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The Institute of Lutheran theology not only provides programs to train pastors and teachers, but it also provides educational and devotional resources for individuals and congregations. These resources are provided free of charge and made available through our web page. Please subscribe to and use any of these resources.

The Institute of Lutheran theology not only provides programs to train pastors and teachers, but it also provides educational and devotional resources for individuals and congregations. These resources are provided free of charge and made available through our web page. Please subscribe to and use any of these resources.

The Fourth Sunday in Lent, March 10, 2024

The Fourth Sunday in Lent, March 10, 2024

The crowd followed Jesus out of its own self-interest.  The people, members of the crowd, had witnessed the healings Jesus had performed upon the sick… had witnessed the demons cast out from the possessed… had witnessed these signs, and coveted them for themselves—that is, they were concerned for their own self-interest.  This self-interest is confirmed when we come to the conclusion of our text.  First, we are told that the people witness the feeding of the crowd, realize that it’s a sign, and proclaim Jesus a prophet (vs. 14).  Then, out of their concern for their own self-interest, the people would seize him and make him king (vs. 15).  They would impose a responsibility upon him:  provide for us and for our self-interest.  The crowd’s reaction exposes it in its sinfulness.  The Scripture text exposes us in our own sinfulness.  We want Jesus… we want God… we want the religious life for what we can get out of it.  When you are enticed to believe in God and his Son, Jesus Christ, by the benefits promised to you—that is, the forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation—you fall prey to indulging your own self-interest.  You are guilty, then, of Satan’s accusation delivered in Job 1:9.  You love God for your benefit rather than loving God for himself.  That self-interested love is the bondage of your will.

Prayers from those bound to their own self-interest…

Heavenly Father, your abundance falls upon the righteous and the unrighteous alike, grant me to confess the coveting of my own self-interest that I may love you and your Son for yourselves alone.  Merciful Lord, hear my prayer.

Heavenly Father, your abundance falls upon the righteous and the unrighteous alike, grant me to receive your abundance as a blessing upon my love for you rather than its cause.  Merciful Lord, hear my prayer.

Heavenly Father, your abundance falls upon the righteous and the unrighteous alike, grant me to love you even when your abundance fails to be obvious and is so far from my sight.  Merciful Lord, hear my prayer.

Heavenly Father, your abundance falls upon the righteous and the unrighteous alike, grant me to forgive the unrighteous ones when your abundance falls upon them in plentitude.  Merciful Lord, hear my prayer.

Heavenly Father, your abundance falls upon the righteous and the unrighteous alike, grant that the unrighteous forgive me when I receive blessing beyond measure while they do not.  Merciful Lord, hear my prayer.

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