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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 Second Sunday after Pentecost A

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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