News & 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 Thirteenth Sunday After Pentecost C

The Thirteenth Sunday After Pentecost C

Luke 14:25-36

So therefore, any one of you who does not
renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple
(vs. 33)

Jesus ups the ante on Isaiah. Isaiah had confessed his surrender to being unclean; he had announced that all his righteous deeds were as filthy rags (cf. Is. 64:6). Jesus ups the ante: not just righteous deeds but “all that you have” must be renounced. All things that could even remotely be considered “yours” falls under renunciation… relegated to that unclean pile of filthy rags. Sinners protest, “Surely, Jesus, there must be something that I can call my own?” Not so! All things are to be renounced, even that most prized possession of sinners: their “I.” The “I” at their center is the hardest surrender for sinners. So hard, in fact, that sinners find it impossible. Jesus must come like that thief in the night and steal it away, putting it to death by God’s “stroke of grace,” his coup de grac. This mercy killing is the final renunciation, doing for sinners what they could not do for themselves. The Word of God, however, continues to speak into those dead and now empty ears… ears empty of every competing word. God’s Word speaks words of life and words of promise and raises those dead sinners to walk in newness of life.

Prayers from one bound to his failure at renouncing his “I”…

Heavenly Father, release me from my bondage to self, grace me with my death beneath the law, and the mercy of having Christ as my life. Amen

Heavenly Father, release me from my bondage to self, so establish me in faith that my resurrected life in your eternal kingdom is reality, a reality to faith now and sight then. Amen

Heavenly Father, release me from my bondage to self, so strip away those righteous deeds of mine which I covet so completely and fill me with a righteousness that is not my own but Christ’s alone. Amen

Heavenly Father, release me from my bondage to self so that I might be of use to others. Amen

Heavenly Father, release me from my bondage self that, rather than be curved-in-upon-myself, I would be straightened up and have eyes to see my neighbor and her needs. Amen

Heavenly Father, release me from my bondage to self that I would be of use to one particular neighbor, the Institute of Lutheran Theology. Amen

Heavenly Father, release me from my bondage to self so that these days, the days of my baptism, would be filled with the hope and anticipation of your Son’s return in glory. Amen