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Sunday Thoughts for March 17

The Lord be with you

This coming Sunday is the Second Sunday in Lent (March 11, 2019). The old Latin name is Reminiscere, which comes from the first word in the old Latin Introit for the Day. That Introit begins, in English, “Remember, O Lord, Thy tender mercies and Thy loving-kindnesses”. The opening line in that Introit is Psalm 25:6. As the Introits were modified with the introduction of our three-year lectionary, Sunday’s Introit does not reflect the old Latin.

Sunday is also the Commemoration of Patrick, Missionary to Ireland. Patrick is an excellent example of how a saint well worth remembering has been distorted by our culture. His day, now, is considered a day to wear green and get drunk. What a disservice to the man! The sermon, “Picking Heroes,” will, in part, consider the real Patrick and why he is a hero of the faith.

We will share the Lord’s Supper Sunday. That means we will be using the Introit of the Day instead of the Psalm of the Day (Psalm 4). Therefore the comments below on my first impression of the readings will not cover the Psalm. As we are using the Psalms during our Wednesday Lenten services, I will post a separate preview of the Lent service with a few comments on the Psalm.

As we are in Lent, we will once again omit the Hymn of Praise and use the Lenten Verse instead of the Alleluia Verse. The appointed lessons are Jeremiah 26:8–15, Philippians 3:17—4:1 and Luke 13:31–35. Our opening hymn will be “How Firm a Foundation” (LSB 728). Our sermon hymn will be “What Is the World to Me” (LSB 730). Our closing hymn will be “Savior, Again to Thy Dear Name We Raise” (LSB 917). Our distribution hymns will be “On My Heart Imprint Your Image” (LSB 422), “Jesus, Refuge of the Weary” (LSB 423), and “The Death of Jesus Christ, Our Lord” (LSB 634).

What follows are the readings along with my initial impressions.

Jeremiah 26:8–15
8 And when Jeremiah had finished speaking all that the LORD had commanded him to speak to all the people, then the priests and the prophets and all the people laid hold of him, saying, “You shall die! 9Why have you prophesied in the name of the LORD, saying, ‘This house shall be like Shiloh, and this city shall be desolate, without inhabitant’?” And all the people gathered around Jeremiah in the house of the Lord.
10 When the officials of Judah heard these things, they came up from the king’s house to the house of the LORD and took their seat in the entry of the New Gate of the house of the Lord. 11Then the priests and the prophets said to the officials and to all the people, “This man deserves the sentence of death, because he has prophesied against this city, as you have heard with your own ears.”
12 Then Jeremiah spoke to all the officials and all the people, saying, “The LORD sent me to prophesy against this house and this city all the words you have heard. 13Now therefore mend your ways and your deeds, and obey the voice of the LORD your God, and the LORD will relent of the disaster that he has pronounced against you. 14But as for me, behold, I am in your hands. Do with me as seems good and right to you. 15Only know for certain that if you put me to death, you will bring innocent blood upon yourselves and upon this city and its inhabitants, for in truth the LORD sent me to you to speak all these words in your ears.”

Initial Impressions: The prophet Jeremiah faithfully preached “all that the LORD had commanded him to speak to all the people” (Jer. 26:8). He called the people to repentance, lest the Lord’s judgment come upon them. The violence that Jeremiah suffered for this preaching foreshadowed the cross and Passion of Christ Jesus, who suffered the judgment of God for the redemption of all people. Just as the governing authorities and the Temple authorities persecuted Jeremiah, so the governing authorities and the Temple authorities persecuted Jesus.

Philippians 3:17—4:1
17 Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. 18For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. 20But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
4:1 Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.

Initial Impressions: Paul calls to the Philippians to imitate him, but in what way? Paul sought to imitate Christ, and that is what we are to imitate in Paul. We see, in Paul’s life, justification by grace through faith in action. We see the same in all the saints of God. There are two roads. One is the broad path that leads to destruction. It is the way of the world. It is the way of the sinful flesh. It is the way of the devil. It is any and all ways that lead away from Jesus. The other way is the way of repent faith in Jesus. This is the road Paul took. It leads to the resurrection of the dead with transformed bodies to life eternal.

Luke 13:31–35
31 At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” 32And he said to them, “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I finish my course. 33Nevertheless, I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the day following, for it cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem.’ 34O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! 35Behold, your house is forsaken. And I tell you, you will not see me until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’”

Initial Impressions: Some Pharisees came and urged Jesus to leave the area to preserve his life. Many have debated the motives of these men. The simple fact is, Luke does not tell us what their motives are. They might have been “good” Pharisees, like Nicodemus, or they might have “bad” Pharisees, like those who tried to trap Jesus in his words. Either way, they urge Jesus to leave and preserve his life. Jesus is not deterred. He is headed to his cross and nothing Herod can do will bring the cross any faster or delay it. Jesus then speaks of how sinful humanity rejects him. It does not mean that Jesus does not love or seek their salvation. It means that we cannot, by our own reason or strength, believe in Jesus Christ or come to him. It also means that a persistent rejection of Christ will damn a person. As the cross can not be hurried or delayed by Herod, so the Second Coming of Jesus is set. It cannot be hurried or delayed. On that day, even the rejecters will know that Jesus is Lord.

Well, that is all for now. See you Sunday (and Wednesday).

Blessings in Christ,

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