The Word of the Lord does not falter just because we sometimes doubt it

Our text is today’s Gospel (2 Kings 5:1–15a):   1 Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master and in high favor, because by him the LORD had given victory to Syria. He was a mighty man of valor, but he was a leper.  2 Now the Syrians on one of their raids had carried off a little girl from the land of Israel, and she worked in the service of Naaman’s wife.  3 She said to her mistress, “Would that my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”  4 So Naaman went in and told his lord, “Thus and so spoke the girl from the land of Israel.”  5 And the king of Syria said, “Go now, and I will send a letter to the king of Israel.”

Continue reading “The Word of the Lord does not falter just because we sometimes doubt it”

Epiphany Gifts for King Jesus

Our text is today’s Gospel (Matthew 2:1-12):   1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem,  2 saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”  3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him;  4 and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.  5 They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: 6  “ ‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’ ” 

7 Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared.  8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.”  9 After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was.  10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.  11 And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.  12 And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way. (ESV) Continue reading “Epiphany Gifts for King Jesus”

Waiting for God’s Consolation

Our text is today’s Gospel (Luke 2:25–40):   25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.  26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.  27 And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law,  28 he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, 29 “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; 30  for my eyes have seen your salvation 31 that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.” 

33 And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him.  34 And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed  35 (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.” 

36 And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin,  37 and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day.  38 And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem. 

39 And when they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth.  40 And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him.  (ESV) Continue reading “Waiting for God’s Consolation”

For unto you is born… a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord!

Our text is Luke 2:8-14: 8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear.  10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people.  11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”  13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”   (ESV) Continue reading “For unto you is born… a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord!”

Blessed is He that comes in the name of Lord!

Our text is today’s Gospel (Matthew 21:1–9):   1 When they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples,  2 saying to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.”  4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying, 5 “Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’ ” 

6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them.  7 They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them.  8 Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.  9 And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”  (ESV) Continue reading “Blessed is He that comes in the name of Lord!”

Second Article of the Creed

Let us confess the Second Article of the Creed and its meaning:

And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried.  He descended into hell.  The third day He rose again from the dead.  He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty.  From thence He will come to judge the living and the dead. 

What does this mean? 

I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary, is my Lord, who has redeemed me, a lost and condemned person, purchased and won me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil; not with gold or silver, but with His holy, precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death, that I may be His own and live under Him in His kingdom and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, just as He is risen from the dead, lives and reigns to all eternity.  This is most certainly true.

What Isaiah and David Saw

Isaiah 53The particular combination of details in Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53 simply does not make sense until you are standing where the shadow of the Cross falls on the Empty Tomb.  From that one vantage point, everything in the Old Testament finally makes sense.  From that one vantage point, everything in the universe finally makes sense.  The disciples did not cook the story to make it fit their preconceived notions derived from the Old Testament, rather, the story they lived shattered their preconceived notions so that they could at last receive the powerful testimony to Christ that David and Isaiah and the prophets actually gave. Donald T. Williams


