Isaiah 48 (Listen)
Israel Refined for God’s Glory
48:1 Hear this, O house of Jacob,
who are called by the name of Israel,
and who came from the waters of Judah,
who swear by the name of the LORD
and confess the God of Israel,
but not in truth or right.
2 For they call themselves after the holy city,
and stay themselves on the God of Israel;
the LORD of hosts is his name.
3 “The former things I declared of old;
they went out from my mouth, and I announced them;
then suddenly I did them, and they came to pass.
4 Because I know that you are obstinate,
and your neck is an iron sinew
and your forehead brass,
5 I declared them to you from of old,
before they came to pass I announced them to you,
lest you should say, ‘My idol did them,
my carved image and my metal image commanded them.’
6 “You have heard; now see all this;
and will you not declare it?
From this time forth I announce to you new things,
hidden things that you have not known.
7 They are created now, not long ago;
before today you have never heard of them,
lest you should say, ‘Behold, I knew them.’
8 You have never heard, you have never known,
from of old your ear has not been opened.
For I knew that you would surely deal treacherously,
and that from before birth you were called a rebel.
9 “For my name’s sake I defer my anger;
for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you,
that I may not cut you off.
10 Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver;
I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.
11 For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it,
for how should my name be profaned?
My glory I will not give to another.
The Lord’s Call to Israel
12 “Listen to me, O Jacob,
and Israel, whom I called!
I am he; I am the first,
and I am the last.
13 My hand laid the foundation of the earth,
and my right hand spread out the heavens;
when I call to them,
they stand forth together.
14 “Assemble, all of you, and listen!
Who among them has declared these things?
The LORD loves him;
he shall perform his purpose on Babylon,
and his arm shall be against the Chaldeans.
15 I, even I, have spoken and called him;
I have brought him, and he will prosper in his way.
16 Draw near to me, hear this:
from the beginning I have not spoken in secret,
from the time it came to be I have been there.”
And now the Lord GOD has sent me, and his Spirit.
17 Thus says the LORD,
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
“I am the LORD your God,
who teaches you to profit,
who leads you in the way you should go.
18 Oh that you had paid attention to my commandments!
Then your peace would have been like a river,
and your righteousness like the waves of the sea;
19 your offspring would have been like the sand,
and your descendants like its grains;
their name would never be cut off
or destroyed from before me.”
20 Go out from Babylon, flee from Chaldea,
declare this with a shout of joy, proclaim it,
send it out to the end of the earth;
say, “The LORD has redeemed his servant Jacob!”
21 They did not thirst when he led them through the deserts;
he made water flow for them from the rock;
he split the rock and the water gushed out.
22 “There is no peace,” says the LORD, “for the wicked.”
Galatians 1–2:10 (Listen)
1:1 Paul, an apostle—not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead—2 and all the brothers who are with me,
To the churches of Galatia:
3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
No Other Gospel
6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.
10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.
Paul Called by God
11 For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. 12 For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. 13 For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it. 14 And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, 16 was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone; 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.
18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and remained with him fifteen days. 19 But I saw none of the other apostles except James the Lord’s brother. 20 (In what I am writing to you, before God, I do not lie!) 21 Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. 22 And I was still unknown in person to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. 23 They only were hearing it said, “He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” 24 And they glorified God because of me.
Paul Accepted by the Apostles
2:1 Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me. 2 I went up because of a revelation and set before them (though privately before those who seemed influential) the gospel that I proclaim among the Gentiles, in order to make sure I was not running or had not run in vain. 3 But even Titus, who was with me, was not forced to be circumcised, though he was a Greek. 4 Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in—who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery—5 to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you. 6 And from those who seemed to be influential (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)—those, I say, who seemed influential added nothing to me. 7 On the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised 8 (for he who worked through Peter for his apostolic ministry to the circumcised worked also through me for mine to the Gentiles), 9 and when James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. 10 Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.
Mark 5:21–6:13 (Listen)
Jesus Heals a Woman and Jairus’s Daughter
21 And when Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered about him, and he was beside the sea. 22 Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name, and seeing him, he fell at his feet 23 and implored him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live.” 24 And he went with him.
And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him. 25 And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, 26 and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. 27 She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. 28 For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” 29 And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 30 And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” 31 And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’” 32 And he looked around to see who had done it. 33 But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. 34 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”
35 While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler’s house some who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” 36 But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” 37 And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter and James and John the brother of James. 38 They came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and Jesus saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. 39 And when he had entered, he said to them, “Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but sleeping.” 40 And they laughed at him. But he put them all outside and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him and went in where the child was. 41 Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” 42 And immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement. 43 And he strictly charged them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.
Jesus Rejected at Nazareth
6:1 He went away from there and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. 2 And on the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands? 3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. 4 And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.” 5 And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. 6 And he marveled because of their unbelief.
