Sunday, January 31, 2021

Monday prior to Epiphany 5


 Psalm 13:3–5; antiphon, Psalm 13:6—This psalm of David reflects the believer’s trust in the Lord to deliver him from the tribulations of this world. When we are in misery, the psalm encourages us with the good news that the Lord has accomplished the salvation of those who trust in Him; “But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.”- V 5. Our response, then, is reflected in the words of the antiphon: I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me.

Sunday’s readings reflect on the seamy side of life. They coincide with the overall theme for this coming week; “healing for a suffering humanity.” Life can be rough and tough. Suffering, hardship, and adversity are facts of life. This is illustrated in the prayer offered in the Introit for the week.

In the midst of our suffering we reach out to the one who can empathize with us and understand our sorrows namely Jesus the wounded healer to took our sin and suffering to Himself. The Prophet Isaiah predicted this when he wrote “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief. Like one from whom men hide their faces, He was despised, and we esteemed Him not. Surely He took on our infirmities and carried our sorrows; yet we considered Him stricken by God, struck down and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.” –Isaiah 53:3-5

The writer to the Hebrews teaches, “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who was tempted in every way that we are, yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”  -Hebrews 4:14-16

In the midst of your anguish and distress turn to Jesus for consolation, forgiveness and life.

Collect for Psalm 13: Lord our God, by the light of the resurrection of your Son you have helped us see that we shall not sleep in death forever. Look upon the sufferings of your church, so that our hearts may rejoice in your saving help and sing you songs of praise; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.[1]



[1] Collect for Psalm 13, For All the Saints, A Prayer Book for and by the Church, © 1995 The American Lutheran Publicity Bureau, Delhi, NY


Epiphany 5 Series B


Epiphany 5 Series B 
7 February 2021

  
Isaiah 40:21–31
1 Corinthians 9:16–27
Mark 1:29–39

The Son of God, Christ Jesus, Makes Us a New Creation

Collect for Epiphany 5O Lord, keep Your family the Church continually in the true faith that, relying on the hope of Your heavenly grace, we may ever be defended by Your mighty power; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

The Lord alone “is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth” (Isaiah 40:28). He “sits above the circle of the earth” and “stretches out the heavens like a curtain” (Isaiah 40:22). Yet His almighty power is demonstrated chiefly by His mercy and compassion. “He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength” (Isaiah 40:29). The only begotten Son of the Father, the very Word by whom all things were made, becomes flesh and takes all the poverty and weakness of our sin and death upon Himself, bearing it in His body to the cross. As He dies for us there, He also raises us up, a new creation, in His resurrection from the dead. Thus, by the preaching of this Word, He heals “many who were sick with various diseases,” and He casts out “many demons” (Mark 1:34, 39). And His preaching continues through those whom He has sent, who are “entrusted with a stewardship” to “preach the gospel” (1 Corinthians 9:16–17). Thus, we are set free by the Word of Christ, and we exercise our freedom in loving service to others.

Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.” (Mark 1:38)     
Rev. Dr. Daniel J Brege
                                            

Mark the evangelist was inspired to magnify the fact that Jesus came to preach.  In Sunday’s Gospel Jesus explains that He and the first Apostles had to go to the other towns so that, as Jesus explains, I may preach there also, for that is why I came out [1:38].  

Saint Mark’s first recorded words of Jesus indicated that Jesus was… proclaiming (literally “preaching”) the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” [1:14,15].  This preaching involved teaching, and it often included the exorcising of demons and the healing of the sick and maimed. Thus when He preached in Capernaum, the people were astonished at His teaching [v 22], which included healing folks and casting out demons.      

This preaching of Jesus can be traced throughout the Gospel of Mark, especially in the initial chapters.  In Mark 1:38 Jesus again explains to His new Apostles that preaching was His purpose:  Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.  He came out to preach!  In Mark 2:2 Christ’s preaching is recorded this way:  And He was preaching the word to them.  Again in 2:13:  …and He was teaching them.  Other descriptions: Again he began to teach beside the sea…And he was teaching them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them… [4:1,2].  A final example of Jesus’ emphasis on preaching:  And He went about among the villages teaching[6:6].  

As Jesus preached, the gospel of the kingdom was unfolding.  By His preaching (which included teaching, exorcisms and other loving miracles), Jesus was unfolding His identity, for He is the great King and His Kingdom has come. He also preached, as did every prophet, the centrality of repentance. These are foundational to the gospel: Jesus is truly the King who came to create and distribute forgiveness. 

Uniquely, as He spoke to His Apostles, Christ shifted gears with His preaching/teaching. After Peter’s great confession of faith Mark records: And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again [8:31].  As recorded by all four Gospel accounts, Jesus’ goal was to head to the cross, and of this goal He emphatically preached to His Apostles.  After unfolding His Kingly identity through the manifold aspects of His preaching Jesus now begins to teach about His climactic kingdom work—His death and resurrection.  In His death and resurrection He would create the source of forgiveness and eternal life, foundational elements of His Kingdom.

After His death and resurrection the Lord Jesus Christ was ready to turn over the preaching to His appointed men.  These men, like Jesus, would enter communities to preach.  They had to preach, for Jesus commissioned them, Go into all the world and proclaim [preach] the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned [16:15,16].  Preach and baptize, and thus distribute salvation by pointing to and connecting people with Christ’s cross and the empty tomb.  

