Lent Day 20

#DailyDevotion Jesus Fulfills The Levitical Law In His Body

Lent Day 20

John 2:21 But he was speaking about the temple of his body. 22 When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.


Now if our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, how much more so our Lord Jesus Christ. St. Paul writes, Col 1:19 “For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,…” In Jesus’ body every aspect of the Levitical temple law was fulfilled. Every sacrifice, every offering, every rite and ritual was completed in Jesus. But once it had all been fulfilled it must be put to death to put away older things to institute newer things, a new covenant. (Jer. 31:31)


But that temple, the temple of Jesus’ body must also be resurrected. It would be impossible for sin and death to keep Jesus in the grave. He had no sin of his own so death could not have claim on him. But die Jesus must on our behalf if we are to escape sin and death. On the third day Jesus must rise from the dead for it is written, Psa 16:10-11 “For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption.  (11)  You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Longer than that and it would be spoken of Jesus as it was spoken of Lazarus on the fourth day.


But Jesus did rise from the dead, immortal, imperishable, and glorious. Having been raised from the dead, his disciples remembered what Jesus said and believed the Scripture and the word Jesus had spoken. Now Jesus’ resurrection is painted throughout Scripture and Jesus spoke often about it. While Jesus was with his disciples before Good Friday they never did quite get the whole being killed and being resurrected thing. But now they understand and rejoice in it.


Jesus risen from the dead means our sins are forgiven. The atoning sacrifice for our sins has been accepted. Jesus as all humanity, even as Adam was all humanity, is risen from the dead. As such, all human kind will be raised from the dead on the Last Day even has Jesus has risen from the dead. The only question is will you be raised to eternal life or eternal perdition. The Father has accepted Jesus’ death as the atoning sacrifice of your sins. Will you accept Jesus as the atoning sacrifice for your sins? Do you believe he has done this for you? He has promised, all who believe in the one the Father has sent, namely Jesus, possess eternal life. It is yours today for the taking. Jesus has won it for you.

Heavenly Father, Almighty God, grant that all who hear about Jesus’ resurrection believe the Scripture and the word Jesus has spoken, that they may possess eternal life and be raised to eternal life, as Jesus was raised, on the Last Day. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Lent Day 19

#DailyDevotion Jesus Is Still Zealous For The Lord’s House Or Why You Suffer As A Christian

Lent Day 19

John 2:17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.”


Well many well intentioned church goers read this and many have been taught that this means there should be no commerce going on in the Church building. And well, if they are thinking the sanctuary where people pray, worship and are served by God I can go with that. You don’t want people generally selling you stuff during bible study and Sunday School. But I believe the text means something far more drastic in our lives.


St. Paul writes, 1Co 3:16 “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” He writes concerning us, “Eph 2:21-22  in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.  (22)  In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.” St Peter also says concerning us, 1Pe 2:5  “are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

Now if zeal for the Father’s house consumes the Lord and you are that house, what does that say concerning what you might expect the Lord to be doing with you? I tell you the truth, Jesus is going to be chasing out all stuff in you that is getting in the way of you communing with your God. He is going to be overturning the tables of the money changers in your heart.


What does this look like in your life? St. Peter writes, 1Pe 1:6-7 “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials,  (7)  so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” He also says, 1Pe 4:12-13 “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.  (13)  But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.”


So the sufferings, the trials, the upended things in our lives is the Lord Jesus Christ having zeal for the temple of God, which is you. Paul reminds us these slight momentary afflictions are preparing us to bear the weight of eternal glory. Our Father is disciplining us, which is never fun, so we may reap a harvest of righteousness when our Lord Jesus Christ is revealed. But when we have these things happen to us, we should not think our Father in heaven has rejected us but quite the opposite. He loves us and loving fathers discipline their children.


We should also remember our Lord Jesus Christ and what he has suffered for us that we might be called the children of God. We need to remember his testing in the wilderness by Satan, his rejection by his people, his suffering in the courts of Annas and Pilate and his crucifixion. He suffered these things to sanctify your own suffering and shame to be used by God to make you whole and undefiled.


