Hebrews 4:14–16; 5:7–9
John 18:1—19:42 or John 19:17–30
Behold the Lamb of God, Who Takes Away the Sin of the World
Jesus, the Lamb of God, is led to the slaughter of His cross as the Sacrifice of Atonement for the sin of the world. “Despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Is. 53:3), He is the righteous Servant who justifies many by His innocent suffering and death. He bears our griefs and sorrows; He is wounded for our transgressions; He is crushed for our iniquities; He suffers our chastisement; “and with his wounds we are healed” (Is. 53:4–5). As the Son of God, He fulfills the Law for us in human flesh, and so fulfills the Scriptures (John 19:7, 24). In perfect faith and faithfulness, He shares all our weaknesses and temptations, “yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15). As our merciful High Priest, He brings us to the Father in peace, “makes intercession for the transgressors” (Is. 53:12), and joins our prayers to His own, so that we are heard “because of his reverence” (Heb. 5:7). From His cross, He gives us His Spirit (John 19:30), washes us with water from His side, and covers us with His blood (John 19:34).
Posted on April 04, 2023 9:00 AM
Exodus 24:3–11 Exodus 12:1–14
Hebrews 9:11–22 or 1 Corinthians 11:23–32
Matthew 26:17–30 John 13:1–17, 31b–35
Let Us Love One Another, as Christ Jesus Has Loved Us and Loves Us to the End
“The Lord’s Passover” (Ex. 12:11) and “the blood of the covenant” at Mount Sinai (Ex. 24:8) foreshow the Lord’s Supper. The blood of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, now covers us, and we keep His Supper “as a feast to the Lord” (Ex. 12:14). In Him, we see “the God of Israel” (Ex. 24:10), and yet He does not lay His hand on us to punish us, but from His hand we eat and drink in peace. As our High Priest, He “entered once for all into the holy places … by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption” (Heb. 9:12). He shed His own blood in order to “purify our conscience” and bring us before His God and Father “without blemish” (Heb. 9:14). The holy apostles received this New Testament in His blood from the Lord Jesus “on the night when he was betrayed,” and they delivered the same to His Church, which we also now receive in the name and remembrance of Christ (1 Cor. 11:23–26; Matt. 26:26–28). He has “loved his own who were in the world,” and He loves us “to the end” (John 13:1); therefore, let us also “love one another” (John 13:34).
Posted on April 03, 2023 9:00 AM
PALM SUNDAY / SUNDAY OF THE PASSION
John 12:12–19 (Procession)
Matthew 26:1—27:66 or Matthew 27:11–66 or John 12:20–43
Now Is the Hour When the Son of Man Is Glorified
“Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming.” He comes in gentle humility, “sitting on a donkey’s colt,” yet also as the King of Israel “in the name of the Lord” (John 12:13, 15). His royal glory is faithful obedience and self-sacrificing service “to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:8). The love of God is manifested in the cross and Passion of His Son for the salvation of sinners. Since He has borne our sins and suffered our death, “God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name” (Phil. 2:9), and He exalts us in His resurrection. Our Lord did not hide His face “from disgrace and spitting” (Is. 50:6), but He trusted His God and Father, who raised Him from death and the grave and exalted Him to His right hand. This same King Jesus now comes to us in gentle humility in His Supper, where He feeds us with His body and cleanses and covers us with His blood, so that “after his resurrection” we also shall rise and enter the holy city (Matt. 27:52–53).
