Monday, April 27, 2009

Time in the Word - Easter 4

The theme for the Fourth Sunday of Easter is the Risen Good Shepherd. How fitting that the young labs of God should be confirmed in the faith on that same day, when the undershepherd of Christ will feed them for the first time with the body and blood of our Savior, for the forgiveness of their sins and the strengthening and nourishing of their faith. Truly, the Lord leads them into green pastures and sets a rich feast before them.

Monday, 27 April 2009—Psalm 23; Antiphon, John 14, 15b—The Fourth Sunday of Easter is also known as ‘Good Shepherd Sunday.’ The Introit combines the twenty-third psalm with a portion of Jesus’ words from John 10. One of the key verses of Psalm 23 is verse 3: He restoreth my soul; He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His Name’s sake. Jesus is the Good Shepherd who restores our soul by laying down His life for His sheep. By this sacrificial act, He redeemed us, that we may be righteous in God’s eyes.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009—Psalm 23—Sunday’s psalm is the very familiar twenty-third psalm. Children of God have turned to this psalm for comfort for thousands of years, not just because it uses pretty words and phrases in depicting a tranquil scene, but also because it faces the grim realities of life (Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death; the presence of mine enemies) and gives sure, certain hope to all who are members of the LORD’s flock.

Wednesday, 29 April 2009—Acts 4:1–12—Last week’s first reading told how, after he healed the crippled beggar, Peter proclaimed the death and resurrection of Jesus to the astonished people in the temple. This week’s reading has Peter and John before the Sanhedrin, proclaiming the very same message to the Jewish leaders: And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.

Thursday, 30 April 2009—1 John 3:16–24—Jesus said, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. In Sunday’s epistle reading, St John tells us that if we belong to the Truth—the Truth that is Jesus—that the love of Jesus will control our actions and lives. When our consciences plague us, our hearts will be set at rest, because God has placed His love into our hearts.

Friday, 1 May 2009—John 10:11–18— Sunday’s Gospel is the ‘Good Shepherd’ passage from St John’s Gospel. Jesus calls Himself the ‘good,’ or ‘noble,’ Shepherd. He has made us the sheep of His flock by giving His life for us, and He continues to protect us from all who would do us evil or harm. So long as we remain in His fold, nothing, not even the devil, can harm us. Recall the words of A Mighty Fortress: “And take they our life / Goods, fame, child, and wife / Let these all be gone / They yet have nothing won / The Kingdom ours remaineth.”

Saturday, 2 May 2009—The Hymn of the Day is—no surprise—the twenty-third psalm set to a traditional Irish tune called St Columba. The King of Love My Shepherd Is (LSB #709) re-casts the psalm in a metrified form.

Collect for Easter 4Almighty God, merciful Father, since You have wakened from death the Shepherd of Your sheep, grant us Your Holy Spirit that when we hear the voice of our Shepherd we may know Him who calls us each by name and follow where He leads; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Pr. Jeff Keuning serving Dexter and Casey, IA wrote this week's Time in the Word

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Monday, April 20, 2009

Time in the Word - Easter 3

The theme for the Second Sunday of Easter is Resurrection Witnesses. Next Sunday is Examination Sunday. The catechumens will give witness to the faith which was given to them at their Baptism, and nourished by regular hearing of the Word of God in Church, in Sunday School, and in Catechism instruction.

The resurrection of our Lord is not some made-up fairy story, but a real event which was witnessed by many people. In the First Lesson, Peter testifies to the fact that he is an eyewitness of Christ’s resurrection. The Gospel is the account of the resurrection appearance by our Lord to Cleopas and his companion whilst travelling to Emmaus. And, in the epistle, St John, himself an eyewitness of the resurrected Christ, tells us that our lives ought to testify to our faith in our living Lord.

Monday, 20 April 2009—Psalm 30:1-5; Antiphon, Psalm 16:11b— In Psalm 30, David exuberantly worships the Lord, who has drawn him up, healed him, and brought up his soul from Sheol (the grave.) He calls upon all saints—including us—to sing praises to the Lord and give thanks to His holy Name, for we, too have been delivered from sin death, and the power of the devil by the atoning sacrifice of Jesus.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009—Psalm 4—This psalm of David is a cry for deliverance, with confidence that the Lord hears and answers prayer. Because Christ Jesus has delivered us from our mortal enemy—sin and its consequences—we can confidently say with David, In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009—Acts 3:11–21—The people in the temple were astonished when Peter healed the crippled beggar (Acts 3:1–10). Peter told them that it was God, not he, who had healed the man. He then related the details of Jesus’ death and resurrection—We are witnesses—and proclaimed the Gospel to them, urging them to repent and trust in Christ alone for the forgiveness of their sins.

Thursday, 23 April 2009—1 John 3:1–7—St. John contrasts those in the world, who do not know the Father because they have rejected the Son, with believers, who put their trust in Christ, and, thus, have been made the children of God.

Friday, 24 April 2009—Luke 24:36–49—The early Church Fathers had to deal with heretics called Docetists who denied the physical resurrection of Jesus, saying it was only a spiritual resurrection, and that His appearances were that of a phantasm, or else hallucinations by His followers. This heresy persists to this day: the Jehovah’s Witnesses deny the bodily resurrection of Christ. But Jesus dispels any sort of nonsensical ideas in Sunday’s Gospel. He appears in the flesh—Why do doubts rise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Handle me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have—and eats food. This eyewitness account also gives us the assurance of the physical resurrection of Jesus, and of all believers, as we confess in the Creed.

Saturday, 25 April 2009—With High Delight, Let Us Unite (LSB #483), is a song of jubilation and high praise to our risen Lord, who has vanquished death and the grave by His death: True God, He first From death has burst Forth into life, all subduing. His enemy Doth vanquished lie; His death has been death’s undoing. “And yours shall be Like victory O’er death and grave,” Saith He, who gave His life for us, life renewing.

