Based on Luke 9:37-50
“Who is this Jesus?” In spite of all that Jesus has said and done, it appears the disciples still don’t understand. He casts out an evil spirit after the disciples could not — and all were astonished at the majesty of God at work in Jesus. While they were all marveling at everything He was doing, it is clear the disciples, impressed by the miracles and wonders in their midst, do not yet grasp what Jesus is really all about. He says, “Let these words sink into your ears”…I am not here to impress you with healings and exorcisms. “The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men.” But they didn’t understand this saying and it was concealed from them, so that they might not perceive it. And they were afraid to ask Him what He meant by this saying.
Luke explains that the truth about Jesus must have been concealed from the disciples, because they continued to lack understanding. Jesus has spoken plainly about His approaching arrest, suffering and death, yet they did not understand, and they were afraid to ask. How could the disciples be so dull and unwitting? How could they fail to understand who Jesus is and why He came? Could the same be said of us, Jesus’ disciples and followers today?
While the daily reading guide wasn’t prepared to follow the liturgical year, it is helpful that these passages come as we are just steps away from Jerusalem, Palm Sunday and Holy Week. They challenge us to ask, who is this Jesus, and what does His death and resurrection mean for me?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, let the words you speak sink into my ears. Open my ears and my heart. Amen.
Lenten response: Plan now to attend Holy Week services. What needs to be adjusted so that you are able?
This year’s devotional was prepared by the Rev. Dr. David Wendel, NALC assistant to the bishop for ministry and ecumenism. To learn more about A Lenten Walk Through the Word, visit thenalc.org/lent.
Scripture quotations are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
2 Chron. 20:1–23
20:1 Later the Moabites and Ammonites, along with some of the Meunites, attacked Jehoshaphat. 2Messengers arrived and reported to Jehoshaphat, “A huge army is attacking you from the other side of the Dead Sea, from the direction of Edom. Look, they are in Hazezon Tamar (that is, En Gedi).” 3Jehoshaphat was afraid, so he decided to seek the Lord’s advice. He decreed that all Judah should observe a fast. 4The people of Judah assembled to ask for the Lord’s help; they came from all the cities of Judah to ask for the Lord’s help.
5Jehoshaphat stood before the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem at the Lord’s temple, in front of the new courtyard. 6He prayed: “O Lord God of our ancestors, you are the God who lives in heaven and rules over all the kingdoms of the nations. You possess strength and power; no one can stand against you. 7Our God, you drove out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and gave it as a permanent possession to the descendants of your friend Abraham. 8They settled down in it and built in it a temple to honor you, saying, 9‘If disaster comes on us in the form of military attack, judgment, plague, or famine, we will stand in front of this temple before you, for you are present in this temple. We will cry out to you for help in our distress, so that you will hear and deliver us.’ 10Now the Ammonites, Moabites, and men from Mount Seir are coming! When Israel came from the land of Egypt, you did not allow them to invade these lands. They bypassed them and did not destroy them. 11Look how they are repaying us! They come to drive us out of our allotted land which you assigned to us! 12Our God, will you not judge them? For we are powerless against this huge army that attacks us! We don’t know what we should do; we look to you for help.”
13All the men of Judah were standing before the Lord, along with their infants, wives, and children. 14Then in the midst of the assembly, the Lord’s Spirit came upon Jachaziel son of Zechariah, son of Benaiah, son of Jeiel, son of Mattaniah, a Levite and descendant of Asaph. 15He said: “Pay attention, all you people of Judah, residents of Jerusalem, and King Jehoshaphat! This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Don’t be afraid and don’t panic because of this huge army! For the battle is not yours, but God’s. 16Tomorrow march down against them as they come up the Ascent of Ziz. You will find them at the end of the ravine in front of the wilderness of Jeruel. 17You will not fight in this battle. Take your positions, stand, and watch the Lord deliver you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Don’t be afraid and don’t panic! Tomorrow march out toward them; the Lord is with you!’”
18Jehoshaphat bowed down with his face toward the ground, and all the people of Judah and the residents of Jerusalem fell down before the Lord and worshiped him. 19Then some Levites, from the Kohathites and Korahites, got up and loudly praised the Lord God of Israel.
