 20 And he cried to the Lord, “O Lord my God, have you brought calamity even upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by killing her son?” 21 Then he stretched himself upon the child three times and cried to the Lord, “O Lord my God, let this child's life come into him again.” 22 And the Lord listened to the voice of Elijah. And the life of the child came into him again, and he revived. 23 And Elijah took the child and brought him down from the upper chamber into the house and delivered him to his mother. And Elijah said, “See, your son lives.” 24 And the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is truth.”


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.

Ilustration 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). © WELS used by permission for personal and congregational use. 

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Advent 1 Series A



Advent 1 Series - A 

Isaiah 2:1–5
Romans 13:(8–10) 11–14
Matthew 21:1–11 or Matthew 24:36–44

1 December 2019

Stir up Your power O Lord, and come that by Your Protection we may be rescued from the threatening perils of our sins and saved by Your mighty deliverance; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.  

The Lord Comes in Meekness and Humility to Save Us Now

The Lord Jesus enters Jerusalem “humble, and mounted on a donkey,” riding on “a beast of burden” (Matt. 21:5), as He Himself bears the sins of the world in His body. Now He comes by the ministry of the Gospel to save us from sin, death, the devil and hell. Therefore, we sing, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Matthew 21:9). 

For we are called “to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob,” His holy Church, “that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths” (Isaiah 2:3). By His Word, we “walk in the light of the Lord” (Isaiah 2:5). That is to live in love, which “does no wrong to a neighbor” (Romans 13:10). 

We “cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light,” for “salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed” (Romans 13:11, 12). Hence, the entire Christian life is a time to wake and watch, “for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming” (Matthew 24:42).

The Lamb Begins the Year – First Sunday in Advent 
(Matthew 21:1-11)
Rev. Dr. Daniel J Brege

As Christians begin another sacred church year, realize that for centuries before Christ the Jews had their sacred “church year”.  God initiated this Jewish ecclesial calendar when at the Passover event He directed, “This month shall be the beginning of months for you; it is to be the first month of the year to you.” (Ex. 12:2). This new “first month” was the seventh month of the secular year.  So the Jews in effect celebrated two “New Year’s Days”:  The sacred New Year was initiated by the celebration of the Passover, and the secular New Year began with the celebration of Rosh Hashanah, which itself marked the beginning of highly sacred events in the seventh month of the Jewish church year.  Interestingly every seven months the Jews celebrated New Year’s Day, alternating with the sacred New Year’s Day and the secular New Year’s Day.

Some believe Christianity should begin its sacred New Year with Holy Week.  Instead, most in the U.S. begin it with Advent, the penitential time preparing for the celebration of Christmas.  The traditional Gospel for the First Sunday in Advent is usually a Palm Sunday reading—a reading connecting Christ’s work to that of the Passover.  Psalm Sunday was the day when many at the time of Jesus—imitating that initial Passover—selected their Passover Lamb to be sacrificed at the Temple later that week. On that first Palm Sunday God thus “selected” His Beloved Son to be the eternal Passover Lamb, so by His death, death would truly pass over mankind in resurrection.

Jesus was riding into Jerusalem to fulfill His life’s purpose—to die as our Passover Lamb.  This was why He was born, and thus His birth, which we will soon celebrate, is directly associated with His sacrifice as our Passover Lamb.  How appropriate that we begin Advent with this Passover-related reading!

Shepherds were among the first to see the newborn Christ.  These shepherds, tending their sheep only a few miles from Jerusalem, had as their primary occupation the raising of sheep for Jewish sacrifice—primarily sheep for the Jewish Passover celebration. The Jewish historian Josephus states that at a single Passover at the time of Christ 250,000 Passover lambs were slain at the temple. What a grand event and a grand feast this was for God’s people!  But God’s ultimate Passover Lamb and His ultimate feast were, uniquely on Palm Sunday, arriving in Jesus of Nazareth.

Thus the Passover Lamb marks the beginning of both the Jewish Church Year and—because of the Palm Sunday reading and because Jesus is THE Passover Lamb—the beginning of the Christian Church Year.  On that first Palm Sunday the Jews were preparing for numerous unwilling lambs to be sacrificed.  For Christianity that Palm Sunday beheld the willing Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Now we regularly (often weekly) celebrate our Passover feast:  “Christ our Passover Lamb has been sacrificed.  Let us therefore celebrate the feast…”  (1 Corinthians 5:7b, 8a)

Matthew 21:1-11
"The Triumphal Entry"

Matthew 21:1
Καὶ ὅτε ἤγγισαν εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα καὶ ἦλθον εἰς Βηθφαγὴ [a]εἰς τὸ Ὄρος τῶν Ἐλαιῶν, τότε [b]Ἰησοῦς ἀπέστειλεν δύο μαθητὰς 
Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples,

when they were near Jerusalem they came to Bethpage to the Mt. Of Olives” 

Bethpage near Bethany SE (2 miles) of Jerusalem...this is Sunday of Holy Week

Matthew 21:2-
λέγων αὐτοῖς• [c]Πορεύεσθε εἰς τὴν κώμην τὴν [d]κατέναντι ὑμῶν, καὶ [e]εὐθέως εὑρήσετε ὄνον δεδεμένην καὶ πῶλον μετ’ αὐτῆς• λύσαντες [f]ἀγάγετέ μοι.
saying to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. 

