Sunday, March 29, 2015

Palm Sunday

Matthew 21:1-9 - Palm Sunday - March 29, 2015
Come Thou in Mercy as the King of Kings
“Hosanna to the Son of David!
‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the
Hosanna in the highest!”
The grateful children of Israel sang the praises of Jesus as he rode into Jerusalem on a donkey.  Hosanna, they cried.  Hosanna means “Oh save us now.”  Jesus came to them in the name of the Lord.  He came to do what only God could do for them – save them.  He was the long awaited Son of David who would rescue them not from political enemies like Babylon or Rome, but from sin, death, and the power of the evil one.  These worshippers sang praises to their King because he came to them in mercy.  Where did they get the words they sang?  Well, they didn’t just make them up.  They inherited them. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Lent Midweek

Numbers 21:4-9 - Midweek Lenten Round Robin
 February 25, March 4, 11, 18, 25; 2015       
Jesus Bears the Wrath of God
O sinner, come thy sin to mourn,
So vast and vile that it has borne
Christ to this vale of anguish;
Son of a Virgin, sweet and mild
In poverty the Holy Child,
Thy Substitute, did languish;
Behold, with faith, God’s only Son!
Come nigh and see what Love has done
To save thee from damnation;
The Father cast on Him thy guilt,
For thee His precious blood was spilt,
To bless thee with salvation.
{A couple weeks ago}, I was reading an Arch Book to my kids (one of those paperback children’s books published by CPH that summarizes Bible stories). 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Lent 5

John 8:46-59 - Judica Sunday - March 22, 2015
Vindicate Me, O God
Today is called Judica Sunday.  The name comes from the first line in the introit, where we sing, “Vindicate me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation.”  Judica means vindicate.  It’s where we get such words as judge or adjudicate.  To adjudicate is to settle a dispute.  This is what God does.  He settles disputes.  He decides who’s right and who’s wrong.  He vindicates the one who is right.  And condemns the one who is wrong.  He pleads the cause of those who confess his word against those who deny his word. 
But who likes to dispute?  Isn’t it kind of rude to argue?  Would we not rather have peace – especially with people with whom we have to spend time and whose company we otherwise enjoy?  But Jesus tells us that he did not come to bring such peace.  No.  He warns against it.  He says:

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Lent 4

John 6:25-35 - Laetare Sunday - March 15, 2015
Jesus is the Bread of Life
Our introit this morning is where we get the name for this Sunday in the church year: Laetare.  Laetare means rejoice, as in that portion of the introit that is taken from Isaiah 66:
“Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all you who love her; that you may feed and be satisfied with the consolation of her bosom” (Isaiah 66:10-11). 
As I preached last Sunday, and as we heard in this morning’s Epistle lesson, Jerusalem is the Holy Christian Church.  She is our mother.  She gives us birth through Holy Baptism.  But like any mother who cannot give birth without there being a father, so also the Church cannot give birth to us apart from our Father in heaven.  The mother bears.  The Father begets.  St. Peter writes concerning the new birth of Baptism when he says that we have “been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever” (1 Peter 1:23).  The power of Baptism is the word of God.  What our mother gives us she first receives from our Father.  So likewise, we feed at our mother’s bosom by hearing and keeping the word of Christ, which he gives to his Church.   His word sets us free from our sin and ignorance.  St. Peter writes about this in the next chapter of the same letter:

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Lent 3

Luke 11:14-28 - Oculi Sunday - March 8, 2015
Keeping the Word of God
And it happened, as He spoke these things, that a certain woman from the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, “Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts which nursed You!” But He said, “More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” 
If God is our Father, the Church is our Mother.  St. Paul in Galatians 4 calls the Jerusalem above the mother of us all.  The Jerusalem above is the Church in heaven.  But it exists here on earth.  There is one Church – just as there is one Lord and one Faith and one Baptism.  We have communion with Christ.  We therefore have communion with everyone who has communion with Christ.  This means that those who have died and gone to heaven continue to have communion with us below because they continue to have communion with Christ who serves us here. 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Lent 2

Matthew 15:21-28 - Reminiscere Sunday - March 1, 2015
Faith Desires What God Desires
The doctrine of justification is the chief article of the Christian religion.  This means that it is both the most important thing for you to know, and, in fact, the center of everything that God reveals in Holy Scripture.  The Bible teaches that God forgives the sinner, not because of any merit or worthiness in the sinner, but freely – by grace alone through faith alone. 
·       By grace alone means to say that the sinner is accounted righteous before God, not because of what he has done or left undone, but by sheer, undeserved grace.  God loves us.  Grace excludes all works of man. 
·       By faith alone means that the sinner receives this gracious reckoning of God when he believes that God accepts him into his eternal favor solely on account of what Christ his Son has done on the cross to make full satisfaction for all the world’s sins.  This is what it means to be justified by faith alone.  And so we see that faith also excludes all works of man – because faith relies on grace.