Collect for Easter 3O God, through the humiliation of Your Son You raised up the fallen world. Grant to Your faithful people, rescued from the peril of everlasting death, perpetual gladness and eternal joys; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

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)

This week's Time in the Word was written by Pr. Jeffrey Keuning who serves the congregations of St. John, Dexter, IA and Zion in Casey, IA

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tin Caps First Home Game

Hardball Capital the owners of Ft. Wayne’s latest minor league baseball team used Sky Design from Atlanta to consult on the name for Ft. Wayne’s newest sports franchise. “Tin Cap” a name used for LSD is simply a rumor. The opening game to be played at the new downtown ball park Parkview field is scheduled for this evening. We have the Komets, hockey, Mad Ants basketball, and Freedom football. The Tin Caps move to downtown is an attempt to revitalize Ft. Wayne. Will it work? Time will tell.

The Tin Cap logo is the only minor league team with an apple. It is to depict "Johnny Appleseed" an itinerant preacher by the name of John Chapman who apparently wore a pot on his head as he planted apples in the mid-west. Chapman is believe to be buried in Ft. Wayne next to Appleseed park where the Ft. Wayne Wizards use to play baseball.

Night baseball was first tried at Fort Wayne in 1883.

Source: Fort Wayne News. Com and The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Time in the Word - Easter 2

The theme for the Second Sunday of Easter is The Power of Faith in Christ. By faith, we receive the forgiveness of sins which Christ won for us on the cross at Calvary. Like Thomas, we have not had a face to face encounter with Jesus, but we believe by the gift of faith bestowed upon us at our Baptism, and nurtured and sustained by hearing the Word of God regularly and receiving the true body and blood of our risen and ascended Lord in the Supper which He instituted. We also have the sure and certain testimony of eyewitnesses, such as St. John in the epistle reading, that Christ is risen from the dead.

This same faith causes us to desire to live our lives in Christ-like obedience to our Father in heaven. Like those in the early Church in the reading from Acts, we care for one another in the Church, whether it be those in our own congregation, or victims of natural disasters, or the less fortunate, such as those served by Bethesda Home, and Lutheran School for the Deaf.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009—Psalm 148—In Sunday’s psalm, the psalmist calls upon all of creation—those on the earth, those under the sea, and those in the heavens—to join in a chorus of praise to the Lord. Animate and inanimate, all of creation proclaims the glory of the Lord.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009—Acts 4:32–35—St. Luke gives us a snapshot of the early Church in Jerusalem. Reflecting the love that Christ has for us, they loved each other by taking care of one another. Two thousand years later, we can reflect that same love of Jesus for us by caring for one another.

Thursday, 16 April 2009—1 John 1:1—2:2—St. John, in his epistle, testifies to the fact of Christ’s resurrection by recounting how he has seen the resurrected Savior, how he has heard him, and how he has touched Him. We need have no doubt that Christ is risen from the dead, and therefore, has forgiven all our sins.

Friday, 17 April 2009—John 20:19–31—There are two appearances by the risen Christ in Sunday’s Gospel, each bringing us a great deal of comfort. In the first, Jesus establishes the Office of the Holy Ministry, and assures us that, in the words of the catechism, ‘when the called ministers of Christ deal with us by His divine command, in particular when they…absolve those who repent of their sins and want to do better, this is just as valid and certain, even in heaven, as if Christ, our dear Lord, dealt with us Himself.’ In the second appearance, our Lord appears to Thomas. Thomas wanted the certainty of seeing his risen Lord in the flesh, as the others had. When he beholds the wounds in the One who was crucified on our behalf, his faith is sure, and he confesses, ‘My Lord and My God!’ Thomas’s assurance is ours also. We need never doubt that our Lord is truly risen from the dead, ‘the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.’ (1 Cor. 15:20)

Saturday, 18 April 2009—The Hymn of the Day, All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name (LSB #549), is a hymn of praise, similar in content to the psalm, calling upon all people to praise the name of Jesus, God incarnate, who suffered, died, and rose for the salvation of all. Those on earth, those who have passed into glory, and all the angels raise the strain of praise to our Lord forever and ever.

Collect for Easter 2Almighty God, grant that we who have celebrated the Lord’s resurrection may by Your grace confess in our life and conversation that Jesus is Lord and God; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

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).

Pr. Jeff Keuning from Dexter, IA wrote this week's Time in the Word

Monday, April 13, 2009

Render unto Caesar

Just paid what we owe 2008 State and Federal taxes and the first installment on the 2009 State and Federal tax bill. If everyone had to pay quarterly they might feel a lot like Salem.

Monday, April 13, 2009 – Jesus’ Appearance to His Disciples – John 20:19-31

The risen Christ appears to the disciples and Thomas whose doubt is overcome. On Easter night Jesus comes to His frightened and disheartened disciples. One is absent, Thomas. Jesus discloses Himself as the crucified one, comforts them with His presence, and commissions them to go into the world. Here is John’s Great Commission and Pentecost as Jesus breathes on them giving them His Spirit.

Since Thomas is absent, the risen Lord must still deal with him who demands physical evidence that Jesus has risen. When Jesus shows His wounds, Thomas believes. Jesus uses this situation to teach that real faith does not demand physical evidence. John will conclude his gospel by giving the purpose of writing it –to create faith in Christ.

People do not see the risen Christ but “yet believe” in Him. “Yet” refers to all the reasons for not believing; no evidence, nothing tangible, no sight. True faith is believing in spite of all reasons not to believe. When we cannot see, when the future is unknown, we have faith that the unseen and unknown truly exist.

We are Easter people. May the Savior continue to guide your path and order your days as you journey with Him.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Festival

The resurrection of Jesus Christ happened 2,000 years ago. How can we, who are so far removed from that 1st Easter, be sure it happened? So much depends on whether it is true. Without the resurrection there is no hope for life beyond the grave. Without the resurrection there is no assurance that God is in control. Without the resurrection there is no guarantee that love is greater then hatred. How do we know that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is real?

1. First, there is circumstantial evidence – an empty tomb. Listen to verse 6 of our text for today “the angel said: “here is the place where they laid Him.” On the way to the tomb, the three women were asking themselves “Who will roll away the stone from the entrance of the tomb?” The question indicates that they did not expect a resurrection even though they must have heard Jesus say several times, “and on the third day I will rise again”

If the resurrection were a fabrication and a hoax the question would not be asked. Well, who did roll away the stone? Mark does not tell us. We learn from St. Paul that God Himself raised up Jesus. (Romans 4:24; 8:11) He moved the stone! Man could not do it – not the stone of death. All the kings’ horses and all the kings’ men would not be able to conquer death. This was the Father’s act of grace and victory!

