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Showing posts from March, 2018

Good Friday + John 18:1-19:42 + March 30, 2018

In the Name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
We are always tempted on Good Friday to think that it’s not actually all that good. We hear the account of Christ’s betrayal, His trials, His scourging, the crown of thorns, and His rejection by man and God the Father, and we think that evil has one the day, that the sufferings and death of Christ are the triumph of darkness over light. If viewed this way, Good Friday becomes a day of mourning and sorrow over Christ’s death, almost like a yearly funeral for Jesus. But this is not how the Scriptures teach us view Christ’s passion. It is not the triumph of darkness over light. It is not Cain murdering Abel for no reason than to satisfy his own rage. We mustn’t imagine that that on this day that the devil, the world, and the wickedness of men prevail over the goodness of God.
Jesus was not at the mercy of bloodthirsty Jews, just as His life was not in Pilate’s hands. When Pilate reminds Jesus that he has the power to …

Maundy Thursday + 1 Corinthians 11:23-32 & John 13:1-15 + March 29, 2018

In the Name of the Father and the Son + and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
On the night in which our Lord was betrayed, before His suffering began, He gave two things to His church. The first is that which we heard about in tonight’s Gospel lesson. After finishing the Passover meal with His disciples, washes His disciple’s feet. This was not an ordinary foot washing. Ordinarily this was one of the first things that would happen before a meal. It was also typically done by a servant. It’s a humble task to wash the desert dust and grime from another’s feet. Yet Jesus takes this humble task upon Himself in order to teach His disciples two things.
First, Christ wants to teach them what king of king and master He is. That Jesus would wash the feet of His disciples shows them that Jesus’ ministry is one of humble service to mankind. It is as He told them in Matthew 20:28, “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve.” He shows them the nature of this service by taking upon Himself the …

Palm Sunday + Matthew 21:1-9 + March 25, 2018

In the Name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
Jesus enters Jerusalem the way does today to teach us what kind of King He is. On Friday morning He would tell Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). On Sunday He demonstrated that difference. He begins His journey by sending two of His disciples, which two we’re not told, into the city of Bethphage. Jesus tells them that immediately upon entering the village they will find a donkey and her colt tethered. They are to bring the colt and her mother to Jesus. If anyone says anything about it, they are to answer simply, “The Lord has need of them.” This is a strange errand. Jesus had entered Jerusalem many times during His earthly ministry and never asked for two beasts of burden before. But this day is different. This is the day the prophet Zechariah foretold. “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, low…

Wednesday after Judica + Mark 15:20-47 + March 21, 2018

In the Name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
Christ had been awake all the night before His crucifixion. His sufferings began in the garden with the anguish that came with drinking the cup of God’s wrath against sin. After His arrest He was taken to Annas, then to Caiapha. In the early hours of the morning He was sent to Pilate, who, after interrogation, sent Him to Herod. There Herod’s soldiers mistreated Him before sending Him back to Pilate for His final sentencing. He has been beaten and flogged. Then He is expected to carry His own cross to Golgotha, the place of the skull. It must have been massive if He was to then be nailed to it. As He carries the hulking instrument of His own death the soldiers escorting Him to Golgotha realize He is exhausted. “Then they compelled a certain man, Simon a Cyrenian, the father of Alexander and Rufus, as he was coming out of the country and passing by, to bear His cross.” Here is a man, pulled out from the crowd of the…

Judica, the 5th Sunday in Lent + John 8:46-59 + March 18, 2018

In the Name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
Today’s appointed Gospel lesson begins near the end of a dispute between Jesus and the Jews. They had sought to kill Jesus for some time now. Ever since Jesus healed an infirmed man at the pool of Bethesda they wanted to murder Him. They claimed He sinned by healing the infirmed man on the Sabbath, that that was a work which violated the commandment. But Jesus puts them in their place by pointing out that the Jews circumcise their children on the Sabbath. They do the work of God even on the rest day. He said, “If a man receives circumcision on the Sabbath, so that the law of Moses should not be broken, are you angry with Me because I made a man completely well on the Sabbath?” (John 7:23). He didn’t sin against the commandment. Yet they sin because they desire to kill Him, a clear violation of the commandment! That hatred boils over in today’s gospel lesson because they are unable to convict Him of sin. There’s no…

Wednesday after Laetare + Matthew 26:36-75 + March 14, 2018

In the Name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
As the calendar moves us closer to Easter we begin to contemplate the sufferings of Christ. Those sufferings begin on the night in which He was betrayed. After Jesus celebrates the Passover with His disciples, the go the Mount of Olives, to a garden called Gethsemane. He leaves behind the disciples except for Peter, James, and John, the same men He took with Him to witness His transfiguration. On Mount Tabor they saw Jesus’ glory and hear God the Father’s witness, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him” (Matthew 17:5). Instead of seeing a glorious Christ they see a sorrowful Christ. They see “a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3). Christ suffers this intense agony of soul because, as true God, He knows what lies ahead of Him and yet, as true man, He wishes to avoid suffering and death as any man would. So He prays, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me…

Wednesday after Oculi + Luke 20:1-19 + March 7, 2018

In the Name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
Jesus tells this parable to the chief priests and the scribes in the temple on Tuesday of Holy Week. They have tried to entrap Him by inquiring as to His authority. Christ shows them their hypocrisy by turning the question of authority back on them. “The baptism of Joh – was it from heaven or from men?” The chief priests and scribes won’t answer because their answer would put them in a difficult position. They are not, after all, concerned with truth. Their concern is for their own righteousness. When they come out of their huddle and confess that they don’t know where John’s authority was from, Jesus tells them the parable of the wicked vinedressers. The parable is a brief synopsis of the entire history of Israel. The kingdom of God is the vineyard. The Jews are the vinedressers to whom the landowner leased the vineyard. The landowner wants to taste the vintage so he sends his servants, the prophets, to preach to…

Laetare, the 4th Sunday in Lent + John 6:1-15 + March 11, 2018

In the Name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
Jesus crosses over the Sea of Tiberius and a great multitude follows Him. They don’t pursue Jesus to hear about the kingdom of God, the forgiveness of sins, and grace of God. They follow Him “because they saw the signs which He performed on those who were diseased.” These folks were after miracles. They marveled at driving out demons, healing paralytics, and curing fevers. This multitude saw in Jesus someone who could make their lives easier and more comfortable. Jesus’ signs, that is, the miracles He performed, were always about more than just the miracle itself. Jesus’ signs demonstrated His divinity so that when people saw the signs they should give thanks for them and then listen to Jesus’ teaching about the kingdom of God. His signs demonstrates the nature of human need and God’s grace and were meant to lead people to hear Jesus’ Word in faith so that they could receive the greater gifts that Jesus offered. A…