Friday, January 31, 2020

Family Life Center update




Framing 


Morning Prayer Reading 87: Jesus Heals the Paralytic



Mark 2:1-12


2 And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. 2 And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. 3 And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. 4 And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. 5 And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” 6 Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, 7 “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 8 And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? 9 Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? 10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— 11 “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” 12 And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”

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 Copyright © Higher Things

Thursday, January 30, 2020

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

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Purification of Mary; Presentation of Jesus


Purification of Mary; Presentation of Jesus
February 2, 2020 (Luke 2:22-32)
Mary, Unclean
Rev. Dr. Daniel J Brege


For seven days after the birth of a child, a Jewish mother was “unclean”.  Then for 33 more days she was in effect yet unclean as she could touch no hallowed thing (e.g. eat of a sacred meal) nor could she come into the sanctuary.  This mother then (with her husband who would provide the necessities) had to bring a burnt offering and a sin offering (See Lev. 12:1ff).  The poor could bring one pigeon (or turtledove) for the burnt offering and one for the sin offering.

Why was a sin offering needed for uncleanness?  This seems strange, for what is wrong with having a baby, and this baby is the Christ!

Several theologians have noted that it was normal or even noble activities that made a person unclean.   Certainly motherhood and childbearing are most noble, yet uncleanness was associated with this. What is nobler than to minister to the dying and to properly care for the body of a deceased relative, yet such actions would have made a person unclean.  Certain things that related to sexual intercourse, both normal activity and abnormal conditions, established uncleanness.  People became lepers by no fault of their own, so why should a leper be singled out as unclean?  And probably the strangest pronouncement of uncleanness occurred in relation to certain official worship activities— activities commanded by God!

Yet, on the other hand, uncleanness illustrated a very important reality: The world is fallen. The first mother Eve was cursed in relation to childbearing, and babies are born sinners, thus it made sense that that which was associated with reproduction rendered one unclean.  The dead and the lepers were unclean because Adam received the curse of death, and consequently also the curse of disease. Leprosy—a kind of representative disease—is an obvious result of the corruption of this world.  Additionally, the sacrificial system, which would not have been in existence had the world not fallen into sin, at times brought uncleanness via certain God-ordained rituals, because such rituals were to purify man’s putrid condition.    All such uncleanness was associated with sin, and thus sin offerings were often prescribed to “reverse” a person’s uncleanness. What is God teaching by all of this?  W. Washburn summarizes nicely: 1

The law of ‘uncleanness,’ then, could not fail to call to the mind of the reflective worshiper the woeful event of the Fall, and the entailment of sin upon Adam and all his posterity… In its sad isolation and exclusion it told the mournful tale of man’s unavoidable, innate unfitness to approach a holy God.  It was the pathetic and impressive declaration of the doctrine of man’s natural depravity; it was the Mosaic form of the dogma of original sin.

Simultaneous with our text’s reminder of original sin is the presentation of the Savior—the only one without original sin. Here, in Mary’s arms, is the truly “clean” child.  

Yes here is the One who lets us depart in peace, and here is the One that Anna would boast about to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.  Indeed here in the arms of the blessed virgin—herself in need of purification—rested He who would redeem all from original sin as well as from every actual sin. He is the final, ultimate sin offering.  All in Him may now touch the holy things and enter the sanctuary.

1.  W. W. Washburn, The Import of Sacrifice in the Ancient Jewish Service, (New York: Phillips & Hunt, 1883), 85.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

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 27, 2020

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 26, 2020

Epiphany 4 Series A


Epiphany 4 -Series A 
(2 February 2020)  
  
Micah 6:1–8
1 Corinthians 1:18–31
Matthew 5:1–12

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

God Manifests His Glory in the Humility and Weakness of Christ Crucified

The Lord tells His people, “I brought you up from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery” (Micah 6:4). By the sacrifice of His beloved Son, He has redeemed us from our slavery of sin and death; He has forgiven our transgressions by the shedding of His blood. His great mercy and salvation lead us “to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly” with our God (Micah 6:8). We boast only in the incarnate and crucified Lord Jesus. He is “the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Corinthians 1:24). He is our life and salvation, our “wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption” (1 Corinthians 1:30). Now He opens His mouth and teaches us His wisdom. By His cross and Passion the kingdom of heaven is ours, we receive mercy and are satisfied, we see God, and we are called sons of God in Christ. “Blessed are you,” therefore, “when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely” on account of Christ (Matthew 5:11).

Matthew 5:1-12 - 
The Beatitudes 

Matthew 5:1 
Ἰδὼν δὲ τοὺς ὄχλους ἀνέβη εἰς τὸ ὄρος• καὶ καθίσαντος αὐτοῦ προσῆλθαν αὐτῷ οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ• 
Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.