The young man (whom we would presume to be an angel) identifies the risen one as the man Jesus from Nazareth who was crucified. This gives reality to the Easter story. The risen Christ is not a spirit. The resurrected person was Jesus from the town of Nazareth. He was killed on a cross. He was truly dead and buried.

There is no room here for a “spiritual” or a “symbolic” resurrection! We must not spiritualize the account. It was not a resurrection of the spirit or the soul of Jesus. The body, the whole person of Jesus rose from the dead on that first Easter.

2. Then there is the witness of God’s messenger, an angel, as well as the testimony of the Word of God. Listen to verse 15: “And entering the tomb they saw a young man sitting at the right wearing a white robe and they were amazed. And he said, “why seek the living among the dead. He is not here, He is risen from the dead,”

There is no such thing as a dead Christ. Why seek the living among the dead? He will not be found in the tombs of the dead. He is alive! Why seek Him there? The grave could not hold Him in. He rose from the dead on the third day. The disciples’ testimony is true. “We are witnesses of these events; We have seen Him with our own eyes.” This Jesus who was crucified is now alive forevermore. The grave could not hold Him. See the place where they laid Him. He is not here. He is risen from the dead!

3. Then there is the experience of the living Christ – He will be seen in Galilee. Listen to verse 7: “there you will see Him just as He said.” The angel instructs the women to tell the disciples, and Peter, to meet Jesus in Galilee as Jesus had told them. In this account of the resurrection the risen Christ does not appear. He will meet them in Galilee. Thus we are reminded by the message of the angel to heed the word of the Savior. Time and again He predicted His bodily resurrection. The women found the tomb empty. Where would they find Him?

They find Him at the very place where Jesus had directed them – in Galilee. Likewise, in your life and my life, we find the risen Savior at the place where He has directed us – in the waters of Baptism, in the elements of Bread and Wine, in His very words and promises of Holy Scripture. The women hurried off to Galilee and there they found Him as the angel predicted. Will you too find Him where He has directed you? Search the Scriptures. There you will find Him alive. He can not deny Himself. He is risen just as He said!

He is risen! He is risen indeed! Hallelujah!

Sunday, April 12, 2009 – Jesus is raised from the Dead – Matthew 28:1-10

Jesus has risen from the dead. When He rose He said He would take away our sins. Many people did not believe Jesus really rose so whoever did not believe had to be given proof.

Sunday morning Mary came and the tomb was empty. The grace clothes were still there and yet the tomb was empty, which meant Jesus’ was no longer there although the grave clothes had been folded up.

Jesus gave Thomas proof the following week. He told him to reach into Hisi side where they had jabbed a spear into His heart, at His side. Jesus showed him His hands where the nails went through. This happened a week after Easter to convince us that there is plenty of proof that Jesus is alive.

Dear Lord, we do not deserve what You have done for us. We should be treated like dirty rags. But You died on the cross for us and have taken away our sins.

-Trevor Black

Schnorr von Carolsfeld, woodcuts © WELS Permission to use these copyrighted items is limited to personal and congregational use.

Easter Sunrise

There is something scary about death. We tend to keep our distance from a corpse or a grave. While there is much superstition concerning coming in contact with the dead there is also much speculation concerning the whole issue of death and dying. People tend to proceed with caution when we tread on unfamiliar or dangerous ground. That is why there is good news for us on this Easter day.

On the first Easter we find three people who came to the tomb of the Savior with three different approaches. How much are we like them today? This morning let us ask this question; "How close are you to the Easter tomb?" This morning let's try to answer that very important question.

1 First there is a distant position. The person who observed the tomb of Jesus from a distance was that of Mary Magdalene. Mary saw from a distance that the stone was rolled away. On the way to the grave she was wondering "who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb" and the gospel writer reminds us "that it was a rather large stone". But when they got to the tomb they realized that the rather huge stone had already been rolled away. Fear entered her mind for no one could more that large of a stone by themselves. It was a stone that five to six men could not have moved. As a result she figured in her might that someone must have stolen the body of Christ away from the tomb.

How close are we to the position taken by Mary? We too can take the same position of Mary. We do that when we look at the resurrection from afar. We do this when we doubt and question whether Christ has in fact risen from the dead. We do this when we misunderstand the resurrection. This happened in the life of the church when some church teachers began to explain that Christ only rose from the dead in a symbolic way. They denied a physical resurrection. Instead, they were content to believe that Jesus merely rose in the life of the church, or in the hearts of believers.

We take a distant approach to the resurrection when we are content to become non involved in the Resurrection celebration. Easter to some is nothing more then a celebration of Spring, an observance of new life, a commemoration of another planting season. It we choose to observe Easter only from a distance we will not perceive or behold the life changing process that takes place because of Easter.

2 There is a closer position of Easter. The person who observed the tomb closer was that of John. John stood at the opening of the tomb. Having heard from Mary that the tomb was empty he headed toward the cemetery and out ran Peter. Coming to the tomb first he stopped. He did not enter the tomb. John only stood at the opening of the tomb for he was afraid to enter. He looked into the tomb but he was too timid to enter by himself. He came closer but he could not enter.

In our time, we can get close to Christ very close. During this Easter season we can get close to the resurrected Christ but some will go no further, they will not enter into Christ. Today the Gospel message of the Resurrection calls us to come closer to the reality of the empty tomb. The challenge for us is to go beyond merely being passive. Allow me to ask you this important question today. Are you content to be only a spectator of a drama?

That can happen when we hear the Easter story and observe it but fail to find the full impact of the Resurrection message. That message says that there is life, real life for all who are in Christ Jesus. The Resurrection is more then just a happy ending to a divine tragedy. The Easter message is more then a happy ending to the grim end of Friday. For us to grasp the lasting meaning of the Easter message is for us to understand that because Jesus lives we will live also.
Because He is alive there is the hope and promise of life in His Name. Because He is risen from the dead all of us who are baptized into His Name will put on Christ and will be ushered into His kingdom of glory. Because of Easter you and I can say "I'm but a stranger here, heaven is my home!"

3 The next position for us to view the Resurrection is the direct position. The person who observed the tomb the directly was that of Peter. Peter, the disciple who had denied the Savior just a few days before now saw with his own eyes the reality of the resurrection.

