Sunday, January 24, 2016

Time in the Word - Epiphany 4

Time in the Word
January 25 –30, 2016
Preparation for Epiphany 4

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

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

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

A prayer before worship—O Lord, our Creator, Redeemer, and Comforter, as we come to worship You in spirit and in truth, we humbly pray that You may open our hearts to the preaching of Your Word, so that we may repent of our sins, believe in Jesus Christ as our only Savior, and grow in grace and holiness. Hear us for His same.  

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

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

Monday, 25 January 2016—Psalm 10:16-18, Antiphon, Psalm 10:12 Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up Your hand; forget not the afflicted.  Those who are at the mercy of the oppressors have no one to go to except the One who created heaven and earth. Thus, the psalmist pleads to the Lord to rescue him from the attacks of unscrupulous men. When wickedness rises against us, we run to the waiting arms of the only One who can help us. 

Tuesday, 26 January 2016—Psalm 71:1-6 (7-11); key verse,  verse 12, Be not far from me O God; come quickly O my God to help me. This verse is a part of a prayer the psalmist prays in the waning years of his life. He knows his shepherd’s voice. He has the experience of the Good Shepherd’s guiding hand. Nothing will befall him without the Savior’s will being perfected in his life. In a quiet confidence, he waits patiently upon the Lord. In like manner, we commit our circumstances into the Lord’s safekeeping.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016—Jeremiah 1:4-10—God promises to deliver the prophet Jeremiah from the fear of those opposing the Word. Before Jeremiah was born, he was called to be a prophet. The point of contact of this lesson with the Gospel is Jeremiah’s fear of preaching the Word as implied in verse 8. In the Gospel Jesus faced His opposition with courage. Here we are given the human side of the preacher. What would Jeremiah say concerning himself? He is destined to preach (verse 5).  This is his life’s calling, although at times he feels unworthy to preach (verse 6), and is at times afraid to preach (verse 8).  But preach he must for he know that he speaks for God (verse 9).

Thursday, 28 January 2016—1 Corinthians12:31b-13:13—The solution to opposition, of course, is love. In a third series on the Spirit, Paul explains that love is the best gift of the Spirit. Love, says St. Paul, is the best gift of the Holy Spirit. Love causes the hearer to love and accept the preaching of God’s Word regardless of his hurting. The Law condemns and accuses always. But it is important. It drives us to the Gospel.  

Friday, 29 January, 2016—Luke 4:31-44—In our Gospel lesson Jesus drives out an evil spirit. Here we find a man possessed by a demon. To pagans, a demon meant a supernatural being, either good or bad. Luke makes the point that this was an evil spirit. Such a demon could cause mental illness (see John 10:20), violence (see Luke 8:26-29), bodily disease (Luke 14:11, 16), and open rebellion against God (Mark 16:14).

Peter we know was married as we see Jesus heal his mother-in-law. This miracle is found in Matthew 8:14-15 and in Mark 1:29-31 but only Luke the physician tells us that she was suffering from a high fever.  The people were flocking to Jesus hoping He would help them. Luke reminds us this all happened on the Sabbath (verse 31) and as the sun was setting (verse 40). The Sabbath was over at sundown (around 6 p.m.).  Until then, according to the tradition of the Elders, Jews could not travel more than about two-thirds of one mile or carry a burden. Only after sundown could they carry the sick to Jesus. The eagerness of the crowd is seen in the fact that they set out while the sun was still setting. Only Jesus, the Great Physician, has the power to heal and to save.
Saturday, 30 January, 2016—Psalm 119:5-10, John 3:31, Ephesians 4:3-6—Sunday’s Hymn of the Day is Lord keep Us Steadfast in Your Word (655 LSB). Because we live in a fallen world, because we face danger on every side, because there is only one source the Christian has for strength and sustenance, we go to the only place for personal protection – the Words and promises of our Lord. Thus, our prayer must be as found in the opening lines of our hymn, “Lord, Keep us steadfast in Your Word!” 

Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 and Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House
Schnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use

Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series C – John Brokhoff © 1979 CSS Publishing, Lima, OH

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