"go to the Village 'opposite,' 'against,'  'ahead,' of you"

The Lord is in control of His own Passion. He knows where the donkey is. He Orders everything.

Matthew 21:3
καὶ ἐάν τις ὑμῖν εἴπῃ τι, ἐρεῖτε ὅτι Ὁ κύριος αὐτῶν χρείαν ἔχει• [g]εὐθὺς δὲ [h]ἀποστελεῖ αὐτούς.
If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.”

say the Lord has need of them.” 

Jesus the Creator has/owns everything yet he has need of it.  He knows what will happen before it does...yet everything is  " borrowed" - manger, donkey/colt, tomb...

The donkey was the one animal in the OT to be redeemed...

Matthew 21:4-
 Τοῦτο [i]δὲ γέγονεν ἵνα πληρωθῇ τὸ ῥηθὲν διὰ τοῦ προφήτου λέγοντος•
This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying,

Matthew 21:5
Εἴπατε τῇ θυγατρὶ Σιών• Ἰδοὺ ὁ βασιλεύς σου ἔρχεταί σοι πραῢς καὶ ἐπιβεβηκὼς ἐπὶ ὄνον καὶ [j]ἐπὶ πῶλον υἱὸν ὑποζυγίου. 
“Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, on a colt,[a] the foal of a beast of burden.’”

Everything is done to fulfill prophecy - only Matthew will quote the prophecy. 

Matthew 21:6
πορευθέντες δὲ οἱ μαθηταὶ καὶ ποιήσαντες καθὼς [k]συνέταξεν αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς
 The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them.

The Disciples did as Jesus instructed them

Matthew 21:7
ἤγαγον τὴν ὄνον καὶ τὸν πῶλον, καὶ ἐπέθηκαν [l]ἐπ’ αὐτῶν τὰ [m]ἱμάτια, καὶ ἐπεκάθισεν ἐπάνω αὐτῶν.
They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them.

They brought colt/donkey, the placed their cloaks and He sat on them.” 
See Solomon 1 Kings 1:32-34, a king after David, one of wisdom

Matthew 21:8-
ὁ δὲ πλεῖστος ὄχλος ἔστρωσαν ἑαυτῶν τὰ ἱμάτια ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ, ἄλλοι δὲ ἔκοπτον κλάδους ἀπὸ τῶν δένδρων καὶ ἐστρώννυον ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ. 
Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 

Matthew 21:9
οἱ δὲ ὄχλοι οἱ προάγοντες [n]αὐτὸν καὶ οἱ ἀκολουθοῦντες ἔκραζον λέγοντες• Ὡσαννὰ τῷ υἱῷ Δαυίδ• Εὐλογημένος ὁ ἐρχόμενος ἐν ὀνόματι κυρίου• Ὡσαννὰ ἐν τοῖς ὑψίστοις.
And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”

See Psalms and wave offerings in the OT - singing the same Psalms as the Passover Liturgy Psalms 112-118 the Psalms of assent - this would be the people's only response, "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord... Hosanna

Matthew 21:10-
 καὶ εἰσελθόντος αὐτοῦ εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα ἐσείσθη πᾶσα ἡ πόλις λέγουσα• Τίς ἐστιν οὗτος;
And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?”

Matthew 21:11
οἱ δὲ ὄχλοι ἔλεγον• Οὗτός ἐστιν [o]ὁ προφήτης Ἰησοῦς ὁ ἀπὸ Ναζαρὲθ τῆς Γαλιλαίας.
And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.”

Jesus enters, the people ask, the city is stirred ~ John 12:17  The crowd that gathers had just witnessed the raising of Lazarus...it continues to increase...

Matthew 24:36-44
Jesus Your Coming King
He came, He comes, He Will Come

"No one knows of that hour..."      

Matthew 24:36 
Περὶ δὲ τῆς ἡμέρας ἐκείνης καὶ ὥρας οὐδεὶς οἶδεν, οὐδὲ οἱ ἄγγελοι τῶν οὐρανῶν [a]οὐδὲ ὁ υἱός, εἰ μὴ ὁ [b]πατὴρ μόνος.
"But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.

Matthew 24:37 
 ὥσπερ [c]γὰρ αἱ ἡμέραι τοῦ Νῶε, οὕτως [d]ἔσται ἡ παρουσία τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου• 
For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.