Heavenly Father, in the midst of so many trials of life, give us your Spirit that we may remember how zeal for your house consumes you and we are that house, that we may bear with it in the grace our Lord Jesus Christ, in who name we pray. Amen.

Lent Day 19

#DailyDevotion If Jesus Isn’t Your Everything Before God, You’re Still A Heathen

Lent Day 19

1 Cor. 1:30 He[God] is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom and our righteousness and sanctification and redemption.


While God is the source of all life, the life in Christ Jesus is the life of God, eternal life. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” In Christ Jesus you now possess this life, eternal life. This is a constant them in the Gospel of John. Believing in Jesus is eternal life. It is a present possession. So we can say in death, Christians fall asleep. We don’t experience death like unbelievers.


Now Paul continues the theme of giving us the proper humility before God. Our course, acknowledging he is our life in Christ Jesus is a big start.  But now he reminds us Jesus is made our wisdom. It is only meditating on how completely Jesus saved us can we be wise in God. It is in submitting ourselves to God’s will, his way and his thoughts are we considered wise. Any wisdom of our own will fall short in dealing with God and our life in him.


Jesus is our righteousness. He have no righteousness of our own before God. We cannot be boasting before God and say look at all I have done. It is written, “All our righteousness is as filthy rags before God.” Our righteousness is unclean. Jesus is the Lord our righteousness. In baptism through faith, Jesus clothes us with his righteousness, with the righteousness of God.


Jesus is our sanctification. He separates us as a shepherd separates sheep from the goats. His choice of us makes us holy. Christ gives us his holiness. His life in us through faith makes us holy. His Holy Spirit, who makes our hearts his home, also changes us inwardly day by day, renewing us. He gives us new thoughts, desires, affections, speech and actions. He conforms us to the image of Christ Jesus. It is all their work in us to make us holy but ultimately Jesus is our holiness, our sanctification before God.


Jesus is our redemption. We could not buy our way into heaven. We could not by our good works or with gold or silver redeem ourselves from sin, death and the devil. The blood Jesus shed in circumcision, the Sanhedrin, Pilate’s court and on the Cross, is the redemption price which saved you.


Everything in you which you think you can contribute to your salvation and life in God ends up being nothing. Jesus is your everything in everything before God. Jesus is our boast. How great Thou art the song says and is totally correct.


Heavenly Father, we give thanks that in Christ Jesus we have your life and in Christ we have wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption. Always give us this faith which gives us these things that we may stand before you in confidence now and on the Last Day. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Lent Day 18

#DailyDevotion God’s Calling And Choosing To Salvation Gives Us Humility

Lent Day 18

1 Cor. 1:26 For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.


So do you need a dose of humility this morning? Paul hands it up to us in spades in this reading. He sets up one thing loud and clear, if we are saved, we have nothing to do with it. The very first line, “consider your calling” takes it out of our hands. We who believe, believe because we are called by God. It isn’t our decision that saved us. We didn’t work up some amount of greatness that God should call us either. In fact, in Paul’s line of reasoning it is our leastness which appeals to God when we are called.


We are chosen by God to be saved. We are chosen in our leastness. We are chosen because there is something wrong with us. Just listen to Paul. God chose the weak, common, foolish, low, despised, and things that are not to be saved. Just where do you see yourself in those whom God has chosen? He did not choose the wise, powerful, noble, and the strong.


God chose you to be saved to counteract some claim on him by someone else who thinks they should be saved or don’t need to be saved. In other words, you were a bad example of a human being in some fashion just to show the greatness of the mercy, kindness and love of God in Christ Jesus. He called and choose you “so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.”


You cannot boast before God’s throne that God saved you because of some great quality he saw in you or some great or good thing you did or will do in and of yourself (even with his help or a little push in the right direction). He called that which is not or the ‘not being ones’. You have be pretty low on the totem pole be a not existent one.


So if you find yourself down on the totem pole rejoice! You are in the right place to be called and chosen by God to be saved in Christ Jesus. If you can’t think of any good reason God should save you, you’re in the best shape to receive the free gift of salvation. You’re just the person our Father in heaven is looking for to adopt and make one his children. You can never be to low, despised by the world, or just plain old bad for God to call you into his light and be chosen to give you his life in Jesus. Thank God. He is calling you this day in Christ Jesus.