Impulsive, daring, brazen Peter rushed into the empty tomb. He was not afraid to enter where angels may have feared to tread. He saw the absence of Jesus body in the empty tomb. He saw with his own eyes the grave clothes, and the facial napkin folded up and separated from the rest of the body cavity. Peter came into direct contact with the body of evidence. What did that evidence say? It said that the body of Jesus had completely changed. The physical grave clothes where there. The body had not been stolen. The body had not been buried in a different grave.
The grave clothes were there, but Jesus was not, His body had been transformed and resurrected. The stone was rolled not so that Jesus could get out but that we could get in so that we could see with our own eyes that Jesus Christ was risen from the dead.

4 Distant, close, and direct are three positions by which we can view the resurrection. But the only position for us to clearly see the resurrection is through the eyes of faith. True, the evidence is overwhelming.

It stands clearly as convincing proof. And yet all of the bravado of the evidence will not change anyone's mind or heart. The only way for you and I to truly believe the Resurrection is for us to come by faith. That is why we go back to timid John. He got to the tomb first and stopped. But as Peter rushed past him and stooped into the tomb itself John follows in faith. Once John entered to tomb also he senses the meaning of the evidence and believes.

If you believe in the Resurrection today it is the Holy Spirit that has brought you to that faith. The evidence which is rooted in time and space convinces us of the fact of the Resurrection not because it is factual, reliable, and correct. You simply believe because the Holy Spirit has convinced you of that reality.

Reject not until you have seen clearly the open tomb and the empty grave. Do not be content to observe the Resurrection from a distance. Come closer, much closer.

Don't be content only to peer in, step all the way to the front. See with your own eyes what is there. The grave is EMPTY! Christ is not there? Where have they taken Him? don't you understand, He is not buried among the dead. He is alive. He lives and reigns throughout all eternity! He is alive and because He lives we shall live also. A blessed Easter to one and all. In Christ we have all been made alive. Live and bask in the warmth of the Resurrection glow. In Jesus' Holy Name. Amen.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Saturday, April 11, 2009 – Jesus is laid in the tomb – Matthew 27:57-61

The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. – 1 John 2:17

God lives forever. Jesus died on the cross for all sin. Jesus died and was laid in the tomb only to rise again to be with His Father our God. He lives the life of a perfect man only to receive the sins of all of us. Live in Him. Everyone should take example of this. No matter how hard you think your life is Jesus will provide. How much do we have to give up compared to what he gave up for us?

People today continue to sin and lose faith. Everyone will always sin no matter how hard we try not to. Everyone may want to give up because things are hard. That is the easy way out. Believing in what Jesus did for us is not always easy but it is the right way. When judgment day comes all of us who believe and keep the faith are going to have everlasting life. This is a wonderful feeling; to live your life the way Jesus wants us to.

Jesus, please help us to live our lives the way You would want al of us to live. We know the challenges will be hard but the reward will be great.

-Freddie Geels

Schnorr von Carolsfeld, woodcuts © WELS Permission to use these copyrighted items is limited to personal and congregational use.

Saturday of Holy Week

Saturday, April 11, 2009 – Holy Saturday, Easter Eve – 1 Peter 3:17-22 – The victory lap through Hell

The Antiphon: From the depths of the grace I called for help, and You listened to my cry. – Jonah 2:2b

Prayers for Easter EveO God, who didst enlighten this most holy night with the glory of the Lord’s resurrection, preserve in all Thy people the spirit of adoption which Thou hast given so that, renewed in body and soul, they may perform unto Thee a pure service.

Abide with us, Lord, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. Abide with Your whole Church. Abide with us in the end of the day, in the end of our life, in the end of the world. Abide with Your grace and goodness, with You holy Word and Sacrament, with Your strength and blessing. Abide with us when the night of affliction and temptation comes upon us, the night of fear and despair when death shall come. Abide with us all the faithful through time and eternity.

THE LUTHERAN HYMNAL © 1940 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO
LUTHERAN WORSHIP © 1982 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO
LUTHERAN SEVICE BOOK LECTIONARY © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO
Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS Permission to use these copyrighted items is limited to personal and congregational use

Friday, April 10, 2009

You know what happened to Mr. Lincoln

That's what daughter Lydia said when she learned that the opening night for IU's last production of the semester "The Most Happy Fella" would fall on Good Friday. Lydia's singing in the chorus for this production. The production will run this weekend and next so she is disappointed that she will not be home for Easter. She attended Good Friday services this noon and will be singing in the choir at church Sunday so she's far from being a heathen. It did disappoint her though that she would have to be away from home on Easter. She will be working with Tim Noble one of IU's distinguished professors. Both our children are looking forward to the semester being over in just a few more weeks.

Good Friday - Psalm 22:1-21

Almighty God, grant that in the midst of our failure and weakness we may be restored through the passion and intercession of Your only-begotten Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

This psalm of David could be called "The Psalm of The Cross", as much of the suffering described in it was literally fulfilled in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ (though it may also relate to sufferings experienced by David). Where the four gospel writers provide a description of Jesus' sufferings from the viewpoint of witnesses, this messianic psalm reveals His suffering from the viewpoint of Jesus Himself. The psalm begins with a cry that was uttered by Jesus on the cross

A. Written 1,000 years before it was fulfilled.

B. Divided into Cross (1-21) & Crown (22- 31); Gloom & Glory.

C. Psalm 22 - Good Shepherd - Jn.10:11- I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. - The Cross gives life

D. Psalm 23 - Great Shepherd -Heb.13:20 May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep. Crook -Raised.

E. Psalm 24 - Chief Shepherd - I Pet.5:4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away - Crown - Glorified

F. The Virgin womb opened & gave us - GOOD SHEPHERD.

G. The Virgin Tomb opened & gave us -GREAT SHEPHERD.

H. The Virgin Skies will open & give - CHIEF SHEPHERD.

I. Here we have the Yesterday, Today, & Forever of Christ.

1. He was forsaken by the Father. (1-5) My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent. Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the praise of Israel. [a] In you our fathers put their trust; they trusted and you delivered them. They cried to you and were saved; in you they trusted and were not disappointed.