Matthew 24:38 
[e]ὡς γὰρ ἦσαν ἐν ταῖς [f]ἡμέραις ταῖς πρὸ τοῦ κατακλυσμοῦ τρώγοντες καὶ πίνοντες, γαμοῦντες καὶ [g]γαμίζοντες, ἄχρι ἧς ἡμέρας εἰσῆλθεν Νῶε εἰς τὴν κιβωτόν, 
For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark,

Matthew 24:39 
καὶ οὐκ ἔγνωσαν ἕως ἦλθεν ὁ κατακλυσμὸς καὶ ἦρεν ἅπαντας, οὕτως ἔσται [h]καὶ ἡ παρουσία τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου.
and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.

Matthew 24:40 
τότε [i]δύο ἔσονται ἐν τῷ ἀγρῷ, [j]εἷς παραλαμβάνεται καὶ [k]εἷς ἀφίεται•
Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left.

Matthew 24:41 
 δύο ἀλήθουσαι ἐν τῷ [l]μύλῳ, μία παραλαμβάνεται καὶ μία ἀφίεται.
Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left.

Matthew 24:42 
 γρηγορεῖτε οὖν, ὅτι οὐκ οἴδατε ποίᾳ [m]ἡμέρᾳ ὁ κύριος ὑμῶν ἔρχεται.
Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.

Matthew 24:43 
ἐκεῖνο δὲ γινώσκετε ὅτι εἰ ᾔδει ὁ οἰκοδεσπότης ποίᾳ φυλακῇ ὁ κλέπτης ἔρχεται, ἐγρηγόρησεν ἂν καὶ οὐκ ἂν εἴασεν διορυχθῆναι τὴν οἰκίαν αὐτοῦ.
But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into.

Matthew 24:44 
διὰ τοῦτο καὶ ὑμεῖς γίνεσθε ἕτοιμοι, ὅτι ᾗ [n]οὐ δοκεῖτε ὥρᾳ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἔρχεται.
Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. - 

The Greek New Testament: SBL Edition. Copyright © 2010 by Society of Biblical Literature and Logos Bible Software
ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Time in the Word - Advent 1




The Day of the Lord

Advent begins a new church year and is designed to prepare us for Christ’s coming both personally and cosmically. Advent 1 deals with Jesus’ Second Coming. It is the one Sunday of the year that is totally given to the doctrine, although the Epistles lesson in Advent 3 urges us to patiently wait for the Lord’s return. The Prayer of the Day cries for the Lord to come. The Hymn of the Day calls for us to prepare for Christ to enter our lives. The Gospel lesson emphasizes the need of constant preparedness for Christ’s return because the time of his coming is unknown. The Epistle lesson urges us to put on Christ as preparation for his coming which Paul considers to be soon. When God comes to us, according to the Old Testament lesson, all nations will have their differences settled and peace will return.

Collect for the first Sunday in Advent: Stir up Your power, O lord and come, that by Your protection we may be rescued from the threatening perils of our sins and saved by Your mighty deliverance; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever. Amen

Collect for Psalm 122: Lord Jesus; give us the peace of the New Jerusalem. Bring all nations into Your kingdom to share Your gifts, that they may render thanks to You without end and may come to Your eternal city, where You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen



Prayer for Harvest: Lord God, heavenly Father, through whose kindness we have again received the fruits of the earth in their season, grant us ever to rejoice in Your mercy that neither prosperity nor adversity may drive us from Your presence; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever. Amen

Prayer for Thanksgiving: Almighty God, whose mercies are new every morning and whose goodness, though undeserved, still abundantly provides for all our wants of body and soul, grant us, we humbly 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; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever. Amen

Morning Prayer Readings for this Week 

November 25 Monday Elijah Part 2         1 Kings 17
November 26 Tuesday Elijah & Baal Pt. 1 1 Kings 18

Catechism Review: 3rd Petition of the Lord’s Prayer

Time in the Word
25-30 November 2019
Preparation for next week, Advent 1

Monday, 25 November  2019Psalm 118:25-28; antiphon, Zechariah 9:9b —In the Introit for Sunday, we pray Behold you king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation. Fulfilled prophecy is one feature which makes Christianity so appealing. Throughout the season of Advent we will find prophecy after prophecy which was fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Here is one among so man that the Lord as king would come to His people. During this busy and important season we prepare for Christ’s return in glory and we make ready our hearts and minds to celebrate His birth. If we prepared for the former we will be in the right frame of mind for the latter.

Tuesday, 26 November 2019Psalm 122 — This week’s psalm is what the pilgrims may have sung as they neared the temple gate within the city walls. The pilgrim prays for the peace of the city -the center of worship and the seat of government for the world nation.

Wednesday, 27 November 2019Isaiah 2:1-5— Isaiah tells us what will happen in the “latter” days. This refers to the end of the world. We may be living in the “latter” days now. In the latter days “all the nations” will see God on the highest mountain on earth. God will be the highest value and the center of the universe. They will come to God to receive his instruction how to live. This will result in international peace. The significance of “all” is that world peace depends upon “all” coming to God. Peace is not a unilateral project. Will it be possible to get “all” nations to come to God? If they are to come at the end-time, why not now? Here is one good reason to the church’s overseas missionary program.

