John 20:19-31: To forgive and retain sins

The One raised from the tomb breathes on His disciples, “Peace be with you.”  Next, He shows them the injuries He suffered in His death for all.  Again, the words, “Peace be with you” leave His mouth.  Somehow, an unbreakable bond must exist between our Lord’s wounds and the peace He brings them. On the […]

1 Timothy, Lesson 12: Paul’s Final Words to Timothy

Paul now finishes with his first letter to Timothy.   Personal words from Paul to Timothy as an overseer, continued  Read 1 Timothy 6:11-12 (starting on 12b) What had Timothy done “in the presence of many witnesses?”   What does “confess” mean? How does Paul describe that confession?   Why did Paul say that Timothy […]

Confession of St. Peter: Petros or Petra?

Texts: Mathew 16:13-20, Mark 8:27-38, Acts 4:8-13, and 2 Peter 1:1-15   Each Christian congregation is to be a living embodiment, in a particular place and time, of the Church of Jesus Christ. And that just makes sense. After all, don’t Christians believe that the Jesus in heaven is the same Jesus who rose from […]

Augsburg Confession, Article 25: Confession

The Augsburg Confession earlier covered the topic of Confession in Article 11. However, in Article 11, the focus was on absolution, not on confession itself. The purpose of this article was to show how highly Lutherans value Private Confession.   This article also explains the abuses that the Lutheran churches have eliminated from the practice of […]

Romans 6:1-11: Baptized into Christ’s Death and Life

Water is the substance of life.  We cannot live without it.  Plants and animals cannot survive without it.  We drink water to keep ourselves from dehydrating and dying of thirst.  We use water for cooking and cleaning.  We use water to wash ourselves, to make ourselves clean. So, it makes perfect sense that God would […]

John 20:19-23: The Forgiving and Retaining of Sins

What brings to someone God’s forgiveness?  For example, why does baptism forgive sins but not watching a beautiful sunset?  Why does the Lord’s Supper forgive sins but not playing a round of golf?  And how can absolution give God’s forgiveness when it’s words spoken from a man?  How can God forgive in such ways?  It’s […]

Straighten up and raise your heads, for your redemption is near!

This is the confessional address our pastor gave to us during our Service of Confession.  The purpose of a confessional address is to prepare one for confession, after which the Lord’s Supper is to be received.   Jesus says, “When these [signs of the end times] begin to take place, straighten up and raise your […]

The Office of the Holy Ministry: John 20:19-31

When Jesus speaks His divine peace to His disciples, He shows them His wounds He received on the cross.  For Jesus, the crucified One, is now risen from the dead.  He is the Messiah–and His wounds prove it. But Thomas denied what he hadn’t experienced.  Instead, Thomas demanded a religious experience of his own choosing […]

John 1:6-8, 19-28: A Voice, Mouth, and Finger

What made John the Baptizer such a powerful witness?  Well, you can’t be much of a witness if you don’t know what you’re witnessing about or what you’re supposed to do.  John didn’t have that problem.  He knew he was witnessing about the Messiah prophesied from of old.  He knew that he was “sent from […]

St. Nicholas, Bishop: Matthew 5:14-19

Matthew 5:14-19 [Jesus said,] “You are the light of the world.  A city set on a hill cannot be concealed.  No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but on a lamp stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, […]