Baptism and preaching (teaching) summarize the work of Christ’s pastors, as also emphasized in Matthew’s description of the Great Commission [Mt 28:19,20].  Of preaching it is not surprising that Saint Paul would primarily exhort Pastor Timothy (and all pastors), Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season [2 Ti 4:2]. The Apostles (and pastors after them) are uniquely called upon to preach the gospel of the Kingdom, a gospel and teaching centered in Christ’s death and resurrection.


Jesus Heals Many
Mark 1:29 
Καὶ εὐθὺς ἐκ τῆς συναγωγῆς ἐξελθόντες ἦλθον εἰς τὴν οἰκίαν Σίμωνος καὶ Ἀνδρέου μετὰ Ἰακώβου καὶ Ἰωάννου
And immediately he[a] left the synagogue and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John.

Mark 1:30 
ἡ δὲ πενθερὰ Σίμωνος κατέκειτο πυρέσσουσα, καὶ εὐθὺς λέγουσιν αὐτῷ περὶ αὐτῆς
Now Simon's mother-in-law lay ill with a fever, and immediately they told him about her.

Mark 1:31 
καὶ προσελθὼν ἤγειρεν αὐτὴν κρατήσας τῆς χειρός• καὶ ἀφῆκεν αὐτὴν ὁ πυρετός, καὶ διηκόνει αὐτοῖς.
And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her, and she began to serve them.

Mark 1:32 
Ὀψίας δὲ γενομένης, ὅτε ἔδυ ὁ ἥλιος, ἔφερον πρὸς αὐτὸν πάντας τοὺς κακῶς ἔχοντας καὶ τοὺς δαιμονιζομένους• 
That evening at sundown they brought to him all who were sick or oppressed by demons.

Mark 1:33 
καὶ ἦν ὅλη ἡ πόλις ἐπισυνηγμένη πρὸς τὴν θύραν
 And the whole city was gathered together at the door.

Mark 1:34 
καὶ ἐθεράπευσεν πολλοὺς κακῶς ἔχοντας ποικίλαις νόσοις, καὶ δαιμόνια πολλὰ ἐξέβαλεν, καὶ οὐκ ἤφιεν λαλεῖν τὰ δαιμόνια, ὅτι ᾔδεισαν αὐτόν.
 And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons. And he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.

Jesus Preaches in Galilee

Mark 1:35 
Καὶ πρωῒ ἔννυχα λίαν ἀναστὰς ἐξῆλθεν καὶ ἀπῆλθεν εἰς ἔρημον τόπον κἀκεῖ προσηύχετο.
And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. 

Mark 1:36 
καὶ κατεδίωξεν αὐτὸν Σίμων καὶ οἱ μετ’ αὐτοῦ
And Simon and those who were with him searched for him,

Mark 1:37 
καὶ εὗρον αὐτὸν καὶ λέγουσιν αὐτῷ ὅτι Πάντες ζητοῦσίν σε
and they found him and said to him, “Everyone is looking for you.”

Mark 1:38 
καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς• Ἄγωμεν ἀλλαχοῦ εἰς τὰς ἐχομένας κωμοπόλεις, ἵνα καὶ ἐκεῖ κηρύξω, εἰς τοῦτο γὰρ ἐξῆλθον
And he said to them, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.” 

Mark 1:39 
καὶ ἦλθεν κηρύσσων εἰς τὰς συναγωγὰς αὐτῶν εἰς ὅλην τὴν Γαλιλαίαν καὶ τὰ δαιμόνια ἐκβάλλων.
And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons.

Footnotes:
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
Luther’s Seal © Higher Things
LCMS Lectionary Summary © 2016
Lutheran Service Book © 2008 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

Time in the Word - Epiphany 5

Time in the Word
 February 1-6, 2021
Preparation for next week, The Fifth Sunday after Epiphany


Healing for a Suffering Humanity

Sunday’s  readings give the seamy side of life. Life can be rough and tough. Suffering, hardship, and adversity are facts of life. This is illustrated in the prayer offered in the Introit for the week. The Gospel tells us of Jesus healing physical and mental diseases resulting in “Every one is searching for you.” (v.37)  Paul becomes all things to all men in whatever condition they are in – “those under the law,” “outside the law,” and “weak” in order to win them for Christ. In Epiphany we see the glory of God in Christ as the healer of suffering humanity. 

Collect for Epiphany 5O Lord, keep Your family the Church continually in the true faith that, relying on the hope of Your heavenly grace, we may ever be defended by Your mighty power; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Morning Prayer Reading Schedule

February  1 Monday 88 Jesus heals Jairus’ daughter
February  2 Tuesday 89 Jesus heals a woman
February  3 Wednesday   Chapel
February  4 Thursday 90 Jesus raises a widow’s son
February  5 Friday 91 The faith of a Centurion

Catechism Review: "What is the Sacrament of the Altar?" & "Where is this this written?"