Thursday, 28 November 2019Romans 13:11-14— When Augustine heard a child’s voice say, “Take and read,” he opened his Bible and read verse 14 from our Epistle for this week. Obediently, he “put on” Christ and he became one of our greatest Christians. To “put on” means to be incorporated into Christ so that one is “a man in Christ.” 

To be ready for the Lord’s Great Day, we put on Christ so that in us Christ confronts Himself. We are His people. He is one of us. To be properly dressed for the Lord’s Great Day, we are to put on Christ’s robe of righteousness. This calls for a human response. Christ is coming. We are to be ready by putting on Christ. This we do at baptism.

Friday, 29 November 2019Matthew 24:36-44 — To be ready for the Lord’s Great Day is a “must.” Not to be ready is to be lost just as the people in Noah’s day were not ready with boats for the flood. Jesus is not waiting for us to be ready. Whether we are ready or not, He is coming. Not to be ready spells eternal disaster. What does it mean to be “ready”? To be ready for the end is to live daily in a state of grace. If we are always reconciled to God by faith in Christ, it does not matter when Christ will return.

Saturday, 30 November 2019John 1:1; Luke 2:30-32- Sunday’s Hymn of the Day is Savior of the Nations Come. (LSB #332). John would remind us that the eternal God, the creator of us all broke into time and space to be our redeemer. This is what the season of Advent is all about. We make ourselves ready to celebrate the fact that God has become human. We celebrate that God has come to visit His people. He came at just the right time and He will usher us home at just the right time. This majestic hymn tells the story of salvation. As you review it think of Christ’s impact on your life, your family, your church and community and then share His story with those you meet.
________________________
Sources:
 Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House
Collect for Pentecost 24 from Lutheran Worship © Concordia Publishing House
Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series C by John Brokhoff © 1979 CSS Publishing Lima OH
For All the Saints A Prayer Book for and By the Church Vol. II © 1995 by the American Lutheran Publicity Bureau, Delhi, NY
The Story of 50 Hymns © 1934 By General Mills, Inc Minneapolis, MN
Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use
Image "Thanksgiving © Google Images 



Saturday, November 23, 2019

Christ the King Sunday - Proper 29


Christ the King
Luke 23:27-43
24 November 2019
Jesus Lord at Thy Death


Almighty and merciful God, You break the power of evil make all things new in Your Son Jesus Christ, the King of the universe. May all in heaven and earth acclaim Your glory and never cease to praise You. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns wiht You and the Holy Spirit, One God forever and ever. Amen

Jesus is dying on the cross. Yet today. We celebrate the festival of Christ the King. How so? Execution as a criminal is usually considered a time of disgrace and defeat. Critics at the cross acknowledge this by saying, “He saved others, let Him save himself…If you are the king save yourself.” In a few weeks at Christmas we will be singing a line of “Silent Night” which says, “Jesus Lord at Thy birth.” Can we sing today, “Jesus Lord at Thy death”?

See how Jesus is Lord even at His death.

1. He was Lord over His enemies by not responding to their insults – Vv. 35-37 And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also scoffed at him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if this is the Christ of God, his chosen. And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, offering him vinegar, and saying, if thou art the King of the Jews, save thyself.

Here we find a wonderful picture of Jesus. The suffering servant. He willingly and obediently went to the cross. He could have turned away. He did not have to die for you. But willingly and obediently He bore the cross. Along with its agony. And its sufferings. He endured the cross and its shame. He bore your sins in His own body. He died for you in your place. He withstood the insults. The criticisms. The harsh tones. The mistreatment. And abuse.

He simply prayed: “Father, forgive them…Father forgive them for they know not what they do!”  Such patience is hard to even imagine. But He took this for He knew that this was the only way to merit and win salvation for you.  There was no other way to save you. This was the only way out for you. There can be no other options.  For you to receive the forgiveness of sins, life and salvation -look only to Christ and Christ alone. Your own works will not do. Your good intentions -   cannot sustain you. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. An alternative form is "Hell is full of good meanings, but heaven is full of good works".  And those good works are the works of Christ!1

Only in Christ is the salvation and life. On this Christ the King Sunday - Let this be known - Jesus has borne for you the cruelty of the cross. In that cross of Christ I glory. For it stands as a sign and a seal of your forgiveness.

TRANSITION:  The Lord Jesus was Lord in His suffering. He is also Lord in His power to save.

2. He was Lord in His power to save sinners – Vv. 39-43 And one of the malefactors that were hanged railed on him, saying, Art not thou the Christ? Save thyself and us. But the other answered, and rebuking him said, dost thou not even fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.  And he said, Jesus, remember me when thou comest in thy kingdom.  And he said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, to-day shalt thou be with me in Paradise.

Jesus, remember me!” was the prayer of the sinner. He didn’t have time to get his life back together. He didn’t have time to render service for the Master. He was on his death bed. All he could do was look to Jesus and ask to be remembered.