Prophecies Concerning Christ

1.      He was to be the seed of the woman (Genesis 3:15; 4:2; Matthew 1:18).

2.      He would be the Son of God (Psalm 2:7; Luke 1:32-35).

3.      He would overcome the serpent (Genesis 3:15; Hebrews 2:14).

4.      The seed of Abraham (Genesis 7:12; 17:7; 22:18; Galatians 3:16).

5.      The seed of Isaac (Genesis 21:12; Hebrews 11:18).

6.      The seed of Judah (Genesis 49:10; Hebrews 7:14).

7.      The seed of David (Psalm 132:11; Jeremiah 23:5; Acts 13:23; Romans 1:3).

8.      The time of His coming and death foretold (Daniel 9:24-27; Luke 2:1).

9.      Born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:18; Luke 2:7).

10.    He was called Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:22-23).

11.    Born in Bethlehem of Judea (Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:1; Luke 2:4-6).

12.    Great men shall come and bow down to Him (Psalm 72:10-15; Matthew 2:1-11).

13.    Children slaughtered, in the attempt to kill Him (Jeremiah 31:15; Matthew 2:16-18).

14.    Introduced by John the Baptist (Isaiah 40:3; Mat 3; Mk:1:1-11; Lk 3:1-22; Jn 1:14-37).

15.    Was anointed by the Holy Spirit (Psalm 45:7; Isa 11:2; Mat 3:16-17; Jn 3:34; Acts 10:38).

16.    He was a prophet like unto Moses (Deuteronomy 18:15-18; Acts 3:20-22).

17.    He was sent as a Deliverer to the people (Isaiah 41:1-3; Luke 4:16-21, 43).

18.    He is the Light of Zebulun and Naphtali (Isaiah 9:1-3; Matthew 4:12-16).

19.    He comes to the temple and cleanses it (Haggai 2:7-9; Malachi 3:1; Lk 19:45; Jn 2:13-16).

20.    His poverty (Isaiah 53:2; Mark 6:3; Luke 9:58).

21.    He was meek, and without ostentation (Isaiah 42:1-2; Philippians 2:7-9).

22.    His compassion (Isaiah 40:11; 42:3; Matthew 12:15-20 Hebrews 4:15).

23.    Was without deceit (Isaiah 53:9; 1 Peter 2:22).

24.    Great Zeal for the house of God (Psalm 69:9; John 2:17).

25.    He taught by the use of parables (Psalm 78:2; Matthew 13:34-35).

26.    He worked miracles (Isaiah 35:5-6; Luke 7:18-23).

27.    Rejected by His brethren (Psalm 69:8; Isaiah 53:3 John1:11; 7:5).

28.    Hated by the Jews (Psalm 49:4; Isaiah 49:7; John 15:24-25).

29.    Rejected by their rulers (Psalm 118:22; Matthew 21:42; John 11:48-51).

30.    A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense (Isaiah 8:14; Romans 9:32; 1 Peter 2:8).

31.    Betrayed by a friend (Psalm 41:9; 55:12-14; John 18:18-21).

32.    Forsaken by His disciples (Zechariah 13:7; Matthew 26:31-56).

33.    Sold for thirty pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12; Matthew 26:15).

34.    This money was given to buy the potter’s field (Zechariah 11:12; Matthew 27:7).

35.    He was patient and silent in all His sufferings (Isaiah 13:7; Matthew 26:63; 27:12-14).

36.    Smitten on the cheek (Micah 5:1; Matthew 27:30).

37.    His suffering were intense (Psalm 22:14-15; Luke 22:42-44).

38.    He was scourged and spit upon (Psalm 35:15; Isaiah 1:6; Mark 14:1).

39.    His appearance was greatly marred (Isaiah 52:14; 53:3; John 19:1-5).

40.    He suffered that He might bear away our sins (Isaiah 53:4-6; Dan 9:26; Mat 20:28; 26:28).

41.    The rulers. Jews and Gentiles, combine against Him to put Him to death (Psalm 2:1-4;       Luke 23:12; Acts 4:27-28).

42.    He was spread out upon the cross, and His hands and feet were nailed to the wood (Isaiah 25:10-11; Psalm 22:16; John 19:18; 20:25).

43.    This agony was increased by being numbered among thieves (Isaiah 53:12; Mark 15:28).

44.    They gave Him gall and vinegar (Psalm 69:21; Matthew 27:34).

45.    He was cruelly mocked (Psalm 22:7; 35:15-21; Matthew 27:39-44).

46.    He suffered alone; even the Father’s presence was withdrawn (Isaiah 63:1-3; Psalm 22:1; Matthew 27:46).

47.    They divided His garments among them, and cast lots for His clothing (Psalm 22:18; Matthew 27:35).

48.    Thus He became a curse for us, and bore our reproach (Psalm 22:6; 69:7, 20; Romans 15:3; Hebrews 13:13; Galatians 3:13).

