Daily Reading: October 6


Read Matt 9:1–17
Mat 9:2-7 And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” (3) And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” (4) But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? (5) For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? (6) But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”–he then said to the paralytic–“Rise, pick up your bed and go home.” (7) And he rose and went home. ..12 But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. (13) Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

The Gospel of Matthew is about authority, more specifically what kind of authority does Jesus have and where did it come from. In today’s lesson we see Jesus has authority to forgive sins. A paralytic was brought to Jesus. You would think in the normal course of circumstances that a healer would lay his hands on the man and heal him so he can walk. But Jesus knows what the man needs more than healing of the body is a healing of the soul. This is true for all of us. Particularly in Jesus’ day people believed if you had bad things happening to you, then you must have committed some sin to deserve that suffering. Seems they never learned the lesson from Job. It is true that all suffering comes from sin, sin in us, sin in the world and sins we commit. But our individual sufferings are not caused for the most part by any particular sin but our sinful condition. We need to hear we are forgiven, that God is not angry with us, and that he loves us.

So Jesus tells the man that he is forgiven. Many wonder, how can he have such authority to forgive sins? That is God’s prerogative! So Jesus tests them. Which is easier to say someone is forgiven or to actually heal someone who is paralyzed? Well anyone can say someone is forgiven, there needs no proof that it happened. You can’t see someone is forgiven. So Jesus tells the man to get up and walk and the man does. It showed them and us that Jesus has authority to forgive sins.

On top of this, Jesus teaches us that he desires mercy and not sacrifice. That is to say he wants us to perform acts of mercy on our fellow man, especially the downtrodden more than any other good works we may do. We may want to feed the poor, hand out blankets, and any other good work you think we ought to be doing as a good work, do these sacrifices we will. Jesus though needs or wants us to be merciful. To share the good news of the free forgiveness he won for us and all men everywhere by his sacrifice on the cross. And he wants us to forgive those persons who sinned against us. Then we can offer up sacrifices of thanksgiving to God.

Lord God, heavenly Father, grant us faith in the good news of the free gift of forgiveness of sins in Jesus’ name and may we forgive those who have sinned against us. Embolden us to tell others who are suffering of this free gift of forgiveness that they may know your love as well. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Reading: October 5


Read Matt 9:1–17
Mat 9:2-7 And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” (3) And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” (4) But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? (5) For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? (6) But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”–he then said to the paralytic–“Rise, pick up your bed and go home.” (7) And he rose and went home. ..12 But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. (13) Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

The Gospel of Matthew is about authority, more specifically what kind of authority does Jesus have and where did it come from. In today’s lesson we see Jesus has authority to forgive sins. A paralytic was brought to Jesus. You would think in the normal course of circumstances that a healer would lay his hands on the man and heal him so he can walk. But Jesus knows what the man needs more than healing of the body is a healing of the soul. This is true for all of us. Particularly in Jesus’ day people believed if you had bad things happening to you, then you must have committed some sin to deserve that suffering. Seems they never learned the lesson from Job. It is true that all suffering comes from sin, sin in us, sin in the world and sins we commit. But our individual sufferings are not caused for the most part by any particular sin but our sinful condition. We need to hear we are forgiven, that God is not angry with us, and that he loves us.

So Jesus tells the man that he is forgiven. Many wonder, how can he have such authority to forgive sins? That is God’s prerogative! So Jesus tests them. Which is easier to say someone is forgiven or to actually heal someone who is paralyzed? Well anyone can say someone is forgiven, there needs no proof that it happened. You can’t see someone is forgiven. So Jesus tells the man to get up and walk and the man does. It showed them and us that Jesus has authority to forgive sins.