Matthew 5:2 
καὶ ἀνοίξας τὸ στόμα αὐτοῦ ἐδίδασκεν αὐτοὺς λέγων
And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:

Matthew 5:3 
Μακάριοι οἱ πτωχοὶ τῷ πνεύματι, ὅτι αὐτῶν ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:4
μακάριοι οἱ πενθοῦντες, ὅτι αὐτοὶ παρακληθήσονται
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Matthew 5:5 
μακάριοι οἱ πραεῖς, ὅτι αὐτοὶ κληρονομήσουσι τὴν γῆν.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Matthew 5:6 
μακάριοι οἱ πεινῶντες καὶ διψῶντες τὴν δικαιοσύνην, ὅτι αὐτοὶ χορτασθήσονται.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

Matthew 5:7
μακάριοι οἱ ἐλεήμονες, ὅτι αὐτοὶ ἐλεηθήσονται
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

Matthew 5:8
μακάριοι οἱ καθαροὶ τῇ καρδίᾳ, ὅτι αὐτοὶ τὸν θεὸν ὄψονται
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

Matthew 5:9
μακάριοι οἱ εἰρηνοποιοί, ὅτι αὐτοὶ υἱοὶ θεοῦ κληθήσονται.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

Matthew 5:10 
μακάριοι οἱ δεδιωγμένοι ἕνεκεν δικαιοσύνης, ὅτι αὐτῶν ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:11 
μακάριοί ἐστε ὅταν ὀνειδίσωσιν ὑμᾶς καὶ διώξωσιν καὶ εἴπωσιν πᾶν]πονηρὸν καθ’ ὑμῶν ψευδόμενοι ἕνεκεν ἐμοῦ
Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.

Matthew 5:12
χαίρετε καὶ ἀγαλλιᾶσθε, ὅτι ὁ μισθὸς ὑμῶν πολὺς ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς• οὕτως γὰρ ἐδίωξαν τοὺς προφήτας τοὺς πρὸ ὑμῶν
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before 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


27 January - 01 February 2020



Collects for the Epiphany Season: Lord God, on this day you revealed your Son to the nations by the leading of a star. Lead us now by faith to know your presence in our lives and bring us at last to the full vision of your glory.

Father, You revealed Your Son to the nations by the guidance of a star. Lead us to Your glory in heaven by the light of faith. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, forever and ever. 

Father, You make known the salvation of humankind at the birth of Your Son. Make us strong in faith and bring us to the glory You promise. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives, and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever

Collects for Epiphany 4: 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 Your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever. 

O God, you know that we cannot withstand the dangers, which surround us. Strengthen us in body and spirit so that with your help, we may be able to overcome the weakness that our sins has brought upon us.

Collect for Psalm 15: Lord Jesus, You first chose to live among us, and in returning to Your Father You made an eternal home for us. Help us walk blamelessly in You ways and bring us at last to Your holy mountain, where You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

The Ministry Of Light

The Epiphany season continues its revelation of the glory of God in Jesus. We saw his glory at his baptism (Epiphany 1). John the Baptist witnessed to His glory as Messiah (Epiphany 2). Through His ministry, His glory was revealed as the light in a dark world. Now, we see the glory of God in Jesus by His attitude and grace toward the outcasts of society: the spiritually poor, the humble, and the despised. His glory is seen in His love and concern for sinners. Though He is the Son of God, He does not cater to the religious elite, the highly educated and the economically rich. What a glorious God we see in Christ who humbles Himself to serve the unfortunate and the spiritually impoverished!

Monday, 27 January, 2020Psalm 1:1-5; antiphon, Psalm 1:6—In the Introit for Sunday, we pray, For the Lord knows the way of the righteous but the way of the wicked will perish. This Psalm speaks of the blessedness of those who derive their ideas of life from God’s Word rather than from their worldly neighbors. Happiness and prosperity is theirs. Not so with the wicked. Repeatedly the godly and the wicked are contrasted.

Thus the book of Psalms opens with an exaltation of God’s Word. If David so loved the brief writings that then constituted God’s Word, how much more should we love that same Word, which has not been brought to completion, headed up around the beautiful story of Christ. Other Psalms of the Word are Psalm 19 and Psalm 119. Note also the Psalm’s first word is “blessed.”  Blessed is Beatitude: like the Sermon of the Mount in Matthew’s Gospel.

Tuesday, 28 January, 2020Psalm 15 — This psalm gives instruction to those who wish to have access to God at His temple. Thomas Jefferson called this psalm the picture of “a true gentleman.” This is a testimonial of the man of God. What does God require of the individual who seeks his company? 

He expects right conduct, right speaking (verses 2-3a), right relationships with others (verses 3b-4), and a right use of wealth (verse 5) See also Psalm 24. Who swears… (verse 4) i.e. who keeps his word whatever the cost; Verse 5, one of the Jewish laws, see Leviticus 25:36-37. It was not a total ban on lending at interest, but applied to fellow Israelites.

