The Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost A

With this challenge, Peter takes his place alongside Satan in the wilderness and the crowds at the crucifixion.  When Satan challenged Jesus in the wilderness, tempting him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down…,” (Mt. 4:8) Satan was putting his God to the test.  When the crowds, gathered around the cross upon which Jesus suffered, challenged Jesus, “If you are God’s Son, come down from the cross” (Mt. 27:40), those chanting with derision were putting their God to the test.  When Peter, in response to Jesus identifying himself and to Jesus giving him and the other disciples reassurance amid their fear… when Peter responded with his challenge, “Lord, if it is you….”  Peter was putting his God to the test; Peter took his place alongside Satan and the crowds.  And look what it got him.  Jesus gave him just what he asked and commanded him, “Come!”  So Peter did.  The text tells us that Peter actually reached Jesus but, as a consequence of putting his God to the test, Peter’s fear overtook his faith.  He cried out, “Lord, save me!” (Mt. 14:30).  And so, he was saved.  So, you… as you take your place alongside Peter, the crowds, and Satan in putting your God to the test… you, too, have a Lord to call upon.

Prayers from one who often takes his place in the company of Peter, the crowds, and Satan…

Father in heaven, you have given your Son all the authority of heaven and earth, place this truth in my ears and remove from me the temptation to put my Lord’s authority to the test so that fear will not overtake my faith.  For Jesus’ sake.  Amen

Father in heaven, you have given your Son all the authority of heaven and earth, as your Word enters my ears use your Holy Spirit to work faith upon me that I would trust my Lord Jesus as he wields the authority you have given him.  For Jesus’ sake.  Amen

Father in heaven, you have given your Son all the authority of heaven and earth, as the authority of Jesus takes its place in my life, grant me to trust his gift to me of eternal life.  For Jesus’ sake.  Amen

Father in heaven, you have given your Son all the authority of heaven and earth, grant to me some measure of usefulness in this old and passing away creation that I would contribute to its order rather than its chaos.  For Jesus’ sake.  Amen

Father in heaven, you have given your Son all the authority of heaven and earth, as I contribute to the good order of this creation grant to me the satisfaction of being a good neighbor.  For Jesus’ sake.  Amen

Father in heaven, you have given your Son all the authority of heaven and earth, grant to the Institute of Lutheran Theology the humility of witnessing to Jesus Christ, wielder of heaven and earth’s authority.  For Jesus’ sake.  Amen

Father in heaven, you have given your Son all the authority of heaven and earth, grant me the patience to wait for the manifestation of your Son in glory when he will openly exercise the authority you have given him over heaven and earth.  For Jesus’ sake.  Amen

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The Tenth Sunday after Pentecost A, August 6, 2023

Jesus had just ordered these disciples to give the crowd something to eat.  In response to that order, the disciples protested.  They protested out their scarcity:  only five loaves… only two fish…  They implied the meagerness of the food in hand would prove insufficient for the massive crowd before them.  Jesus proceeded as if he hadn’t heard that word of protest.  He commanded the crowds to sit; he blessed the food; and handed it over to the disciples for distribution to the crowd.  There proved to be no scarcity.  The disciples’ protest proved unfounded.  Jesus provided abundance, not scarcity… and abundance extending to a surplus greater than the initial quantity.  So, too, you—today’s disciples of Jesus Christ—protest from the scarcity of this sin-broken world.  Jesus, however, bids you go forward, anticipating the abundance of faith, a surplus of provision delivered not from the scarcity of this world but the abundant life of the world to come.