On top of this, Jesus teaches us that he desires mercy and not sacrifice. That is to say he wants us to perform acts of mercy on our fellow man, especially the downtrodden more than any other good works we may do. We may want to feed the poor, hand out blankets, and any other good work you think we ought to be doing as a good work, do these sacrifices we will. Jesus though needs or wants us to be merciful. To share the good news of the free forgiveness he won for us and all men everywhere by his sacrifice on the cross. And he wants us to forgive those persons who sinned against us. Then we can offer up sacrifices of thanksgiving to God.

Lord God, heavenly Father, grant us faith in the good news of the free gift of forgiveness of sins in Jesus’ name and may we forgive those who have sinned against us. Embolden us to tell others who are suffering of this free gift of forgiveness that they may know your love as well. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Reading: October 5


Read Matt 8:18–34
Mat 8:25-29 And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” (26) And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. (27) And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?” (28) And when he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men met him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one could pass that way. (29) And behold, they cried out, “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?”

“Save us Lord; we are perishing.” Just what were they expecting Jesus to do? Well it sure wasn’t telling the winds and waves to cease and be still. What were they expecting? They wanted Jesus to help bail. Get a bucket and get moving. Yet Jesus points them to have greater faith. They were afraid. It’s natural for sinners to be afraid. After all, if something happens evil to you, you may be dead.

Sometimes we too are fearful in the midst of our lives. What do we think is going to happen? What do we think Jesus is going to allow to happen to his people? Well think the worse and it probably will or at least could happen except this: Jesus will keep you safe in salvation. He will preserve the gift he promised for you in the heavens. He promised to present you blameless, holy and righteous to God the Father. So while our life may seem to go to hell at times, like the disciples in the boat in the midst of a storm, Jesus will preserve our most important things namely eternal life and salvation.

What sort of man is Jesus that he can do this? Strangely enough the demons tell us. He is the Son of God. The demons rightly believed who Jesus was and what he could and would do. They may do their worse in the world but their end in the lake of fire where they shall be tortured eternally. Jesus the Son of God came to save sinners, human sinners. That would be you. He came to sacrifice his life that you might receive freely his eternal life. Today he offers it to you. No one can take it away from you. He will keep it safe in the heavenly places. Since this is true, you can live your life without the fear of death and whatever life throws at you. Such things are only temporary. Jesus’ free gift of life is eternal.

Lord Jesus Christ, ever give us your life that may not fear death or whatever this life throws at us so we may live in peace as we pass through this sinful world. Amen.

Daily Reading: October 4


Read Matt. 8:1-17
Mat 8:16-17 That evening they brought to him many who were oppressed by demons, and he cast out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick. (17) This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.”

Even before Jesus is hanging on the cross he is bearing the weight of our sins. In his visible ministry he heals people by taking on their illnesses and diseases. These are a consequence of sin in the world. Not that any particular disease has any particular sin associated with it. But our root sin, unbelief, adheres to the flesh and causes us to bear the consequences of that sin.

Sickness and disease for the Christian then is to recognize our continued state of sinfulness and to call upon Christ for his mercy trusting that despite our sick state the Father is still pleased with us on account of Christ. Certainly Jesus healed many in his day and he still does, but for his purposes for his glory. If we pray for healing and do not get it, it is for our benefit. But never-the-less we appeal to Christ even as the leper, the centurion and the demon possessed with the words of St. Peter and Isaiah, 1Pe 2:24 “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.”

But what when Christ does not heal us physically? The we must remember these words of St. Paul, “2Co 1:5 For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.” Our sufferings are Christ’s sufferings. He has born them already for us on the cross. Now the sufferings we bear are not ours but Christ’s. It is in these sufferings, through faith that God is renewing us. In that same epistle Paul writes, “2Co 4:16-18 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. (17) For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, (18) as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”

So we should expect to outwardly waste away. It isn’t pleasant. In fact often times it is excruciating. (ex=from, cruci=the cross) But if we look to Christ that this is his suffering then we can be sure that inwardly we are being renewed so that on the last day we will bear the weight of eternal glory. We will have glorified bodies like Christ’s body.