Wednesday, 29 January 2020Micah 6:1-8Blessed are they who walk with God.  Micah pictures God as suing his people. He takes Israel to court. The people are the defendants. The prophet is God’s defense attorney. The cosmos consists of the witness. God has something against His people: they have been unfaithful to the covenant, played the harlot with pagan gods, and broke His commandments. They have been a disobedient, faithless, and rebellious people. God has a right to a controversy with His people. 

Thursday, 30 January 20201 Corinthians 1:18-31Blessed are the lowly and despised. Paul reminds the church at Corinth that God chose them when they were of no account in the sight of the world: slaves, women, and children. 

They had no education (wisdom), no political power, and no blue blood. This harmonizes with Jesus’ example as friend of publicans and sinners. He did not choose wealthy, high class or scholarly men for disciples, but peasants and publicans. Why is God interested only in “down-and-outers” and not in the “up-and-outers?” How can this truth be applied to today’s church members who are generally from the middle to top class, have comfortable incomes, are college graduates and among the socially elite? It may be because the educated are educated out of their need for God. The wealthy need nothing that money cannot buy. The powerful are too self-sufficient and sophisticated to humble themselves before God as suppliants and miserable sinners.

Friday, 31 January 2020Matthew 5:1-12Blessed are those with spiritual qualities. The Beatitudes. They describe the condition of a person in a right relationship with God through faith in Christ. “Blessed” is often translated as “happy.” It is more than what the world considers happiness — possessions, satisfaction, and peace. The blessed one is in favor with God and man. However, the Beatitudes are applicable to the present, their promises look to the future for fulfillment. The Beatitudes are God-oriented: kingdom of heaven, see God, on my account. The blessed estate does not depend upon secular well-being for its fulfillment. 

It is conceivable a Christian can be perfectly miserable on earth and yet blessed. Poor in spirit. Luke omits “in spirit.” Certainly Matthew is not neglecting the physically poor. There is no blessing in poverty. Poor people are not necessarily blessed. The economically poor can be godly or godless. “Poor in spirit,” moreover, does not mean a lack of spirit. Rather, the phrase describes a state of being which we might call humility, unworthiness, a dependence on God for the fulfillment of needs. The New English Bible helpfully translates 5:3: “How blest are those who know their need of God.”

Saturday, 01 February 20201 John 3:16-19; Hebrews 13:16; Matthew 25:40—Sunday’s Hymn of the Day is Lord of Glory, You Have Bought Us (LSB #851). This wonderful hymn tells the story of salvation and places Christ at the center of everything the Christian does. We are still in a new year. In everything that is begun, continued and ended, may Christ be the focus of all that we do.

Morning Prayer Readings for this coming week:

January 27 Monday Wedding at Cana         John 2:1-11
January 28 Tuesday Peter’s Catch of fish Luke 5:1-11
January 29 Wednesday Chapel
January 30 Thursday Jesus calms a storm Mark 5:35-41
January 31 Friday Jesus heals a paralytic Mark 2:1-12

Catechism Review:What is Confession?” – “Which Sins Should we Confess?” – “What is the Sacrament of the Altar?
_______________________
Sources:
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House
Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series A by John Brokhoff © 1980 CSS Publishing LimaOH
For All the Saints A Prayer Book for and By the Church Vol. II © 1995 by the American Lutheran Publicity Bureau, Delhi, NY
Luther’s Seal © Ed Riojas, Higher Things 


Saturday, January 25, 2020

Epiphany 3


Epiphany 3
26 January 2020
Isaiah 9:1-4
Some Day You’ll Be Glad

Almighty God, You sent Your Son to proclaim Your kingdom and to teach with authority. Anoint us with the power of Your Spirit that we, too, may bring good news to the afflicted, bind upon the brokenhearted, and proclaim liberty to the captives.”

When people are struggling, when they are in the midst of trouble, they cannot imagine things will so improve that the sorrow, pain, fear, and anxiety will change to joy. It’s almost as if they are babes lost in the woods. They can’t see the forest for the trees. All seems hopeless and so pointless.  

In the words of our Old Testament lesson a message of hope comes to a people who had lost everything and for whom there was little hope or promise. What was that promise? It was the promise of God to a people living in the oppression of darkness. The point of Isaiah’s message was designed to encourage and uplift those who may have had reason to despair. Where do people turn today when they contemplate their condition?  Our text for this day says to you who find yourselves to be in trouble —
1. God promises you’ll be glad some day.
2. There are good reasons for your hope.
3. Light will replace the darkness.
4. Liberation from oppression will come.

1.        God promises you’ll be glad someday – Vs. 3 “You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as men rejoice when dividing the plunder.” Isaiah 9:3   When we are in the midst of some trouble, we can’t imagine that things will so improve that the sorrow, pain, fears and anxiety will change to joy. Everything seems so overwhelming. Yet to this very situation of hopelessness a message of hope arrives…It comes in the form of a promise from God to a people living in the oppression of darkness.

