Daily Reading: November 10

Read Matt 25:14–30
Mat 25:24-30 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, (25) so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ (26) But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? (27) Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. (28) So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. (29) For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. (30) And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

In this second parable of a series, we find that many pastors and teachers have tortured this parable into works righteousness or even worse a parable about stewardship. But what this parable about is attitude. The attitude of Jesus and the attitude of people towards him.

What is Jesus’ attitude towards people? It is one of trust and love. He trust and loves his disciples so he gives them vocations to do in this world each according to their faith and ability. Believe it or not while he praises those who double what he has given them, the bigger praise is that they were faithful in what he had given them.

Now what about this servant who buried the talent (a talent is a measure of money)? What is his attitude towards the master (Jesus)? “Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed,…” Do you see? Do you see the bad attitude of the servant? He does not love his master. He does not trust the master. He is called a wicked because he does love and trust the master. He is lazy because he acts on his fear and does not even do what would minimally be expected. He could have at the very least went and bought a bunch of lottery tickets or gone to casino and placed it on black. If he had done that he would have demonstrated his faith and trust in the master (Jesus). So what is your attitude towards Jesus? Is he some cruel taskmaster who keeps a record of wrongs and punishes and rewards people on their results? Or is Jesus the kind of master who would give up his life for his servants? Is Jesus the kind of God who is merciful, kind, forgiving, patient, and gentle of spirit? Well whatever kind of Jesus you believe you have, that’s the kind of Jesus you’re going to get on Judgment Day. What kind of Jesus do you want on Judgment Day?

O Lord Jesus Christ, grant us such faith in you and your good attitude toward us that we do not worry about being successful in all that we do but that we are faithful in everything we do in your name. Amen.

Daily Reading: November 9

Read Matt 25:1–13
Mat 25:10-13 And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. (11) Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ (12) But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ (13) Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.

So, just what is this parable talking about? You might think the central thought here revolves around the oil and what the oil in the parable represents. Certainly that is a good idea. It seems that oil and lack of it is prominent. The five wise virgins have extra in case the bridegroom is late and the five foolish only have enough for the normal amount of time one might expect to wait for the bridegroom to arrive. Lo and behold, the bridegroom is more than fashionably late and the foolish virgins’ lamps have burnt out. What are they going to do?

Here I believe we get to the heart of the story. What do the foolish virgins think about the bridegroom? What is their attitude towards him? Who is the bridegroom? We know the bridegroom is Jesus. Jesus has told us this many of time. The Bride is his Church. This parable is speaking of his second coming and what will happen on that day. I think we can safely say, from our point of view, Jesus is a bit more than fashionably late not for his second coming. You’ve been warned.

Now the foolish virgins get panicked. They’re out of oil. What should they do? They ask the wise to share. “Nope,” they say. The wise ones say perhaps they should go and buy some. Now just what is this oil or does it even matter? Is it faith? I don’t think so. You can’t go buy that? Is it works? Certainly or good works don’t have an expiration date. I don’t think the oil stands for anything. They eventually get some but by the time they get back, it’s too late. The point is, what is the foolish virgins attitude towards the Bridegroom?

They don’t trust his mercy, kindness, understanding, or gentleness but perceive him to be quite the opposite. They don’t believe he would accept them without the lamps burning. They don’t believe he would let them come into the wedding party unless they are properly prepared like the wise virgins. They just don’t trust him. If only they had waited for the bridegroom and trusted in his good nature. They don’t though.

The Bridegroom (Jesus) says he doesn’t know the foolish virgins when they finally get back. They cannot come in. You see when you don’t know Jesus as the loving, kind, gentle, and forgiving God that he is and that he will accept you as you are as long as you trust in him, then he doesn’t know you either. Jesus said the same thing to those who did good works in his name, but trusted in those instead of him. Jesus only knows us when we have faith in him and his character. Do you know Jesus? Does Jesus know you?

Lord Jesus Christ, ever give us such faith that trust in your goodness and not anything in ourselves that we may be known by you and allowed into the eternal wedding banquet on the last day. Amen.

