Our journey through Lent is quickly coming to a close. This Sunday we celebrate Palm Sunday and remember Jesus' entry into Jerusalem as he heads towards the cross!
Palm Sunday Processional Gospel: John 12:12–19
Old Testament: Isaiah 50:4–9a
Epistle: Philippians 2:5–11
Gospel: Matthew 26:1—27:66 or Matthew 27:11–66 or John 12:20–43
Sight and light are the themes we see in our readings this weekend. These two things go together well and describe our spiritual condition apart from God. In our Old Testament reading we hear about the Children of Israel being spiritually blind and in the darkness of their idolatry. God is faithful and promises to bring them back out of the darkness and to restore their sight. Paul tells us that we have been brought out of darkness and should live as children of the light. Finally in our Gospel reading we hear about Jesus healing a man who was born blind and exposing the spiritual blindness of the people around him.
Old Testament: Isaiah 42:14--21
Epistle: Ephesians 5:8--14
Gospel: John 9:1--41
This week's video is coming out a little late because I was stuck at home for part of the day due to snow. I'm thankful for nice neighbors with tractors who were able to come and plow my drive. I was able to do all the filming and editing here at home, but my internet isn't fast enough to get it uploaded very quickly, hence the delayed release.
Last week we took a little side trip back in time to see another example of Jesus fulfilling all parts of the law. We're back on track with our normally scheduled readings this week. We'll hear God speaking in Isaiah about how his people are to live because they are his people. Paul addresses the wise debaters of his time and reminds us where true wisdom comes from. And Jesus calls his disciples salty lights. Ok, maybe not quite like that, but he gives them their new identity which is meant to draw all people to him.
In the name of Jesus our Savior, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church welcomes you to ‘Dial-a-Devotion’, this is Vicar Tom Schlund. Our text for today is Isaiah 63:7-8 which reads:
I will recount the steadfast love of the Lord, the praises of the Lord, according to all that the Lord has granted us, and the great goodness to the house of Israel that he has granted them according to his compassion, according to the abundance of his steadfast love. 8 For he said, “Surely they are my people, children who will not deal falsely.” And he became their Savior.
A little over a year ago the St. Louis Public Library’s main, downtown branch opened after undergoing nearly 2 years of renovations. There was a big celebration and the public was invited to come and check out the newly renovated space. This massive building that was constructed over 100 years ago was in need of a facelift and after the renovations it looked wonderful. Part of the renovations expanded the genealogy section of their library. I’ve always been interested in my family’s history so I decided to stop by and see what I could find. I came across an article from 1906 about one of my great-great uncles. He was a Lutheran schoolteacher near Fort Wayne, Indiana and this article was about how he had died unexpectedly. The notable part about the article was that they had to order a special casket for him because he was 6’8”. This was quite unusual for that time, but it was interesting for me to know that height goes back quite far in my family.
Does your family ever sit around and tell stories like this about the past? Maybe it is around the dinner table or during holiday gatherings. Usually these stories come from the distant past and recount stories from childhood or what is considered to be “the good old days”. Sometimes these stories are funny, other times they are sad, occasionally they’re even surprising. One time that it is very common to tell stories is in the time surrounding a funeral. Family and friends of the person who has died gather together and tell the stories that they remember about the person who has died. These stories help move through the grieving process and allow us to remember the fun that we had with the person who had died.
While there are many reasons that we could list out for why we tell stories about the past, one that hasn’t been mentioned yet is that we tell stories because we want to remember. We want to remember people, we want to remember places, and we want to remember things. If we don’t tell stories occasionally it ends up being far too easy to forget.
But what does this have to do with the Bible or with our devotion today? Well in our text for today Isaiah says that he will recount the steadfast love of the Lord. Isaiah realizes how much God has blessed the Israelites, even when they’ve been unfaithful and how his love never fails and Isaiah wants to tell about this great love.
We hear about this idea of recounting God’s goodness and his law in other places too. In Deuteronomy chapter 6 we hear “4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
God had these expectations for his people that they would recount his story and his law to their families and those around them. And this is what we are to do in our lives too. We recount this story in our worship services, Bible studies, and these devotions. You get to hear about God’s promise to send a savior after Adam and Eve fell into sin. You get to hear how Jesus was born to live a perfect law in your place when you couldn’t do it yourself because of your sin. How Jesus died on the cross for you. How he rose from the dead for you to rescue you from sin, death, and the power of the devil, and how he lives and reigns over all of creation for you. This story doesn’t change over time and we keep telling it over and over so that we remember God’s goodness and his love and so that we can take the good news to others so that they too can hear the good news about the life, love, and salvation that comes through faith in Jesus Christ.
This is a story that is worth retelling over and over again what we are called to do. As we go about our daily life you can retell this story to your family and those around you. May God grant us all the strength and wisdom to do this.
Let us pray:
Dear gracious heavenly Father, thank you for sending your Son Jesus into the world. Give us the strength and wisdom to share this message with our family and friends so they can know the good news of your love. We ask this all in Jesus’ name, Amen.
This week we see another promise from the Old Testament fulfilled in the New Testament. We also hear Jesus preach in public for the first time and call his first disciples from fishing on boats to fishing for people. In our Epistle reading we hear Paul call on the Christians from Corinth to avoid divisions and focus on the power of the Cross.
My name is Tom. I'm fascinated by the ways that people, ideas, current events and theology interact with each other.