And he went about among the villages teaching.
Jesus Sends Out the Twelve Apostles
7 And he called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. 8 He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in their belts—9 but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics. 10 And he said to them, “Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you depart from there. 11 And if any place will not receive you and they will not listen to you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.” 12 So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent. 13 And they cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them.
Psalm 12 (Listen)
The Faithful Have Vanished
To the choirmaster: according to The Sheminith. A Psalm of David.
12:1 Save, O LORD, for the godly one is gone;
for the faithful have vanished from among the children of man.
2 Everyone utters lies to his neighbor;
with flattering lips and a double heart they speak.
3 May the LORD cut off all flattering lips,
the tongue that makes great boasts,
4 those who say, “With our tongue we will prevail,
our lips are with us; who is master over us?”
5 “Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan,
I will now arise,” says the LORD;
“I will place him in the safety for which he longs.”
6 The words of the LORD are pure words,
like silver refined in a furnace on the ground,
purified seven times.
7 You, O LORD, will keep them;
you will guard us from this generation forever.
8 On every side the wicked prowl,
as vileness is exalted among the children of man.
Psalm 146 (Listen)
Put Not Your Trust in Princes
146:1 Praise the LORD!
Praise the LORD, O my soul!
2 I will praise the LORD as long as I live;
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.
3 Put not your trust in princes,
in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.
4 When his breath departs, he returns to the earth;
on that very day his plans perish.
5 Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD his God,
6 who made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them,
who keeps faith forever;
7 who executes justice for the oppressed,
who gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets the prisoners free;
8 the LORD opens the eyes of the blind.
The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down;
the LORD loves the righteous.
9 The LORD watches over the sojourners;
he upholds the widow and the fatherless,
but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
10 The LORD will reign forever,
your God, O Zion, to all generations.
Praise the LORD!
Psalm 36 (Listen)
How Precious Is Your Steadfast Love
To the choirmaster. Of David, the servant of the LORD.
36:1 Transgression speaks to the wicked
deep in his heart;
there is no fear of God
before his eyes.
2 For he flatters himself in his own eyes
that his iniquity cannot be found out and hated.
3 The words of his mouth are trouble and deceit;
he has ceased to act wisely and do good.
4 He plots trouble while on his bed;
he sets himself in a way that is not good;
he does not reject evil.
5 Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the clouds.
6 Your righteousness is like the mountains of God;
your judgments are like the great deep;
man and beast you save, O LORD.
7 How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
8 They feast on the abundance of your house,
and you give them drink from the river of your delights.
9 For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light do we see light.
10 Oh, continue your steadfast love to those who know you,
and your righteousness to the upright of heart!
11 Let not the foot of arrogance come upon me,
nor the hand of the wicked drive me away.
12 There the evildoers lie fallen;
they are thrust down, unable to rise.
Psalm 7 (Listen)
In You Do I Take Refuge
A Shiggaion of David, which he sang to the LORD concerning the words of Cush, a Benjaminite.
7:1 O LORD my God, in you do I take refuge;
save me from all my pursuers and deliver me,
2 lest like a lion they tear my soul apart,
rending it in pieces, with none to deliver.
3 O LORD my God, if I have done this,
if there is wrong in my hands,
4 if I have repaid my friend with evil
or plundered my enemy without cause,
5 let the enemy pursue my soul and overtake it,
and let him trample my life to the ground
and lay my glory in the dust. Selah
6 Arise, O LORD, in your anger;
lift yourself up against the fury of my enemies;
awake for me; you have appointed a judgment.
7 Let the assembly of the peoples be gathered about you;
over it return on high.
8 The LORD judges the peoples;
judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness
and according to the integrity that is in me.
9 Oh, let the evil of the wicked come to an end,
and may you establish the righteous—
you who test the minds and hearts,
O righteous God!
10 My shield is with God,
who saves the upright in heart.
11 God is a righteous judge,
and a God who feels indignation every day.
12 If a man does not repent, God will whet his sword;
he has bent and readied his bow;
13 he has prepared for him his deadly weapons,
making his arrows fiery shafts.
14 Behold, the wicked man conceives evil
and is pregnant with mischief
and gives birth to lies.
15 He makes a pit, digging it out,
and falls into the hole that he has made.
16 His mischief returns upon his own head,
and on his own skull his violence descends.
17 I will give to the LORD the thanks due to his righteousness,
and I will sing praise to the name of the LORD, the Most High.
Timothy, Titus, and Silas; Companions of St. Paul (January 26)
About the Commemoration
Three young companions of St. Paul are commemorated together on the day after the festival of Paul’s conversion. Thus, the church is reminded that not age but love of Christ and faithful care of the church are the important qualities for Christian witness in the world. Two of these three disciples who are remembered together today, Silvanus (Silas) and Timothy, are linked with St. Paul in the address of 1 Thessalonians 1:1.