Daily Reading: November 8

Read Matt 24:29–51
Mat 24:36-44 “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. (37) For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. (38) For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, (39) and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. (40) Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. (41) Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. (42) Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. (43) But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. (44) Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

The Boy Scout motto is “Be prepared.” Well Christians should take some stock in that saying as Jesus tells us to be ready. One of the ways you can be ready and prepared is to pay attention to several key lessons here in chapter 24 of Matthew. One is many will come saying they are Jesus, or the Christ, or they have been anointed with the Spirit of Christ and they are fulfilling the prophecy of Jesus’ second coming. Jesus tells us everyone will know when he returns. It will be like lightning flashing from east to west and there will be a loud trumpet everyone will hear and then you’ll see him descending from the clouds with all his angels. There is no secret coming. If you don’t hear and see these things with everyone else, it isn’t Jesus.

Two, no one knows the day or the hour and while Jesus doesn’t explicitly say it this idiom, this phrase includes any time. So if anyone says they have figured out the code in the Bible or has a special revelation from God, know they are from Satan. Don’t believe them. The last day will seem like nothing special is going on. Like the day of the flood, the unbelievers will be swept away and the believers will be left behind, just as Noah and his family were left behind. There will be two people and the angels will gather up the unbelievers to the valley of decision, the place of judgment. The believers will be left behind to be transformed into their immortal bodies and be gathered with the resurrected believers with Christ in the air.

So be prepared and don’t let false prophets fool you. Be certain of what you believe and who you trust for your salvation. Make sure your faith is in Jesus, his promise of eternal life, forgiveness and salvation on account of his life, death and resurrection. Be busy living out that Christian faith in the free gift of the Father’s love for Jesus’ sake in showing mercy and pity to those around you. For that is how your Father in heaven treats you.

Heavenly Father, grant us such faith that we are not fooled by false prophets being led into unbelief and sin, but that we are always ready, being active in your Word with your holy people and be found living out lives of mercy. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Daily Reading: November 7

Read Matt. 24:1-28
And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. (Mat 24:4) But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (Mat 24:13-14) See, I have told you beforehand. (Mat 24:25)

Jesus today gives us a nice laundry list of things to expect before the end of the world. Sandwiched in between we get a prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem. So one of the things we should get from this is we will not know when the end will come. We’ll see many signs and indeed many of those signs have been occurring at least since Christ ascended into heaven.

But a number of people think that vs. 14 has yet to be fulfilled. I have good news. The biblical witness of the apostles is that by the time they all passed away, as far as God was concerned, this has occurred. Does that mean we stop? Nope, we have a continuing mandate to disciple all nations until he returns visibly.

We though are called to endure until the end. Don’t think you are going to escape and get raptured. You are already in the tribulation and the reign of Christ which began at his ascension into heaven. Eph. 1 Those who are caught up ala “one taken and the other left” are taken, where the vultures are, to be food for birds. Rev. 19

See Jesus has told us beforehand. We have nothing to worry about. We are simply called to be faithful until the end. How do we do that? We gather with other believers around Word and Sacrament. We live out our lives as followers of Christ in whatever vocations we have. We pray. That’s it. God bless!

Lord Jesus Christ, we thank you that you have told us what will happen before the end. Continually give us your Holy Spirit through the preaching of the Word and your Holy Sacraments that we may endure until you return for us. Amen.

Daily Reading: November 6

Read Matt 23:13–39
Mat 23:31-39 Thus you witness against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. (32) Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers. (33) You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell? (34) Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, (35) so that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of innocent Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. (36) Truly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation. (37) “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! (38) See, your house is left to you desolate. (39) For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'”

Seven woes Jesus gives to the Pharisees. He condemns them for having an appearance of godliness but denying the power therein. Outwardly they look great, but inwardly they are full of evil intent. It is the heart Jesus and the Father will judge. Jesus tells them they must clean out the inside. The only way to do that is with faith. For although they sinners, tax collectors and prostitutes were deep in sin, yet they were contrite in heart and trusted in Jesus. For it is faith in Christ that makes you a good person, not outward good works.

Jesus lets the Jewish people know what will happen to them because they rejected him, they will reject those he sends to them, i.e. the apostles, and those who would continue in the apostles footsteps namely the Church. He would continue to send out his word of repentance and forgiveness through faith in the name of Jesus, for he would that all people would be saved, even those who would torture and kill him and his followers. Eventually, he would send the Romans to tear down the city of Zion and the temple and slaughter those who did not repent of their unbelief.