And to think that this is so is to believe it is because Jesus has born our grief and pain. It is only a slight momentary suffering, but the glory we are to bear is everlasting.

Lord Jesus Christ, we thank you for taking our sinfulness upon yourself, bearing our grief, pain and shame. Help us to realize this and through our suffering be are being transformed into your image from glory to glory. Amen.

Daily Reading: October 3


Read Matt 7:13–29
Mat 7:13-14 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. (14) For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few… 17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. (18) A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. (19) Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. (20) Thus you will recognize them by their fruits. (21) “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. (22) On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ (23) And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’”

Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.(Jn. 14:16) Jesus is the narrow gate which we enter through by faith in him. Obviously it is not good works which is the narrow way. The world is full of people of doing works which men declare as being good. But they are not good in God’s eyes. Paul reminds us, “For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.” Rom. 14:23 and Heb 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please him,…” In order to bear good fruit you must be a good tree. Yet in our natural state we are not good nor do we do good. Rom. 3:9-19 But in Christ we have become new creations; we are made good trees.

When we look at verses 21-23 we note something that seems to elude those who say good actions make good people not right beliefs. What might that be? Look at what those good works people are saying. Lord did we not do this in your name. Lord did we not do that in your name. They did a lot of good works in the name of Jesus. Doing good works and even doing them in the name of Jesus does not get you right with God. Look what Jesus says, “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.” All there works were lawlessness, sin and rebellion because they did not proceed from faith in Jesus. They were depending on what they DID in Jesus’ name not in Jesus’ name or Jesus.

So you be on the straight and narrow path. That path is faith in Jesus. Only by trust in what Jesus has done for you will allow you to enter into eternal life. This faith is a gift given us by God. (Eph. 2) It is received when we hear the good news that God has forgiven us for Christ’ sake and has given us salvation as a gift. Then good works approved by God will certainly follow.

Lord Jesus Christ, on the day of your return may we be found trusting only in your name and not on our works to enter into the eternal dwellings you have prepared for us. Amen.

Daily Reading: October 2


Read Matt 7:1–12
Mat 7:1-5 “Judge not, that you be not judged. (2) For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. (3) Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? (4) Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? (5) You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. Mat 7:12 “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

Well here are some well misused passages of Scripture that you’ll ever run across. What is Jesus actually saying here? What is Jesus not saying here? Many people will use this passage of Scripture to say you can never correct someone else behavior, that you cannot tell them they are doing anything wrong. That is not what Jesus is saying. Otherwise St. Paul would be contradicting Jesus when he says, 1Co 5:12 “For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?”

So what is Jesus getting at? We should not place ourselves above other people. We should not judge them as be less than ourselves because we are committing the sins they are committing. If you place yourself above another person and make a judgment of them then what will be the comparison upon which you are judged? Will it not be Christ? How do you measure up to him?

Verse 5 is key here. First take out the log out your own eye, then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s. You see, we are called to look into the affairs of our fellow Christians. We are called to point out the darkness to the world and call it to repentance. Yet before we can anything like that we must first humble ourselves before God. Unless you realize the enormity of your own sin how can you approach someone else in love concerning theirs? You cannot. We cannot go to someone to correct them in a spirit of judgment but of love and helpfulness recognizing our own weakness. If you try to correct someone you might even lead with your chin, that is confessing your own sins to the person you’re trying to help.

This section concludes with the Royal Law, “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them.” Jesus came, took our sins upon himself and gave up his life for us that we may not face the judgment of God. In the same manner, we should make our brother’s sin upon ourselves and die to it. That is what we’d like others to do for us, no?

Lord Jesus Christ, you came into the world not to judge the world but to save the world. Help us to truly die to sins of others, to judge ourselves correctly that we may approach others in all humility and love that we may bring them to you so they may escape from the judgment to come. Amen.

