Our text for today’s sermon comes from the Gospel reading which you heard just moments ago, these words:
“Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”
Thus far our text. These words are likely familiar to most of us. Jesus’ words here should be some of the most famous He ever said, yet strangely, the average person likely has never heard them. Why is that? Perhaps they just don’t have the same ring as “Judge not,” or “Turn the other cheek.” …For more, click on the title above.
As you had opportunity to hear last week, the Wednesdays of the 40 days of Lent this year we have been hearing from the Scriptures of Gentile confessions of Christ. During the last few weeks, you heard of the good confession made by a woman at a well; a jailer in Philippi; and an exorcized demoniac. Today, you are hearing of the good confession, and its result, from an Ethiopian eunuch. Next week, you will hear, God-willing, of the powerful confession of a Centurion made from the foot of Jesus’ cross. All of these occurred on account of Jesus displaying His life into death concern for the salvation of all people….For more, click on the title above.
As part of that which many of you have learned, this Sunday has historically been called, Laetare. That is the first word of the Latin language Introit Psalm. It is one which is usually rendered in English, Rejoice!
Therefore, in the form of a “Little Easter,” we begin another week of rejoicing in the midst of a penitential season. That serves to let us take a breath in our deeper contemplation of our sins and, from that, our need for the Savior. It also points us to the “Big Easter,” that is coming. It is on the journey to that through which the Church Calendar has just passed the half-way point. …For more, click on the title above.
There are many significant actions taken by the King of Nineveh in our reading that require a bit of background knowledge to understand. Ultimately, though, in the book of Jonah and indeed also in our reading from Luke, we hear of an abrupt repentance from a very unlikely source.
Going first to Jonah, what is the significance of Nineveh? Nineveh was the great capital city of the Assyrian Empire. In the time of Jonah, about 790 B.C., the Assyrian Empire was one of the most powerful kingdoms in the ancient world. …For more, click on the title above.
. Jesus, through today’s Gospel reading, reveals that hearing and keeping the Word are the vehicles by which God the Holy Spirit sustains God’s people in the Faith, that is, in the state of blessedness. The Spirit desires to move the hearers of God’s Word, you, from the proclamation of the Word into continuing to want to learn to rightly divide it. The Holy Spirit wills to use your continual hearing of God’s Word to move you to desire to learn more from it. That is what it means to guard the Word for the precious treasure it is….For more, click on the title above.
At first, it might not seem particularly impressive that there are so many gentile converts, after all, what difference does it make whether someone was a Jew or Gentile whether God would convert them? A fairly big difference, as a matter of fact. The distinction between Jew and Gentile was not, after all, just a racial distinction. Rather the distinction was between believer and unbeliever. Generally when the Bible refers to gentiles, it refers to not just unbelievers, but unbelievers who descend from a lineage of unbelievers, and live in a society of unbelievers. Think about the term “Gentile” as you might use the term “secular”, or pagans, or heathens….For more, click on the title above.
Today, in a penitential season of the year, God has gathered us to hear of the One Who bore sin into death, the One Who was raised to everlasting life to grant true hope and peace to all who believe in Him. Now, we remember God’s faithfulness in calling Maxine Wirth to eternal life in Christ. Hear Jesus speak to us again as we remember the Faith God gave and sustained in Maxine throughout her mortal life and into everlasting life:
I AM the Way, and the Truth, and the Life; no one continues to come to the Father except through Me. …For more, click on the title above.
“And He said, ‘Let me go, for the day breaks.’ But [Jacob] said, ‘I will not let you go unless you bless me.’”
Thus far our text. This text has always been one of fascination for me, and not just because of the mental picture of God and Jacob locked in a professional wrestling-style bout. Surely, there are a lot of “weird” things in the Old Testament. Balaam’s Donkey, Jonah and the Great Fish, Elisha and the she-bears, all of these seem quite strange at first glance. So also, with this story of Jacob who becomes Israel. How can anyone wrestle with God? …For more, click on the title above.
Throughout this Lent we are looking at various Gentile Confessions of Christ. First stop: Jacob’s well in the village of Sychar. It’s high noon, the sixth hour. Jesus is hot, tired, and thirsty. The disciples went ahead to the town and get some food and so the only one there with Jesus is this Samaritan woman. And a conversation ensues…For more, click on the title above.
The First Sunday in, but not of, Lent begins this day in the Church as it has for centuries. That is, the faithful, you, continue to hear proclamations of Christ’s victories over temptations that occurred in a wilderness long ago. On Lent I, the Son of God’s besting humankind’s old evil foe is declared.
Out of that eternal reality, we are called again to remember that Jesus’ facing and victorying over temptation happened just before He began His earthly, incarnate, public ministry….Fore more, click on the title above.