20Early the next morning they marched out to the wilderness of Tekoa. When they were ready to march, Jehoshaphat stood up and said: “Listen to me, you people of Judah and residents of Jerusalem! Trust in the Lord your God and you will be safe! Trust in the message of his prophets and you will win.” 21He met with the people and appointed musicians to play before the Lord and praise his majestic splendor. As they marched ahead of the warriors they said: “Give thanks to the Lord, for his loyal love endures.”
22When they began to shout and praise, the Lord suddenly attacked the Ammonites, Moabites, and men from Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. 23The Ammonites and Moabites attacked the men from Mount Seir and annihilated them. When they had finished off the men of Seir, they attacked and destroyed one another. (NET Bible)
88:1 A song, a psalm written by the Korahites; for the music director; according to the machalath-leannoth style; a well-written song by Heman the Ezrachite.
O Lord God who delivers me!
By day I cry out
and at night I pray before you.
2Listen to my prayer!
Pay attention to my cry for help!
3For my life is filled with troubles
and I am ready to enter Sheol.
4They treat me like those who descend into the grave.
I am like a helpless man,
5adrift among the dead,
like corpses lying in the grave,
whom you remember no more,
and who are cut off from your power.
6You place me in the lowest regions of the Pit,
in the dark places, in the watery depths.
7Your anger bears down on me,
and you overwhelm me with all your waves. (Selah)
8You cause those who know me to keep their distance;
you make me an appalling sight to them.
I am trapped and cannot get free.
9My eyes grow weak because of oppression.
I call out to you, O Lord, all day long;
I spread out my hands in prayer to you.
10Do you accomplish amazing things for the dead?
Do the departed spirits rise up and give you thanks? (Selah)
11Is your loyal love proclaimed in the grave,
or your faithfulness in the place of the dead?
12Are your amazing deeds experienced in the dark region,
or your deliverance in the land of oblivion?
13As for me, I cry out to you, O Lord;
in the morning my prayer confronts you.
14O Lord, why do you reject me,
and pay no attention to me?
15I am oppressed and have been on the verge of death since my youth.
I have been subjected to your horrors and am numb with pain.
16Your anger overwhelms me;
your terrors destroy me.
17They surround me like water all day long;
they join forces and encircle me.
18You cause my friends and neighbors to keep their distance;
those who know me leave me alone in the darkness.(NET Bible)
9:37 Now on the next day, when they had come down from the mountain, a large crowd met him. 38Then a man from the crowd cried out, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son – he is my only child! 39A spirit seizes him, and he suddenly screams; it throws him into convulsions and causes him to foam at the mouth. It hardly ever leaves him alone, torturing him severely. 40I begged your disciples to cast it out, but they could not do so.” 41Jesus answered, “You unbelieving and perverse generation! How much longer must I be with you and endure you? Bring your son here.” 42As the boy was approaching, the demon threw him to the ground and shook him with convulsions. But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, healed the boy, and gave him back to his father. 43Then they were all astonished at the mighty power of God.
But while the entire crowd was amazed at everything Jesus was doing, he said to his disciples, 44“Take these words to heart, for the Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men.” 45But they did not understand this statement; its meaning had been concealed from them, so that they could not grasp it. Yet they were afraid to ask him about this statement.
46Now an argument started among the disciples as to which of them might be the greatest. 47But when Jesus discerned their innermost thoughts, he took a child, had him stand by his side, 48and said to them, “Whoever welcomes this child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me, for the one who is least among you all is the one who is great.”
49John answered, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him because he is not a disciple along with us.” 50But Jesus said to him, “Do not stop him, for whoever is not against you is for you.”(NET Bible)
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016.
Scripture is the primum principium; it is [Luther writes] “in itself the most certain, the most accessible, the most readily understandable (book) which interprets itself and approves, judges, and illumines all (words) of all.” It must “reign as queen.” (18)
–Johann Michael Reu, Luther on the Scriptures
This daily Bible reading guide, Reading the Word of God, was conceived and prepared as a result of the ongoing discussions between representatives of three church bodies: Lutheran Church—Canada (LCC), The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) and the North American Lutheran Church (NALC). The following individuals have represented their church bodies and approved this introduction and the reading guide: LCC: President Robert Bugbee; NALC: Bishop John Bradosky, Revs. Mark Chavez, James Nestingen, and David Wendel; LCMS: Revs. Albert Collver, Joel Lehenbauer, John Pless, and Larry Vogel.