Archive for the ‘repentance’ tag
The text for this lesson is Genesis 21:1–7; 22:1–19.
- As God provided a sacrifice for Abraham and Isaac, so He provides the perfect sacrifice for our sin, His Son, Jesus, the Lamb of God.
- Law: God demands that I trust Him completely.
- Gospel: Because of Christ’s atoning sacrifice, God gives me faith to trust in Him.
- Law: God tests my faith.
- Gospel: Jesus was tested in every way and grants me strength to trust God when my faith is tested.
- Law: God requires a sacrifice (payment) for my sin.
- Gospel: God sacrificed His own Son, Jesus, for me.
- Compare Isaac to our Lord Jesus Christ. There are stark similarities. Yet, there is one crucial difference. What is this difference? How does this difference display our heavenly Father’s sacrificial love for us? Read 1 Corinthians 10:13. What did our heavenly Father put His Son through that He did not ask of Isaac? How did His providing of a ram to Abraham and Isaac foreshadow the Lamb of God, who took our place on the sacrificial wood of the cross?
- Genesis 22:1 describes the sacrifice as a test. Certainly Abraham felt that the desire to protect his son conflicted with his desire to submit to the will of his gracious Father in heaven. This was more of a result of the real test than the test itself. What was the real test?
- Mount Moriah, where the sacrifice of Isaac took place, would later become the location for the temple. See 2 Chronicles 3:1. The ram that took the place of Isaac would be the first of hundreds of thousands of beasts to die for the sins of the Church. Skim Exodus 29:38–46 and Leviticus 5:14–19. Now read Mark 14:53, 64. Where did Jesus receive His death sentence and from whom did He receive it? The lambs and rams of Leviticus 5 were measured out in silver. With what coinage was our sacrificial ram bought?
- God provided a ram as a sign to accompany His Word. From whence did the ram come? Why does God continually bring forth a visible, tangible sign of His promises of mercy for us even as He gave Abraham the ram while He spoke with him from heaven?
- After the test, God reaffirmed His promise concerning the multitude of Abraham’s offspring. God’s promises seem to be conditional based on Abraham’s actions. Read James 2:21–23. How does James not contradict the Christian doctrine of justification before God by faith alone? Was Abraham’s promise granted to him because of his works or his faith?
- Read Job 19:25–27. How does Job’s profession of faith complement Abraham’s
trust in the resurrection of the Redeemer and, consequently, his belief in Isaac’s own rising on the Last Day?
- Moses adds that the mountain is called this to this day (Moses’ day). What does the fact that Abraham named the mountain after God’s work rather than his own signify to the future generations? How does God’s providing on this mountain relate to them now? How does it relate to us?
- Your church is also the place of God’s visitation. In your church, He gives His gifts of forgiveness and salvation through the Word and Sacraments. How does your church name reflect that “Yahweh will provide” in this space?
The text for this lesson is Luke 7:36–50.
1. Today draws us deep into the Lenten season. As we have seen in previous weeks, the theme of Lent is repentance, which is brought about when God’s Law shows us our sinfulness and the Gospel shows us God’s promise of forgiveness for Jesus’ sake. Repentance includes both sorrow over sin and faith in God’s forgiveness. Last week, we saw how the prodigal son’s father showed great love and mercy toward him, moving him to repentance. This week, we see how a sinful woman encountered the love and forgiveness of Jesus, which moved her to repentance, saving faith in Him, and also great love for Him. She was not saved by her works of love but by trusting in Jesus. How does Romans 4:4–5 explain why faith is not a work done by people? What does Romans 4:6–8 say is the essence of the righteousness of faith, such as the faith that the sinful woman had in Jesus?
2. Luke provides the only account among the Gospel writers of the sinful woman anointing Jesus’ feet with tears and ointment. Matthew, Mark, and John describe a woman coming to Jesus soon before His Passion in order to anoint His head with oil. Though Luke records a different event than the other evangelists, the anointing of Jesus in Luke might have the same symbolic value as the anointing recorded in the others. According to Matthew 26:12, what was the purpose of Jesus’ anointing? How is this lesson especially appropriate as we approach Holy Week?
3. In Luke 7:36–39, it is mentioned four times that Simon, the man Jesus was invited to eat with, was a Pharisee. As we read through Luke’s Gospel, we learn a number of important facts about the Pharisees that help us understand why Jesus often criticized them. In Luke 7:30, we hear that the Pharisees rejected God’s purposes for themselves because they refused the Baptism of repentance of John the Baptist. In Luke 11:39, when the Pharisees noticed that Jesus did not ceremonially wash before the meal, Jesus said, “You Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness.” In Luke 15:2, they complained about Jesus welcoming and eating with sinners. Later, Jesus tells the story of the Pharisee who went to the temple to pray, saying, “God, I thank you that I am not like other men” (Luke 18:11). In today’s lesson, it seems that Luke wanted to make sure that the hearer of His Gospel would pick up on the fact that Simon was a Pharisee. What clue could this fact indicate about the way the story will unfold? Do we still have Pharisees in our midst today?
