Based on John 12:20-53
Our rather long reading today follows immediately after Jesus’ Palm Sunday procession into Jerusalem. If you were not in worship today, read John 12:20-19. What a mixed reaction upon Jesus arrival in Jerusalem. The Pharisees said to one another (verse 19), “Look, the world has gone after him!” Jesus then announces that His time has come — the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. And He will be glorified, after His painful suffering and death. Luke then tells us, “Though He had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him.” The miracles, signs and healings were interesting in and of themselves, but they didn’t lead people to faith. It was as the prophet Isaiah foretold it. Jesus’ resurrection from death will be the final and ultimate sign. And have all come to believe? Do we believe? Do you?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, give us grace as we walk with you to the cross and tomb. Amen.
Holy Week response: Talk a prayerful walk around your neighborhood in remembrance of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem and His journey through Holy Week.
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.
50:4 The Sovereign Lord has given me the capacity to be his spokesman,
so that I know how to help the weary.
He wakes me up every morning;
he makes me alert so I can listen attentively as disciples do.
5The Sovereign Lord has spoken to me clearly;
I have not rebelled,
I have not turned back.
6I offered my back to those who attacked,
my jaws to those who tore out my beard;
I did not hide my face
from insults and spitting.
7But the Sovereign Lord helps me,
so I am not humiliated.
For that reason I am steadfastly resolved;
I know I will not be put to shame.
8The one who vindicates me is close by.
Who dares to argue with me? Let us confront each other!
Who is my accuser? Let him challenge me!
9Look, the Sovereign Lord helps me.
Who dares to condemn me?
Look, all of them will wear out like clothes;
a moth will eat away at them.(NET Bible)
31:1 For the music director; a psalm of David.
In you, O Lord, I have taken shelter!
Never let me be humiliated!
Vindicate me by rescuing me!
2Listen to me!
Quickly deliver me!
Be my protector and refuge,
a stronghold where I can be safe!
3For you are my high ridge and my stronghold;
for the sake of your own reputation you lead me and guide me.
4You will free me from the net they hid for me,
for you are my place of refuge.
5Into your hand I entrust my life;
you will rescue me, O Lord, the faithful God.
6I hate those who serve worthless idols,
but I trust in the Lord.
7I will be happy and rejoice in your faithfulness,
because you notice my pain
and you are aware of how distressed I am.
8You do not deliver me over to the power of the enemy;
you enable me to stand in a wide open place.
9Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am in distress!
My eyes grow dim from suffering.
I have lost my strength.
10For my life nears its end in pain;
my years draw to a close as I groan.
My strength fails me because of my sin,
and my bones become brittle.
11Because of all my enemies, people disdain me;
my neighbors are appalled by my suffering –
those who know me are horrified by my condition;
those who see me in the street run away from me.
12I am forgotten, like a dead man no one thinks about;
I am regarded as worthless, like a broken jar.
13For I hear what so many are saying,
the terrifying news that comes from every direction.
When they plot together against me,
they figure out how they can take my life.
14But I trust in you, O Lord!
I declare, “You are my God!”
15You determine my destiny!
Rescue me from the power of my enemies and those who chase me.
16Smile on your servant!
Deliver me because of your faithfulness!
17O Lord, do not let me be humiliated,
for I call out to you!
May evil men be humiliated!
May they go wailing to the grave!
18May lying lips be silenced –
lips that speak defiantly against the innocent
with arrogance and contempt!
19How great is your favor,
which you store up for your loyal followers!
In plain sight of everyone you bestow it on those who take shelter in you.
20You hide them with you, where they are safe from the attacks of men;
you conceal them in a shelter, where they are safe from slanderous attacks.
21The Lord deserves praise
for he demonstrated his amazing faithfulness to me when I was besieged by enemies.
22I jumped to conclusions and said,
“I am cut off from your presence!”
But you heard my plea for mercy when I cried out to you for help.
23Love the Lord, all you faithful followers of his!
The Lord protects those who have integrity,
but he pays back in full the one who acts arrogantly.
24Be strong and confident,
all you who wait on the Lord!(NET Bible)
2:5 You should have the same attitude toward one another that Christ Jesus had,
6 who though he existed in the form of God
did not regard equality with God
as something to be grasped,
7but emptied himself
by taking on the form of a slave,
by looking like other men,
and by sharing in human nature.
8He humbled himself,
by becoming obedient to the point of death
– even death on a cross!
9As a result God highly exalted him
and gave him the name
that is above every name,
10so that at the name of Jesus
every knee will bow
– in heaven and on earth and under the earth –
11and every tongue confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord
to the glory of God the Father.(NET Bible)
12:20 Now some Greeks were among those who had gone up to worship at the feast. 21So these approached Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and requested, “Sir, we would like to see Jesus.” 22Philip went and told Andrew, and they both went and told Jesus. 23Jesus replied, “The time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24I tell you the solemn truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains by itself alone. But if it dies, it produces much grain. 25The one who loves his life destroys it, and the one who hates his life in this world guards it for eternal life. 26If anyone wants to serve me, he must follow me, and where I am, my servant will be too. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.
27 “Now my soul is greatly distressed. And what should I say? ‘Father, deliver me from this hour’? No, but for this very reason I have come to this hour. 28Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” 29The crowd that stood there and heard the voice said that it had thundered. Others said that an angel had spoken to him. 30Jesus said, “This voice has not come for my benefit but for yours. 31Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. 32And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33(Now he said this to indicate clearly what kind of death he was going to die.)
34Then the crowd responded, “We have heard from the law that the Christ will remain forever. How can you say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this Son of Man?” 35Jesus replied, “The light is with you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness may not overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. 36While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become sons of light.” When Jesus had said these things, he went away and hid himself from them.
37Although Jesus had performed so many miraculous signs before them, they still refused to believe in him, 38so that the word of the prophet Isaiah would be fulfilled. He said, “Lord, who has believed our message, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” 39For this reason they could not believe, because again Isaiah said,
40 “He has blinded their eyes
and hardened their heart,
so that they would not see with their eyes
and understand with their heart,
and turn to me, and I would heal them.”
41Isaiah said these things because he saw Christ’s glory, and spoke about him.
42Nevertheless, even among the rulers many believed in him, but because of the Pharisees they would not confess Jesus to be the Christ, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue. 43For they loved praise from men more than praise from God.(NET Bible)
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016.
On Good Friday, March 29 of the same year, Luther had completed his well-deserved coarse answer to Emser. Here he called the Holy Ghost the most lucid writer and speaker whose writings do not need the help of church and tradition in order to be under-stood correctly if they are only taken in their literal sense. (18–19)
–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.