Proper 27 b Mark 12:38 Why Did She Do That?
#DailyDevotion You Have A Promise From The Lord
1 Kings 17:12 And she said, “As the Lord your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. And now I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it and die.” 13 And Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said. But first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterward make something for yourself and your son. 14 For thus says the Lord the God of Israel, ‘The jar of flour shall not be spent, and the jug of oil shall not be empty, until the day that the Lord sends rain upon the earth.’” 15 And she went and did as Elijah said. And she and he and her household ate for many days. 16 The jar of flour was not spent, neither did the jug of oil become empty, according to the word of the Lord that he spoke by Elijah.
What is most amazing is the widow did not start throwing stones at Elijah. He was after all the mouth of the One who called down the famine in the land. Well she wasn’t an Israelite so perhaps she didn’t know. So maybe it was not quite amazing. Yet her response to Elijah’s first request is met with hospitality. He asks for some water. Ok, sure. But then he asks for something to eat. To this she objects, she only has enough food to make a couple of small cakes for her and her son before she dies.
Now Elijah responds to this with do not fear. He speaks with the mouth of the Lord. Now this is where what the Lord said comes into play, “Behold, I have commanded a widow there to feed you.” You see the Lord our God is in command of things. He can move people to accomplish what he wants, though it seems he is often letting people do whatever they want. But he has prepared this widow’s heart t receive the Word of the Lord. Having been prepared by the Lord, this widow, who wasn’t even an Israelites, has faith in God’s Word spoken by Elijah.
She has a promise, “The jar of flour shall not be spent, and the jug of oil shall not be empty, until the day that the Lord sends rain upon the earth.” With the faith created in her by the Word of the Lord, she goes and makes the cakes asked for by Elijah. The Lord then provided for her what he had promised.
Now we may be anxious about many, many things. You call yourself a Christian? That is good. You say you have faith? Know that this faith is a gift of God. Jesus has given you a promise so you need not be anxious, Heb 13:5 “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” He spoke these words to Israel so they may be bold and courageous before their enemies. He speaks them now to you so you may be bold and courageous before whatever life throws at you. Let his promise change your heart that you may trust in Him for all good things and not look to created things which perish and only makes things worse in the end.
Heavenly Father, grant that our hearts may receive your Word with faith, that we may trust in Christ as our Redeemer and the guarantee you are with us always and will never leave us or forsake us. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
#DailyDevotion There Is No Love In False Doctrine
Read Jer 23:21–40
Jer 23:29-32 Is not my word like fire, declares the LORD, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces? (30) Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, declares the LORD, who steal my words from one another. (31) Behold, I am against the prophets, declares the LORD, who use their tongues and declare, ‘declares the LORD.’ (32) Behold, I am against those who prophesy lying dreams, declares the LORD, and who tell them and lead my people astray by their lies and their recklessness, when I did not send them or charge them. So they do not profit this people at all, declares the LORD…37 Thus you shall say to the prophet, ‘What has the LORD answered you?’ or ‘What has the LORD spoken?’ (38) But if you say, ‘The burden of the LORD,’ thus says the LORD, ‘Because you have said these words, “The burden of the LORD,” when I sent to you, saying, “You shall not say, ‘The burden of the LORD,'” (39) therefore, behold, I will surely lift you up and cast you away from my presence, you and the city that I gave to you and your fathers. (40) And I will bring upon you everlasting reproach and perpetual shame, which shall not be forgotten.'”
Satan has a nice little trick up his sleeve lately, well maybe not so lately as Jeremiah is 500 years before Christ. It’s not enough that he tries to deceive people into worshipping false gods. No, he has to pervert God’s Word. That is what is going on in today’s lesson. While the people of Judah were worshipping false gods, they also worshipped YHWH (the LORD). There were priest and prophets of the Lord but they were false prophets. They did not speak the truth of the Lord’s Word. They preached what the people wanted to hear and what sounded “reasonable” to them.
Today there are all sort of pansies in the Christian Church who faint if anyone doesn’t get along particularly when one Christian is calling out another one for false doctrine. Love, Love, Love is their mantra. But there is no love in false doctrine. Satan infuses himself into the Church, confuses people and tries to make it look like those who are teaching the truth are unloving, schismatic and are lying. Well his children will believe that. Those who get all upset about pointing out those who teach false doctrine forget what St. Paul says. Rom 16:17-18 I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. (18) For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. Jesus says, Mat 7:15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” Even Peter speaks about it, 2Pe 2:1-3 “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. (2) And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. (3) And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.”
