Based on Luke 10:13-24
Having just sent out the seventy-two on their mission to heal the sick and proclaim, “The kingdom of God has come near you,” the Lord now reflects on those who will not receive the Gospel message, remain unrepentant and reject the missionaries. They will suffer judgement and may be “brought down to Hades,” be cast into hell. For receiving those who speak for Jesus is to receive Jesus, while rejecting them is to reject Him who sent them. It is a terrible condemnation but a biblical reality that as God is a god of mercy and forgiveness, He will not force those who reject Jesus to come to Him. We have, by God’s grace, the freedom to receive Jesus or reject Him. At this point, the seventy-two return and are overjoyed at their ability to combat evil in their spiritual warfare. Demons, spirits, serpents and scorpions are subject to the laborers in the harvest, yet more than that, they are to “rejoice that [their] names are written in heaven.”
We sometimes forget that our names are written in heaven. Life in the world causes us to question and doubt our salvation. Our sinfulness, ever with us, causes us to think our disobedience is so great, even the blood of Jesus may not cover us. With the disciples, we are blessed to have seen and know the events of Holy Week — that Jesus, who was crucified, has been raised. Our sins were nailed to the cross and buried in the tomb with Him, so that now, we may lead new lives in Him.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, we thank you that our names are written in heaven, with your own life-giving blood as the ink. Amen.
Holy Week response: Take time to pray for those who may reject Jesus and His word, that ears may be opened to hear and heed the Gospel message.
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. 21:1–20
21:1 Jehoshaphat passed away and was buried with his ancestors in the City of David. His son Jehoram replaced him as king.
2His brothers, Jehoshaphat’s sons, were Azariah, Jechiel, Zechariah, Azariahu, Michael, and Shephatiah. All these were sons of King Jehoshaphat of Israel. 3Their father gave them many presents, including silver, gold, and other precious items, along with fortified cities in Judah. But he gave the kingdom to Jehoram because he was the firstborn.
4Jehoram took control of his father’s kingdom and became powerful. Then he killed all his brothers, as well as some of the officials of Israel. 5Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned for eight years in Jerusalem. 6He followed in the footsteps of the kings of Israel, just as Ahab’s dynasty had done, for he married Ahab’s daughter. He did evil in the sight of the Lord. 7But the Lord was unwilling to destroy David’s dynasty because of the promise he had made to give David a perpetual dynasty.
8During Jehoram’s reign Edom freed themselves from Judah’s control and set up their own king. 9Jehoram crossed over with his officers and all his chariots. The Edomites, who had surrounded him, attacked at night and defeated him and his chariot officers. 10So Edom has remained free from Judah’s control to this very day. At that same time Libnah also rebelled and freed themselves from Judah’s control because Jehoram rejected the Lord God of his ancestors. 11He also built high places on the hills of Judah; he encouraged the residents of Jerusalem to be unfaithful to the Lord and led Judah away from the Lord.
12Jehoram received this letter from Elijah the prophet: “This is what the Lord God of your ancestor David says: ‘You have not followed in the footsteps of your father Jehoshaphat and of King Asa of Judah, 13but have instead followed in the footsteps of the kings of Israel. You encouraged the people of Judah and the residents of Jerusalem to be unfaithful to the Lord, just as the family of Ahab does in Israel. You also killed your brothers, members of your father’s family, who were better than you. 14So look, the Lord is about to severely afflict your people, your sons, your wives, and all you own. 15And you will get a serious, chronic intestinal disease which will cause your intestines to come out.’”
16The Lord stirred up against Jehoram the Philistines and the Arabs who lived beside the Cushites. 17They attacked Judah and swept through it. They carried off everything they found in the royal palace, including his sons and wives. None of his sons was left, except for his youngest, Ahaziah. 18After all this happened, the Lord afflicted him with an incurable intestinal disease. 19After about two years his intestines came out because of the disease, so that he died a very painful death. His people did not make a bonfire to honor him, as they had done for his ancestors.
20Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem. No one regretted his death; he was buried in the City of David, but not in the royal tombs.(NET Bible)
90:1 A prayer of Moses, the man of God.
O Lord, you have been our protector through all generations.
2Even before the mountains came into existence,
or you brought the world into being,
you were the eternal God.
3You make mankind return to the dust,
and say, “Return, O people.”
4Yes, in your eyes a thousand years
are like yesterday that quickly passes,
or like one of the divisions of the nighttime.
5You bring their lives to an end and they “fall asleep.”
In the morning they are like the grass that sprouts up:
6In the morning it glistens and sprouts up;
at evening time it withers and dries up.
7Yes, we are consumed by your anger;
we are terrified by your wrath.
8You are aware of our sins;
you even know about our hidden sins.
9Yes, throughout all our days we experience your raging fury;
the years of our lives pass quickly, like a sigh.
10The days of our lives add up to 70 years,
or 80, if one is especially strong.
But even one’s best years are marred by trouble and oppression.
Yes, they pass quickly and we fly away.
11Who can really fathom the intensity of your anger?
Your raging fury causes people to fear you.
12So teach us to consider our mortality,
so that we might live wisely.
13Turn back toward us, O Lord.
How long must this suffering last?
Have pity on your servants.
14Satisfy us in the morning with your loyal love.
Then we will shout for joy and be happy all our days.
15Make us happy in proportion to the days you have afflicted us,
in proportion to the years we have experienced trouble.
16May your servants see your work.
May their sons see your majesty.
17May our Sovereign God extend his favor to us.
Make our endeavors successful.
Yes, make them successful.(NET Bible)
10:13 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 14But it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon in the judgment than for you! 15And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? No, you will be thrown down to Hades!
16“The one who listens to you listens to me, and the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects the one who sent me.”
17Then the seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name!” 18So he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19Look, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions and on the full force of the enemy, and nothing will hurt you. 20Nevertheless, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names stand written in heaven.”
21On that same occasion Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your gracious will. 22All things have been given to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son decides to reveal him.”
23Then Jesus turned to his disciples and said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! 24For I tell you that many prophets and kings longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”(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.