Daily let pray-

Sunday – For the joy of the resurrection among us; for the fruit of faith nourished by the Word and Sacraments

Monday- For faith to live in the promises of Holy Baptism; for one’s calling and daily work; for the unemployed; for the salvation and well-being of our neighbors; for schools,, colleges, and seminaries; for good government and for peace;

Tuesday – For deliverance against temptation and evil; for the addicted and despairing, the tortured and oppressed; for those struggling with sin.

Wednesday – For marriage and family, tht husbands and wives, parents and children lives in ordered harmony according to the Word of God; for parents who must raise children alone; for our communities and neighborhoods.

Thursday – For the church and her pastors; for teachers, deaconesses, and other church workers; for missionaries and for all who serve the Church; for fruitful and salutary use of the blessed Sacrament of Christ’ body and blood.

Friday – For the preaching of the holy cross of our Lord Jesus Christ and for the spread of His knowledge throughout the whole world; for the persecuted and oppressed; for the sick and dying. 

Saturday – For faithfulness to the end; for the renewal of those who are withering in the faith or have fallen away; for receptive hearts and minds to god’s Word on the Lord’s Day; for pastors and people as the prepared to administer and receive Christ’s holy gifts.

Monday, 01  February 2021Psalm 13:3–5; antiphon, Psalm 13:6—This psalm of David reflects the believer’s trust in the Lord to deliver him from the tribulations of this world. When we are in misery, the psalm encourages us with the good news that the Lord has accomplished the salvation of those who trust in Him (v. 5). Our response, then, is reflected in the antiphon: I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me.

Tuesday, 02 February  2021Psalm 147:1–11—This is a song of praise to the greatness of the Lord, who manifests His greatness not just in mighty works, such as determining the number of stars, and giving them all their names, but especially because of His steadfast love which causes Him to heal the brokenhearted and lift up the humble. For this reason, it is no chore to sing praises to Him, but it is good to sing praises to our God, for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.

Wednesday, 03 February 2011Isaiah 40:21–31—This is part of a larger section in which the Lord directs Isaiah to Comfort, comfort My people (Isa 40:1) with the good news of forgiveness of sins. This portion tells us that nothing can stand in the way of the Lord and His plan of salvation. He brings those who would oppose Him to nothing, and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness. There can be no doubt that He will accomplish that which He promises, for the LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary. When our human frailness would cause us to despair, we take comfort that He gives power to the faint and that they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength.

Thursday, 04 February 2021—1 Corinthians 9:16–27—St Paul boasts, not of himself, but of the Gospel. What a privilege it is for him, and all of us, to proclaim the Good News of salvation in Christ Jesus! He cannot but go out to all—Jew, Gentile, weak, strong—and proclaim the forgiveness that belongs to all men through the merits of Christ.

Out of divine necessity Paul preaches, and to win people to Christ he identifies with them.  In this chapter Paul defends his ministry against those who condemn him for not taking pay from his churches, for”the laborer is worthy of his hire.” Paul was economically independent by working as a tent-maker. Paul explains that he preaches out of necessity, for he was called to preach. He performs out of this commission and not for monetary remuneration.  This had made him free from being obligated to men and made him free to be all things to all men in the hope of winning them to Christ. 

Friday, 05 February 2021Mark 1:29–39—The Epiphany—manifestation— of our Lord continues as Jesus makes known who He is by demonstrating His authority.

Last week, He showed that He has authority over the unclean spirits; this week, He demonstrates His authority also over sickness and disease. He does His proper work, delivering people from the effects of sin. By healing diseases and casting out demons, He foreshadows His eventual defeat of the power of sin and the devil by His death at Calvary.

Everyone searches for Jesus because he heals all kinds of diseases. Jesus begins His public ministry with healing both physical and mental illnesses. He does not allow the demons to reveal His divine identity. This is a messianic secret until, at the cross, the centurion confesses Jesus as the Son of God. Several of the Disciples want Jesus to return to Capernaum from His place of prayer to heal, but Jesus wants to move on to other areas of Galilee. 

Did Jesus heal the woman to get service from her? At once Peter’s mother-in-law got busy waiting on them – a meal perhaps? It was a normal response to being helped and healed. Service is the result of gratitude for service rendered. Service flowing from love is service with love and a smile.

Strange, isn’t it, that only the demons know who Jesus was. Jesus ordered them to keep silence as to His identity. He wanted the people to discover for themselves who He was. The secret was revealed at Calvary when the Centurion saw He was the Son of God. 

The Disciples told Jesus that everyone was searching for Him in Capernaum because of His healing. Would that it were true that all people were searching for Jesus! And searching for Him for the right reason! They wanted Him as a healer only. Jesus says He came not primarily to heal but to preach – “that is why I came out.”

Saturday, 06 February 2021—The hymn of the day, Hail to the Lord’s Anointed (LSB 398), is a fitting hymn of praise to the Son of God made flesh and anointed at His Baptism. Especially in stanza 2, it recounts His coming to heal those beset by the consequence of sin in the world. But more than providing just physical relief, He comes that their darkness turn to light, to relieve us from the eternal consequences of sin.

Sources:
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series B John Brokhoff © 1980 CSS Publishing, Lima, OH
Image: Luther's Seal  Ed Riojas © Higher Things


Saturday, January 30, 2021

Epiphany 4

 

Mark 1:21-28
Authority, So What?