This is saving faith. Which takes Jesus at His word. As the thief took comfort in Jesus the Lord of Life. In His passion. And His ability to save. So you are saved by His stripes and wounds. This is truly good news. Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Christ - The power of God. Christ -  The one who has overcome the powers of sin. Death. The devil. And hell itself. He delivers the goods. He brings salvation. And the hope of heaven. This Jesus. King of Kings. And Lord of Lords. You serve Him as His people. You are saved and safe by His victory over the grave.

We have come to the conclusion of yet another church year. It began in our anticipation of the coming of Christ at Christmas. As we celebrated His nativity. We saw that He was the One sent from the Father. We walked with Him during His passion in the Holy season of Lent.  In the Easter and Pentecost seasons we meditated upon His words.  Which bring salvation and life.

Next week will mark a new church year season. We will again walk with the Savior.  May our worship. Our work. Our prayers. Our service. Be dedicated to Him. Who is the way the truth and the Life.  Truly His is the Lord and King of all.




Words – 682
Passive Sentences –6%
Readability – 85.5%
Reading Level – 3.4
1 "The road to Hell is paved with good intention,s" Probers,infobase Publishing 2007, p.234, ISBN 9780816066735
Image of The Crucifixion of Jesus   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) copyright © WELS used by permission for personal and congregational use. 

Good Friday Image copyright © Higher Things 

Friday, November 22, 2019

Morning Prayer Reading 56: Elijah Pt.1



1 Kings 16-17
(selective verses)



29 In the thirty-eighth year of Asa king of Judah, Ahab the son of Omri began to reign over Israel, and Ahab the son of Omri reigned over Israel in Samaria twenty-two years. 30 And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord, more than all who were before him. 31 And as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, he took for his wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and went and served Baal and worshiped him. 32 He erected an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he built in Samaria. 33 And Ahab made an Asherah. Ahab did more to provoke the Lord, the God of Israel, to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him. 

17 Now Elijah the Tishbite, of Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.” 2 And the word of the Lord came to him: 3Depart from here and turn eastward and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan. 4 You shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.” 5 So he went and did according to the word of the Lord. He went and lived by the brook Cherith that is east of the Jordan. 6 And the ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook. 7 And after a while the brook dried up, because there was no rain in the land.

8 Then the word of the Lord came to him, 9Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. Behold, I have commanded a widow there to feed you.” 10 So he arose and went to Zarephath.

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.

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). © WELS used by permission for personal and congregational use. 

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Morning Prayer Reading 55: King Solomon



1 Kings 1-8 
(selective verses)


32 King David said, “Call in Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet and Benaiah son of Jehoiada.” When they came before the king, 33 he said to them: “Take your lord’s servants with you and have Solomon my son mount my own mule and take him down to Gihon. 34 There have Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anoint him king over Israel. Blow the trumpet and shout, ‘Long live King Solomon!’

3 Solomon showed his love for the Lord by walking according to the instructions given him by his father David, except that he offered sacrifices and burned incense on the high places.  the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”

6 Solomon answered, “You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day. 9 So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”


10 The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. 11 So God said to him, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, 12 I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. 13 Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both wealth and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings. 14 And if you walk in obedience to me and keep my decrees and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life.”

In the four hundred and eightieth year after the Israelites came out of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign he began to build the temple of the Lord.He had spent seven years building it.When all the work King Solomon had done for the temple of the Lord was finished, he brought in the things his father David had dedicated—the silver and gold and the furnishings—and he placed them in the treasuries of the Lord’s temple.


Then King Solomon summoned into his presence at Jerusalem the elders of Israel, all the heads of the tribes and the chiefs of the Israelite families, to bring up the ark of the Lord’s covenant from Zion, the City of David. 2 All the Israelites came together to King Solomon. 22 Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in front of the whole assembly of Israel, spread out his hands toward heaven 23 and said:“Lord, the God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth below—you who keep your covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way.27 “But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built! 28 Yet give attention to your servant’s prayer and his plea for mercy, Lord my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence this day. 29 May your eyes be open toward this temple night and day, this place of which you said, ‘My Name shall be there,’ so that you will hear the prayer your servant prays toward this place. 30 Hear the supplication of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven, your dwelling place, and when you hear, forgive."


New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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). © WELS used by permission for personal and congregational use. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Morning Prayer Reading 54: Absalom's Rebellion



2 Samuel 15-18 
(Selective Verses)


King David's son Absalom used to rise early and stand beside the way of the gate. And when any man had a dispute to come before the king for judgment, Absalom would call to him and say, “From what city are you?” And when he said, “Your servant is of such and such a tribe in Israel,” 3 Absalom would say to him, “See, your claims are good and right, but there is no man designated by the king to hear you.” 4 Then Absalom would say, “Oh that I were judge in the land! Then every man with a dispute or cause might come to me, and I would give him justice.” 5 And whenever a man came near to pay homage to him, he would put out his hand and take hold of him and kiss him. 6 Thus Absalom did to all of Israel who came to the king for judgment. So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.

