Sunday, March 26, 2017

Time in the Word ~ Lent 5

Time in the Word
Life out of Death
A Study for Lent 5
March 27 –April 1, 2017

The theme “life out of death” appears in all three lessons. In the Gospel, Jesus raises Lazarus and teaches that he is the Resurrection and the life. Paul in the Epistle lesson teaches that the Spirit will raise our mortal bodies. It is the Word, which carries the Spirit, that brings new life to the dead. Through Ezekiel’s preaching of the Word, Israel’s dead bones came to life. Jesus raises Lazarus by a word of command, “Lazarus, come out!” The cross is getting very close. This experience with the raising of Lazarus was the immediate cause of the Passion. Caiaphas claims that it is expedient for one man to die for the people rather than for the nation to perish, and that one man should be Jesus. The result was a concerted effort to bring Jesus to death – premeditated murder.

 Fasting in the season of Lent – Fasting as a means of spiritual discipline was a part of past Lenten observance. Form the time of the Apostles, Friday, the day of Jesus’ death, was a day of fasting. During Holy Week, Good Friday and Holy Saturday were days of fasting. In the 4th Century, fasting was extended to the entire period of Lent. The purpose of fasting is twofold. It was for personal discipline and for participation in the sufferings of Christ who in this season was on His way to Jerusalem to suffer and die. The second purpose of fasting was to render some service through fasting. There was a positive side to fasting: it was not only for personal benefit. Said one author, “What we forego by fasting is to be given as alms to the poor.” 

Prayer for Lent 5 Almighty God, by Your great goodness mercifully look upon Your people that we may be governed and preserved evermore in body and soul; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Almighty and eternal God, because it was Your will that your Son should bear the pains of the cross for us and thus remove from us the power of the adversary, help us so to remember and give thanks for our Lord’s Passion that we may receive remission of sins and redemption from everlasting death; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever. Amen

Monday, March 27, 2017 – Psalm 116 - The Antiphon for this coming week’s Introit is taken from Psalm 43:1, Vindicate me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation; rescue me from deceitful and wicked men. This is a prayer of an appeal for God to hear the petitions of the soul in prayer and to vindicate him according to his grace. This is our prayer when spoken in faith.   

Tuesday, March 28, 2017 – Ezekiel 37:1-14 - In the Old Testament lesson God’s Spirit through the Word raises a dead people – National death. The dry bones of Israel come to life through the preaching of the prophet.  While the outer person is living, he may be dead inside. Israel consisted by dry, dead bones. They were “dead” because they lost hope during their captivity in Babylon. A lifeless people, a dead church, can be revived with hope and love through the preaching of God’s Word.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017 – Romans 8:1-11 - In our Epistle lesson the Spirit raises us from death of the flesh to life as sons of God – Spiritual death. The Spirit makes us children of God. We can have both death and life in us. Though dead, we can live, and though living we can be dead. There is one type of life – existence, the physical, natural, earthly life. It is the life of the flesh lived in faith. This life is a product of the Spirit received at Baptism. Through Baptism a person is born again in the Spirit, adopted as a child of god, and now lives in the Spirit of righteousness. The new person knows he is related to God, because the Spirit witnesses to our spirits that we are God’s offspring.   

Thursday, March 30, 2017 – John 11:7-27, 38-53 – In the Gospel lesson Christ raises Lazarus from death – Physical death. Christ raises Lazarus from the dead.    In this passage, illness and death are considered means by which God is glorified. When we are ill, God’s healing reveals His glory. When we are dead, God’s raising us, like Lazarus is for the glory of God. In the Resurrection, the glory of God’s power is manifest. This offers hope to the afflicted, for they are assured of God’s help.

Eternal life is a present possession. It is not life after death, not life after life, but life during life. Jesus emphasized the present life – “I am the resurrection and the life.”  The quality of life begins at the moment of faith in Christ. It is not a natural endowment but a gift to those in Christ. We do not wait until death to go to heaven for life. We are given eternal life before death. If we do not have it before death, we will not have it after death.

Friday, March 31, 2017 – Psalm 130 The Psalm appointed for this coming Sunday is a testimony of trust in the Lord by one who knows that even though he is a sinner the Lord hears his cry out of the depths.  

Saturday, April 1, 2017 – John 11:16 – This verse is the inspiration for the hymn, “Let Us Ever Walk with Jesus” {LSB #685} The Hebrew word from which we get “Thomas” and the Greek word Didymus both mean ‘twin.”  We usually remember Thomas for his doubting, but he was also capable to devotion and courage. Our sermon hymn for tomorrow speaks of both aspects.

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

LECTIONARY PREACHING WORKBOOK A – John Brokhoff © 1980 CSS Publishing, Lima, OH  

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

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