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

It is one thing to have authority and it is another to have that authority accepted.  Lack of respect for authority is a problem of our day.  Forty-three years ago this month; millions in Iran demonstrated against the Shah to the point that he had to leave the country. The people refused to bow to his authority.  Though he had authority as a king, his authority was no longer accepted, respected, and obeyed by a majority of the people. 

The same can happen to any person of authority, including Jesus Christ.  What is your response to His authority? That is the question that we must consider this morning. How should we properly respond to Jesus’ authority?

1.     First, we must recognize His authority – “And they were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as {one} having authority, and not as the scribes.” V.22

From the testimony of the Scriptures we see quite clearly that when Jesus speaks and when He acts people are bound to take notice.  Jesus proved that He had that authority that comes from the Father by what He said.

He spoke for God. But He backs up His words with His works. Jesus speaks and Jesus acts! He says only those things that the Father can say.  He works miracles and acts of kindness that only He can perform. This truly is the LORD made flesh. No one can work like Him.

No one can speak like Him. By His words and by His works we are called to recognize that there is none other. Only He can be the Son of God.

Transition: But there is more than merely recognizing Jesus’ works and words for what they are. Few today would dispute what He has done.  Few, if any, would put a disclaimer on His words and actions. But how do we respond to what He has said? What is your reaction to the miracles that He works? His words and works call us to action.

2.     We must also respect Jesus’ authority – “And just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, saying, "What do we have to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are-- the Holy One of God!" Vv.23-24

You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.” James reminds us.  (James 2:19) The devil himself recognizes Jesus’ power and authority. 

The devil was calling Jesus out. Respecting His authority the devil knew that Jesus has the authority to destroy him. “What are going to do to us?” The demon asks.  Have You come to destroy us? 

The demon knew his fate. He will be doomed forever by the one who has the authority to destroy him. That’s why he asks the question! It’s not a matter that he would be destroyed. That fact is perfectly obvious.  The question is when. When will this demon be destroyed?  Will you destroy me now or later? For You are the Holy One of God.

 As the old adage reminds us, one’s enemies make for our best critics.  The demon gives testimony that this Jesus is the Christ; the Son of God.  We too, are called to acknowledge Him.  Even Jesus’ fiercest enemies do this. The difference? Yours is a confession of faith.  You respect Him. He is our Lord Almighty; the one to whom every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that He, Jesus, is Lord of all.

3. We finally respond to Jesus’ authority –“And Jesus rebuked him, saying, "Be quiet, and come out of him!" – V.25 And throwing him into convulsions, the unclean spirit cried out with a loud voice, and came out of him. And they were all amazed, so that they debated among themselves, saying, "What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him."

The inevitable happens.  After nine anxious months a baby is finally delivered. We know what is coming. And yet, when that blessed event happens we are filled with awe. We take in a spectacular sunrise or sunset. We recognize that this is something that happens every day.

 The sun is supposed to rise and the beginning of the day. We expect it to set as dusk turns to night. But when we take it all in we are filled with wonder and awe.

Likewise, when recognizing Jesus we respond with shouts of thanksgiving. As the catechism teaches; “For it is my duty to thank and to praise, to serve and obey Him!” Yes, this is most certainly true!

The confrontation of Jesus with the demon only heightened the reality that this Jesus is King and Lord of all. May we resound in kind by offering Him our lives for service in His kingdom. Willingly following Him and praising Him for all that He has done. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Words- 930
Passive Sentences-9%
Readability – 75.7%
Reading Level- 5.1
 

The Crucifixion  from a woodcut by Baron Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld, 1794-1872, a distinguished German artist known especially for his book, The Book of Books in Pictures copyright © WELS used by permission for personal and congregational use.


Friday, January 29, 2021

Saturday prior to Epiphany 4


 John 6:37—The hymn of the day is, “Just as I Am, Without One Plea,” (LSB #570). God’s action, not man’s, is primary in salvation and Christ’s mercy is unfailing. See John 6:44, 10:29, 17:6, 18:9. This hymn has become a treasured hymn of many people.

Charlotte Elliott learned an important lesson about Jesus one sleepless night in 1834. She was an invalid, so when her family held a bazaar in Brighton, England, to raise money to build a school, she could only watch from afar.

That night she was overwhelmed by her helplessness and could not sleep. But her sadness turned to joy when she realized that God accepted her just as she was.

Her experience inspired these well-loved words: “Just as I am, without one plea but that Thy blood was shed for me, and that Thou bidd’st me come to Thee, O Lamb of God, I come! I come!” When she published the poem in The Invalid’s Hymn Book, she included with it John 6:37.

Jesus always accepts people as they are. In John 6, the people had come from miles around to hear Jesus. When the crowd became hungry, He miraculously fed them with a boy’s unselfish gift of five loaves and two fish. Then the Lord offered Himself as “the bread of life,” promising that He would not turn away anyone who came to Him. [2]

It’s still true today. No one who comes to Jesus will be turned away. Come to Him with all your sin and watch that great exchange; your misery for His perfection.