7 And at the end of four [a] years Absalom said to the king, “Please let me go and pay my vow, which I have vowed to the Lord, in Hebron. 8 For your servant vowed a vow while I lived at Geshur in Aram, saying, ‘If the Lord will indeed bring me back to Jerusalem, then I will offer worship to [b] the Lord.’” 9 The king said to him, “Go in peace.” So he arose and went to Hebron. 10 But Absalom sent secret messengers throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, “As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpet, then say, ‘Absalom is king at Hebron!’”  And the conspiracy grew strong, and the people with Absalom kept increasing.

13 And a messenger came to David, saying, “The hearts of the men of Israel have gone after Absalom.14 Then David said to all his servants who were with him at Jerusalem, “Arise, and let us flee, or else there will be no escape for us from Absalom. Go quickly, lest he overtake us quickly and bring down ruin on us and strike the city with the edge of the sword.”

6 So the army went out into the field against Israel, and the battle was fought in the forest of Ephraim. 7 And the men of Israel were defeated there by the servants of David, and the loss there was great on that day, twenty thousand men. 8 The battle spread over the face of all the country, and the forest devoured more people that day than the sword.9 And Absalom happened to meet the servants of David. Absalom was riding on his mule, and the mule went under the thick branches of a great oak,[a] and his head caught fast in the oak, and he was suspended between heaven and earth, while the mule that was under him went on. 10 And a certain man saw it and told Joab, “Behold, I saw Absalom hanging in an oak.” And he took three javelins in his hand and thrust them into the heart of Absalom while he was still alive in the oak. 15 And ten young men, Joab's armor-bearers, surrounded Absalom and struck him and killed him.17 And they took Absalom and threw him into a great pit in the forest and raised over him a very great heap of stones. And all Israel fled every one to his own home. 

31 And behold, the Cushite came, and the Cushite said, “Good news for my lord the king! For the Lord has delivered you this day from the hand of all who rose up against you.” 32 The king said to the Cushite, “Is it well with the young man Absalom?” And the Cushite answered, “May the enemies of my lord the king and all who rise up against you for evil be like that young man.” 33 [d] And the king was deeply moved and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept. And as he went, he said, “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!


Footnotes:
2 Samuel 15:7 Septuagint, Syriac; Hebrew forty
2 Samuel 15:8 Or will serve
2 Samuel 15:12 Or sent

2 Samuel 18:9 Or terebinth; also verses 10, 14
2 Samuel 18:13 Or at the risk of my life
2 Samuel 18:18 Or Absalom's hand


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.

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). © WELS used by permission for personal and congregational use. 

Monday, November 18, 2019

Morning Prayer Reading 53 - David Repents


2 Samuel 12 
(Selective Verses)


12 And the Lord sent Nathan to David. He came to him and said to him, “There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor. 2 The rich man had very many flocks and herds, 3 but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. And he brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children. It used to eat of his morsel and drink from his cup and lie in his arms, [a] and it was like a daughter to him. 4 Now there came a traveler to the rich man, and he was unwilling to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the guest who had come to him, but he took the poor man's lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.5 Then David's anger was greatly kindled against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the Lord lives, the man who has done this deserves to die, 6 and he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.”

7 Nathan said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you out of the hand of Saul. 8 And I gave you your master's house and your master's wives into your arms and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah. And if this were too little, I would add to you as much more. 9 Why have you despised the word of the Lord, to do what is evil in his sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and have taken his wife to be your wife and have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. 10 Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’  


13 David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die. 14 Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the Lord, [b] the child who is born to you shall die.” 15 Then Nathan went to his house.

Footnotes:
2 Samuel 12:3 Hebrew bosom; also verse 8
2 Samuel 12:14 Masoretic Text the enemies of the Lord; Dead Sea Scroll the word of the Lord

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.

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). © WELS used by permission for personal and congregational use

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Proper 29 Series C


Proper 29 Series C
Christ the King
(November 20 - 26)

Malachi 3:13–18
Colossians 1:13–20
Luke 23:27–43

Lord Jesus Christ, You reign among us by the preaching of Your cross. Forgive Your people their offenses that we, being governed by Your bountiful goodness, may enter at last into Your eternal paradise

Jesus Christ Reigns, Enduring the Cross — Its Scorn and Shame

The Lord Jesus reigns in love among those who are baptized in His name. “They shall be mine,” He says, “and I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him” (Malachi 3:17). 

Jesus’ service through crucifixion for sinful men anchors us in new life. In the proclamation of His Son, God makes His justice clear, defining “the distinction between the righteous and the wicked” (Malachi 3:18). 

He truly is “the King of the Jews” (Luke 23:38), who governs His Church with all authority in heaven and on earth. He has come into His kingdom by His cross, and He graciously remembers us in paradise. Therefore, do not weep for Him, but with repentant faith “weep for yourselves and for your children” (Luke 23:28). Then the mountains and hills of Jerusalem, His holy Church, shall cover you with His righteousness and peace. For He “is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation” (Colossians 1:15). 

"All things were created through him and for him” (Colossians 1:16), and “all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell” bodily in Him, reconciling all things to Himself “by the blood of his cross” (Colossians 1:19–20).