Even now he sends his people into the world with good news of repentance and forgiveness of sins, eternal life in his name. And even as the Jews rejected him, there are those in the world who continue to teach, believe and act as if it is outward good works that make you a good person and not faith in Jesus. But this is the greatest lie of Satan. People at funerals, all over the world, hope for a better life in the after-life because of their good works. It is what they were taught. It is the natural religion of man. It is the religion of Satan. But Jesus has taught us what makes us good and clean on the inside. It is faith in him. Faith in his works. Faith in his life, death and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and eternal life now and forever is the religion of Jesus.

Lord Jesus Christ, forgive us our sins for the sake of your blood and grant us faith that through your blood you would grant us repentance and faith that we may be clean within and be good people through faith in you and that we may in turn be truly outwardly good as well. Amen.

Daily Reading: November 5

Read Matt 23:1–12
Mat 23:1-3 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, (2) “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, (3) so practice and observe whatever they tell you–but not what they do. For they preach, but do not practice. Mat 23:11-12 The greatest among you shall be your servant. (12) Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

Do as I say, not as I do. We all know the saying. We rightly hold it in contempt, but Jesus never the less tells us the very same concerning the teachers of the Law. When they expounded upon the Law of Moses they did well. Jesus indeed taught his disciples he did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it. So even though the Pharisees and scribes were hypocrites who did not keep the law which they laid upon the shoulders of the people, because of their office they should be obeyed. It was good and pleasing to God if the disciples listened, learned and obeyed.

Today we may say the same concerning rightly called pastors and teachers of the Church. Unfortunately, fallen men sat in Moses seat and today sit in seat of Christ, the office of the holy ministry. They know what Jesus has taught the apostles and they teach it rightly yet they do not live according to it. Because their calling is right and true they should be listened to and obeyed. Of course we always look to the Scriptures to confirm what is taught. We respect the office even if we don’t respect the man. Yet we should pray for such people that they may be good examples of the Christian faith.

In all this, we as Christians are called to live humble lives. We are called to be servants of one another. We are called to help one another live out our Christians lives. Submitting to our spiritual leaders is also part of our spiritual humility. We have this promise from Christ, especially when we want to rebel against those in authority over us, whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

For this is what Christ Jesus himself did for our salvation. Php 2:5-11 “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, (6) who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, (7) but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. (8) And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (9) Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, (10) so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, (11) and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Lord Jesus Christ, even has you have humbled yourself for our salvation, grant us a spirit of humility that we may be exalted at the proper time in the throne-room of your grace. Amen.

Daily Reading: November 4

Read Matt 22:23–46
Mat 22:29-32 But Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God. (30) For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. (31) And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God: (32) ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living.”

Is Jesus saying that we become angels here? Well, no. There is simply a point of comparison. That point of comparison is that at the resurrection there will be no more institution of marriage. Marriage is part of this world, this age. When Jesus returns, raises the dead and ushers in a new heavens and a new earth, there will be a new order of things. In that new order, we will be like angels in that we will be not getting married nor will we be married. We will not be bodiless spirits like the angels. But we will have bodies just like Jesus has. When Jesus was resurrected from the dead, he had flesh and bones. You too will rise bodily from the dead on the last day.

Secondly, there is the whole aspect of what death is. In the garden, God had told Adam and Eve that the day they ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil they would surely die. They did eat and they did die. While they continued on for another nine hundred years in what we like to call life, they were actually dead. You could say they started the undead apocalypse. They did die that day; they died spiritually. St. Paul tells us, Eph 2:1 “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins.”

And while Abraham, Isaac and Jacob’s tombs are with us to this day, Jesus says they are alive. God is a God of the living. How can this be? Jesus tells us, Joh 11:25-26 “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, (26) and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.’” And again, Joh 6:40 “For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” And again, Joh 6:47 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.” They all were shown Christ Jesus and were given the promises just as we are given the promises. They believed those promises and were given eternal life. Everyone, like them, who puts their trust in Christ Jesus possesses eternal life now and will be resurrected to eternal life at the return of Christ. We will be immortal like the angels but greater than the angels. We shall see God as His children and reign with God over creation. Our current mortal bodies will become immortal, imperishable and glorious like Jesus’ resurrected body. And so we say Christian fall asleep. They do not die. They possess eternal life, how can they die? They do not. That is our hope as Christians.

