Daily Reading: January 15th


#DailyDevotion Jesus is our sanctification

January 15th

Read Ezek 37:15–28

Eze 37:22-28  And I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. And one king shall be king over them all, and they shall be no longer two nations, and no longer divided into two kingdoms.  (23)  They shall not defile themselves anymore with their idols and their detestable things, or with any of their transgressions. But I will save them from all the backslidings in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them; and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.  (24)  “My servant David shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd. They shall walk in my rules and be careful to obey my statutes.  (25)  They shall dwell in the land that I gave to my servant Jacob, where your fathers lived. They and their children and their children’s children shall dwell there forever, and David my servant shall be their prince forever.  (26)  I will make a covenant of peace with them. It shall be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will set them in their land and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in their midst forevermore.  (27)  My dwelling place shall be with them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.  (28)  Then the nations will know that I am the LORD who sanctifies Israel, when my sanctuary is in their midst forevermore.”

 

On the last day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns, he will gather all his people from all the nations of the world and make them one.  No doubt many of these will be from the house of Israel and from the house of Judah.  But the nations that have been joined to Christ through baptism will also be part of Israel, for only those who have the faith of Abraham, which is faith in Christ Jesus are God’s Israel.  Jesus shall indeed be our king and we shall live with and under him in joy forever.

 

We see here that it is the Lord who sanctifies his Israel.  Jesus and the Holy Spirit is the One who saves us from our backslidings.  He is the one who cleanses us from our sins.  He is the one who gathers us together to be his people and declares to us he is our God.  It is an important correction to most our thinking and it certainly is a correction the world’s thinking.  The world and our flesh set about to sanctify ourselves, but we are unable to do this.  Jesus, through the gospel (the forgiveness of sins) and the sacraments (baptism and the Lord’s Supper) sanctifies us through and through. 

 

Jesus promises to present us before the Father blameless and guiltless.  It is not our doing.  It is all the Holy Spirit’s doing in Christ.  What a great and wonderful promise this is and oh how freeing it is to live under the gospel of Jesus Christ.  As St. Paul tells us in Romans chapter 6 we are no longer under law but under grace.  So Jesus is our covenant of peace with God.  We know he will do all that is necessary to present us to the Father pure and holy.  We will most certainly do it.

 

Lord God, Heavenly Father, we thank you for sending Jesus to be our peace before you and for sending the Holy Spirit through word and sacraments to sanctify us and gather us unto yourself as a holy people under your Son Jesus Christ.  Ever keep us in this faith through same word and sacraments unto life everlasting. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Reading: January 14th


#DailyDevotion Don’t Fret. The Resurrection is Child’s Play for the Lord.

January 14th

Read Ezek 36:33—37:14

Eze 37:12-14  Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I will open your graves and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will bring you into the land of Israel.  (13)  And you shall know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people.  (14)  And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the LORD; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the LORD.”

The foot bone con-nected to the (pause) leg-.bone,
The leg bone connected to the (‘) knee bone,
The knee bone connected to the (‘) thigh bone,
The thigh bone connected to the (‘) back bone,
The back bone connected to the (‘) neck bone
The neck bone connected to the (‘) head bone
Oh hear the word of the Lord!

The resurrection is a key article of the Christian faith.  It was also one of the Pharisees in Jesus’ time.  Hear the Word of the Lord!  God has explicitly declared the resurrection from the dead here in Ezekiel.  We do not need to fret or fear how the Lord is going to accomplish this.  Many people are concerned about those eaten by lion, tigers and bears, by sharks and other wild animals. Some are concerned about those who have been burned to ashes.  How is God going to raise the dead particularly those whose parts whereabouts are unknown?  Silly people.

 

Have you not read, Gen 2:7 “then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.”  If the Lord and maker of heaven and earth is able to do this, if you marvel at the construction of the universe and wonders of the human body and believe the Lord made it, then resurrecting it from the dead is child’s play.

 

These questions are not new. 1Co 15:35 “But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?”  (36)  You foolish person! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.  (37)  And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain…(42)  So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable.  (43)  It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power.  (44)  It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body… (49) Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.”  As all humanity was joined to Christ Jesus in his baptism, so they are in his resurrection.  Those who faith in Christ are raised to everlasting life and those without faith are raised to everlasting perdition.

 

Lord Jesus Christ we thank you than in your resurrection in the flesh all mankind is raised from the dead.  Grant us faith in you that we may be raised to everlasting life.  Amen.

Daily Reading: January13th


#DailyDevotion God has sprinkled us with His Blood

January 13th

Read Ezek 36:13–28

Eze 36:23-28  And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them. And the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Lord GOD, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes.  (24)  I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land.  (25)  I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you.  (26)  And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.  (27)  And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.  (28)  You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.

 

Jeremiah who was a contemporary of Ezekiel said something very similar. Jer 31:33-34  For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.  (34)  And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

 

It for the sake of the name of the Lord, that the Lord will accomplish this great thing.  He is doing this even to this day.  He started in the days of John the Baptist who came proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.  This very baptism Jesus experienced on behalf of all people.  Jesus sends forth his disciples to continue on with this baptism.  We are baptized into his name, the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. 