2. He was plagued by sin. (6) But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by men and despised by the people.

3. He was scorned by sinners. (7) All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads.

4. He was tormented by demons. (12) Many bulls surround me; strong bulls of Bashan encircle me.

5. He was affected by nature. (15) My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me [b] in the dust of death.

6. He was pierced by soldiers. (16-18) Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced [c] my hands and my feet.17 I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me. 18 They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.

7. He was pursued by the devil. (21) Rescue me from the mouth of the lions; save [d] me from the horns of the wild oxen.

8. He was rejected by the Jews. (8) "He trusts in the LORD; let the LORD rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him."

THE CRY & COMPLAINT OF CHRIST. Vv1, 2 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent is fulfilled in Jesus at the cross. (Mt. 27:46)

A. Not because of suffering & pain.

B. Not because of the rejection of the Jews.

C. Not because of the fear of His followers.

D. Not because of the betrayal of Judas.

E. Not because of the denial of Peter.

F. Not because of the mocking of the crowd.

G. Not because of the scourging of Pilate.

THE COMPLIMENT & COMFORT OF CHRIST. Vv3-5 Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the praise of Israel. [a] In you our fathers put their trust; they trusted and you delivered them. They cried to you and were saved; in you they trusted and were not disappointed.

A. He knew God was Holy....It was right.

B. He knew God could not be unholy, unjust, or unkind.

This is why this holy night is called “Good Friday” for in the suffering, passion, and death of Christ we receive forgiveness, life, salvation. O Christ Thou Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world have mercy upon us and grant us Thy peace.

Schnorr von Carolsfeld, woodcuts © WELS Permission to use these copyrighted items is limited to personal and congregational use.

Friday of Holy Week

Friday, April 10, 2009 – Good Friday – Isaiah 52:13 to 53:12 – The suffering and glory of the servant Christ

The Antiphon: O Lord, be not far off; O my Strength, come quickly to help me. – Psalm 22:19

Prayer for Good FridayAlmighty God, we beseech Thee, graciously to behold this Thy family, for which our Lord Jesus Christ was contented to be betrayed and given up into the hands of wicked men and to suffer death upon the cross.

Friday, April 10, 2009 – Jesus Dies – Matthew 27:45-54

Jesus was the best man that every lived. He suffered the worst kind of death that was possible. Jesus died on Golgatha also called the place of the skull. After they hailed Him to the cross they cast lots for His clothes. They put a sing that said, “This IS Jesus, the King of the Jews.” Two robbers were also being crucified. One on His right and one on His left. People who passed Him insulted Him. People said, ‘”He can save others but not Himself!” So you are going to destroy the temple and raise it up in three days? Save Yourself and we will believe!”

O Lord, heavenly Father, Thank You for sending You Son Jesus Christ, to die a horrible death. Thank You for forgiving our sins. This we believe.

-Ryan Hockemeier

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Thursday, April 9, 2009

M. Thursday Psalm 22:22-31

Father, when your Son was handed over to torture and felt abandoned by you, he cried out from the cross. Then death was destroyed, and life was restored. By his death and resurrection save the poor, lift up the downtrodden, break the chains of the oppressed, that your Church may sing your praises; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Psalm 22 describes the sufferings of a righteous person in language which anticipates the death of Jesus. The psalmist shows a profound understanding of the suffering of an innocent person and his feelings of desolation and being forsaken not only by other people but also by God. The despair in this poetry cuts to our heart. Yet this is not just a passion psalm but also a resurrection psalm for there is a pronouncement of vindication and a change of tone from doom to hope from verse 23. As we celebrate the death of Jesus, we look forward to the resurrection.

Unlike Jesus’ friends in Jerusalem on that Friday, we know the ending of the story. We know why Jesus had to die, for we know that in that death God was able to reveal his power over all sin and death and his love for us and all people. So today, we do not just mourn the death of Jesus, we celebrate his death for in it is the power and wisdom of God.

Psalm 22 speaks of the pardon procured by the blood of Jesus Christ.


A. GOD BE PRAISED! (22-25) I will declare your name to my brothers; in the congregation I will praise you. You who fear the LORD, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor him! Revere him, all you descendants of Israel! For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help. From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly; before those who fear you.

From v22 onward we see an immense transformation from despair to assurance of deliverance. Yet despite all that David still cries to the Lord for help. David still calls Lord, “My Strength”. And the most wonderful thing is that the Lord hears and acts.

From v22 onwards the tone changes from agony to triumph. Our Lord knew and we now know that such a triumph was not until He had bore the fullness of the wrath of God

1. The sufferer will praise God.

a. Proclaiming His name to his brethren.

b. Praising Him in the middle of the assembly.

2. Let those who fear God praise Him.

a. Let the descendants of Jacob honor Him.

b. Let the descendants of Israel stand in awe of Him. What does the psalmist promise to do in response to God's deliverance? - He will declare God's name to his brethren - He will praise God in the midst of the congregation. In Hebrews 2:11-12 we read, Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers. He says, "I will declare your name to my brothers; in the presence of the congregation I will sing your praises." - He will pay his vows in the presence of those who fear Him

3. Reasons for such praise.

a. God has not despised or abhorred his affliction.

b. God has not hidden His face from him, but hearkened to his cry.

4. The sufferer will praise God and pay his vows.

a. In the great assembly.

b. Before them that fear Him.

B. GOD BE WORSHIPPED! (26-31) The poor will eat and be satisfied; they who seek the LORD will praise him—may your hearts live forever! All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him, for dominion belongs to the LORD and he rules over the nations. All the rich of the earth will feast and worship; all who go down to the dust will kneel before him— those who cannot keep themselves alive. Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord. They will proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn— for he has done it.

As the psalm nears its end, David tells us of eight things that will happen? - The poor will eat and be satisfied - Those who seek God will praise Him - All the ends of the world shall remember and turn to the Lord - All the families of the nations shall worship before Him - All the prosperous of the earth shall eat and worship - All who go down to the dust shall bow before Him - A posterity shall serve Him - God's deliverance and righteousness will be recounted to the next generation, even those who are yet unborn

1. By the meek, and those that seek the Lord.

a. They shall be eat and be satisfied.

b. They shall praise Him.

2. By those from the ends of the earth.

a. Who shall bear these things in mind and return to the Lord.

b. All families of the nations will bow down before Him.

c. For the kingdom is the Lord's, and He is the Ruler among the nations.

3. By the prosperous and the dead.

a. The prosperous will eat, and worship Him.

b. The dying shall bow before Him.