There is no one in the whole world who can withstand death. All men flee from it and quake in terror before it. Nevertheless, they are overtaken by death. But faith remains firm and stands up against death. Faith conquers death and devours this ravenous glutton. Likewise, the whole world cannot constrain or suppress the flesh. But faith takes hold of the flesh and subdues it. Faith bridles the flesh into obedience. Similarly, no man can endure the raging, persecution, blasphemy, reproach, hatred and jealousy of the world. It makes a mockery of faith and treads it under foot, and even finds joy and pleasure in all this. Yet faith alone is the victory that overcomes the world.  (Martin Luther)[2]



[1] https://odb.org/2004/11/23/just-as-i-am/

[2] Luther’s Works: American Edit Edition.55 volumes. (Volumes 1-30, Concordia Publishing House; volumes 31 31-55, Fortress Press)

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

 


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 28, 2021

Friday prior to Epiphany 4

 

Mark 1:21-28—The authority of identity – who you are. With authority Jesus teaches and drives out an unclean spirit. After calling four disciples, Jesus begins his ministry by teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum. The people are impressed by His authoritative teaching compared with the teaching of the scribes. A man in the congregation has an evil spirit, which addresses Jesus and knows Him to be the Messiah. With authority, Jesus commands the demon to leave the man. At the very beginning of His ministry, Jesus comes into contact with evil powers. As God’s Son, He conquers the evil spirit. He does it by exercising His authority as God’s Son.

The word “immediately” (vv.21, 23) is a word Mark will often use. It has theological significance. It denotes a sense of urgency and importance. The Kingdom cannot wait. There is no place for laxity or procrastination. One must work while it is day before the night comes. The fields are white unto harvest. Jesus has a world to save in three years! He has the whole truth of God to reveal. He needs to set up a movement to carry on His work when He leaves. The church today needs to imitate Christ in this matter to overcome lethargy. 

This man was worshiping and listening to a sermon by the best preacher ever to come on earth. An “unclean” person is one possessed by an evil spirit. Is it strange he would be in worship? This reminds us that evil is present in people who are faithful, religious persons. The devil can exist even in the church. Christians are not perfect people. The church is not a museum of saints but a hospital of diseased people in need of a cure. Here Jesus, the great physician comes with a cure for both the body as well as the soul.

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.[1]



[1] Collect for Epiphany 4, Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

Illustration from a woodcut by Baron Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld, 1794-1872, a distinguished German artist known especially for his book, The Book of Books in Pictures. © WELS used by permission for personal and congregational use.


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 27, 2021

Thursday prior to Epiphany 4

 


1 Corinthians 8:1-13—The Epistle for this coming Sunday speaks concerning the authority of revelation – what you know. Knowledge of God gives freedom to eat meat offered to idols.

Paul discusses a specific situation in Corinth, which caused a problem for Christians. Pagans participated in offering animal sacrifices to their gods. Part of the meat was burned on an altar and the rest was sold for food at the markets. Some Christians had no qualms of buying such meat for home consumption while others were conscience-stricken at the idea, for it seemed to them that they were participating in a pagan practice. Paul says no one should object to meats offered to idols because idols have no existence. God is the one and only true God. However, if some weaker brothers still feel it is wrong, those who have the knowledge that God alone is God should not each such meat to prevent offense and the destruction of their faith.

There is a difference between knowledge and truth. Not all knowledge deals with truth. There is a knowledge that just puffs up the pride of man. The truth of God is authoritative and liberating. Truth is self-authenticating. It needs no defense nor apology. A knowledge of the truth brings the authority and liberation to the one who knows. Thus, we constantly emphasize the need for more and more education.

Luther speaking of “Christian liberty” once said the Christian is the freest of all men but the servant of all. Our knowledge of God frees us from superstition, legalism, and a bad conscience, but love enslaves us for the welfare of our brother who might not yet have such knowledge. How many Christians today are willing to sacrifice their freedom of life-style to prevent offending a narrow Christian?

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.[1]



[1] A Collect for the Epiphany Season, Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis


Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Wednesday prior to Epiphany 4

Deuteronomy 18:15-20— Authority is the primary theme for this Sunday. Jesus teaches and heals with authority.  In the New Testament Epistle authority is implied, knowledge of God gives authority to be free from idols. The Old Testament lesson for this coming week speaks concerning the authority of reception – who gave it to you. A prophet like Moses is to be obeyed because he speaks the words of God.

God promises to raise up a prophet like Moses. The book of Deuteronomy is Moses’ last address to the people before entering the Promised Land. Sunday’s Old Testament lesson is a part of a section dealing with prophecy. A prophet like Moses is promised to replace the false prophets. This true Moses will mediate between the Lord and the people. The passage explains how through Moses God provided for the institution of prophecy. True prophecy demands obedience on the part of the people and loyalty by the prophets.

A prophet is one who speaks for God. God tells him what to say. He puts his words into the prophet’s mouth, and thus he becomes the mouthpiece or the loudspeaker of God. The prophet cn take no credit for what he says. The truth is not his. Because he is not responsible for the content of his message, he can speaks boldly. Herein is the source of the authority and power of preaching. God’s Word, not the prophet’s, has the authority and power. This calls for biblical preaching, for preaching the Word.