Daily Reading: October 1


Read Matt 6:16–34
Mat 6:25-34 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?… (27) And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? …(30) But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? (31) Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ (32) For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. (33) But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (34) “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Earlier in the chapter on prayer Jesus told us that God our Father knows what we need before we ask him. Jesus now picks up on that theme again. If we believe that, then why are we worried about our life, that is the things of our life, food, clothing, shelter? We have a Father in heaven who knows that we need such things. To be anxious is to sin. It is to sin because anxiety is born from unbelief or bad beliefs. How can we be anxious if we believe the Almighty, the Living God, is our Father who loves us and cares for us? But we sin in that we believe instead God is an angry judge seeking to punish and destroy us. It is a lie of the devil.

Your heavenly Father knows what you need and wants to supply it. He will supply it. There are things though that come before earthly needs such as His will, His kingdom and His name. Seeking these things should come first in our life. It generally amazes me that those who come to the Church seeking physical aid 99% of the time are not seeking God’s righteousness or His kingdom. They do not come to Church on a regular if ever basis looking for the greater things, spiritual things. Yet these are the things the Church is never lacking and gives away freely.

Jesus promises if we seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, all these things (food, clothing, shelter) will be added to us. How and where do we seek this? We seek this by faith where He promises to give it, in the Church. In the Church, God’s holy minister gives us forgiveness of sins, life and salvation. In baptism he clothes us with the righteousness of Christ and he gives us the kingdom. In His Word, Jesus gives us the Holy Spirit who strengthens our faith and guides us in the path of righteousness. All this, he does freely. So don’t be anxious about tomorrow. Tomorrow can take care of itself. Today has enough trouble and today we are to trust God’s love for us in Christ Jesus and that he’ll take care of us today. He told us to pray, “Give us today our daily bread.”

Lord Jesus Christ, help us to cast all our cares on our heavenly Father trusting that He cares for us and grant us faith that we may always be seeking your kingdom and righteousness in the Word and Sacraments you freely give us. Amen.

Daily Reading: September 30


Read Matt 6:1–15

Daily Reading: September 29


Read Matt 5:21–48
Mat 5:43-48 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ (44) But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, (45) so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. (46) For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? (47) And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? (48) You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Yesterday’s reading ended with, Mat 5:20 “For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Today’s reading goes into describing what that looks like and feels like. It’s bad enough when the commandments condemn me for my outward transgressions. While I like to think I keep them outwardly pretty good, I know I just don’t get caught most of the time by people. But now Jesus is condemning me because of what is going on in my heart. I can try to fool myself that I am good because I don’t get caught and what people do see me do isn’t all that bad, but when my conscience is lightened by God’s most holy law given by Jesus all I can see is darkness most of the time.

We know God is impartial. That is what verse forty-five is telling us. God bestows His gifts to all people regardless of whether they fear, love and trust in Him or not. We do our best to treat those who treat us well good. But to those who don’t treat us well, well, they’re in trouble. But that is not the Christian way. Jesus has baptized you into Himself. He has given you his life and his Holy Spirit. Jesus has given you a new heart and created you into a new creation. He has called us in baptism to be God’s children.

So what Jesus is describing and commanding here is the new life to rise out of our old one. Jesus is the perfect image of God and we are being conformed to that image. It is that image that Jesus is talking about that we may be lifted out of the mire that is this old dark life into his life. Jesus is the One who has lived these commands as he gives them in his life. We are baptized into Jesus. His life is our life now. We are children of the heavenly Father so we are called to be perfect, that is complete as the Father is. We are so in Jesus. Our faith in Jesus’ perfect work declares us to be perfect, holy and blameless. He is now living that life and work out in our lives. Where we see ourselves failing in this we confess our sins and trust in Christ’ saving work all the more.

Lord Jesus Christ, you have called us to be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect. Grant us such faith in your work for us that it is credited to our account and give us your Holy Spirit that we may make a beginning of your life in our lives to the people around us. Amen.