Sunday, December 29, 2013

Time in the word - Christmas 2

The Lord Jesus Is Found in the Temple of His Church

The Lord Jesus “grew and became strong” (Luke 2:40); He “increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52). As His body grew and developed, His mind also increased in knowledge and understanding. For as our brother in the flesh, that we might “have redemption through His blood” (Eph. 1:7), He lived by faith in the Word of His Father. Thus, He was catechized by His parents, who took Him up “to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover” (Luke 2:41); and when He was of age, He gave attention to the Holy Scriptures in His Father’s house (Luke 2:46, 49). Christ Jesus is still found in His Church, in “the Word of truth, the Gospel,” by which we are adopted by His Father and sealed with His Spirit (Eph. 1:5, 13). Thus do we gain “an understanding mind” to go about our vocations, discerning “between good and evil” (1 Kings 3:9). And so do we also go up to Jerusalem, to stand “before the ark of the covenant of the Lord” (1 Kings 3:15), that is, in the Holy Communion of His body and blood.

Collect for the Second Sunday after ChristmasAlmighty God, You have poured into our hearts the true Light of Your incarnate Word. Grant that this Light may shine forth in our lives; 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.
Collect for the Feast of the Circumcision and Name of Jesus (1 January): Lord God, You made Your beloved Son, our Savior, subject to the Law and caused Him to shed His blood on our behalf. Grant us the true circumcision of the Spirit that our hearts may be made pure from all sins; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and rules with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Collect for the New Year: Eternal God, we commit to Your mercy and forgiveness the year now ending and commend to Your blessing and love the times yet to come. In the new year, abide among us with Your Holy Spirit that we may always trust in the saving name of our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Prayer for grace to receive the Word: Blessed Lord, You have caused all Holy Scriptures to be written for our learning. Grant that we may so hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them that, by patience and comfort of Your holy Word, we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with Your and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Monday, 30 December 2013 Psalm 147:1, 5, 11–12; Antiphon, John 1:14—The antiphon proclaims the mystery of the Incarnation: The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. In the original Greek, the word ‘dwelt’ is derived from word for ‘tabernacle’. That is, the God who dwelt with His people in the tabernacle in the wilderness, who delivered them from bondage in Egypt and brought them into the Promised Land—He is the same God that assumed flesh and dwelt with us as the God-man Jesus Christ, the same one who delivered us from our bondage to sin, and will, at the Last Day, take us into our Promised Land, eternal life with Him in heaven.

Tuesday, 31 December 2013Psalm 119:97–104—Psalm 119 is an example of Hebrew poetry, which is different than English poetry. First, the psalm is an acrostic: that is, every line of each section starts with the same Hebrew letter, in this case ‘mem’ (מ). Another characteristic of Hebrew poetry is parallelism, where the two halves of each line complement each other in some way. Here, we see that the second half of each line serves to amplify the thought in the first half. The psalmist proclaims that the Word of God is the source of wisdom; it rewards the one who meditates on it by making him wiser than my enemies and having more understanding than all my teachers. So, too, let us not fail to immerse ourselves in the study of God’s Word, for it is sweeter than honey to my mouth.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014 1 Kings 3:4–15—In the tale of Aladdin’s lamp, Aladdin desires and receives great riches from the genie in the lamp. If you could have anything your heart desired, what would it be? Power? Wealth? Long life? Solomon humbly asked the LORD for wisdom to rule God’s people well. His request was granted, and Solomon became the wisest man ever to have lived. Because of his altruistically wise request, the LORD also gave Solomon what he did not ask for: great riches and honor, far beyond any other king.
We can benefit from Solomon’s wisdom in the books of Ecclesiastes and Proverbs. We can benefit from the wisdom of God in all 66 books of the Holy Bible.

Thursday, 2 January 2014Ephesians 1:3–14—Even if we seem to be lacking in worldly wealth or wisdom, we are assured that we, the elect of God, have a treasure far greater than anything on earth. We have the salvation planned by in eternity by God and won in time by Jesus Christ, who has redeemed us with His blood and forgiven us of our trespasses. Furthermore, He has bestowed upon us His Holy Spirit as a guarantee of our inheritance until the Last Day, when all His promises will be fulfilled.

Friday, 3 January 2014 – Luke 2:40–52—The Jewish rabbis were astounded by the teaching of this young Boy. How could such a One expound the Scriptures as He did? The antiphon from the Introit proclaims it well: The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. The Word made flesh expounded the written Word to these great teachers. We have not only the written Word (Old Testament) that they had, but we also have the benefit of the Holy Gospels, the record of the words and the deeds of the Incarnate Word. Let us never take God’s Word for granted, but diligently ‘read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest’ it, so that ‘by patience and comfort of [God’s] holy Word, we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life.’

Saturday, 4 January 2014 –Luke 2:41-52 - The Hymn of the Day is Within the Father’s House (Lutheran Service Book #410) It recounts the Gospel reading of the Boy Jesus in the temple, and then offers up a prayer in stanzas 5 and 6 that we, by grace, might grasp and hold to the mysteries of the Incarnation and the Holy Trinity till they are at last made fully known to us on that great day when our Lord returns in majesty and glory.

Sources: Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House
Collect for Pentecost 24 from Lutheran Worship © Concordia Publishing House
Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series C by John Brokhoff © 1979 CSS Publishing Lima OH
Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use

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