What is the source of joy of being a Christian? It is the joy we have in knowing Christ. He is the Light of the world and the end of our darkness. To know Christ is to be free from the power and condemnation of the Law and from the consequences of sin, which, of course, is death. Scripture is quite clear on this matter. “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23) In Ezekiel 18:4 God said, "Behold all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sins, it shall die". The soul that dies is the soul that sins. Therefore, in order for a soul to die, sin would have to occur by that soul. The apostle John states it much clearer - in 1John 3:4 he says, "Whosoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law". Sin is something that you do. Says St. Paul; “By the deeds of the Law no flesh will be justified.” (Romans 3:20)

God gave His Law to hunt us down, find us out, corner us, and kill us. The Law is powerful, but it is a deadly power because of our sin. In the end, the Law exposes us as the enemies of God we really are…In the end, the Law leaves the sinner utterly sinful, utterly condemned, - utterly dead. The Law leaves the sinner without hope in himself or the Law. There is no hope – except for one – our Lord Jesus Christ.  1

Again, Scripture is quite clear, “God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:19)   

Joy is a by-product of Jesus’ preaching the good news of salvation, His teaching the truth of both sin and salvation of Law and Gospel  helps us begin to understand such joy even in the midst of sadness. Jesus entered this world and began His mission to redeem me a lost and condemned creature. He came for only one purpose which was - to save me from sin, death, and the power of the devil.

Transition:  God promises you will be glad some day.  Christ Jesus entered our world to deal with our sin and all which is broken in this world and in particular in our own lives. There is reason to hope.

2.        There are good reasons to hope.  Consider the historical background of our text for today. In 734 B.C. Assyria took into captivity Zebulon and Naphtali. It is a dark time of their history. But, the people see a light in the coming of a great king whose coming means great joy. He is their Messiah, their Savior. In the darkness of conquest, a light is seen bringing great joy.

Today’s Old Testament Lesson is in part a repeat of Christmas morning. Then it was used as a fulfilled prophecy of the birth of the Messiah Jesus of Nazareth. Here it is used as fulfillment of the glorious time for the land, “Galilee of the nations.” St. Matthew, in today’s Gospel lesson, sees the start of Jesus’ ministry in Galilee as the fulfillment of this great promise.

The Epiphany theme of light is evident in both Gospel and Old Testament lessons — the people, “have seen a great light.” Jesus is the fulfillment of all the promises of that light.  Christ is the Epiphany (or the manifestation) of light. Epiphany deals with the revelation of the glory of God in Jesus.

God’s glory is seen in the ministry of Jesus — He brings the kingdom to people through His threefold ministry of preaching, teaching, and healing, a ministry to the whole person: soul, mind, and body. Paul sees the glory of God revealed in the cross — the means of deliverance from the oppression of sin, Satan, and death.

Transition: God promises you will be glad some day.  Christ Jesus entered our world to deal with our sin and all which is broken in this world and in particular in our own lives. There is reason to hope for in this Epiphany season we discover that Jesus is God’s manifestation of light. You are given a reason to hope as you are drawn to Christ’s light.

3.        Light will replace darkness – Vs. 2   “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” Isaiah 9:2 When Isaiah wrote these words, there was much darkness in the land. Assyria had conquered Zebulon and Naphtali and carried off the people to bondage. There was the darkness of oppression, homelessness, and forced labor. In today’s world there is also much darkness: and therefore very little light. There are many experiencing loneliness, pain, bereavement, poverty, and addiction to drugs or alcohol. We rejoice that in Christ the light has begun to shine as Jesus begins his ministry.

Transition: God promises you with a glad future. Christ entered this world to deal with you misery and sin. Christ the Son of light came to disperse the darkness of sin as He took your sin to Himself. As He carried those burdens and cares He frees you –

4.        There will be liberation from oppression – Vs. 4 “For as in the day of Midian’s defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, and the rod of their oppressor.” Isaiah 9:4  In today’s society we often hear the word, “broken,” to describe the human condition: families are broken up by divorce; parents’ hearts are broken when rebellious children misbehave badly; nations are in turmoil because of broken relations — embassies are closed, ambassadors are called home and soon war is declared. In this verse, “broken” is a good word. Because of Christ the power of sin is broken. The broken relationship between God and humanity is healed.

Epiphany’s light – That light already is directing us to the cross on which we witness that great exchange – God’s mercy and forgiveness purchased at the cost of His own Son!  “FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD THAT HE GAVE HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, THAT WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH IN HIM SHOULD NOT PERISH BUT HAVE EVERLASTING LIFE.” (John 3:16)  AMEN.
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Words – 1,410
Passive Sentences –7% 
Readability – 71.3%
Reading Level –7.0 

1. Issues, Etc. Journal Vol. 6, No. 1 “The Law’s Accusations: God’s Perfect, Specific and Unavoidable Demands” by Todd Wilken pp. 9-10

Friday, January 24, 2020

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 23, 2020

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
The Temptation © Google Image 

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Family Life Center update

Steel Erections!




