The “Lament” Psalms, Lesson 5: Psalm 51

Structure This psalm is a straightforward confession of rebellion against God with a plea for Him to restore David and the promise of a faithful life in the future.  Intimacy with God reigns within this psalm: It is in direct address, with 45 appearances of either the pronoun “You” or an imperative verb directed to […]

Suffering Through the Lenses of Job, Lesson 7: Job’s Recognition, Repentance, and Restoration

Intro The Lord answered Job, pulling Job from an inward focus on his suffering to what is beyond: God.  By stating who He is and what that means, God inductively taught Job: If I am all-powerful, then I am taking care of you in my way and time.  I am even more powerful than the […]

Luke 13:1-9: Repent or you, too, will perish

How should you respond to tragedy or disaster? I ask you to consider this, not as an American citizen, but as a Christian. How should you react—as a Christian—to suffering, persecution, or mass murder?       One way is to repent. In Old-Testament Hebrew, repent is “shuv”: turn back, turn around. “Metanoia,” rethink, come […]

Luke 15:1-2, 11-32: The Prodigal Son

The Pharisees were grousing against the outrageousness of God’s grace. “This man [Jesus] receives sinners and eats with them.” Now, that’s wonderful news for you and me—if we see ourselves as sinners. It also would’ve been splendid news for the Pharisees—if they would’ve be honest enough to admit that they were sinners, too. So, Jesus […]

Acts 2: It Had All Been For This

It had all been for this. Jesus ascended into heaven, taking His seat at the right hand of the Father, that position of authority and power, all to pour out the Holy Spirit from the Father. That Spirit, which Jesus had sent to His Church, was the same Spirit that had come to the Virgin […]

1 Corinthians, Lesson 19: The Corinthians Bring Heresy into the Lord’s Supper

Paul now deals with a topic that he had earlier touched on in 1 Corinthians chapter 10: The Lord’s Supper. In this section, Paul was admonishing the Corinthians for straying from what he had “traditioned” to them. “In following the command [the mandate of the Lord’s Supper], I do not praise you… For I received […]

Your Future Reality Invades Your Darkness

Malachi 3:1-4, Philippians 1:3-11, Luke 3:1-6 The name Malachi means “my messenger.” And it’s a fitting name, since that prophet so powerfully spoke about God’s coming messenger. That messenger would be like a powerful soap to purify and cleanse the Levites, the chosen priesthood of Israel. God chose that tribe of Israel to be His […]

Augsburg Confession, Articles 10 (continued), 12

Review on the Lord’s Supper: Closed Communion Last week, we looked at what we believe about the Lord’s Supper (and confession and absolution). In today’s culture, we may have many who will visit our congregation and NOT believe that they are receiving Jesus’ body and blood for the forgiveness of sins. In Luther’s day, such […]

John 1:19-28: Repent!

So, there was John the Baptizer living up to his name and baptizing!  And the Jewish leadership of his day was chafing in discomfort because of it.  So, they confronted him: “Why are you baptizing?”  We can also ask, “Yes, John, why are you baptizing?”  For 2,000 years later, we’re clueless about those baptisms taking […]

Lent–What’s with the Season Anyway?

Lent is almost here.  Yes, the days of ashes and sackcloth, fasting, and mourning are almost here.  As the ashes of Ash Wednesday remind us: “Remember that you are dust and to dust you will return” (Genesis 3:19).  After the Fall into sin, God called Adam to remember the earth from which he came, and […]