So what should we do? 1Jn 4:1 “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” The spiritual life isn’t McDonald’s or Burger King. You have to work at keeping your faith pure. You are responsible for what your ears hear and eyes read. You, yes you, are responsible to test everyone’s teaching and make sure that not only is what they say “in” God’s Word, but they are using that Word as God spoke it. We have this promise, Mat 16:18 “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
Lord Jesus Christ, you have promised your Church will prevail. Give us discerning hearts that we may always be able to discern your voice and turn away from false teachers. Amen.
#DailyDevotion Jesus Is David’s Lord Because He Is David’s YHWH
Mark 12: 35 And as Jesus taught in the temple, he said, “How can the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David? 36 David himself, in the Holy Spirit, declared, “‘The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet.’ 37 David himself calls him Lord. So how is he his son?” And the great throng heard him gladly.
There is something different about David’s promised son. Solomon never quite fit the bill. Much of what the Lord had promised David was fulfilled in Solomon, but not quite. This is because there is a future seed of David in whom all God’s promises are fulfilled. David’s promised seed is greater than David, because David himself calls him Lord.
Jesus quotes from Psalm 110. Who and what does David see? He sees Jesus sitting at the right hand of God. Now it was only after the resurrection does Jesus take his seat at the right hand of God as the Son of David or David’s greater son. During his earthly ministry Jesus did not exhibit the prophecies of Psalm 110. This was the time of him being the suffering servant of Isaiah. This was the time of Genesis 3:15.
But now is the time of Psalm 110. Jesus is seated at the right hand of God until all of Jesus’ enemies are made his footstool. Now is the time of proclamation to sort out of net the good fish and the bad fish, to find the wise virgins, and those clothed with the wedding garment, i.e. all those who would believe the apostles’ proclamation of the reign and rule of Jesus. Now the time of peace in Jesus’ name is proclaimed.
On the day of Judgment, the day of Christ Jesus’ return, we shall see the rest of Psalm 110 fulfilled. On that day, those who offered themselves to Jesus wearing his holy garments will be exulted on high with Jesus. Those who heard the message of Jesus and believed in him will received the promised kingdom of God and will reign with God.
On the other hand, all those who rejected the message of Jesus in this life, those who refused his kingship, those who looked for another messiah, those who spurned his gift of grace and mercy shall receive what their works demand. Those still alive will be killed by the sword of his mouth. The angels will gather them and those who are raised to everlasting perdition and cast into the fiery pit where the worm does not die and the fire does not go out. The rulers of this world who did not submit themselves in this life to his rule shall receive in themselves his just wrath for all the wickedness they perpetuated upon the earth.
Jesus is now our high priest according to the order of Melchizedek. He has offered up his body and blood for the redemption of the world. He intercedes for his saints, those who trust in him, at the Father’s right hand that they persevere unto the end. There he puts forth himself as our propitiation of our sins and on the day of Judgment present us before the Father blameless, holy, without blemish to rule with him in his kingdom without end.
Heavenly Father, may Jesus at your right hand ever preserve us in the faith and may the nations come to faith in Jesus that they may not receive the his wrath on the day of his revelation. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
#DailyDevotion Jesus Gives Us Two Commandments. That’s Enough.
Mark 12:28 One of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that [Jesus] answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32 And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. 33 And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions.
So as usual, the scribes and Pharisees were arguing with Jesus. Jesus as usual were answering them all well, in other words shooting them down pretty decently and putting them in their place. Well another of the scribes saw this and decided to chime in. He asks Jesus which is the most important commandment. Now if you or I would answer that perhaps we may run to the first commandment, “You shall have no other gods.”
But no, Jesus goes to the Shema, the “Hear O Israel” for the most important commandment. YHWY is our God, YHWH is one. Loving the Lord, YHWH with our your heart, soul, mind and strength. Indeed the Lord demands our all. Jesus said as much many other time in reference to himself, Luk 14:26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” This will be important in verse 35 of Mark 12. So there is no other God and God is one. As the Lord is wholly devoted to his people, his people are to be wholly devoted to him. He is to be the greatest object of our devotion.
And then Jesus answers and the second one is like it, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Now how is this command like the first one. You cannot see God, the Lord. But he made man in his own image and likeness. To love your neighbor is to love God. To hate your neighbor is to hate God. As John writes 1Jn 4:12 “No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.” And again, 1Jn 4:20 “If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.” So we have been called to worship (serve) God by worshipping (serving) our neighbor in love. If you love the Lord your God will all your hearts, soul, mind and strength, you will expressing that in service to the person God has placed in your path. So John in his epistle then summarizes this exchange with the scribe with this then, 1Jn 3:23 “And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us.” For in Christ there are no more sacrifice, just faith in him and love for one another.