4. By the generations to come.

a. Posterity shall serve him.

b. For men shall tell of what God has done.

c. People yet born shall hear of God's justice.

The final words of the Psalm are “For He has done it.” And what are the final words from Jesus on the cross? It is finished…..It is done.

As we approach this Easter we need to remember that God the Son choose that death for us. He knew what it would mean to give His life a ransom for many. He did it all for us. What are we doing for Him? What are we enduring for Him? What are we giving to Him? In light of Psalm 22 let us prepare not by giving up but by adding, adding to our prayer life not just extra time, but extra depth and intensity Let us add that praying that this Easter many will know the real story behind the cross and resurrection and turn to Jesus as their Lord and savior.

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Thursday of Holy Week

Thursday, April 9, 2009 – Maundy Thursday – 1 Corinthians 11:23-32 – A new covenant

The Antiphon: I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord. – Psalm 116:13

Prayer for Maundy ThursdayO Lord God, who hast left unto us in a wonderful Sacrament a memorial of Thy Passion, grant, we beseech Thee, that we may so use this Sacrament of Thy body and blood that the fruits of Thy redemption may continually be manifest in us.

Thursday, April 9, 2009 – Death by Crucifixion – John 19:28-38

Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sin. Everyone sins and everyone know it. People sin everyday in fact, many times a day. Jesus suffered on the cross. He had to carry His cross on His back along with our sins. He got hung on the cross and got whipped and pierced in His side with a spear. Jesus did this all to save us from sin. He loves us very much, and He knows all our needs.

Dear Heavenly Father, thanks for sending Your Son, Jesus to save our sins by dying on the cross. We know that we have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God. For this reason we need You.

-Anna Franke

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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Wednesday of Holy Week

Wednesday, April 8, 2009 – Wednesday of Holy Week – Isaiah 62:11; 63:1-7 – God’s day of vengeance and redemption

The Antiphon: Hasten, O God, to save me, O Lord, come quickly to help me. – Psalm 70:1

Prayers for WednesdayGrant, we beseech Thee, Almighty God, that we, who for our evil deeds are continually afflicted may mercifully be relieved by the Passion of Thine only – begotten Son.

Merciful and everlasting God the Father, who did not spare Your only Son but delivered Him up for us all that He might bear our sins on the cross, grant that our hearts may be so fixed with steadfast faith in our Savior that we may not fear the power of any adversaries; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
THE LUTHERAN HYMNAL © 1940 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO
LUTHERAN WORSHIP © 1982 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO
LUTHERAN SEVICE BOOK LECTIONARY © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO
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Wednesday, April 8, 2009 – Jesus Meets His Mother – John 19:25-27

Hanging on a cross suspended between earth and heaven Jesus bore our sins in His body. In the midst of His cruel agony He provided for His mother’s care. John records for us the Saviour’s word of dying concern. He turns her over to John. From that time on he became her son. John provides for her taking her into his own house.

Through Jesus’ example expressed to His mother He demonstrates a deep concern for others. Jesus showing compassion and care for His mother and His dear disciple has shown us how we too must act. Of the seven words Jesus spoke from the cross half of His last words are concerned with others. May His words and actions so move us to will and to do His good pleasure.

Luther possibly put is best when, in the conclusion to his morning and evening prayers he wrote: “Into Thy hands I commend myself [placing] my body and soul and all thing [into Thy care]. May Your Holy Angel [Spirit] be with me that the wicked foe may have no power over me. This moved Luther to conclude in the morning the Christian should: “then go joyfully to your work” and in the evening we rest confidently: “then go to sleep at once and in good cheer.”

Christ’s passion gives evidence of a clear conscience; not based on what we do but rather on what Christ has finished. Our salvation is complete. We can rest in peace because our Father is at peace with Jesus’ work. At the cross and empty tomb Christ’s mission was accomplished!

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace!

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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Tuesday of Holy Week

Tuesday, April 7, 2009 – Tuesday of Holy Week – Jeremiah 11:18-20 – The plot against the Lord’s anointed

The Antiphon: In You, O Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame. – Psalm 71:1

Prayers for TuesdayAlmighty and everlasting God, grant us grace to pass through this holy time of our Lord’s Passion that we may obtain the pardon of our sins.

Almighty and everlasting God, grant us grace so to pass through this holy time of our Lord’s Passion that we may receive the pardon of our sins; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.
THE LUTHERAN HYMNAL © 1940 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO
LUTHERAN WORSHIP © 1982 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO
LUTHERAN SEVICE BOOK LECTIONARY © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO
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Tuesday, April 7, 2009 – - Simon Carries Jesus’ Cross – Luke 23:26-27

When pondering the story of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ which characters come to mind? Obviously we think of Jesus, Pontius Pilate, Peter, Mary, and Judas or possibly even Barabbas the criminal released to the crowd. However, the one man that is usually forgotten is Simon of Cyrene the man who carried the cross for Jesus. He is mentioned in all four Gospels yet his story is only a verse long in each. Mark 15:21 “A certain man from Cyrene, Simon… was passing by on his way in from the country and they forced him to carry the cross.” (NIV)

We can learn a lot from this man. Now it is not told why he was passing by or even why Simon was the one who had to carry the cross. However, the Concise Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, states that “In modern times he has been claimed as patron by groups of people working among outcasts.” Simon probably wasn’t the most popular guy when he carried the cross of Jesus; yet he did it anyway. What can we take from the story of Simon? Well we can learn from Simon to do the right thing. If we are with a group of friends it might be hard to be the one who says no. Secondly, we can be like Simon and willingly do what the Lord asks us to do. I have always wondered if Simon knew that day he carried the cross that people would still be talking about him thousands of years later.

Lord, help us to be able to see Your will and carry it out just like Simon who carried a cross.

-Henry Dahling

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Monday, April 6, 2009

Monday of Holy Week

Monday, April 6, 2009Monday of Holy Week – Isaiah 50:5-10 - My sin and the Savior’s obedience

The Antiphon: Continue Your love to those who know you, Your righteousness to the upright in heart. – Psalm 36:10

Prayers for MondayGrant, we beseech Thee, Almighty God, that we, who amid so many adversities do fail through our own infirmities, may be restored through the Passion and intercession of Thine only-begotten Son.