The people are called to heed this word. (v. 19) The prophet has the responsibility to proclaim faithfully God’s Word while the people have the responsibility to heed the Word by obeying. The authority of the Word proclaimed must be recognized, accepted, and obeyed. The Word that is to be obeyed comes through the words of the preacher-prophet. He is the voice of God. He is the mediator between God and the people. God does not speak directly to people. He chooses to speak through the preacher as he declares the Word. If the sermon is true to God’s Word, it is to be more than enjoyed or discusses; it is to be obeyed.

Blessed Lord, You have caused all Holy Scripture 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 eternal life; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.[1]

 

Lord Jesus Christ, giver and pefecter of our faith, we thank and praise You for continuing among us the preaching of Your Gospel for our instruction and edification. Send Your blessing upon the Word, which has been spoken to us, and by Your Holy Spirit increase our saving knowledge of You, that day by day we may be strengthened in the divine truth and remain steadfast in Your grace. Give us strength to fight the good fight and by faith to overcome all the temptations of Satan, the flesh, and the world so that we may finally receive the salvation of our souls; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.[2]  

 



[1] Collect for Grace to receive the Word, Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
[2]Collect for blessing on the Word ibid

The term ‘logos’ is the Greek term for “Word” a reference especially for Christ, the Word made flesh throughout the Old and New Testament  image copyright © Ed Riojas, Higher Things

 


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 25, 2021

Tuesday prior to Epiphany 4


 Psalm 111The key verse of this psalm is verse 3,”Glorious and majestic are his deeds, and his righteousness endures forever.” The Psalmist praises the Lord for His unfailing righteousness. The psalm combines hymns of praise with instruction in wisdom.

Psalm 111 along with Psalm 112 is an ‘acrostic’ poem, that is, each line of the psalm starts with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. After the initial “Praise the LORD” (Hallelujah!), there are twenty-two lines following the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet. This stylistic device is somewhat limiting to the author (after all, only so many words begin with the letter ‘Q’), but tends to aid the memorization of the psalm. 

Other acrostic psalms are 9, 10, 25, 34, 37, 111, 112, 119, and 145. Not all of them are ‘perfect’—some of them skip or transpose the order of letters. Psalms 111 and 112, however, are ‘perfect’ in sequence.

The psalm stresses the works of the LORD, using words that mean ‘work’ or ‘works’ five times in the ten verses of the psalm.[1]

One of the greatest responsibilities of the Church that is you and me, the people of God is to proclaim, praise and acknowledge the works of the LORD.

The Church needs to proclaim with heavy doses of humility, compassion and love how the LORD has worked in the past, how it sees Him working now and prophetically speak of His work in the future.

The psalmist writes, “Full of splendor and majesty is his work, and his righteousness endures forever.” These works are his righteous acts or providential works by which he maintains his creation with justice.

The LORD performs his ‘works’ on behalf of his people—by providing a place for us in his creation, by sustaining the creation, by making us his people through the work of redemption, and by giving us his word to guide us and sustain our lives.

As you pray this psalm, are ask the LORD to make us the people who fear him to experience his wisdom to guide us in life in his world.

Collect for Psalm 111: Merciful and gentle Lord, the crowning glory of all the saints, give us, your children, the gift of obedience, which is the beginning of wisdom, so that we may be filled with your mercy and that what you command we may do by the might of Jesus Christ our Lord. [2]

 



[1] http://psalmreflections.blogspot.com/
 
[2] Collect for Psalm 111, For All the Saints, A Prayer Book for and By the Church, Vol. III © 1995 The American Lutheran Publicity Bureau, Delhi, NY

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 24, 2021

Epiphany 4 Series B



Epiphany 4 Series B
31 January 2021 
  
Deuteronomy 18:15–20
1 Corinthians 8:1–13
Mark 1:21–28

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

Our Lord Jesus Christ, True God in the Flesh, Cleanses Our Consciences from Sin

As He promised, the Lord our God has raised up “a prophet” like Moses, namely Jesus, our brother in the flesh. “To him you shall listen,” because the Word of the Lord is “in his mouth” (Deuteronomy 18:15–18). Indeed, He is more than a prophet and more than a scribe of the Scriptures; He is the incarnate Word, and He speaks “a new teaching with authority” (Mark 1:22, 27). He enters “the synagogue” of His Church and provides true Sabbath rest, using His authority to silence and cast out “even the unclean spirits” (Mark 1:21–27). By His Word of the cross, He removes the accusations of the Law and of the devil, and He cleanses our consciences before God the Father, “from whom are all things and for whom we exist.” Hence, we are now set free from bondage and commended to God by the one Lord, Jesus Christ, “through whom are all things and through whom we exist” (1 Corinthians 8:6). Therefore, use your freedom to care for your brothers and sisters, neither causing them to stumble nor wounding their consciences (1 Corinthians 8:9–12), but cleansing and strengthening them with the Gospel.

One Who Had Authority
Rev. Dr. Daniel J Brege
… he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes.” (Mark 1:22)                                                                        
Twice in Sunday’s Gospel the people expressed amazement at Jesus’ authority.  First their amazement was uniquely about Jesus’ teaching.  He taught with never-before seen authority, an authority that was clearly beyond that of the scribes. Second they were amazed that His “teaching” possessed authority even to command demons.