Jesus is a king on a cross. His enemies did not realize the truth of the mockery, "If You are the King of the Jews..."  The political authorities also did not realize what they wrote, "This is the King of the Jews."  

On Psalm Sunday the faithful sang praises to their King - "Behold, your king is coming to you."  There are various reactions to this king. The people - they watch from a distance as mere spectators - v.35. The rulers were scoffers and cynics - v.35.  The soldered mocked and ridiculed - v.36. Sinners offered prayers and petitions of penitence - Vv. 39-43.  

The Great Absolution: Father Forgive Them (Luke 23:34)
Rev. Dr. Daniel J. Brege

Our Lord’s first words from the cross are universally and foundationally meaningful. As his accusers and tormentors accomplished their goal by giving Him the appointment with death through the torturous Roman cross, the Savior called out the intercessory absolution, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” We here emphasize the first words, “Father, forgive them.”  (Indeed no sinner knows what he is doing; man’s mind is set against God.)

His wondrous words are universally meaningful because there is the universal sinful condition of mankind.  Many theologians have concluded that Christ’s absolution from the cross was for more than those who directly crucified Him. Scripture indicates all humanity—all sins—put Him to death. St. Paul states, “He died for all.”   St. John wrote:  “He is the propitiation for our sins and not for ours only but also for the whole world.” From these inspired statements and many others we realize the universal payment for sin that was made by Christ at the cross. It was thus not merely the sins of those who were present at His crucifixion that nailed Him to the tree, but it was the sins of all humanity, from Adam to the end of time, that crucified Him. Even as He dies for all He also speaks absolution for all by praying, “Father, forgive them.” He thus intercedes for all humanity; His is a universal absolution.

As the crucified Son of God speaks to His eternal Father, “Father forgive them,” His words are foundational to all Christian truth and works. Holy Scripture echoes the foundational need for man’s forgiveness from God. What is the basis for such forgiveness?  Getting more specific, why would God forgive Adam and Eve?  Why did the animal sacrifices offer forgiveness in Old Testament times?  What was the foundation for the forgiveness pronounced, for instance, by Nathan to King David?  Why do Holy Baptism, Holy Absolution and the Holy Supper bring forgiveness?  Indeed the work of the cross creates the reason behind all forgiveness, but Christ’s prayer—Father, forgive them—marks the foundational petition behind all forgiveness—past, present and future. This foundation is thus that the Father in heaven forgives because of the crucifixion and because of the cross-supported request of His Son.

This forgiveness of God toward mankind creates other wonders of the Christian faith as well.  In our Father’s forgiveness of us there is the reason and the power to forgive one another. In Christ we are tenderhearted, forgiving one another even as God in Christ has forgiven us. Additionally our gift of eternal life only flows from God’s foundational forgiveness of our sins, for, as Luther Biblically concluded, where there is forgiveness of sins there is also life and salvation.

Would the Father be forgiving us without the specific request made by the Son? Indeed the crucifixion of Jesus is in itself the absolution of humanity, but what joy and comfort is found in the absolving words, “Father, forgive them.”


Luke 23:26-43 
The Crucifixion - 

Luke 23:26 
Καὶ ὡς ἀπήγαγον αὐτόν, ἐπιλαβόμενοι [a]Σίμωνά τινα Κυρηναῖον ἐρχόμενον ἀπ’ ἀγροῦ ἐπέθηκαν αὐτῷ τὸν σταυρὸν φέρειν ὄπισθεν τοῦ Ἰησοῦ. 
And as they led him away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus.

Luke 23:27 
Ἠκολούθει δὲ αὐτῷ πολὺ πλῆθος τοῦ λαοῦ καὶ γυναικῶν [b]αἳ ἐκόπτοντο καὶ ἐθρήνουν αὐτόν.
And there followed him a great multitude of the people and of women who were mourning and lamenting for him. 

Literally, “beating the breast." Pious women occasionally and customarily would lament those being sentenced to death.  

The term for 'the people' τοῦ λαοῦ is found in Revelation 7 

Luke 23:28
στραφεὶς δὲ πρὸς αὐτὰς [c]ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν• Θυγατέρες Ἰερουσαλήμ, μὴ κλαίετε ἐπ’ ἐμέ• πλὴν ἐφ’ ἑαυτὰς κλαίετε καὶ ἐπὶ τὰ τέκνα ὑμῶν, 
But turning to them Jesus said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 

"Weep upon yourselves and your children."  
"Daughters of Jerusalem" is reference to OT a way of referring to the OT church. See Palm Sunday Old Testament readings.

Luke 23:29 
ὅτι ἰδοὺ ἔρχονται ἡμέραι ἐν αἷς ἐροῦσιν Μακάριαι αἱ στεῖραι καὶ [d]αἱ κοιλίαι αἳ οὐκ ἐγέννησαν καὶ μαστοὶ οἳ οὐκ [e]ἔθρεψαν. 
For behold, (right here and now in time) the days are coming when they (NOT 'you') will say, 'Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!'  

The world is literally ending! It’s happening now. 

