Based on Luke 9:51-10:12
At this point in His ministry, already, Jesus’ face “was set toward Jerusalem.” This might seem a simple comment, but throughout the Gospels, it indicates not just geographic orientation, but that Jesus’ entire life and ministry was headed toward Jerusalem and the cross. It is ironic then, that someone along the way offers to follow Jesus, and others say they will come follow, if only they can take time to tie up personal matters at home first. Jesus’ journey to the cross won’t allow such distractions and diversions. Once again, we are struck with the immediacy and urgency of Jesus’ mission. The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few. And Jesus has little time left to reach those living in darkness and the fear of death. He needs followers who are willing to step out in faith quickly, passionately, concerned for the sick and the sinful, ready to proclaim that the kingdom of God has come near. Perhaps this Holy Week and Easter will be a time of renewal in each of us, that we may indeed be laborers in the harvest.
Prayer: Lord, send out laborers into the harvest. Here am I, send me, empower me, use me! Amen.
Lenten response: Offer a prayer today for all pastors and seminarians who labor in the harvest.
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. 20:24–37
20:24 When the men of Judah arrived at the observation post overlooking the wilderness and looked at the huge army, they saw dead bodies on the ground; there were no survivors! 25Jehoshaphat and his men went to gather the plunder; they found a huge amount of supplies, clothing, and valuable items. They carried away everything they could. There was so much plunder, it took them three days to haul it off.
26On the fourth day they assembled in the Valley of Berachah, where they praised the Lord. So that place is called the Valley of Berachah to this very day. 27Then all the men of Judah and Jerusalem returned joyfully to Jerusalem with Jehoshaphat leading them; the Lord had given them reason to rejoice over their enemies. 28They entered Jerusalem to the sound of stringed instruments and trumpets and proceeded to the temple of the Lord. 29All the kingdoms of the surrounding lands were afraid of God when they heard how the Lord had fought against Israel’s enemies. 30Jehoshaphat’s kingdom enjoyed peace; his God made him secure on every side.
31Jehoshaphat reigned over Judah. He was thirty-five years old when he became king and he reigned for twenty-five years in Jerusalem. His mother was Azubah, the daughter of Shilhi. 32He followed in his father Asa’s footsteps and was careful to do what the Lord approved. 33However, the high places were not eliminated; the people were still not devoted to the God of their ancestors.
34The rest of the events of Jehoshaphat’s reign, from start to finish, are recorded in the Annals of Jehu son of Hanani, which are included in the Scroll of the Kings of Israel.
35Later King Jehoshaphat of Judah made an alliance with King Ahaziah of Israel, who did evil. 36They agreed to make large seagoing merchant ships; they built the ships in Ezion Geber. 37Eliezer son of Dodavahu from Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat, “Because you made an alliance with Ahaziah, the Lord will shatter what you have made.” The ships were wrecked and unable to go to sea.(NET Bible)
89:1 A well-written song by Ethan the Ezrachite.
I will sing continually about the Lord’s faithful deeds;
to future generations I will proclaim your faithfulness.
2For I say, “Loyal love is permanently established;
in the skies you set up your faithfulness.”
3The Lord said,
“I have made a covenant with my chosen one;
I have made a promise on oath to David, my servant:
4 ‘I will give you an eternal dynasty
and establish your throne throughout future generations.’” (Selah)
5O Lord, the heavens praise your amazing deeds,
as well as your faithfulness in the angelic assembly.
6For who in the skies can compare to the Lord?
Who is like the Lord among the heavenly beings,
7a God who is honored in the great angelic assembly,
and more awesome than all who surround him?
8O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies!
Who is strong like you, O Lord?
Your faithfulness surrounds you.
9You rule over the proud sea.
When its waves surge, you calm them.
10You crushed the Proud One and killed it;
with your strong arm you scattered your enemies.
11The heavens belong to you, as does the earth.
You made the world and all it contains.
12You created the north and the south.
Tabor and Hermon rejoice in your name.
13Your arm is powerful,
your hand strong,
your right hand victorious.
14Equity and justice are the foundation of your throne.
Loyal love and faithfulness characterize your rule.