Prayers from one who habitually lives from the scarcity of this sin-broken world and not the abundance of the world to come…

Heavenly Father, you pour out your abundance upon the righteous and unrighteous alike.  Grant that I would live from the abundance of your provision and not from the scarcity of my sin.  For Jesus’ sake.  Amen

Heavenly Father, you pour out your abundance upon the righteous and unrighteous alike.  Grant that I live in such confidence of your provision that I can pour myself out in usefulness.  For Jesus’ sake.  Amen

Heavenly Father, you pour out your abundance upon the righteous and unrighteous alike.  Grant that my neighbors benefit from my being useful such that they, too, come to know God’s provision for them.  For Jesus’ sake.  Amen

Heavenly Father, you pour out your abundance upon the righteous and unrighteous alike.  Grant me not to question the worthiness of those upon whom you pour out your provision but accept my role in delivering your provision for them through my vocations and callings. For Jesus’ sake.  Amen

Heavenly Father, you pour out your abundance upon the righteous and unrighteous alike.  Grant me to receive kindness from my neighbors as they deliver your provision to me through their vocations and callings.  For Jesus’ sake.  Amen

Heavenly Father, you pour out your abundance upon the righteous and unrighteous alike.  Grant that the Institute of Lutheran Theology receives your provision for it with thankfulness and gratitude.  For Jesus’ sake.  Amen

Heavenly Father, you pour out your abundance upon the righteous and unrighteous alike.  Hold me in your provision so that I live in the confidence of confessing, “Whether I live or whether I die, I am the Lord’s.”  For Jesus’ sake.  Amen

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The Ninth Sunday after Pentecost A

These disciples of Jesus resemble nothing so much as students who want to please their teacher.  They have listened to their master bring knowledge to them beyond their comprehension.  Then, when the teacher probes their understanding, they answer in unison, “Yes, teacher.”  Their ongoing incomprehension is demonstrated during the post-resurrection encounters Jesus has with them.  Their failure to comprehend what Jesus had taught them demonstrates that they remained “untrained” for the kingdom of heaven (vs. 52).  During his forty days of resurrected life given over to them, Jesus remained their teacher.  During those days, Jesus “opened their minds to understand Scriptures” (Lk. 24:45); overcame their “doubt” (Mt. 28:16); rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart (Mk. 16:14); overcame their fear (Jn. 20:19); and corrected them regarding the restoration of the kingdom (Acts. 1:6).   Yet, ultimately, the Holy Spirit bringing ‘power from on high” (Luke 24:49) brought them the comprehension they would need to bear witness to their Lord unto the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).  So, too, for you.  You will not understand one iota of Scripture until the Holy Spirit brings you to stand under Scripture’s authority.

Prayers from one who feigns understanding while refusing to stand under scripture’s authority…

Heavenly Father, your Son Jesus Christ is the Word of God delivered through the words of God.  So use the Holy Spirit upon me that I would stand under your Son’s authority as it is delivered through the authoritative words of God and my preacher.  Grant this for the sake of your holy name:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Heavenly Father, your Son Jesus Christ is the Word of God delivered through the words of God.  As I stand under your Son’s authority, work faith upon me so that I rest in your faithfulness as relief from my anxiousness over my own lack of faith.  Grant this for the sake of your holy name:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Heavenly Father, your Son Jesus Christ is the Word of God delivered through the words of God.  As I rest in your faithfulness, let me not grow complacent or weary in the work of my hands as I deliver the goods of this creation for the benefit of my neighbors.  Grant this for the sake of your holy name:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Heavenly Father, your Son Jesus Christ is the Word of God delivered through the words of God.  As I deliver the goods of this creation, open my lips so that I would preach Christ as the one good of the New Creation available in this creation now.  Grant this for the sake of your holy name:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Heavenly Father, your Son Jesus Christ is the Word of God delivered through the words of God.  As my neighbors receive what they need for life in this creation and the next, give to them same contentment and rest I have received for the relief of their anxiety as well.  Grant this for the sake of your holy name:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Heavenly Father, your Son Jesus Christ is the Word of God delivered through the words of God.  Hold the Institute of Lutheran Theology faithful to the Word of God, Jesus Christ, delivered in the words of God, the scripture.  Grant this for the sake of your holy name:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Heavenly Father, your Son Jesus Christ is the Word of God delivered through the words of God.  As I await your Son’s manifestation in glory, keep my ears filled with the preaching of Jesus Christ and my hands set to useful tasks so that my waiting is filled with contentment and rest.  Grant this for the sake of your holy name:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen