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 20, 2020

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 19, 2020

Epiphany 3 Series A




Epiphany 3 - Series A 
(26 January 2020)    
  
Isaiah 9:1–4
1 Corinthians 1:10–18
Matthew 4:12–25

The Lord Manifests His Glory through His Office of the Holy Ministry
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 rules with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever. Amen

By His coming in the flesh and by His preaching and miracles, the Lord Jesus shines the light of His Gospel upon “the people who walked in darkness” and “who dwelt in a land of deep darkness” (Isaiah 9:2). He has also “multiplied the nation” and “increased its joy” (Isaiah 9:3) by calling disciples to Himself from the ends of the earth. For this purpose, He calls Peter and Andrew, with James and John, to follow Him and be “fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). As Jesus did, they also go forth “proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people” (Matthew 4:23). They preach the foolishness of the cross of Christ as the very power and wisdom of God. This word and preaching of the cross divides “those who are perishing” from “us who are being saved” (1 Corinthians 1:18), but it unites the Church, the one Body of Christ, “in the same mind and the same judgment” (1 Corinthians 1:10).

Through
Rev. Dr. Daniel J. Brege

The ESV translates Matthew 4:14:  so that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled.  Unfortunately the little word “by” makes it sound like Isaiah is the originator of the prophecy quoted by Matthew.  Actually this little word “by” (διὰ ) is better translated “through”.  Thus Matthew is informing us that Isaiah was God’s instrument—that God spoke through Isaiah.  Therefore Isaiah did not create his prophecy, but God was using Isaiah as His instrument to speak inspired words to humanity. Such wording is conveying the doctrine of Inspiration, for the Holy Spirit indeed speaks through the mouth of his holy prophets (Luke 1:70).  And no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21).

As I was privileged to be in Israel less than two weeks ago, I saw there a photo-copy of the Dead Sea scroll of the complete book of Isaiah.  This scroll that pre-dates the time of Christ was completely “unrolled’ so the entire book of Isaiah was before me. Scholars are amazed that the wording—and even the Hebrew script—is practically identical with the Hebrew of the book of Isaiah we read today.  This is partly so because the Jews indeed believed that every little “jot and tittle” of the Hebrew was inspired by God, so they took extreme care whenever they hand-copied any of the writings of the “Old Testament”.

So what had God spoken through Isaiah?  He spoke many wonderful prophecies about the coming Christ—prophecies that speak with crystal clarity.  The Spirit predicted that a child would be born for us, a son would be given…and His name would be the Mighty God (9:6).  Matthew’s gospel-reading for Sunday presents to us the verses preceding this astounding prediction of the Christ-child’s birth.  Matthew informs us that Jesus began His ministry by fulfilling God’s prediction through Isaiah that the Christ would shine forth in the land of Zebulun and Naphtali.  These lands that had entered a state of spiritual darkness, lands that were so dark that they had substantially rejected their Jewish heritage, these were the very lands where the Christ would shine forth with holy preaching and heretofore unseen miracles. Here the Christ began to herald the gospel of the kingdom, a gospel that would culminate in the cross and the empty tomb of the kingdom’s king.

As the gospel of the kingdom announced both by word and by deed the presence of the Christ, so this Christ and this gospel would ultimately take believers to the climactic work of the kingdom:  Christ dying for mankind’s salvation.  Thus appropriately Isaiah—or rather God through Isaiah—predicted: But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:5,6).

Through.  Indeed God works through means, actively participating in His creation. The Spirit of God spoke through His prophets and apostles.  God sent His Son through a virgin.  The Son of God creates our salvation through His death and resurrection. God brings us to faith through His Holy Word.  Through:  God is always the agent, the one who must act upon us and upon His entire creation. Every good thing must come from Him, and we bow before Him as He gives us good things through the instruments He chooses.


Jesus begins His ministry –

Matthew 4:12 
Ἀκούσας δὲ ὅτι Ἰωάννης παρεδόθη ἀνεχώρησεν εἰς τὴν Γαλιλαίαν.
Now when he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee.

John is "handed over" his time is done. This term is usually used of Jesus.  When the forerunner is taken He is next. Jesus starts in Galilee. Even as he begins his ministry the kingdom is suffering violence...to this day (22 January the anniversary of Roe v Wade) 

He withdraws... (to pray?) 

Matthew 4:13 
καὶ καταλιπὼν τὴν Ναζαρὰ ἐλθὼν κατῴκησεν εἰς Καφαρναοὺμ τὴν παραθαλασσίαν ἐν ὁρίοις Ζαβουλὼν καὶ Νεφθαλίμ
And leaving Nazareth he went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali,

Jesus leaves Nazareth (further separation) settles in Capernaum. But not a permanent situation. "The Son of Man will have no place to rest his head".