Lord Jesus Christ, continually give us faith in you and your promises that we may possess eternal life now and be raised bodily like you in your resurrection when you reveal yourself again at your second coming. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Don’t Be That Guy

#DailyDevotion Don’t Be That Guy
Read Matt 22:1–22

Mat 22:8-14 Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. (9) Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’ (10) And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests. (11) “But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. (12) And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. (13) Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ (14) For many are called, but few are chosen.”

Initially, this parable is about the Jewish rejection of their messiah, particularly the Jewish leadership. They should have recognized Jesus as their bridegroom from the Old Testament. They were the people initially invited to the wedding feast. But they were not worthy. They did not accept the invitation. They had better things to do.

Then Jesus sent the apostles into the world proclaiming the invitation to the wedding feast of the Lamb of God to all who would listen, men, women, children, of every language, tribe, tongue and race. The invitation is the good news of Jesus Christ. That good news Jesus has won eternal life for every human being. All who hear about this gift and believe it has been given them have it. This good news is Jesus by his death and resurrection has justified the world and through faith in Christ you receive and are clothed with the very righteousness of God.

This is where the end of the parable comes into play. The Father is looking over all the guest that have brought into the wedding feast. All should be clothed in a wedding garment. Supposedly, wedding garments were provided in the mid-east much like jackets and ties are sometimes in finer dining establishments. So to be without one is inexcusable. If you’re not wearing one, you have refused the hospitality of the host. So too, many who hear the gospel think that life after death in a new heavens and new earth sounds like a good idea, but they want to enter into it on their own terms. They don’t want to have to be clothed with Christ righteousness. They think their righteousness is good enough. It is not. They don’t believe the good news of Jesus. So many are called but only those who have faith in the work of Christ are chosen. Don’t be like the guy who could have had a V-8. Such is one of the worst torments of hell, having heard the free gift of salvation and having it placed in their hands and having rejected it.

Lord God, heavenly Father, thank you for bringing us the invitation to the wedding banquet of your Son Jesus Christ. Grant us such faith that appropriates your righteousness that we may be found acceptable when you gather your guests into the banquet halls of heaven. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Reading: November 2

  1. #DailyDevotion Those Who Have Jesus As Savior Will Not Face Him As Judge
  2. Read Matt 21:23–46
    # Those Who Reject Jesus As Savior Will Meet Him As Judge. Mat 21:41-46 They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons.” (42) Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: “‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? (43) Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits. (44) And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.” (45) When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they perceived that he was speaking about them. (46) And although they were seeking to arrest him, they feared the crowds, because they held him to be a prophet.

By their own words the chief priest and the Pharisees condemned themselves. Like their fathers before them, they persecuted and killed the prophets who were sent to them. Their fathers did not listen to the prophets, so the nations surrounding Israel were continually defeating them eventually having the Assyrians take the northern tribes into exile and a couple of hundred years later the Babylonians took the southern tribes into exile. God sent the Greeks to punish them and finally the Romans who made an end to the temple never to be built again, because now God is building for himself a temple not made with human hands.

The leadership of the Pharisees and priest would be taken from them. God would make all who trust in his son Jesus to kings and priests with Jesus as their high priest and king. He would take from his people men to be pastors who would keep all the Lord Jesus had taught them and to teach the people of the world, that they too would come to faith in him and become kings and priests in the temple of God the Father.

Jesus is gathering to this day men, women and children from all walks of life, all situations of life and giving his kingdom to them. It doesn’t matter what sins have preceded their faith or how weak in faith they may be and they fall back into sin only to repent of those sins and return to Jesus, he gives the kingdom to such as will be humble and put their trust in him alone.

In the end, those who oppose the free gift of the kingdom of God and those who oppose Christ Jesus as their king, though the opportunity for repentance and faith were given to them, they will be crushed by the Lord Jesus Christ. They will be cast into the lake of fire where they will be tormented day and night. Those who look to Jesus alone for the forgiveness of their sins, who trust in his promise of eternal life, they will be raised or transformed from the dead to live with him in his kingdom in the new heavens and new earth.

Lord Jesus Christ, grant unto the gift of repentance, that we may confess our sins, trust in your promise of mercy and eternal life and turn away from a life of unbelief and sin. Amen.