Fifth Sunday in Lent
Old Testament: Ezekiel 37:1-14
Epistle: Romans 8:1-11
Gospel: John 11:1-45 (46-53).
In a vision, God commanded Ezekiel to cry for breath to enter dry bones scattered across the valley floor. By bringing those bones to life by His Spirit, God promised to raise His people from death to life.
Likewise, when raising Lazarus from his death due to sickness, Jesus shows Himself as Lord over life and death. By this sign, He points to His own death for our sins and His own resurrection by which we are saved.
In Him, we are turned from death to life. For we know that the Spirit, by Whom the Father raised Jesus from the dead, will bring us—body and soul—from the grave to live forever.
First Sunday in Lent
March 10, 2019
Old Testament: Deuteronomy 26:1-11
Epistle: Romans 10:8-13
Gospel: Luke 4:1-13.
Why was Jesus tempted? He was tempted in our place because we can’t resist the devil on our own. He defeated Satan in the wilderness. Jesus gave Himself as the one, once-for-all offering to save the whole world gone sinful.
He who would not preserve His life by turning stones to bread gave His life for us on the cross of Calvary. He who stood on the temple’s apex had nothing to prove to anyone; He showed Himself our Savior when crucified—innocent—for us, the guilty. He certainly didn’t have to worship anyone to gain the world; He had already made it all. Out of His great love, He died to take the whole world’s sin on Himself. His Word of forgiveness, life, and salvation is ever and always near us so that we trust Him come what may.
As we lament our sin and confess our guilt and shame, we fix our eyes on Jesus who has called us by name and forgiven us. He leads us to everlasting life just as He is risen from death and reigns as Lord for all eternity.
March 3, 2019
The readings for Transfiguration Sunday are
Deuteronomy 34:1-2, Hebrews 3:1-6, and Luke 9:28-36.
We speak of having emotional, mountaintop experiences in life. They’re high points, often after dull or doleful ones. The wedding of an older man and woman may follow their traversing the road of broken hearts or workaday doldrums to make ends meet. For someone who’s blind, that first day on a job breaks the cycle of rejected resumes, waiting, and waiting, and waiting.
Though Jesus takes three of His disciples up on a mountaintop for His transfiguration, He’s not doing it to give a quick, emotional high. Rather, he reveals His glory that they may cling to salvation in Him even as He leads them and us through the valley of suffering and sorrow. For He who was transfigured is the same Jesus who more plainly revealed His glory at the cross in His death in our place.
What greater rebuke could the Savior give than that which He spoke to Peter who wished to keep the blazing moment in place? Jesus calls us to follow him from each mountaintop moment and abide in His tenting among us even till His return.
February 24, 2019
The readings for the seventh Sunday after Epiphany are Gen. 45:3-15; 1 Cor. 15:21-26, 30-42; and Luke 6:27-38.
At first glance, Joseph had every right to hold a lifelong grudge against his brothers. They’d sold him into Egypt in revenge for Jacob, their father, treating him as his favorite son. Yet, as Joseph was humbled in heart (though promoted to become second only to Pharaoh) he forgave his brothers’ vengeful treatment.
We face rejection, heartache and discrimination every day. Those actions do hurt us to the core. We often react with angry emails, gruff speech, and sometimes physical confrontation. Friendships rupture. Families break apart. We rush to judge others’ actions. This ought not be. For the very Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who calls us to acknowledge our sin has taken it on Himself to death for the whole world. He calls us who died in Adam to trust His forgiving Word. For in Him we live assured of our heavenly reward. Jesus’ joy fills us with love for family, friends, and associates, that we help and befriend them in every need.