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The Eighth Sunday after Pentecost A

Should we fear the reaper and his colleagues… the ones whom Jesus will send at the time of harvest to separate the weeds from wheat?  Resting on Jesus’ promise given us in our baptism, we can be secure that we are sons and daughters of the kingdom.  Those who should strike fear in our hearts are those who separate the weeds from the wheat prematurely.  These are the ones who discern that the field—that is, the field into which the Word of God has been sown—has weeds… has impurities… or, perhaps we should say has sinners… flourishing in its midst.  In their zeal to purify the field and protect the wheat (the righteous), the zealous would pluck out the weeds (the unrighteous).  Jesus prohibits such attempts at achieving purity.  He does so because these days are not the time for purification.  Purification will come at the time of harvest. (vs. 30).  Another reason rests upon those who would be “purifiers,” the ones who would purify prematurely.  They simply do not have the capacity to purify the field of weeds without damaging the wheat as well.  That is, the unrighteous “sons of the evil one” cannot be removed from the field without uprooting the righteous “sons of the kingdom.”  Just there is the danger we should fear:  that those zealous for purity would prematurely attempt to separate the righteous from the unrighteous.

Prayers from one who is tempted to be a zealous “purifier…”

Holy Father, you have sent your Son to be the Lord of the harvest.  Grant that I so acknowledge his Lordship that I co-exist with both sons and daughters of the kingdom and with sons and daughters of the evil one, trusting the Lord of the harvest and his reapers to know who is whom.  Father, be so merciful!

Holy Father, you have sent your Son to be the Lord of the harvest.  As I co-exist with all the others growing in the field into which your Word has been sown, grant me resistance to the temptation of being a purifier, prematurely cleansing the field of the “sons of the evil one.”  Father, be so merciful!

Holy Father, you have sent your Son to be the Lord of the harvest.  As I am encouraged against the temptation to prematurely be a purifier, grant that I am humble in the face of my neighbors’ sin, knowing that I, too, am a sinner.  Father, be so merciful!

Holy Father, you have sent your Son to be the Lord of the harvest.  Provide for me the companionship of others without anxiety whether they’re wheat or weeds.  Father, be so merciful!

Holy Father, you have sent your Son to be the Lord of the harvest.  Give me over to my neighbors as one who is useful in their obtaining of their daily bread.  Father, be so merciful!

Holy Father, you have sent your Son to be the Lord of the harvest.  Grant that the Institute of Lutheran Theology be a sower of your Word in the world.  Father, be so merciful!

Holy Father, you have sent your Son to be the Lord of the harvest. As I wait for the harvest. provide me with patience that I may wait upon you, Father, to establish the time of harvest. Father, be so merciful!

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The Seventh Sunday after Pentecost A

Jesus knows the truth about the soil—that is, he knows that soil cannot improve itself.  Soil cannot make itself good.  Only the work of another does that.  Jesus knows that, in the making of good soil out of the human heart, only the Word of God is the active agent.  He also would have known that the hearing of the Word of God and understanding it meant “standing under” the authority of the Word of God as a living and active Word of command and promise.  This Word works repentance and new life upon its hearers.  The authority of this Word orders sinners to a merciful death so that saints can be drawn forth in the newness of life.  This death-dealing/life-giving Word (1 Sam. 2:6) kills the Old Adam and the Old Eve and their works, making them fit only for compost (Is. 64:6 & Phil. 3:6-8).  Time and again, the Word of God repents you, making compost of your old life and its works.  Repeated application of such fertilizer eventually makes “good soil” of your heart and your life.  Your repeated return to repentance is the only progress available in your desire to be “good soil.”