Heavenly Father, grant us your Holy Spirit that we may keep the two commandments you have given us in Jesus to trust in Jesus and to love one another as he has loved us. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
#DailyDevotion Jesus Is The Mediator Of A New Covenant
Hebrews 9:15 Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. 16 For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. 17 For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. 18 Therefore not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood. 19 For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20 saying, “This is the blood of the covenant that God commanded for you.” 21 And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship. 22 Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.
There is a new covenant. The old covenant has been superseded. Jesus is the mediator of this new covenant. The terms of this new covenant are Jesus will be your God and you will be his people. He will forgive you your sins and remember them no more. He will put the law (Spirit) in your hearts and you will know the Lord.
He is the mediator so you may receive the promised eternal inheritance. But you may only receive the benefits of an inheritance if the will writer has died. Jesus did die on the cross. With his death the terms of the covenant come into play. At his death, everything he had became yours and everything that was yours, sin and death became his. You received eternal life, the kingdom of God, the glory of God and the righteousness of God.
Just as the abrogated Mosaic covenant was inaugurated with blood so too the new covenant was inaugurated with the blood of Jesus. We are made participants and receive the benefits of the new covenant every time we partake of the Lord’s Supper for he says, Mat 26:27-28… “Drink of it, all of you, (28) for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” And we become participants in this covenant firstly as we are baptized for in baptism we are sprinkled with the blood of Jesus. In baptism we are purified with the blood of Christ and given the Holy Spirit as Paul writes in Titus 3:5ff.
With the shedding of Jesus’ blood we have been purified from our sins and made holy. It is written, Eph 5:27 “so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” And again, Col 1:22 “he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him,” and again, Jud 1:24 “Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy,” and finally, 1Th 5:23 “Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” With such great and wonderful promises concerning the salvation given to you with in the new covenant with Jesus, let us walk boldly before the world scorning its sin and it ways and walk in the path of Christ.
Heavenly Father, grant that the blood of the new covenant may rest upon us in faith and that we may receive the benefits of this great inheritance in your Son Jesus Christ, now and in the world to come. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
#DailyDevotion The Blood Of Jesus Is Of Eternal Worth
Hebrew 9:11 When Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) 12 he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. 13 For if the sprinkling of defiled persons with the blood of goats and bulls and with the ashes of a heifer sanctifies for the purification of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.
The tabernacle and the temple that followed was based on a model Moses was shown on the mountain. The reality was in heaven itself. The sacrifices the Lord had ordered the priests to make were also a model, a foretaste of what was to be fulfilled in Jesus. Indeed the whole Levitical priesthood was a model of the High Priest who was to come name Jesus the Messiah.
Now this Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of David and Son of God, has been made our high priest after the order of Melchizedek. He has entered not the temple on earth, but the most Holy of Holies in Heaven above, not with the blood of bulls and goats but with his own precious and innocent blood, shed in his circumcision, shed in the Sanhedrin, shed in Pilate’s and Herod’s courts, spilt upon the roads of Jerusalem and finally upon the cross of Golgatha. This blood he brings to the mercy seat of God in heaven above and covers it once and for all.
This blood is the redemption price for all mankind. It is our propitiation of our sins and it expiates our sins before the Almighty. It ransoms us from death and the power of the devil. This blood secures for us an eternal redemption.. It is the blood of the eternal Son of God and therefore is of eternal worth.
Now this blood, which was offered to God through the eternal Spirit purifies our consciences from dead works to serve the living God. We have been sprinkled with this blood through the water of Baptism into Christ, where we have been crucified, dead and buried with him and raised to newness of life.
We are given this blood in the Lord’s Supper, where our faith is increased and strengthened knowing that participating in this New Covenant, the Lord says to us there, I forgive you your sins and remember them no more. Here he puts his law upon our hearts with the Spirit of God and gives us new thoughts, desires, affections, and through them actions which serve the living God. We serve the living God because he has made us alive in Christ through the blood of Jesus.
Should our conscience give us alarm, we need not fear. We look to the blood of Jesus who gives us forgiveness of sins. We appeal to our baptism which is an appeal to a good conscience having been covered with the blood of Christ (1 Pet. 3:20ff) We go to the Lord’s Supper where his blood touches the door of Christ’s temple and makes his temple pure. Our consciences are restored, fear is removed and we once again go about serving our God in peace and quietness.
