FIRST SUNDAY IN LENT
Following His Baptism, Jesus is “led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil” (Matt. 4:1). As He takes upon Himself the curse of our sin and sets Himself against our enemy, He trusts His Father’s voice and waits upon His Father’s hand for all things. The devil questions His sonship, but the beloved and well-pleasing Son remains faithful and lives “by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4). Jesus patiently suffers hunger in His mortal flesh and returns to the dust whence man was taken, and by His pain He brings forth food for all the children of men (Gen. 3:18–19). By the sweat of His brow, we eat the fruit of His cross, even as our nakedness is covered by His righteousness. Although all people live in bondage to death through the trespass of the first man, Adam, all the more “have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many” (Rom. 5:15). His righteous obedience “leads to justification and life for all men” (Rom. 5:18).
Posted on February 23, 2023 8:00 AM
2 Corinthians 5:20b—6:10
Matthew 6:1–6, 16–21
Return to the Lord Your God with All Your Heart, for He Has Reconciled You to Himself
On Ash Wednesday, we come down from the mountain with Jesus and set our face toward His cross and Passion in Jerusalem. We make our pilgrimage with Him by way of repentance, and thus we return to our dying and rising in Holy Baptism. Christ Jesus, “who knew no sin,” became our sin, so that by His death we are released from sin and in His resurrection we “become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21). As God has thereby reconciled the world to Himself in Christ, “now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2). He has provided the sacrificial Lamb, and He has left “a blessing behind him, a grain offering and a drink offering” (Joel 2:14) in the Eucharist. He summons us to return to Him with all our heart because He is “gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love” (Joel 2:13). We do so with faith and confidence in Him, and so we pray to Him as our Father, give to the needy from a heart of love, and fast for the sake of repentance (Matt. 6:3–4, 6, 17–18).
Posted on February 20, 2023 8:00 AM
THE TRANSFIGURATION OF OUR LORD
2 Peter 1:16–21
God Manifests His Glory in the Body of Christ Jesus, Transfigured for Us by His Cross
The Transfiguration confirms “the prophetic word … to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place” (2 Peter 1:19). The divine glory of Jesus is manifested in the word of His apostles, who were “eyewitnesses of his majesty” (2 Peter 1:16). “He was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun” (Matt. 17:2). Moses and Elijah witnessed the fulfillment of the Old Testament in this Lord Jesus, and the Father testified concerning Him: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (Matt. 17:5). By His own blood, shed on the cross, Jesus makes and seals the new covenant with us. Hence, “the appearance of the glory of the Lord” is no longer “like a devouring fire” (Ex. 24:17), but it is graciously revealed in His own body. As “Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel” went up the mountain with Moses and “beheld God, and ate and drank” (Ex. 24:9, 11), we also behold the Lord our God in Christ Jesus, and we abide with Him as we eat and drink His body and blood at the altar.
Posted on February 13, 2023 8:00 AM
SIXTH SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY
1 Corinthians 3:1–9
Christ Sets Life Before Us so that We Can Walk in His Ways
The God who reveals Himself in His incarnate Son promises life and blessing to all who obey His commandments “by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules” (Deut. 30:16). However, we are “people of the flesh” and “infants in Christ” (1 Cor. 3:1), among whom “there is jealousy and strife” (1 Cor. 3:3). Jesus must instruct us against the human ways of anger, adultery, divorce and false witness (Matt. 5:21–37), because all who live in these ways “shall surely perish” (Deut. 30:18). On the cross, He died to forgive our sins and free us from the ways of curse and death. Since Jesus Christ is our “life and length of days” (Deut. 30:20), we can be reconciled to our brother, live in chastity and marital faithfulness, and speak with honesty. He who serves from His cross also offers His gift of reconciliation at His altar, and we can be at peace with our brothers and sisters in Christ who are “God’s field, God’s building” (1 Cor. 3:9).
Posted on February 06, 2023 8:00 AM
FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY
1 Corinthians 2:1–12 (13–16)
The Righteousness of Christ
Jesus warns that “unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:20), but He also calls His imperfect people “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world” (Matt. 5:13, 14). That’s because the Lord Jesus came not to abolish the Law or the prophets, “but to fulfill them” (Matt. 5:17) in perfect faith and love. Since He does and teaches all of God’s commandments, He is “called great in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:19). God manifests His “demonstration of the Spirit and of power” in “Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2–4), and through the preaching of the Gospel He gives His “secret and hidden wisdom” (1 Cor. 2:7). Christ gives this perfect righteousness to His people, and it leads them to true fasting, which is “to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free” (Is. 58:6) and “to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house” (Is. 58:7).
Posted on January 30, 2023 8:00 AM
FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY
1 Corinthians 1:18–31
God Manifests His Glory in the Humility and Weakness of Christ Crucified
The Lord tells His people, “I brought you up from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery” (Micah 6:4). By the sacrifice of His beloved Son, He has redeemed us from our slavery of sin and death; He has forgiven our transgressions by the shedding of His blood. His great mercy and salvation lead us “to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly” with our God (Micah 6:8). We boast only in the incarnate and crucified Lord Jesus. He is “the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Cor. 1:24). He is our life and salvation, our “wisdom” and “righteousness and sanctification and redemption” (1 Cor. 1:30). Now He opens His mouth and teaches us His wisdom. By His cross and Passion, the kingdom of heaven is ours. We receive mercy and are satisfied; we see God and are called sons of God in Christ. “Blessed are you,” therefore, “when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely” on account of Christ (Matt. 5:11).
Posted on January 23, 2023 8:00 AM
THIRD SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY
1 Corinthians 1:10–18
The Lord Manifests His Glory through His Office of the Holy Ministry
By His coming in the flesh and by His preaching and miracles, the Lord Jesus shines the light of His Gospel upon “the people who walked in darkness” and “who dwelt in a land of deep darkness” (Is. 9:2). He also has “multiplied the nation” and “increased its joy” (Is. 9:3) by calling disciples to Himself from the ends of the earth. For this purpose, He calls Peter and Andrew, with James and John, to follow Him and be “fishers of men” (Matt. 4:19). As Jesus did, they also go forth “proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people” (Matt. 4:23). They preach the foolishness of the cross of Christ as the very power and wisdom of God. This word and preaching of the cross divides “those who are perishing” from “us who are being saved” (1 Cor. 1:18), but it unites the Church, the one Body of Christ, “in the same mind and the same judgment” (1 Cor. 1:10).
Posted on January 16, 2023 8:00 AM