Prayers from one who prefers a progress described as “onward and upward” over the progress known as “repeated return to repentance…”

Holy Father, you are the God who kills and makes alive.  Grant that your Son’s command, “Repent!” so work upon me that my entire life is one of repentance.  Lord, make it so!

Holy Father, you are the God who kills and makes alive.  Grant that as I am repented, I would confess my sins and receive the forgiveness of my sins such that I am brought into new life through Jesus Christ, my Lord.  Lord, make it so!

Holy Father, you are the God who kills and makes alive.  Provide for this new life given to me by nourishing it through the means of grace—Your Word and Your sacraments—so that I progress by being repented again and again.  Lord, make it so!

Holy Father, you are the God who kills and makes alive.  As I know the life of humility by that repeated repentance, set my hands to useful work in my vocations and my callings.  Lord, make it so!

Holy Father, you are the God who kills and makes alive.  Through the usefulness of my work and the humility of standing under your Word, grant me contentment during these the days of my baptism.  Lord, make it so!

Holy Father, you are the God who kills and makes alive.  Grant that the Institute of Lutheran Theology provide staff and faculty that raise up preachers of your death-dealing/life-giving Word.  Lord, make it so!

Holy Father, you are the God who kills and makes alive.  Hold me in the humility of walking by faith alone and not by sight as I await the coming of your Son in glory.  Lord, make it so!

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The Sixth Sunday after Pentecost A

Jesus speaks plainly:  The Father hides things.  He hides himself, “Truly, you are a God who hides himself” (Is. 45:15); and he hides all things in Jesus Christ (vs.27).  Why is this so?  It is so that Jesus can be the sole revelation of the Father.  Jesus, the Son, chooses the ones to whom he reveals the Father (vs. 27).  Again, Jesus speaks an exclusionary statement:  Jesus, to the exclusion of every other source, is the only one who reveals the Father.  Jesus is “the way, the truth and the life” (Jn. 14:6) to the exclusion of any other claim to be a way, any other claim to be a truth, and any other claim to be a life.  Jesus possesses “all authority” (Mt. 28:18), excluding every other claim to authority.  Jesus possesses “all things” (Mt. 11: 27) to the exclusion of anyone or anything else asserting a claim to them.   You, know it or not, are possessed by Jesus.  He excludes your being possessed by anything else… even yourself.

Prayers from one who would rather be self-possessed than Jesus-possessed…

Heavenly Father, you have hidden yourself so that you would be revealed in your Son, Jesus Christ.  Provide me with this revelation through the means of grace so that I would not seek you where you do not want to be found; through Jesus Christ, your Son, my Lord.  Amen

Heavenly Father, you have hidden yourself so that you would be revealed in your Son, Jesus Christ.  Provide me with singular reliance on your being revealed through Jesus Christ so that as I come to know him, I come to know you as well; through Jesus Christ, your Son, my Lord.  Amen

Heavenly Father, you have hidden yourself so that you would be revealed in your Son, Jesus Christ.  Provide me with the faith worked by the Holy Spirit as both you and your Son are revealed to me; through Jesus Christ, your Son, my Lord.  Amen

Heavenly Father, you have hidden yourself so that you would be revealed in your Son, Jesus Christ.  As I am held in the faith worked by the Holy Spirit, provide me with confidence such that I can pour myself out in usefulness to my neighbors; through Jesus Christ, your Son, my Lord.  Amen

Heavenly Father, you have hidden yourself so that you would be revealed in your Son, Jesus Christ.  As I am poured out in usefulness, provide me with such encouragement and building up that I do not grow weary in my service; through Jesus Christ, your Son, my Lord.  Amen

Heavenly Father, you have hidden yourself so that you would be revealed in your Son, Jesus Christ.  Grant that the Institute of Lutheran Theology be held as a place where you are made known through the preaching of Jesus Christ, him crucified, and him alone; through Jesus Christ, your Son, my Lord.  Amen