Almighty God, whose Son Jesus Christ chose to suffer pain before going up to joy, and crucifixion before entering into glory, mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find this path to be the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ Your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.
THE LUTHERAN HYMNAL © 1940 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO
LUTHERAN WORSHIP © 1982 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO
LUTHERAN SEVICE BOOK LECTIONARY © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO
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Monday, April 6, 2009 – Jesus is Condemned – Luke 23:20-25

Having emphasized God’s plan and will throughout his gospel, Luke notes also the human factor: Jesus is delivered to the “demands” of the crowd. (See Acts 2:23) Behind the scenes the Father is working everything to perfection. Nothing is left up to chance when it comes to your salvation. The Lord is shaping and using the events of Jesus’ life to bring to completion everything that is necessary for Jesus to suffer, die and then rise again. The Savior’s accusers, the authorities, and the angry crowd, each behaves according to the Father’s will. No one acts alone. The Lord orchestrates all of the events of Jesus’ life to guarantee a full pardon for our sin.

As you observe each of the particular events of the Lord’s passion remember, He died for you. He loves you. He planned out each step the Savior would take to earn your freedom. Your pardon came at a price; the death of God’s own Son. Human drama and emotion was involved. Yet through it all, the Father is directing each step the Savior will take.

If the Father directed the path that Jesus took will He not also order your days and direct your life?

Father, in this journey called life I am never alone. As You gave direction through all the events of the Saviour’s passion so take Your hand and lead me, now, and always.

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Sunday, April 5, 2009

Palm Sunday - John 12:12-19

Palm Sunday is an easy scene to recreate. We’ve all heard the story over and over again. It is so very familiar to us but what really is going on here as we see a king coming riding on a colt.

I. There were issues at hand to be sure.

The Land was occupied. Romans despised Jews and made life for them extremely difficult. The Jews, on the other hand, hated the Romans; harboring a grudge and they were subject under them.

There were messianic expectations among the people. This was promised throughout the Old Testament that in due time a Messiah would come to deliver the people from their oppressive leaders. Thus the people were wondering if in fact a true deliverer would at last come. What better time then this for a true savior to come?

Finally, Lazarus had just been raised to life. His being raised to life had just recently taken place, within a few weeks. Everyone was talking about these events.

This news was well known by all. People were starting to question; could this be the promised Savior? Could the messiah be at hand? Could this Jesus be the one? This simply brought things to a head. The leaders felt threatened.

It was determined by a consensus of the leaders that this Jesus must die. “It is expedient that one man should die for the sake of the nation”

II. The Intention – why did these things happen?

It was not just to fulfill prophecy. Things didn’t happen just for that. We can not simply say that it was fate that the events of Psalm Sunday escalated as they did. The events prophesied were being fulfilled in the people’s hearing. God was beginning to act.

Events in the world were beginning to unfold and God was at the center.

Christ takes control of His own destiny. He deliberately precipitates a crisis. Fate or luck has nothing to do with it. Jesus instead takes matters into His own hands. He forces the issue. People will now have to take a stand. What will we do with this man Jesus?

These events speak to God’s timing. The whole matter is in the hands of God. This becomes the crucial event for the people of Jerusalem but especially for you and me today what do you do with Jesus?

III. The Identifications

Consider the actions of Christ. He sets self forth as the true Messiah. The colt shows what sort of Messiah He will really be. The leaders completely missed the point. They ask him to quiet the crowd. But the people, they too, no less miss the point also. They linked Jesus to the Psalms. They should have linked Him to the rest of the Old Testament.

There is a plausible explanation of the crowd. They were fickle. Today they flock to Him. By Friday they will ask for His blood. They expected a political Messiah, a bread king. He showed He was not such “My kingdom is not of this world.” They became disillusioned.

IV. Implications

People want a kingdom on their own terms. Health, wealth, prosperity: view wants that king of kingdom (a kingdom of glory). Those who want Him as Savior - but not as Lord. Those who want salvation by some other way. If Christ should come, riding into your town today how would people respond?

V. As we review Jesus’ approach to the city we observe that a beast of burden carries our Lord who Himself will carry the burden of the world’s sin –

Consider the donkey. Not a symbol of status but was used for service. Jesus is known as “King of Kings and Lord of Lords” according to Revelation. In the Nicene Creed we confess that Jesus is, “…begotten of His Father before all worlds. God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by Whom all things were made…”

Yet He will describe His ministry thus, For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many. (Mark 10:45)

The donkey was not used for battle but for burdens. How fitting that Jesus should be sitting on such a beast of burden for He offers His life for the sins of the world. This is what John had predicted in the desert when he proclaimed Christ. “The next day John saw Jesus coming to him and said, ‘Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world’.” (John 1:29) The donkey is a perfect reflection of Jesus’ person. She will also reflect on His work.

VI. The Colt is a perfect reflection of Jesus’ ministry.

He came to bear the burden of people warn down by sin and strife. Strife due to living in an imperfect world filled with sickness, war, strife, etc. Sin, which is the root ill for all men, is what Jesus came to eliminate. Jesus came to bear the ultimate burden – the burden of our sin.

Sin of omission – when we had the opportunity to do good but failed. Where we could have prevented evil but chose not to get involved.

Sin of commission – offenses against God and our neighbor committed in thought, word and action – only one conclusion can be claimed – we are guilty before God and our neighbor.

The Son of Man the Prince of peace appeared on that first Palm Sunday to offer Himself for the life of the world. Today we offer our praise and we journey withy Him as He offers up Himself for the sin of all and for your salvation and life.

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Sunday, April 5, 2009 – Palm Sunday – Jesus enters Jerusalem – Luke 19:28-40

Today marks Palm Sunday the day when many were confirmed in the faith. Today is the day we recall a national calamity – the Psalm Sunday tornado – in 1965. Many were without power for a week. Entire cities were destroyed. Do you remember what you were doing on that day? Do you remember the storm’s effects? Few recall the actual date but many remember that it happened on a particular day, Palm Sunday. Today is the first day of a very important week – Holy Week. Together we will walk with the Saviour observing His passion, suffering, and death.