The Greek word translated “authority” can indicate power, license, ability and the like.  The word can describe the authorization to do or perform something (“have license”).  When the people noted Jesus’ authority, they were certainly wondering who authorized him or gave him such power to do and speak what He did.  They knew of the authority given to the scribes for they had license to interpret Scripture, but whence did Jesus have such license—even greater than the scribes? 

The “authority” of Jesus is a theme that runs through the Gospels.  In Matthew 9:6 when the Jewish leaders questioned Jesus’ authority to forgive sins, He responded: “But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic—“Rise, pick up your bed and go home.”  In Luke’s Gospel our Lord’s authority to teach and preach is questioned by the Jewish leaders as they wondered out loud, Tell us by what authority you do these things, or who it is that gave you this authority [20:2].  In John 5:25f Jesus explains how He has the power/authority to raise the dead, and upon raising the dead on the Last Day, He possesses authority/license to judge mankind: And he [the Father] has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man [5:27]. 

Though Jesus was truly given authority to teach, preach, exorcise demons, forgive sins, judge mankind and more, yet His greatest authorization was to die and rise from the dead.  Thus when Jesus predicted how He as the good shepherd would lay down His life for the sheep, He explains: I lay it [my life] down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father [Jn 10:18].  The Good Shepherd was authorized to die and rise again. Jesus would repeatedly explain that going to Jerusalem, dying and rising from the dead was His ultimate work as the humbled Son of God. His Father authorized Him to do this, so that through these powerful works fallen mankind would have the gift of eternal salvation.

How then can people receive this wondrous gift of eternal salvation?  As Jesus prepared to ascend He declared His “omni-authority”:  All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth [Mt 28:19].  With all authority—all power and license to do anything—what does the Son of God command? Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you [vv 19-20].  With all authority He commands His apostles (and by extension His church) to baptize and to teach, and thus to make disciples by connecting people to His saving death and resurrection. 

Jesus indeed is the One who has authority—authorized by His Father to perform certain loving, powerful tasks—and always this authority was and is used for the sake of mankind, ultimately for our eternal salvation.


Jesus Heals a Man with an Unclean Spirit

Mark 1:21 
Καὶ εἰσπορεύονται εἰς Καφαρναούμ. καὶ [a]εὐθὺς τοῖς σάββασιν ἐδίδασκεν εἰς τὴν συναγωγήν
And they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath he entered the synagogue and was teaching.

Mark 1:22 
καὶ ἐξεπλήσσοντο ἐπὶ τῇ διδαχῇ αὐτοῦ, ἦν γὰρ διδάσκων αὐτοὺς ὡς ἐξουσίαν ἔχων καὶ οὐχ ὡς οἱ γραμματεῖς
And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes.

Mark 1:23 
καὶ εὐθὺς ἦν ἐν τῇ συναγωγῇ αὐτῶν ἄνθρωπος ἐν πνεύματι ἀκαθάρτῳ καὶ ἀνέκραξεν 
And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit. And he cried out,

Mark 1:24 
λέγων• Τί ἡμῖν καὶ σοί, Ἰησοῦ Ναζαρηνέ; ἦλθες ἀπολέσαι ἡμᾶς; οἶδά σε τίς εἶ, ὁ ἅγιος τοῦ θεοῦ
“What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.” 

Mark 1:25 
καὶ ἐπετίμησεν αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς λέγων• Φιμώθητι καὶ ἔξελθε ἐξ αὐτοῦ
But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!”

Mark 1:26 
καὶ σπαράξαν αὐτὸν τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἀκάθαρτον καὶ φωνῆσαν φωνῇ μεγάλῃ ἐξῆλθεν ἐξ αὐτοῦ
 And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying out with a loud voice, came out of him. 

Mark 1:27 
καὶ ἐθαμβήθησαν ἅπαντες, ὥστε συζητεῖν πρὸς ἑαυτοὺς λέγοντας• Τί ἐστιν τοῦτο; διδαχὴ καινή• κατ’ ἐξουσίαν καὶ τοῖς πνεύμασι τοῖς ἀκαθάρτοις ἐπιτάσσει, καὶ ὑπακούουσιν αὐτῷ
And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.”

Mark 1:28 
καὶ ἐξῆλθεν ἡ ἀκοὴ αὐτοῦ εὐθὺς πανταχοῦ εἰς ὅλην τὴν περίχωρον τῆς Γαλιλαίας.
And at once his fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee.

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


Time in the Word
January 25-31, 2021
Preparation for next week, Epiphany 4


The theme for the fourth Sunday after the Epiphany can be summarized by the word authority. Jesus teaches and heals with authority. A prophet like Moses is to be obeyed because he speaks the words of God. This is an authority of God’s Word. In the Epistle lesson authority is implied: Knowledge of God gives authority to be free from idols. A review of Luther’s great teaching hymn, “Dear Christians, One and All, Rejoice,” (LSB #556) would be an excellent devotional guide as you read the propers for this coming week. 

Collect for Epiphany 4Almighty 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

For citizenshipLord keep this nation under Your care. Bless our nation with faithful leaders that we may be a people at peace among ourselves and a blessing to the other nations of the earth. Grant that he may make wise decisions for the general welfare and serve You faithfully in this generation; through Christ our Lord we pray. Amen.