4. We confess in the Nicene Creed that Jesus Christ is “God of God, light of light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.” What things does Jesus do in today’s lesson from Luke 7 that only God can do?
5. What actions demonstrate Simon’s rejection of Jesus as the greatest Prophet, the Messiah? What is ironic about Simon’s statement, “If this man were a prophet, He would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner” (Luke 7:39)? According to Luke 5:20–21 and Luke 7:49, what work of Jesus scandalized the Pharisees more than any other?
6. What is the main point of the parable of two debtors? Which of the debtors represents us?
7. The sinful woman would have been banned from table fellowship with the Pharisees because of her outwardly sinful life, which made her unclean. She shows great love for Jesus and welcomes Him as the most honored guest, unlike Simon the Pharisee. The contrast between the woman and the Pharisee is striking. Jesus says to Simon, “I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little” (Luke 7:47). Does this verse indicate that the woman was forgiven because she loved Jesus or that she loved Jesus because she was forgiven? How do the second half of the verse and the parable of the two debtors help us find the right answer? How does 1 John 4:19 shed light on this question?
8. Throughout Luke’s Gospel, Jesus shares table fellowship with tax collectors, sinners, and Pharisees. In today’s lesson, the woman was one of those sinners whom Jesus ate with and to whom He delivered forgiveness. Jesus ate with the Pharisees, but they did not desire His forgiveness. According to Luke 13:26–27, what will be Jesus’ message on the Last Day for Pharisees who ate at the same table with Jesus but did not believe in Him? What words of warning does Luke 13 give to us today as we gather around our Lord’s Table?
9. The Pharisees had tamed God’s Law by making it manageable. They thought they could fulfill it. They thought life could be lived without sin. Occasionally, you will encounter people today who believe the same thing. Their delusion is just another sign of how deeply sin penetrates us all. Left to our own devices, we can even fool ourselves into thinking that we are not sinful! But Paul says in Romans 3:23, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” When we realize that, we will appreciate why we needed Jesus to come save us. What does Luke 1:77 tell us is Jesus’ mission? How was His mission completed, according to Ephesians 1:7?
10. The liturgy for Holy Communion takes us through a remarkable transition. As we enter, we are poor, miserable sinners. When we receive the Benediction, the Lord blesses us with the gift of peace as we depart. Jesus tells the woman in today’s lesson, “Your sins are forgiven. Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” The Lord shares the same message with us in the Divine Service. Peace with God is found throughout the liturgy, in particular with the words of Absolution and the preaching of the Gospel, and culminates within the Service of Holy Communion. After the Words of Institution are spoken and Christ’s body and blood are present on the altar, the pastor says, “The peace of the Lord be with you always.” Our peace comes from the altar. After we receive the Lord’s body and blood, we are told to “Depart in peace.” In the Nunc Dimittis, we sing, “Lord, now let Your servant depart in peace.” According to Romans 5:1, what is the cause of our peace with God?
The text for this lesson is the book of Jonah.
- Just as Jonah was swallowed up in the belly of the fish for three days, so Jesus, in His crucifixion, was baptized into the sea of death, drowned in our depravities, devoured by the grave, and spewed forth alive again after three days and nights that He might save us, the Assyrians, the Ninevites, and Jonah.
- Law: In my sin, I judge and condemn others. I am unforgiving because I am blind to my own sin and guilt.
- Gospel: God, who sees my sin, is rich in mercy and forgives me for Jesus’ sake.
The Assyrians were the forerunners of the world’s Hitlers, Mussolinis, and their ilk. Icyblooded, tyrannical people were they, infamous for such crimes as impaling conquered peoples on tall poles. And, as if to boast to their posterity, they chiseled stones with pictures of such brutality! They were easy to hate, in other words. Jonah’s lack of love for them would have been shared by very many of his countrymen. Nineveh’s repentance and faith following Jonah’s preaching would not last forever. About a century later (around 650 BC), Nahum lambasted Nineveh for its evil ways, but his message went unheeded. This led to the city’s destruction by God, through the Babylonians, in 612 BC.
The text for this lesson is John 21:1–19.
- We are all like Peter in our words and actions, denying our Lord and weeping bitterly over what we have done. We are in need of the same comfort that Peter received—the comfort of sins forgiven and the assurance that even though we are faithless, Jesus will remain faithful.
- Law: God demands that I love Him and none other solely and completely. In my sin, I worship whatever pleases me the most at the time.
- Gospel: God’s love is everlasting and ever faithful; when I deny Him, He acknowledges me for Christ’s sake.
In John’s Gospel, Jesus appears to His disciples three times after His resurrection: on the actual day of resurrection (John 20:19–23); a week later, when Thomas was present (20:24–29); and here, at the Sea of Tiberias (Galilee). The event has echoes of a much earlier occasion, when Jesus called these men to be His disciples, for at that time too, they caught tons of fish after heeding Jesus’ words (Luke 5:1–7).