Heavenly Father, we thank you that you called and chose us to be your children even though we have done nothing to deserve it and have no good in us. Great is your mercy and kindness. Grant us who believe in your son Jesus Christ to persevere in this faith unto life everlasting. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Lent Day 17

#DailyDevotion It’s A Good Thing God Doesn’t Make Sense Sometimes

Lent Day 17

1 Cor. 1:23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.


Well it’s no wonder Christ crucified is a stumbling block to Jews and folly to none Jews. There’s early Roman graffiti of someone teasing another saying to the effect, “Bob worships a crucified God.” Really what sort of respectable God lets himself get crucified? Crucifixion was for the worst of non-Roman criminals. For Jews someone who is hung is considered cursed. How can the messiah be cursed.


On top of that, there is the reason for the crucifixion. God’s wrath must be appeased. In the 1800’s  Walther wrote, “The main reason why nonbelievers reject the Old Testament is that God is often described therein as an angry God. These people say that any religion that attributes anger and wrath to God cannot possibly be the true religion, for God loves all people and certainly overlooks, as human weaknesses, the sins of His children. To suggest that God is not angry against sin is a terrible error… A God who does not get angry also does not love, for only He who hates evil can love good. The all-loving God created by the unbelieving world is an empty image of an idol whose original is sinful man himself.” C F W Walther – God grant it, p. 283-84


There is a perverted Christian message out there. Unbelievers didn’t think of a loving God all by themselves. They got that notion from Christians themselves. But thinking to justify themselves and get away from confronting their own sins and the spiritual cost for those sins, they make up a false Christian God who only loves and whose anger is not brought about by their rebellion against his law.


Jesus, who is the Lord, the Son of God, being crucified to propitiate the Father’s wrath against mankind, who is also sent by the Father to do this, makes no sense to them. It is foolishness to them and a stumbling block to those who think like the unbelieving Jews. But this foolishness of God is wiser than their wisdom. This weakness of allowing oneself to be crucified is the stronger than all of mankind’s resolution to live a better life.


We preach a crucified God, a crucified Messiah, Jesus Christ. In the crucifixion, God’s wrath is propitiated. Jesus’ suffering death is the atoning sacrifice for the sin of the world. His death expiates our sins, iniquities and transgressions. His death by crucifixion defeats death and brings us eternal life. So what if it doesn’t make sense to the world. If we could make sense of God we would God or rather God would be made in our image. But the fact that the Creator of the cell and all its components and the Universe with its vast galaxies and still unknown laws of physics doesn’t make sense to us makes perfect sense because ultimately he is beyond our knowing in this present age. But he has made something known of himself in our Lord Jesus Christ.


Heavenly Father, though we cannot always make sense of your wisdom, we are reminded your ways are higher than ours and your thoughts higher than ours. Grant to us humility and faith to believe in the revelation of your Son Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.

Lent Day 16

#DailyDevotion Natural Man Simply Does Not Understand God

Lent Day 16

1 Corinthians 1:18 The word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.


Well it doesn’t take long in talking with people about Jesus and his sacrifice before those who are perishing, those who do not belong to the Lord express how the cross of Christ is folly. The big objection these days tends to be along the lines of “I can’t believe in a God that would sacrifice his own son. That is a cruel God.” I can relate to that on a number of levels. But ultimately, this line of reasoning comes down to not believing what God says about sin, the effects of sin, and what their sins deserve.  They just don’t think they’re really all that bad that such a solution to sin is necessary.


Now the other problem related to the above is people believe that they are good enough to have a good afterlife or it is our virtue and good works that determine where you end up post mortum. Salvation, a good afterlife, is simply based on good works and having more of them than bad ones on the scales of judgment at the end of life.  Everyone thinks they have more than enough good works. Everyone thinks that they are not bad enough to end up in perdition for eternity.