Heavenly Father, you have hidden yourself so that you would be revealed in your Son, Jesus Christ.   As I am encouraged and built up in my usefulness, keep me content in your work as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit so that I patiently await your Son’s manifestation in glory; through Jesus Christ, your Son, my Lord.  Amen

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The Fifth Sunday after Pentecost A

Jesus himself tells us there are criteria of worthiness.  To be “worthy” of Jesus means being a cross-bearer.  Luther speaks of this when describes the marks of the church.  The seventh of the seven marks is, as Luther tells us, the Holy Cross—that is, suffering.  Whoever does not bear this suffering is not “worthy” of Jesus.  In the text before us, Jesus speaks to his disciples… he speaks to all those who are called out of the world into Jesus’ presence in order to receive his gifts which are the forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation.  The ones who are called out of the world are then sent back into to world where they must suffer the hiddenness of Jesus’ gifts.  The forgiveness of sins is hidden beneath the sins they continue to commit.  The eternal life of Jesus is hidden beneath the mortality of their own flesh.  Their salvation is hidden beneath the condemnation and accusation of the law.  This is the mark of the cross to be suffered by those called out of the world to be the church of Jesus Christ.  Without bearing this mark of hiddenness, the church and its members are not worthy of their Lord.

Prayers from one who is continually tempted to throw off the mark of suffering and force Jesus’ gifts into visibility…

Father of my Lord Jesus Christ, you have sent your Son into the world to call his church out of the world.   So open my ears that I would hear his call, gather in his presence, and receive his gifts.  Merciful Father, hear my prayer.

Father of my Lord Jesus Christ, you have sent your Son into the world to call his church out of the world.   Grant that, as I bear the cross of Jesus’ gifts being hidden, I would trust in their reality because your Word has promised them to me.  Merciful Father, hear my prayer.

Father of my Lord Jesus Christ, you have sent your Son into the world to call his church out of the world.   As I am brought to trust and faith in your Word despite the gifts’ hiddenness, grant that my only worthiness consists of believing the words “given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.”  Merciful Father, hear my prayer.

Father of my Lord Jesus Christ, you have sent your Son into the world to call his church out of the world.   As I am gathered with others out of the world and into the church… into the body of Christ, grant that when I am sent out into the world once more, these fellow members of the body receive the benefits of the labor of my hands.  Merciful Father, hear my prayer.

Father of my Lord Jesus Christ, you have sent your Son into the world to call his church out of the world.   As the work of my hands proves useful to those in the world around me, hold me in the humility of walking by faith and not by sight.  Merciful Father, hear my prayer.

Father of my Lord Jesus Christ, you have sent your Son into the world to call his church out of the world.   Provide the Institute of Lutheran Theology with the means to equip and support those who are called out of the world.  Merciful Father, hear my prayer.

Father of my Lord Jesus Christ, you have sent your Son into the world to call his church out of the world.   As I anticipate that day when faith shall become sight, grant to me the patience to await that day suffering the cross of hiddenness during these days of my baptism.  Merciful Father, hear my prayer.

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The Fourth Sunday after Pentecost A

What a reassuring word from Jesus!  He has just delivered prophetic words anticipating the kind of persecution and troubles that will be visited upon his disciples as they are sent out into the world.  In the face of such persecution and troubles, Jesus tells them “Fear not!”  Why should they “fear not?”  They should fear not because they are valuable.  How valuable are they?  They are of more value than many sparrows.  How much are sparrows worth?  They are worth two for a penny (vs. 29).  Yet even these tiny birds of such insignificant worth do not escape the Father’s attention.  Their every death is noted.  So, too, for those who are commanded, “Fear not!”  Their persecution… their troubles… their death… will certainly be noted by the Father who lets nothing, not even the death of insignificant birds, escape his notice.  Now to you, your life also is worth more than many sparrows… your life is noted by the Father… all of its circumstances—persecution, trouble, and even death—do not escape the Father’s attention.  So now you can hear the promise:  your life is of so much value to the Father that he did not send sparrows to be your salvation, but he sent his Son… his only Son… Jesus Christ… to redeem you.  In Christ, you live out the command, “Fear not!”  Thanks be to God!  Amen