 

Here in baptism we are sprinkled with water and cleansed from our sins.  Here the Holy Spirit comes upon us and gives us a new heart and a new spirit.  We are now able to fear, love and trust in God above all things.  In baptism we know the Lord for we know he forgives us for his name’s sake.  We are called to be his holy people and he makes himself our God, the One whom we look to for every good.

 

So as God calls us to be his holy people out of the nations and before the nations his name is vindicated.  His holiness is upheld as we are brought into the covenant, the new covenant and made God’s holy people.  We are given new impulses, new thoughts, and new affections.  We desire to do God’s will and not the will of the flesh.  Such it is for those whom God calls to be his own through baptism.

 

Lord Jesus Christ, you call us to be your holy people though baptism and you enter into an eternal covenant with us.  Grant us you Holy Spirit as you have promised that we may know you and live according to your Word.  Amen.

Daily Reading: January 12th


#DailyDevotion Jesus is YHWH, who seeks out the Lost Sheep

January 12th

Read Ezek 34:1–24

Ezekiel 34: (11)  “For thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out…(13)  And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land. And I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the ravines, and in all the inhabited places of the country…(15)  I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord GOD. (16)  I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice.

 

This prophecy is fulfilled in Jesus. It is written in the gospel of John, John 10:11-15

(11)  I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep…(13) I know my own and my own know me,..(14)  I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me,…(16)  And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.

 

Jesus identifies himself as the good shepherd. When Jesus does this he also identifies himself as the one speaking to the prophet Ezekiel. Jesus is the Lord, the God of Israel.

 

As such Jesus is the one who seeks out his people. People will often flock to Jesus but Jesus seeks out his own, even as he chose his disciples instead of them choosing Jesus. Jesus even now, through his church, the members of his church is seeking out the lost sheep. The church and the Word of God she preaches calls out to the lost sheep of God. When those who belong to Christ hear that Word, they recognize the voice of their Shepherd, Jesus and they follow him.

 

Because Jesus is our shepherd this is what he has come to do for his sheep, he will “bring back the strayed, “bind up the injured,” and strengthen the weak.” Those who are fallen away from the faith he calls them back with repentance, so they may confess their sins, turn from them and believe Jesus accepts them back. Jesus binds up our wounds for many times we have been spiritually assaulted and spiritually beaten up with false doctrine yet the free gift of salvation in Christ binds up our wounds. We may at times get weak, yet it is with the promises of God in Christ Jesus we become partakers of the divine nature and become strong in him. In all these things, it is the pure word of God and the sacraments which call, seek, bind and strengthen us.

 

Lord Jesus Christ, continually send out your Church into the world and call men to serve under you who be your voice and your hands to your lost and wounded sheep. May we all hear your voice and be gathered together with you in your Church that we may ever dwell in green pastures by the quiet waters of your kingdom. Amen.

Daily Reading: January 11


#DailyDevotion The only coat tails you can ride into heaven on is Jesus’

January 11th

 Read Ezek 33:1–20

Eze 33:7-9  “So you, son of man, I have made a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me.  (8)  If I say to the wicked, O wicked one, you shall surely die, and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from his way, that wicked person shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand.  (9)  But if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, that person shall die in his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul… 33:11 Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?  …17 “Yet your people say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just,’ when it is their own way that is not just.  (18)  When the righteous turns from his righteousness and does injustice, he shall die for it.  (19)  And when the wicked turns from his wickedness and does what is just and right, he shall live by this.  (20)  Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ O house of Israel, I will judge each of you according to his ways.”

 

Forget the temple in Ezekiel.  The authors of the daily lectionary have it right when they skip all those readings.  This is the meat of Ezekiel.  We see this theme picked up again in Chapter 33 which we left in chapter 18.  Those whom the Lord sends to speak his word are to do so.  They are to warn the wicked of their impending doom.  If they do so, they save not only those they are sent to but themselves as well.

 

The Lord has no pleasure in the death of the wicked.  And well, we’re all wicked, there is no one who does good, not even one.  Ezekiel reminds us who are righteous not to depend on our righteousness if we return to sinful ways.  Our good deeds of the past will not help us when God comes for us and ask of us about our current sinful state.  Our current sins is what we have to face up to today.

 

Those who have no righteousness, they too are called not to look to their own righteousness but to the Lord.  All of us are called to correct our past and current misdeeds.  The Lord desires that our lives get turned around when he comes to us offering free forgiveness.  But we rebel.  One says it’s unfair for God to punish us because we are made like this.  The other says God is unfair because he holds us to account for our current sin not letting our past righteousness stand in the way of punishment.  But the Lord condemns both and calls both to repent and believe in the mercy found in Jesus Christ.  You are forgiven your past and current sins because Jesus has won righteousness for you.  His righteousness will stand before the righteous Judge on the day of judgment.

 

Lord God, Heavenly Father, grant us faith to repent of our sins, trust in your Son’s righteousness, correct our past misdeeds and do the good you want us to do.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.