49.    He made intercession for the murderers (Isaiah 53:12; Luke 23:34).

50.    After His death they pierced Him (Zechariah 12:10; John 19:34-37).

51.    But did not break a bone of His body (Exodus 12:46; Psalm 34:20; John 19:33-36).

52.    He was buried with the rich (Isaiah 53:9; Matthew 27:57-60).

53.    His flesh did not see decay (Psalm 16:8-10; Acts 2:31).

54.    He rose from death the third day, according to the Scriptures (Psalm 16:8-10; 30:3; Luke 24:6, 31, 34).

55.    He ascended into the heavens (Psalm 68:18; 24:7-9; Luke 24:51; Acts 1:9).

56.    He became a priest after the order of Melchizedek, who was king and priest at the same time (Psalm 110:4; Zechariah 6:12-13 Hebrews 5:5-6;).

57.    He received for Himself a kingdom that embraces the whole world (Psalm 2:6; Daniel 2:44; 7:13-14; Luke 1:32; John 18:33-37; Matthew 28:18-19; Philippians 2:9-10).

58.    His law went forth from Zion and His Word from Jerusalem (Isaiah 2:1-3; Micah 4:12; Luke 24:46-49; Acts 2:1-40).

59.    The Gentiles should be admitted into His service (Isaiah 11:10; 42:1; Psalm 2:8; John 10:16; Acts 10:44-48; Romans 15:9-12).

60.    The righteousness of His reign (Isaiah 9:6-7; Pssalm 45:6-7; John 5:30; Revelation 19:11).

Pew Prayers

Before the Divine Service O Lord, our Creator, Redeemer, and Comforter, as we come together to worship You in spirit and in truth, we humbly pray that You may open our hearts to the preaching of Your Word, so that we may repent of our sins, believe in Jesus Christ as our only Saviour, and grow in grace and holiness. Hear us for His sake. Amen.
After the Divine Service Almighty and merciful God, we have again worshiped in Your presence and have received forgiveness for our many sins and the assurance of Your love in Jesus Christ. We thank You for this undeserved grace and ask You to keep us in faith until we inherit eternal salvation; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Before Receiving the Lord’s Supper Heavenly Father, I confess that I have sinned and deserved only Your wrath, but I flee to Your mercy in Christ Jesus, my Lord, who gave His body and blood for my redemption. I believe that Jesus Christ has redeemed me from all my sins, and I desire forgiveness in His name. I intend with the help of the Holy Spirit to live as in Your presence, and to strive daily to lead a holy life, even as Christ has made me holy. Lord, grant that I may ever thus believe and never waver. Grant that in such faith I may worthily go to Your altar to receive the very body and the true blood which Your Son has given for my salvation, that I may truly praise, laud, and honour Your love and Your mercy all the days of my life. Hear me for the sake of Jesus Christ, Your Son, my Redeemer and Saviour. Amen.
After Receiving the Lord’s Supper O Lord Jesus, my Saviour and only Refuge, I give You hearty thanks that You have so graciously refreshed me with Your sacred body and blood, and I pray that through this Holy Supper You would strengthen me in faith toward You, in love toward others, in patience under trials, and in the blessed hope of everlasting life. Uphold me daily with Your grace and strengthen me by Your power. Into Your hands I commit my body and soul, in life and in death. Grant that, when my last hour comes, I may fall asleep in firm faith in You and Your sacred blood. Amen.

Help my Unbelief!

† Lord Jesus, I believe. Help my Unbelief! †
Lord Jesus, I believe. Help my unbelief! Strengthen my weak and flickering faith. I know that You are my wisdom, my righteousness, my sanctification, and my redemption. Lord, strengthen this faith in me, that I may never fear nor faint in any trial or temptation. You alone are the Author and Finisher of my faith. Though my faith be tried with fire, may I ever be found strong and unmovable to the glory of Your holy name. Let me firmly trust in Your blood, which cleanses me from all sin, that though my sins are as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow. When I am enticed by sin and the world beckons and my own passions want to yield, help my unbelief, and give me the strength and will to resist. When trials, sorrow, and affliction want to rob me of this trust, O Lord, help me to remain steadfast and true. Strengthen my faith in Your promise that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are called according to Your purpose to be Your own here in time and there in eternity. You, O almighty Lord, can help; You, O gracious Lord, will help my unbelief; You, O merciful Lord, will strengthen my faith. Lord, I believe!. Amen.

Lutheran Book of Prayer, p. 182, available from Concordia Publishing House