Prayers from one whose ears have trouble hearing the “fear not…”

Heavenly Father, gather me safely into your bosom that I may know my worth to you as I live in a world of persecution, hate, betrayal, and death.  For Jesus’ sake.  Amen

Heavenly Father, gather me safely into your bosom that I would have no fear of those who can only destroy my flesh but cannot touch the future you have promised me.  For Jesus’ sake.  Amen

Heavenly Father, gather me safely into your bosom that I would be confident of your faithfulness for your Son has given his life for mine.  For Jesus’ sake.  Amen

Heavenly Father, gather me safely into your bosom and grant that I would be joined by many neighbors, known or not known, so that together we would be the communion of saints.  For Jesus’ sake.  Amen

Heavenly Father, gather me safely into your bosom so that in the communion of saints present there I would know their conversation and their consolation.  For Jesus’ sake.  Amen

Heavenly Father, gather me safely into your bosom that I would witness within the Institute of Lutheran Theology to the surpassing worth we have in the person of Jesus Christ.  For Jesus’ sake.  Amen

Heavenly Father, gather me safely into your bosom so that my wait for Jesus’ manifestation in glory would be one of contentment in my usefulness to family, community, and congregation.  For Jesus’ sake.  Amen

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The Third Sunday after Pentecost A

Jesus provides his disciples with a foretaste of their apostolic sending which he will make after his resurrection.  Here, Jesus restricts their sending to the “lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Mt. 10:6).  At the future sending, Jesus puts no restriction on their sending but tells them to go to the ends of the earth.  At this sending, Jesus instructs them to preach the presence of the kingdom of heaven (also known as the kingdom of God).  Their preaching is to have the same content as Jesus’ preaching (cf. Mt. 9:35).  At that future sending, those sent out are to bear witness to Jesus Christ for he is the presence of the kingdom of heaven.  As the kingdom of heaven is preached to the lost sheep of Israel, its presence is established and its benefits realized.  That is, the people receive the healing of their sicknesses and infirmities… they have death put behind them… their demons are cast out.  The people receive these gifts without paying and without cost (witness the prophecy of Isaiah 55:1).  Now to you… you receive the preaching of the kingdom of heaven.  The kingdom is established in your presence so that, in faith, you would receive the same benefits as those lost sheep of Israel:  healing, newness of life, and freedom from demons.  You have ears.  May they be ears to hear the kingdom of heaven preached to you so that you might have such faith.

Prayers from one who’d establish the kingdom of heaven by his own work rather than having it established through the preaching of Christ, Him crucified, and Him alone…

Father in heaven, you sent your one and only Son to establish your kingdom’s presence among us.  Grant that I hear the preaching of Jesus Christ, Him crucified, and Him alone so that I do not look to the work of my hands to bring in the kingdom; through Jesus Christ, your Son, my Lord.  Amen

Father in heaven, you sent your one and only Son to establish your kingdom’s presence among us.  Grant that as I hear the preaching of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit works through the means of grace to establish me in the faith so that the kingdom is now present to me; through Jesus Christ, your Son, my Lord.  Amen

Father in heaven, you sent your one and only Son to establish your kingdom’s presence among us.    Grant that as I am established in faith by the Holy Spirit, I have no need to look to other gods or idols for reassurance or comfort; through Jesus Christ, your Son, my Lord.  Amen

Father in heaven, you sent your one and only Son to establish your kingdom’s presence among us.   Grant that as other gods and idols are stripped from me I can look to the duties and tasks of my callings and vocations; through Jesus Christ, your Son, my Lord.  Amen