Luke 23:30 
ότε ἄρξονται λέγειν τοῖς ὄρεσιν• Πέσετε ἐφ’ ἡμᾶς, καὶ τοῖς βουνοῖς• Καλύψατε ἡμᾶς•
Then they will begin to say to the mountains, 'Fall on us,' and to the hills, 'Cover us.' 

- See Revelation 6:15-16. This what the unbelievers say of themselves of mocking the faithful of themselves.  These are not words of faithfulness but of panic not the words of faith. See also Hosea 10:8 

Luke 23:31
 ὅτι εἰ ἐν [f]τῷ ὑγρῷ ξύλῳ ταῦτα ποιοῦσιν, ἐν τῷ ξηρῷ τί γένηται; 
For if they do these things when the wood is green, (moist) what will happen when it is dry?" 

-A proverb? - see Proverbs 11:31 - an expectation of the coming persecution.

These are the beatitudes of evil. They are evil but not the ultimate evil.  

See the reference to Jesus' cursing of the fig tree.  Mark 11:12-25; Matthew 21:18–22[

Luke 23:32 
Ἤγοντο δὲ καὶ ἕτεροι [g]κακοῦργοι δύο σὺν αὐτῷ ἀναιρεθῆναι. 
Two others, who were criminals, (wicked workers) were led away to be put to death (executed) with him. 

Luke 23:33 
αὶ ὅτε [h]ἦλθον ἐπὶ τὸν τόπον τὸν καλούμενον Κρανίον, ἐκεῖ ἐσταύρωσαν αὐτὸν καὶ τοὺς κακούργους, ὃν μὲν ἐκ δεξιῶν ὃν δὲ ἐξ ἀριστερῶν.
And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. 

Why is Jesus in the center?  He is set apart as an example. 

Luke 23:34
 [i]ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς ἔλεγεν• Πάτερ, ἄφες αὐτοῖς, οὐ γὰρ οἴδασιν τί ποιοῦσιν. διαμεριζόμενοι δὲ τὰ ἱμάτια αὐτοῦ ἔβαλον [j]κλήρους. 
And Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." And they cast lots to divide his garments.

See the variant reading, it belongs to the text. 

Luke 23:35
καὶ εἱστήκει ὁ λαὸς θεωρῶν. ἐξεμυκτήριζον δὲ καὶ οἱ [k]ἄρχοντες λέγοντες• Ἄλλους ἔσωσεν, σωσάτω ἑαυτόν, εἰ οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ χριστὸς [l]τοῦ θεοῦ, ὁ ἐκλεκτός. 
And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, "He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!"

Luke 23:36
 [m]ἐνέπαιξαν δὲ αὐτῷ καὶ οἱ στρατιῶται προσερχόμενοι, [n]ὄξος προσφέροντες αὐτῷ 
The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine 

- See Psalm. 22, Psalm.69 

Luke 23:37
 καὶ λέγοντες• Εἰ σὺ εἶ ὁ βασιλεὺς τῶν Ἰουδαίων, σῶσον σεαυτόν. 
and saying, "If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!" 

A little word is added here "if"   

Luke 23:38
 ἦν δὲ καὶ [o]ἐπιγραφὴ ἐπ’ [p]αὐτῷ• Ὁ βασιλεὺς τῶν Ἰουδαίων [q]οὗτος. 
There was also an inscription over him, "The King of the Jews This." 

Luke 23:39 
Εἷς δὲ τῶν κρεμασθέντων κακούργων ἐβλασφήμει αὐτόν [r]λέγων• [s]Οὐχὶ σὺ εἶ ὁ χριστός; σῶσον σεαυτὸν καὶ ἡμᾶς.
One of the criminals who were hanged railed at (blasphemed) him, saying, "Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!"

More than joining the mocking...a double negative. 

Luke 23:40
 ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ ἕτερος [t]ἐπιτιμῶν αὐτῷ ἔφη• Οὐδὲ φοβῇ σὺ τὸν θεόν, ὅτι ἐν τῷ αὐτῷ κρίματι εἶ; 
But the other rebuked him, saying, "Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?

 "in the same judgment we are" 

Luke 23:41
 καὶ ἡμεῖς μὲν δικαίως, ἄξια γὰρ ὧν ἐπράξαμεν ἀπολαμβάνομεν• οὗτος δὲ οὐδὲν ἄτοπον ἔπραξεν. 
And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong."

Luke 23:42
 καὶ [u]ἔλεγεν• Ἰησοῦ, μνήσθητί [v]μου ὅταν ἔλθῃς [w]ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ σου. 
And he said, "Jesus, remember me (whenever) you come into your kingdom."

Luke 23:43 
 καὶ εἶπεν [x]αὐτῷ• Ἀμήν [y]σοι λέγω σήμερον μετ’ ἐμοῦ ἔσῃ ἐν τῷ παραδείσῳ.
And he said to him, "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise." 

The Greek New Testament: SBL Edition. Copyright © 2010 by Society of Biblical Literature and Logos Bible Software