Matthew 4:14 
ἵνα πληρωθῇ τὸ ῥηθὲν διὰ Ἠσαΐου τοῦ προφήτου λέγοντος
so that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:

Fulfillment of Prophecy 

Matthew 4:15 
Γῆ Ζαβουλὼν καὶ γῆ Νεφθαλίμ, ὁδὸν θαλάσσης, πέραν τοῦ Ἰορδάνου, Γαλιλαία τῶν ἐθνῶν,
"The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles- 

Matthew 4:16 
ὁ λαὸς ὁ καθήμενος ἐν σκοτίᾳ φῶς εἶδεν μέγα, καὶ τοῖς καθημένοις ἐν χώρᾳ καὶ σκιᾷ θανάτου φῶς ἀνέτειλεν αὐτοῖς.
the people (literally "sitting") dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned." 

The “land of milk and honey” have turned into sand and death. This is the Epiphany - people living in darkness have seen light. 

These people were the nobodies Peter was called out on the night of Jesus' arrest for his Galilean accent. 

These people are sitting without hope.

Matthew 4:17
Ἀπὸ τότε ἤρξατο ὁ Ἰησοῦς κηρύσσειν καὶ λέγειν• Μετανοεῖτε, ἤγγικεν γὰρ ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν.
From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." - 

The kingdom is drawing near...it is at arms reach. The kingdom is the presence and work of Christ. The kingdom is Jesus. (In their midst) 

The message is preached to those who had been separated. (Northern Kingdom) Through paganism they had merged into the Syrian culture. 

Every great prophet has preached repentance. Remember, repentance has tow parts. Contrition and faith...more than just stop it! 

Jesus Calls His First disciples -

Matthew 4:18 
Περιπατῶν δὲ παρὰ τὴν θάλασσαν τῆς Γαλιλαίας εἶδεν δύο ἀδελφούς, Σίμωνα τὸν λεγόμενον Πέτρον καὶ Ἀνδρέαν τὸν ἀδελφὸν αὐτοῦ, βάλλοντας ἀμφίβληστρον εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν, ἦσαν γὰρ ἁλιεῖς
While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen.

Matthew 4:19 
καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς• Δεῦτε ὀπίσω μου, καὶ ποιήσω ὑμᾶς ἁλιεῖς ἀνθρώπων.
And he said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men."

Matthew 4:20
οἱ δὲ εὐθέως ἀφέντες τὰ δίκτυα ἠκολούθησαν αὐτῷ
Immediately they left their nets and followed him.

This is a specific calling. They are turning to a new vocation. A sudden change. They become the ultimate net throwers. Jesus is establishing his Church and this is how it works based on the foundation of the prophets and apostles. 

Matthew 4:21
Καὶ προβὰς ἐκεῖθεν εἶδεν ἄλλους δύο ἀδελφούς, Ἰάκωβον τὸν τοῦ Ζεβεδαίου καὶ Ἰωάννην τὸν ἀδελφὸν αὐτοῦ, ἐν τῷ πλοίῳ μετὰ Ζεβεδαίου τοῦ πατρὸς αὐτῶν καταρτίζοντας τὰ δίκτυα αὐτῶν, καὶ ἐκάλεσεν αὐτούς
And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them.

They were cleaning/mending  nets. They were done for the day. The other two were still fishing casting their nets. Yet once called they left all. 

Here James is the dominant one. 

Everyone has a calling. Zebedee  stayed behind fishing for fish rejoicing in his vocation doing God's work in a secular world. Every job is honorable. Reflect the light where you live.

Matthew 4:22
οἱ δὲ εὐθέως ἀφέντες τὸ πλοῖον καὶ τὸν πατέρα αὐτῶν ἠκολούθησαν αὐτῷ.
Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him. - 

Jesus ministers to great crowds -

Matthew 4:23 
Καὶ περιῆγεν ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ Γαλιλαίᾳ, διδάσκων ἐν ταῖς συναγωγαῖς αὐτῶν καὶ κηρύσσων τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τῆς βασιλείας καὶ θεραπεύων πᾶσαν νόσον καὶ πᾶσαν μαλακίαν ἐν τῷ λαῷ.
And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. 

All kind of maladies (see the Collect for the day) illnesses are specifically mentioned in v. 24 - 

Matthew 4:24 
καὶ ἀπῆλθεν ἡ ἀκοὴ αὐτοῦ εἰς ὅλην τὴν Συρίαν• καὶ προσήνεγκαν αὐτῷ πάντας τοὺς κακῶς ἔχοντας ποικίλαις νόσοις καὶ βασάνοις συνεχομένους, δαιμονιζομένους καὶ σεληνιαζομένους καὶ παραλυτικούς, καὶ ἐθεράπευσεν αὐτούς.
So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, epileptics, and paralytics, and he healed them.