Father in heaven, you sent your one and only Son to establish your kingdom’s presence among us.   Grant that in the midst of fulfilling my callings and vocations I may prove useful to my neighbors in the provision of their daily bread; through Jesus Christ, your Son, my Lord.  Amen

Father in heaven, you sent your one and only Son to establish your kingdom’s presence among us.   Grant that the Institute of Lutheran Theology so fulfill its calling and vocation that Jesus Christ, Him crucified, and Him alone is preached into whatever ears are there to hear; through Jesus Christ, your Son, my Lord.  Amen

Father in heaven, you sent your one and only Son to establish your kingdom’s presence among us.  Grant that during these days of my baptism, my ears are filled with your Word, Jesus Christ, by the preachers you have sent to me, so that my house and all who enter it would know your peace; through Jesus Christ, your Son, my Lord.  Amen

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The Second Sunday after Pentecost A

Those Pharisees hear a command from Jesus, “Go and learn!”  This imperative exposes them in their lack of understanding.  In their questioning of Jesus regarding his behavior toward tax collectors and sinners, these Pharisees assumed that “birds of a feather flocked together”—that is, for Jesus to associate with such unclean sinners meant that Jesus himself proved unclean.  The Pharisees considered themselves to be hard workers at their righteousness… sacrificing much of their time and inclinations for the sake of obedience to the Law of Moses—it was their righteousness.  Jesus’ command to them, however, reveals that their sacrifice, no matter how greatly esteemed by themselves and their colleagues, was not at the top of the Lord’s list of priorities.  No, mercy topped that list.  The Pharisees were commanded by Jesus to go and learn what the prophet Hosea meant when he declared, “For I delight in faithfulness, not simply in sacrifice” (Hosea 6:6).  By depending upon their own obedience and sacrifice, the Pharisees simply did not trust God’s mercy and faithfulness but behaved unfaithfully and without mercy.  Jesus’ command comes down to us, challenging us and commanding us, “Go and learn…!” whenever our behavior comes between us and God’s mercy and God’s faithfulness.

Prayers from one who often needs to go and learn our God’s desire for faithfulness over sacrifice…

Heavenly Father, open my eyes to see my sin-sick soul that I may know my sin, my lack of righteousness, and my need to hear the call of Jesus.  Faithful Lord, hear my prayer.

Heavenly Father, open my eyes to see my sin-sick soul that, in hearing the call of Jesus, I would repent of reliance on my own obedience and sacrifice.  And, in that repentance, follow Jesus as my Lord and receive his gifts—the forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation.  Faithful Lord, hear my prayer.

Heavenly Father, open my eyes to see my sin-sick soul that, having been repented and having received Jesus’ gifts, I would enjoy the life given me by Jesus in both this world and the next.  Faithful Lord, hear my prayer.

Heavenly Father, open my eyes to see my sin-sick soul that, as I enjoy the life Jesus gives me, I would see my neighbor’s needs for life as well and be the delivery system of God’s answer to their prayer for daily bread.  Faithful Lord, hear my prayer.

Heavenly Father, open my eyes to see my sin-sick soul that, as I deliver daily bread to my neighbors, I would not be tempted to rely upon this obedience and sacrifice as my righteousness.  Faithful Lord, hear my prayer.

Heavenly Father open, my eyes to see my sin-sick soul that, as I come to receive my righteousness solely from Jesus Christ, I may encourage the Institute of Lutheran Theology to preach and teach Jesus Christ, him crucified, and him alone, as the sole source of our righteousness.  Faithful Lord, hear my prayer.

Heavenly Father, open my eyes to see my sin-sick soul that, as I enjoy the righteousness of Jesus Christ, I would wait in contentment and anticipation for the coming of my Lord Christ in glory, confident that my glory too would be revealed.  Faithful Lord, hear my prayer.

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