But the truth is, simply worshipping and trusting gods, persons, things and philosophies other than the One, True, Living God as witnessed to in the Old and New Testaments is bad enough to enter into perdition. He’s the only God that actually exists. If you didn’t want to be with him in this life, he’s not going to make to be with him in the next. Besides idol worship, the fact is all our other faults, mistakes, also known as sins in thought, word and deed are worthy of death, eternal death. Just one. It doesn’t matter how big you think it is. It’s the size of God whom you have sinned against. And you just can’t make it even. You confess your sin. You return the money you stole for example. However, you weren’t supposed to steal in the first place. Nothing you do can erase that. You were supposed to be good in the first place. There is an eternal consequence to sin.


The cross of Christ though proposes a solution to our sin problem. On the cross Jesus does erase our sin. The cross pays the ransom that no one else could ever pay. The cross of Jesus is our propitiation and expiation of sin. God the Father no longer counts our sins against us on the cross. The crucifixion of Jesus paid an eternal debt that our sin and all our sins deserve. It’s horrific and wonderful at the same time. Horrific to think that is what any sin we have committed deserves that. Wonderful to know we have a God who does not want to send us to hell for all eternity and provides himself a means by which we may escape it. On top of that, the cross is the power of God in our lives. It not only declares us righteous but it also begins to make us righteous. The cross of Christ begins in our lives, in those that believe what Christ has done for them, to conform us to his own divine image. It changes our hearts, minds, thoughts, affections and desires. It renews us from the inside out. It gives us true knowledge of God and God’s wisdom. Such is the power of the cross of Christ to them who believe.


Heavenly Father, we do not always understand your plan or how things actually work; so we think it is foolish. Grant us such faith through the power of cross to glorify Jesus’ work on the cross for our salvation. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

3rd Sunday in Lent

#DailyDevotion I’m Going To Need Some Gospel If You Want Me To Do This

3rd Sunday in Lent

Exodus 20:2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 3“You shall have no other gods before me.”


So before we get into the all the do’s and don’ts of the Ten Words of the Lord, we should follow the Lord’s lead and start off with some Gospel! First and foremost is the fact the Lord, the Creator of the Universe had chosen the Israelites to be his people and he would be their God. Sure he could have let them go the way of the rest of children of Shem to be deceived by demons into false worship of false gods. But no, he sought them out. He made covenants with their ancestors and made them his people.


Then the Lord reminds them of the great work he had just done. He brought the Israelites out of the land of Egypt. The word for Egypt in Hebrew is Misery. For the last few generations of the Israelites, probably since the Hyksos were driven out of power and the original Egyptians took back power, they had been enslaved by the Pharaohs and Egyptians. Slavery is a pretty miserable life.


With mighty deeds the Lord had delivered the Israelites: turning water to blood, plagues of frogs, gnats, locust, hail and darkness just to mention a few. Finally with the judgment of the firstborn of Egypt, well everyone’s firstborn who did not believe the Lord’s word through Moses, that was too much and Pharaoh let them go. Even then Pharaoh had a change of heart and the Lord killed the Egyptians who tried following the Israelites into the Red Sea.


It is this Lord, who was their Savior, who now calls to the Israelites from the mountain, “You shall have no other god before me.” And you would think they would not seek after any other after all that. But what does it mean to have a god? A god is what you look to for every good. It is as John Lennon sang, “Whatever gets you through the night.” But with the Lord that is not alright. The Lord wants to be the sole thing you fear, love and trust.


This same Lord that delivered the Israelites from the Egyptians and Pharaoh is our Lord Jesus Christ. It is not from them that Jesus delivered us but it is from a house of slavery, the world. Jesus by his life, suffering, death and resurrection has made a claim on your life. For in those things he has freed you from your sins. Jesus has freed you from the slavery of the fear of death and the one who has the power over death, the devil. He makes a claim upon you in this Gospel, the good news of freedom from these things and says, “I will be your God and you will be my people. Everything done in the past is forgiven. I am the God you should fear, trust and love because I did all these things for you.”


Heavenly Father, you revealed your great power and might of our Lord Jesus Christ through his deliverance of the Israelites in Egypt and now in these last days through the cross and grave. Grant us such faith as to have no other Lord and God than your Son Jesus Christ that through him we may be freed and have access to your throne of grace. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.