15How blessed are the people who worship you!
O Lord, they experience your favor.
16They rejoice in your name all day long,
and are vindicated by your justice.
17For you give them splendor and strength.
By your favor we are victorious.
18For our shield belongs to the Lord,
our king to the Holy One of Israel.
19Then you spoke through a vision to your faithful followers and said:
“I have placed a young hero over a warrior;
I have raised up a young man from the people.
20I have discovered David, my servant.
With my holy oil I have anointed him as king.
21My hand will support him,
and my arm will strengthen him.
22No enemy will be able to exact tribute from him;
a violent oppressor will not be able to humiliate him.
23I will crush his enemies before him;
I will strike down those who hate him.
24He will experience my faithfulness and loyal love,
and by my name he will win victories.
25I will place his hand over the sea,
his right hand over the rivers.
26He will call out to me,
‘You are my father, my God, and the protector who delivers me.’
27I will appoint him to be my firstborn son,
the most exalted of the earth’s kings.
28I will always extend my loyal love to him,
and my covenant with him is secure.
29I will give him an eternal dynasty,
and make his throne as enduring as the skies above.
30If his sons reject my law
and disobey my regulations,
31if they break my rules
and do not keep my commandments,
32I will punish their rebellion by beating them with a club,
their sin by inflicting them with bruises.
33But I will not remove my loyal love from him,
nor be unfaithful to my promise.
34I will not break my covenant
or go back on what I promised.
35Once and for all I have vowed by my own holiness,
I will never deceive David.
36His dynasty will last forever.
His throne will endure before me, like the sun,
37it will remain stable, like the moon,
his throne will endure like the skies.” (Selah)
38But you have spurned and rejected him;
you are angry with your chosen king.
39You have repudiated your covenant with your servant;
you have thrown his crown to the ground.
40You have broken down all his walls;
you have made his strongholds a heap of ruins.
41All who pass by have robbed him;
he has become an object of disdain to his neighbors.
42You have allowed his adversaries to be victorious,
and all his enemies to rejoice.
43You turn back his sword from the adversary,
and have not sustained him in battle.
44You have brought to an end his splendor,
and have knocked his throne to the ground.
45You have cut short his youth,
and have covered him with shame. (Selah)
46How long, O Lord, will this last?
Will you remain hidden forever?
Will your anger continue to burn like fire?
47Take note of my brief lifespan!
Why do you make all people so mortal?
48No man can live on without experiencing death,
or deliver his life from the power of Sheol. (Selah)
49Where are your earlier faithful deeds, O Lord,
the ones performed in accordance with your reliable oath to David?
50Take note, O Lord, of the way your servants are taunted,
and of how I must bear so many insults from people!
51Your enemies, O Lord, hurl insults;
they insult your chosen king as they dog his footsteps.
52 The Lord deserves praise forevermore!
We agree! We agree!(NET Bible)
9:51 Now when the days drew near for him to be taken up, Jesus set out resolutely to go to Jerusalem. 52He sent messengers on ahead of him. As they went along, they entered a Samaritan village to make things ready in advance for him, 53but the villagers refused to welcome him, because he was determined to go to Jerusalem. 54Now when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do you want us to call fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” 55But Jesus turned and rebuked them, 56and they went on to another village.
57As they were walking along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58Jesus said to him, “Foxes have dens and the birds in the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” 59Jesus said to another, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” 60But Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say goodbye to my family.” 62Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
10:1 After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him two by two into every town and place where he himself was about to go. 2He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest. 3Go! I am sending you out like lambs surrounded by wolves. 4Do not carry a money bag, a traveler’s bag, or sandals, and greet no one on the road. 5Whenever you enter a house, first say, ‘May peace be on this house!’ 6And if a peace-loving person is there, your peace will remain on him, but if not, it will return to you. 7Stay in that same house, eating and drinking what they give you, for the worker deserves his pay. Do not move around from house to house. 8Whenever you enter a town and the people welcome you, eat what is set before you. 9Heal the sick in that town and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come upon you!’ 10But whenever you enter a town and the people do not welcome you, go into its streets and say, 11‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this: The kingdom of God has come.’ 12I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town!(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.