A prayer before we study the WordAlmighty God, our heavenly Father, without Your help our labor is useless, and without Your light our search is in vain. Invigorate the study of Your holy Word that, by due diligence and right discernment, we may establish ourselves and others in Your holy faith

There is no one in the whole world who can withstand death. All men flee from it and quake in terror before it. Nevertheless, they are overtaken by death. But faith remains firm and stands up against death. Faith conquers death and devours this ravenous glutton. Likewise, the whole world cannot constrain or suppress the flesh. But faith takes hold of the flesh and subdues it. Faith bridles the flesh into obedience. Similarly, no man can endure the raging, persecution, blasphemy, reproach, hatred and jealousy of the world. It makes a mockery of faith and treads it under foot, and even finds joy and pleasure in all this. Yet faith alone is the victory that overcomes the world.  (Martin Luther)

Monday, January 25, 2021Psalm 32:1-2, 5-7 –- The Antiphon is taken from Psalm 32:10, “Many are the woes of the wicked but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in Him.”Appealing to God’s unfailing love, kindness, and mercy is frequent in the Old Testament since it summarizes all that the Lord covenanted to show to His people. This is an excellent Psalm which gives testimony to the joy the sinner has having experienced the Father’s forgiveness in Christ. 

Tuesday, January 26. 2021Psalm 111—The key verse of this psalm is verse 3,”Glorious and majestic are his deeds, and his righteousness endures forever.” The Psalmist praises the Lord for His unfailing righteousness. The psalm combines hymns of praise with instruction in wisdom. Truly, an excellent Psalm.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021Deuteronomy 18:15-20— The authority of reception – who gave it to you. God promises to raise up a prophet like Moses. The book of Deuteronomy is Moses’ last address to the people before entering the Promised Land. Sunday’s Old Testament lesson is a part of a section dealing with prophecy. A prophet like Moses is promised to replace the false prophets. This true Moses will mediate between the Lord and the people. The passage explains how through Moses God provided for the institution of prophecy. True prophecy demands obedience on the part of the people and loyalty by the prophets.  

Thursday, January 28 20211 Corinthians 8:1-13—The authority of revelation – what you know. Knowledge of God gives freedom to eat meat offered to idols. Paul discusses a specific situation in Corinth, which caused a problem for Christians. Pagans participated in offering animal sacrifices to their gods. Part of the meat was burned on an altar and the rest was sold for food at the markets. Some Christians had no qualms of buying such meat for home consumption while others were conscience-stricken at the idea, for it seemed to them that they were participating in a pagan practice. 

Paul says no one should object to meats offered to idols because idols have no existence. God is the one and only true God. However, if some weaker brothers still feel it is wrong, those who have the knowledge that God alone is God should not each such meat to prevent offense and the destruction of their faith. 

Luther speaking of “Christian liberty” once said the Christian is the freest of all men but the servant of all. Our knowledge of God frees us from superstition, legalism, and a bad conscience, but love enslaves us for the welfare of our brother who might not yet have such knowledge. How many Christians today are willing to sacrifice their freedom of life-style to prevent offending a narrow Christian? 

Friday, January 29, 2021Mark 1:21-28—The authority of identity – who you are. With authority Jesus teaches and drives out an unclean spirit. After calling four disciples, Jesus begins his ministry by teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum. The people are impressed by His authoritative teaching compared with the teaching of the scribes. A man in the congregation has an evil spirit, which addresses Jesus and knows Him to be the Messiah. With authority, Jesus commands the demon to leave the man. At the very beginning of His ministry, Jesus comes into contact with evil powers. As God’s Son, He conquers the evil spirit. He does it by exercising His authority as God’s Son. 

The word “immediately” (vv.21, 23) is a word Mark will often use. It has theological significance. It denotes a sense of urgency and importance. The Kingdom cannot wait. There is no place for laxity or procrastination. One must work while it is day before the night comes. The fields are white unto harvest. Jesus has a world to save in three years! He has the whole truth of God to reveal. He needs to set up a movement to carry on His work when He leaves. The church today needs to imitate Christ in this matter to overcome lethargy.  

Saturday, January 30, 2021John 6:37—The hymn of the day is, “Just as I Am, Without One Plea,” (LSB #570). God’s action, not man’s, is primary in salvation and Christ’s mercy is unfailing. 

See John 6:44, 10:29, 17:6, 18:9. This hymn has become a treasured hymn of many people. 

Morning Prayer Readings for the Coming Week:

January 26 84 Wedding at Cana
January 27 85 Peter’s Catch of fish
January 28 Chapel Day
January 29 86 Jesus calms a storm
January 20 87 Jesus heals a paralytic

Catechism Review: What is confession & What sins should we confess?

Sources:

LUTHERAN SEVICE BOOK © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO
LECTIONALRY PREACHING WORKBOOK SERIES B © 1981 John Brokhoff CSS Publishing Lima, OH
Luther’s Works: American Edit Edition.55 volumes. (Volumes 1-30, Concordia Publishing House; volumes 31 31-55, Fortress Press)
Schnorr von Carolsfeld, woodcuts "Jesus drives out demons" copyright © WELS Permission to use these copyrighted items is limited to personal and congregational use.