Posted on March 27, 2023 9:00 AM
FIFTH SUNDAY IN LENT
John 11:1–45 (46–53) or John 11:17–27, 38–53
Jesus Christ Is the Resurrection and the Life
The illness and death of Lazarus happened “that the Son of God may be glorified through it” (John 11:4). Jesus’ miracle of raising Lazarus prompted His arrest and crucifixion, whereby He would die “for the nation” and gather “into one the children of God who are scattered abroad” (John 11:51–52). As He called Lazarus from the tomb and commanded others to “unbind him, and let him go”(John 11:44), Jesus also calls us and releases us from the bondage of sin and death. We would not “submit to God’s law,”nor could we “please God”(Rom. 8:7–8), but “he condemned sin” in His own flesh so “that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us” (Rom. 8:3–4). Now through the Gospel, “the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells” in us (Rom. 8:11). His Word breathes His Spirit into our mortal flesh, animating us with His own life. As His ministers preach according to His divine command, the Lord Jesus calls us from the grave into the good land that He gives us (Ezek. 37:12, 14).
Posted on March 20, 2023 8:00 AM
FOURTH SUNDAY IN LENT
John 9:1–41 or John 9:1–7, 13–17, 34–39
By His Word of the Gospel, Jesus Calls Us Out of the Darkness into His Marvelous Light
The Lord is grieved by the spiritual blindness of His people, yet in mercy He does not forsake them. He restrains His anger and keeps His peace, until He opens their ears and eyes to hear and see Him. “For his righteousness’ sake,” He magnifies His Word and makes it glorious in the coming of Christ Jesus (Is. 42:21). Jesus turns “the darkness before them into light” (Is. 42:16) because He is “the light of the world” (John 9:5). The incarnate Son of God does the works of His Father and displays the divine glory in His own flesh “while it is day,” until that night “when no one can work” (John 9:4). By the washing of water with His Word, He opens the eyes of the blind and grants rest to the weary. Therefore, though “at one time you were darkness,” now “you are light in the Lord” (Eph. 5:8). By our Baptism into Christ, we live in the eternal day of His resurrection, wherein He shines upon us. As often as we fall back into the darkness of sin, He calls us by the Gospel to “awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead” (Eph. 5:14).
Posted on March 13, 2023 8:00 AM
THIRD SUNDAY IN LENT
John 4:5–26 (27–30, 39–42)
We Worship the Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Spirit and Truth of His Gospel
Though the Lord had brought them out of Egypt, “all the congregation of the people of Israel” grumbled against Him because “there was no water for the people to drink” (Ex. 17:1). Despite their quarreling, the Lord graciously provided for them. He did not strike the people for their sins, but by the hand of Moses He struck the rock instead and brought forth water for the people. In the same way, living water flows from the pierced side of Christ at “about the sixth hour” (John 4:6; 19:14), when He is lifted up on the cross for the sins of the world. He is “the gift of God” (John 4:10), the well from which the Holy Spirit is poured out and becomes in His people “a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14). By this grace in which we stand, being at peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, we “worship the Father in spirit and truth” (John 4:23). “We rejoice in hope of the glory of God” because “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Rom. 5:2, 5).
Posted on March 06, 2023 8:00 AM
SECOND SUNDAY IN LENT
Romans 4:1–8, 13–17
The Word of the Gospel Opens the Eyes of Faith and Fixes Them on Christ Jesus
The Lord called Abram (Abraham) to leave his home and go to a land that God would show him. He also promised to make of Abram “a great nation,” to bless him and make his name great as a blessing to “all the families of the earth” (Gen. 12:2–3). “Abram went, as the Lord had told him” (Gen. 12:4), and in Canaan “he built an altar to the Lord and called upon the name of the Lord” (Gen. 12:8). He “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness” (Rom. 4:3). Here the grace of God is manifested, that He “justifies the ungodly” (Rom. 4:5), not by works of the Law, but through faith in His promises. He removes all of our sins and lawless deeds through Jesus Christ, the offspring of Abraham in whom all the Lord’s promises are realized. This forgiveness of sins is the Word of the Gospel, the voice of the Holy Spirit, which “gives life to the dead” (Rom. 4:17). It opens the eyes of faith to behold Christ Jesus, the Son of Man lifted up on the cross, “that whoever believes in him may have eternal life” (John 3:14–15).
Posted on February 27, 2023 8:00 AM