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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 Third Sunday After Epiphany A

The Third Sunday After Epiphany A

Matthew 4:12-25

“And he [Jesus] went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease…” (Mt. 4:23). 

Of first importance here is “proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom….”  In the course of Jesus’ ministry, this good news of the kingdom became overshadowed by the miracles worked by Jesus—the healings, the casting out of demons, the feedings, etc.  Jesus, though, never ceased to preach the good news of the kingdom of God.  He never ceased commanding the people’s repentance—that is, for them to receive the kingdom as here and now rather than far off and future.  Jesus himself embodied the presence of the kingdom.  All those miracles which so attracted the people were themselves a witness to the kingdom’s presence… evidence of the wholeness and salvation within it.  Jesus would express frustration over the people’s inability to repent… to look beyond the miracles and behold the kingdom, e.g., “You are seeking me… because you ate your fill of the loaves…” (Jn. 6:26).  While our flesh still adheres and we remain sinners, Satan’s accusation against Job—Is it for nothing that Job fears God? (Jb.1:9)—is his accusation against us as well.  Time after time, we prove Satan true:  We love the benefits of loving God… of fearing God… of worshiping God.  As for God himself?  Not so much.

Prayers from one who loves God’s benefit plan but must confess some trouble in loving God himself…

Heavenly Father, your kingdom comes without my praying for it, grant me to hear rightly your Son’s proclamation of it… that it has come also to me, right here and right now.  For Jesus’ sake.  Amen

Heavenly Father, your kingdom comes without my praying for it, grant that you draw me into Jesus Christ, the love of God, so that even my unfaithfulness is covered over by his faithfulness.  For Jesus’ sake.  Amen

Heavenly Father, your kingdom comes without my praying for it, grant me such a life of faith that I would live out of the reality of your kingdom’s presence, knowing the healing and wholeness that I have there.  For Jesus’ sake.  Amen

Heavenly Father, your kingdom comes without my praying for it, repent me of my fervent desire to advance the kingdom by my own understanding or effort which makes my neighbors mere implements of my plan.  For Jesus’ sake.  Amen

Heavenly Father, your kingdom comes without my praying for it, turn me to the one thing available for me to do in advancing your kingdom and that is the preaching of Jesus Christ, him crucified, and him alone handed over to be the life of dead sinners.  For Jesus’ sake.  Amen

Heavenly Father, your kingdom comes without my praying for it, look upon the Institute of Lutheran Theology, which you have first called forth and then sent out, keep it true to its mission of preaching Christ.  For Jesus’ sake.  Amen

Heavenly Father, your kingdom comes without my praying for it, so hold me in the promises of my baptism that I await with patience and anticipation that great and glorious day of my Lord when he is manifest in all his glory.  Do not let me seize after my glory prematurely.  For Jesus’ sake.  Amen

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