Matthew 4:25 
καὶ ἠκολούθησαν αὐτῷ ὄχλοι πολλοὶ ἀπὸ τῆς Γαλιλαίας καὶ Δεκαπόλεως καὶ Ἱεροσολύμων καὶ Ἰουδαίας καὶ πέραν τοῦ Ἰορδάνου.
And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis, and from Jerusalem and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan. -

His fame is spreading. Crowds are following.

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



20-25, January, 2020
Preparation for next week, Epiphany 3



The Ministry of Light

The Epiphany theme of light is evident in both the Gospel and the Old Testament lesson — “have seen a great light.” Jesus is the fulfillment of the promise of that light. In Christ is the Epiphany (manifestation) of light. Epiphany deals with the revelation of the glory of God in Jesus. God’s glory is seen in the ministry of Jesus — he brings the kingdom to people through his three-fold ministry of preaching, teaching, and healing; a ministry to the whole person: soul, mind, and body. Paul sees the glory of God revealed in the cross — the means of deliverance from the oppression of sin, Satan, and death.

Since the Epistle lesson is given in-course and deals with the problem of internal church division, it does not harmonize with the theme of the other Lessons. The Gospel fulfills the promise of a light coming to the people of Galilee. This fulfillment is in the beginning of Jesus’ ministry in Galilee. It is cause for celebration. By His ministry of preaching, teaching, and healing, Jesus brings the light of truth and grace to the world. Psalm 27 harmonizes with the theme of light — “The Lord is my light....” The Prayer asks for us to have a similar ministry of light.

Collects for Epiphany: Lord God, on this day you revealed your Son to the nations by the leading of a star. Lead us now by faith to know your presence in our lives and bring us at last to the full vision of your glory.

Father, You revealed Your Son to the nations by the guidance of a star. Lead us to Your glory in heaven by the light of faith. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, forever and ever

Father, You make known the salvation of humankind at the birth of Your Son. Make us strong in faith and bring us to the glory You promise. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives, and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever

Collects for Epiphany 3: 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.

Almighty God, you sent your Son to proclaim your kingdom and to teach with authority. Anoint us with the power of your Spirit,  that we, too, may bring good news to the afflicted, bind upon the brokenhearted, and proclaim liberty to the captives.

Collect for Psalm 27: Gracious Father, protector of those who hope in You: You heard the cry of Your Son and kept Him safe in Your shelter in the day of evil. Grant that Your servants who seek Your face in times of trouble may see Your goodness in the land of the living, through Your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord

Monday, 20 January 2020Psalm 22:27-31; antiphon, Psalm 22:22—In the Introit for Sunday, we pray, I will tell of Your name to my brothers, in the midst of the congregation I will praise You. Psalm 22 stands alone by itself. No other psalm pointed beyond itself so fully to the circumstances of Jesus at his crucifixion. John and Matthew will quote from this psalm as they give their accounts of Christ’s passion (see Matthew 27:46; 35, 39, 43 and John 19:23-24, 28). They proclaim the passion of Jesus as the fulfillment of this cry of the righteous sufferer. The author of the book of Hebrews placed the words of verse 22 on Jesus’ lips on Hebrews 2:12. No other psalm is quoted more frequently in the New Testament.   

Tuesday, 21 January 2020Psalm 27:1-9—The words of these choice verses are David’s triumphant confidence in God to deliver him from all those who conspire to bring him down. His prayer presupposes the Lord’s covenant with David. David’s confidence in his Lord introduces the prayer David will pray in verses 7-12. The conclusion of the prayer (verses 13-14) echoes the confidence of verses 1-6 and asks the reader to wait patiently for that which is sure although not yet seen. 

Wednesday, 22 January 2020Isaiah 9:1-4—When Isaiah wrote these words, there was darkness in the land. Assyria conquered Zebulon and Naphtali and carried off the people to bondage. There was the darkness of oppression, homelessness, and forced labor. In today’s world there is also much darkness: loneliness, pain, bereavement, poverty, and addiction to drugs or alcohol. We rejoice that in Christ the light has begun to shine as Jesus begins His ministry. What is the joy of a Christian? It is basically the joy of having Christ. He is the Light of the world. To have Christ is to be free from the power and condemnation of sin and from the consequences of sin — death. Joy is a by-product of Jesus’ preaching the good news of salvation, His teaching the truth of God, and His ministry of healing to our bodies and minds.

Thursday, 23 January 20201 Corinthians 1:10-18—Fractions, dissensions, and cliques existed in the Corinthian church because there was a party spirit. A pastor (Apollos, Paul, Peter) was placed above Jesus. It was not Christ’s church but Dr. So-and-So’s church. Unity in a church is based upon the pre-eminence of Christ, not the personality of the pastor. Paul did not make a practice of baptizing people in order to avoid anyone’s claim he belonged to Paul rather than to Christ. Baptism tends to establish a loyalty between the pastor and the candidate.  Often it is heard, “He baptized me,” in the sense of adulating the pastor. The closer people get to Christ, the closer they get to each other in harmony and peace.