Heavenly Father, ever hold both before your eyes and our eyes the blood of your Son Jesus Christ, that we may have pure consciences to serve you and to love our neighbor. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
#DailyDevotion Jesus Is Our God and Jesus Is One
Deut. 6:4 “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
The great Shema of Israel, that is Listen! The Lord calls Israel to attention. Pay attention you all down there! What shall we pay attention to? The Lord our God, the Lord is one. We might note that Jesus when asked what the greatest law was responded, Mar 12:29-30 “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. (30) And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’” So one, Yahweh is our God. There is no other God for Israel. No other gods will do. Two, Yahweh is one. There is no other god like him. He is not to be confused or mingled with other gods. And finally Yahweh is a unity.
Yahweh is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. They are not three gods but one God, on Yahweh. In the beginning we hear, “Let Us make man in our image and in Our likeness” We see here there is an Us and an Our. Yahweh is not talking to angels. Man is not made in the image and likeness of angels. He is talking within himself, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. They are not three but one. Yahweh talks speaks this way also about a husband and wife in Gen 2:24 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” As Yahweh is one so also husband and wife are one. Yahweh is Triune as the seraphim sing, Isa 6:3 “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”
Now this Yahweh has revealed himself in Jesus. He became one of us, not the Father nor the Holy Spirit, but the Son, the Word of Yahweh, who spoke to and taught the Israelites. When he walked among them in our flesh (which he still has at the right of the Father) he taught us this great command and affirmed it, “you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” The Israelites were commanded thus because he was their God but also as their God he had delivered them from the Israelites and made a covenant with them. No other god or gods had ever done such a thing.
Now Jesus Yahweh also commands all of us to look to no other gods but Him and in and through Him by the Holy Spirit, to the Father. For the Word, the Dabar Yahweh, has become incarnate and now as man has offered himself up as the sign of the covenant between God and man. He has become the scapegoat, he is the morning and evening sacrifice, the red heifer, the doves, the bulls and goat, the wave offering and the atoning sacrifice for us. Since this is so he calls us to devote ourselves wholly to him as he has devoted himself wholly to us.
O Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, you are one and command our undivided devotion to yourself as the one Yahweh, Lord who has saved us and called us to be your holy people. Grant unto us undivided hearts that you may have from us our whole devotion as you have been wholly devoted to us. In Jesus‘ name we pray. Amen.
#DailyDevotion Christian Have A More Encompassing Law Than Israel
Deuteronomy 6:1 “Now this is the commandment, the statutes and the just decrees that the Lord your God commanded me to teach you, that you may do them in the land to which you are going over, to possess it, 2 that you may fear the Lord your God, you and your son and your son’s son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be long. 3 Hear therefore, O Israel, and be careful to do them, that it may go well with you, and that you may multiply greatly, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.
As the Israelites were about to enter into the Promised Land, the Lord recounted to Israel all the commands, statutes and just decrees he had given them at Sinai. He was reviewing them with the Israelites because the generation he had given them to had all died along the way because of their unbelief and from unbelief their disobedience.
The purpose for these commandments was so they and their children and their children’s children would learn to fear the Lord their God and so that they may live long in the land their God was given them. To fear the Lord is not just being terrified of disobeying him. It is more of a filial fear, the fear a child has for disobeying their father, a fear of losing their respect and love. It is tempered by trust and faith in the individual you are called to fear. To fear the Lord is to love and trust in him so that your desire is to please him through your obedience to all the commands, statutes and just decrees.
These statutes and the like were for the Israelites to rule themselves when they entered the land, a land flowing with milk and honey. They were there so that things would go well with them and they would multiply greatly. The Lord had promised them things would go well if they trusted him did all that he commanded. The Israelites we initially multiplied and brought to the Promise Land because of a promise God the Lord had made to Abraham. It was because of his love for Abraham the Lord had brought them there.
But God’s love and promise are not given us that we could be licentious. Indeed, Jesus has freed you for freedom. But the freedom Christ has freed you to is the freely fear, love and trust in God and his Son Jesus Christ. The freedom Jesus has called you to is to live your life with love of your neighbor as your chief concern second only to your love for God in Christ Jesus. Jesus has freed you from sin, death and the power of the devil. Now we have these two commands far more encompassing than what he had given the Israelites, 1Jn 3:23 “And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us.” So on the one hand we have it easier than the Israelites, their whole life was regulated by the Torah. On the other hand it is much more difficult because in all our actions, thoughts and deeds we have to determine if we are acting in love of the other or love of ourselves. May God grant us his grace we live in conforming ourselves to the image of his son, mercy, kindness and forgiving.
Heavenly Father, as you called your people Israel to fear and obedience you call us to faith and love. Grant us always your Holy Spirit that we may persevere with faith in Christ Jesus and love for our neighbor. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
All Saints 2018 1 John 3 You Will Be Glorious