The original Palm Sunday started with the hope of a dream come true – God coming to visit His people. It ended in a nightmare – God’s people rejecting His only Son. The day began with the Saviour receiving the praise which was His due. It ended with Him lamenting over the city of Jerusalem for He knew that their approval and adulation had been short lived. At day’s end He knew their heart. His work had been rejected. They applauded His coming but rejected His commands. They rejoiced at His presence but were rebuffed by His preaching. They rejoiced at His entry they revelled and reviled Him in His death. Today we watch in wonder as He will take our misery, pain and loss bearing our sin to be our redeemer. Passion Week is upon us. We watch and worship recalling the compassion of His passion.

Almighty and everlasting God, You sent Your only Son, Jesus Christ to take upon Himself our flesh and to suffer death upon the cross. Mercifully grant that we may follow the example of His great humility and patience and be made partakers of His resurrection; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
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Saturday, April 4, 2009

Saturday, April 4, 2009 – Joseph who offered a burial plot – Matthew 27:57-61

Joseph was a native of Arimathea, a man of wealth, and probably a member of the Sanhedrin. As a fulfillment of the prophecies Joseph buried him according to Isaiah 53 vs. 9. “He was assigned a grave with the wicked and with the rich in his death.

What a gift Joseph gave. This was so special back then, the family burial plot. Would you be willing to give something so treasured to this man who was about to die?

We can have this great faith as Joseph did. How blessed our Easter would be. Surely he had no doubt that Jesus would rise again from the dead and save us from our sins. We truly can have this same faith.

When we think deeply how Jesus suffered during his life on earth so we can one day reap the joy of heaven, how blessed that place will be, so short a time on earth and forever and ever in heaven with him.

Dear Lord, Richly bless us and keep us in the one true faith that will lead us to heaven. Help each and every one of us to be diligent and watchful and be ready for that final day when Jesus calls us by name. What a fine Easter we will enjoy with him one day.

-Bonnie Buuck

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Friday, April 3, 2009

Friday, April 3, 2009 – Pilate moved from what was expedient – Matthew 27:24-26

Pontius Pilate was the governor of Judea (evidently not an easy place to rule due to the Jewish leaders.) In this capacity he was the man responsible for the execution of Jesus of Nazareth. Research indicates that the trial of Jesus wasn’t the only incident that could have been of concern to him and to his superiors. His position was in jeopardy. The governors of Roam had four major tasks.

1. He was responsible for taxes
2. He was an accountant
3. He was the supreme judge of the province
4. He commanded an army.

Therefore he had to stay on the good side of his superior if extra support was needed. In attempting to fulfill these duties, Pilate tried to keep things in Judea under control. He didn’t need Caiaphas sending any letters complaining about the way things were being handled. Evidently in trouble with Herod already, he tried to evade his responsibility of pronouncing judgment on Jesus by calling in Herod. Pilate tried to get Jesus released by giving the people a choice. They chose Barabas.

Jesus’ prediction that “the Son of Man is to be delivered into the hands of men” [Matthew 17:22] is fulfilled. Men – both Jew and gentile are guilty of the death of Jesus. Judas’ remorse and return of the silver can’t clear him. The men of Israel can’t get away from the responsibility by delivering Jesus to Pilate. Pilate washing his hands doesn’t take away his responsibility. He released Barabas, had Jesus scourged and handed Him to be crucified.

This trial of Jesus represents to guilt of all mankind. We’re all guilty! But thank God for Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross to take away that sin and ensuring our salvation.

-Dean Wass

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Thursday, April 2, 2009

Thursday, April 2, 2009 – Annas who desired a family dynasty – John 18:15

Annas just so happened to be the father-in-law of Caiaphas – who had been appointed to serve as high priest. It wasn’t left to chance that Jesus was sent to have an audience with Annas. Annas was the principle player within the Jewish Council. He made sure to keep a power hold within the court, keeping tight control within his family power base.

History tells us that four of Annas’s sons were among those who succeeded him. His son-in-law, Caiaphas, held office from A.D. 18 until 36, during the time of Jesus’ active ministry. Although others held the priestly office, Annas seems to have been the elder statesman and the power behind the throne.

Together these two men; Annas and Caiaphas, brokered much influence within the temple and the court – It was Caiaphas who had given counsel and warning to the Sanhedrin that it was expedient that one man should die for the sake of the people.

During this holy season we meditate on what Christ did and endured to earn our salvation. We mark His arrest, trial, suffering and crucifixion. But we do more then merely observe Christ’s action. We recall, affirm and believe what Christ has done. He suffered and died that I may receive salvation and life. Because Christ has suffered for me on my behalf I now enjoy the blessings that come from Christ’s bloody cross; salvation, forgiveness, life eternal.

Lord, may Thy body and Thy blood be for my soul the highest good.

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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Wednesday, April 1, 2009 – Herod who wanted to be entertained – Luke 22:69-71

When we hear that name, where do our first thoughts turn? Of course, our thoughts turn to the visit of the Magi and the killing of the baby boys in Bethlehem.

The Magi came to Herod and asked, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?” (Matthew 2:2a). This question was very bothersome to Herod as the Roman Senate had elected Herod as “King of the Jews” around 40 BC. Herod didn’t want anyone to take his place, especially a newborn King. After consulting with his chief priest and scribes, he directed the Magi to Bethlehem. He told them, “Go and search diligently for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.” (Matthew 2:8).

When the Magi, after being warned in a dream of Herod’s intentions, did not come back, Herod “…was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men.” (Matthew 2:16b).

Isn’t it hard to imagine anyone being this cruel? How could anyone do this? Knowing a little bit more about Herod, it really makes sense. Herod was fearful of loosing his power and was jealous of anyone who might take his place. After appointing his brother-in-law, Aristobulus III, as high priest, Herod ordered his drowning because of Aristobulus’ rising popularity. He had his wife, Mariamne I, killed because of his jealousy, ordered the death of his mother-in-law, Alexandria, because he thought she was trying to have him dethroned, and also ordered the deaths of three of his sons because he feared that they would take his place—take his power. Killing others didn’t seem to weigh on his conscience.

In fact, Herod was so concerned that upon his death that no one would mourn him, he had ordered the deaths of several prominent men in his kingdom upon his death, so that there would be mourners in the city!

Dear Heavenly Father, Let us not be like Herod, who let his fear, ambition, and hate rule his life. May we be like the Magi and worship Jesus, the “newborn King.”

- Shirley Buuck

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