Friday, 24 January 2020Matthew 4:12-25—Matthew sees Jesus beginning His ministry as a fulfillment of the Isaiah promise that deliverance would come to those taken captive by the Assyrians in Zebulon and Naphtali. Fulfillment implies that Jesus was more than a man, a prophet, or a teacher; He was the Son of God, the Messiah. Repentance (verse 17)—For John the Baptist, repentance was a condition for entering the kingdom of God. For Jesus, repentance was accepting the salvation already offered and present. Repentance is not a condition of grace but a response to it. Repentance is acknowledging God’s forgiveness and acceptance; it is a turning to God to accept his grace by faith.
Saturday, 24 January 20201 Peter 1:20-23; Hebrews 7:25; John 13:34-35—Sunday’s Hymn of the Day is Son of God, Eternal Savior (LSB #842). This hymn is a prayer asking the Savior to direct us. We pray that He in love and pity would heal our wrongs and help our need. Each of us have burdens cares and struggles. Take these needs to your Savior in prayer. He knows your situation. He is more than able to address your need.

Morning Prayer Readings for this week  

January 20 Monday John prepares the way   Matthew 3;  Mark 1; Luke 3; John1
January 21 Tuesday Baptism of Jesus            Matthew 3
January 22 Wednesday Chapel
January 23 Thursday Temptation of Jesus     Matthew 4:1-11
January 24 Friday Jesus calls first disciples    John 1

Catechism ReviewWhat is the Office of the Keys?” 
                                        “What is Confession?”
______________________________
Sources:
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House
Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series A by John Brokhoff © 1980 CSS Publishing LimaOH
For All the Saints A Prayer Book for and By the Church Vol. II © 1995 by the American Lutheran Publicity Bureau, Delhi, NY
Luther’s Seal comes courtesy of the Higher Things organization

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Epiphany 2


Epiphany 2
JOHN 1:29-42
19 January 2020
“Come and See”

Lord Jesus, You became obedient to death and Your name was exalted above all others. Teach us always to do the Father’s will, so that, made holy by Your obedience and united in Your sacrifice, we can know your great love even in times of sorrow to sing a new song to our God now and forever. – Collect for Psalm 40



A wise preacher once said that in John’s simple announcement, “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world,” we have a perfect summary of the entire Gospel.  Everything else is merely commentary.

In Jesus’ day a lamb had two important meanings for believers. First, the lamb conveyed a sense of innocence and purity. Much like the image of the Suffering Servant which we read about from the prophet Isaiah: “he was oppressed and he was afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.” [Isaiah 52: 7]

Secondly the lamb was also the central symbol of God’s deliverance of his people from their bondage in Egypt. An event commemorated by the slaughter of a lamb for the celebration of Passover.

John takes the symbol of the lamb and relates it not just to the Passover but also to human sinfulness. John’s Gospel makes it clear that this Lamb of God is not exclusively for Israel but for everyone. “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.”

We must remember that Christians are not born. Christians are invited by those who are a part of the Church and, therefore, determined to repeat the precious words of John. “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”

A critical conversation grew out of an exchange between Jesus and several individuals. Who, up until now, were disciples of John the Baptist. John encouraged his followers to change their allegiance to Jesus. Many of them, like Andrew, were trying to determine what that would mean. They were wise enough to know that they would gain wisdom by participation and observation. So they asked Jesus where he was staying. Jesus responded by saying simply,Come and see.”

That simple invitation. Come and see. Launched the Jesus Movement. Before long Andrew invited his brother, Peter. And, then Peter invited countless others to come and see the one they were quickly convinced was the Messiah, the Promised One.

Christians do not impose. Christians invite. Those people whose lives were changed experience a transformation. Not because they were threatened. No, they were changed by a gentle invitation: Come and see. No one told them to make a decision for Christ. No one directed them to master any spiritual laws. There’s no training manual or program.  No one told them to give the right answer to that anxious question … “If you were to die tonight, do you know where you will spend eternity?” No, the people who became followers of Jesus were those who accepted that simple invitation to come and see.

This invitation, “come and see” continues. Welcome to our Friedheim family – the house of peace.  We have a worship life that enriches and strengthens those who come. We have a parish life that gives individuals a sense of belonging. A feeling of participation in a community of values. This congregation is determined to be more caring toward those in need; feeding literally thousands through our Pack Away Hunger campaign. Touching the lives of grieving families who have lost infant children. By simply living your life in your given station of life – your calling your life’s work is to become the hands and feet the fingers and toes of Jesus.[2]

Might we do more? The possibilities are endless. Yet it all starts with a conversation, and an invitation. Come and see Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

Words- 700
Passive Sentences-7%
Readability-70%
Reading Level -6.5



[1] Schnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts copyright © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use