Timothy, who accompanied Paul on his second missionary journey, is described by Paul as a “brother” (1 Thess. 3:2) and was apparently converted by Paul when Paul first visited Lystra in Asia Minor (1 Cor. 4:17; 1 Tim. 2:2, 18; 2 Tim. 1:2). Timothy’s father was a Greek; his mother, Eunice (according to Acts 16:1-3, a Jew), was the daughter of a Christian, Lois (2 Tim. 1:5). Paul had Timothy circumcised so that he would be acceptable to the Jews as well as the Gentiles. Timothy first appears in the New Testament as a young associate of Paul and Silas at Corinth. He went with Paul to Philippi and then to Beroea, where he remained for a time, rejoining Paul again in Athens. Paul then sent Timothy back to the Thessalonian church to strengthen their faith during a time of persecution. Timothy returned to Paul at Corinth with a report of their steadfastness (1 Thess. 1:6-9). Timothy was apparently the bearer of Paul’s letter to Corinth, and 1 Corinthians 16:10-11 urges the Corinthians to put the emissary at ease, as if he were somewhat shy. While at Corinth, Timothy preached the same message as had Paul and Silas (1:19), but the problems of that church remained because his father was a Gentile. Timothy was sent to strengthen Gentile churches, for he seemed to have their confidence (Phil. 2:20-22). Paul seems to have sent his young companion ahead to prepare for Paul’s visit to Macedonia and Achaia and later to Jerusalem. According to Hebrews 13:23 he was imprisoned for a time.
John of Damascus says that Timothy, the first bishop of Ephesus, witnessed Mary’s assumption. According to tradition, Timothy was beaten and stoned to death in 97 C.E. under Nerva because he opposed heathen worship, and in 356 his supposed remains were moved to Constantinople by Constantine. His feast day in the Greek and Syrian Churches is January 22; his feast day in the West had been January 24 (where it continues to be in the calendar in the Lutheran Service Book), but the calendars in the Book of Common Prayer and in the Lutheran Book of Worship and Evangelical Lutheran Worship have followed the lead of the Roman Catholic Church and commemorate Timothy with Titus on January 26, remembering those two companions of Paul immediately after the celebration of Paul’s conversion.
Timothy had delivered First Corinthians. The bearer of Second Corinthians is Titus, who seems to be Paul’s new deputy. He plays an important role in the Corinthian correspondence from this point on. Titus is not mentioned in Acts, but he is frequently referred to in Paul’s letters. He was born of Gentile parents (Gal. 2:3) and was perhaps a native of Antioch, since he was in the delegation from Antioch to Jerusalem (Acts 15:2; Gal. 2:1-3), and he may have been converted by Paul (Titus 1:4). He and a companion were sent to Corinth after 1 Corinthians had been delivered there, because of reports Paul had received about that troublesome church. The mission was a delicate one. Paul had expected to meet Titus at Troas (2 Cor. 2:12-13), but instead Titus met him in Macedonia with good news (7:6,13-14), and he returned to Corinth with Second Corinthians (8:6, 13, 23). The epistle to Titus gives the information that Titus had been left on Crete to oversee the organization of the churches there. Titus’s mission to Dalmatia is alluded to in 2 Timothy 4:10. Tradition says that Titus lived in Crete as the first bishop of Gortyna and died there at the age of 93. His head was later transferred from Gortyna to St Mark’s in Venice after the invasion of the Saracens in 823. Ancient sources provide no further information. In the writings of Paul Titus is pictured as vigorous, resourceful, decisive, efficient, zealous; yet with it all of a kindly disposition. In the Pastoral Letters a rather different picture is drawn. Titus there needs to be reminded to exercise his authority (Titus 2:15). This clear difference in characterization is a primary reason why many think that the Pastoral Letters are pseudonymous.
Titus’s feast day in the Greek and Syrian Churches is August 25. In the West it had been observed on January 4, but it was transferred to February 6 by Pius IX to avoid a conflict with what was then (January 4) the octave of the Holy Innocents. On the present Roman Catholic calendar and on the Episcopal, Lutheran, and Methodist calendars, Titus is remembered with Timothy on January 26.
Silas (as he is called in Acts; in the epistles to the Thessalonians he is called Silvanus, his Latin and Hellenistic name, which resembles his Armenian name, Saul) was a leader in the church at Jerusalem (Acts 15:22) who was sent with Paul to tell the Christians of Antioch of the decision of the Jerusalem Council concerning Gentile Christians. Paul chose Silas to replace John Mark on the second missionary journey when Mark and Barnabas left, and so Silas was one of the first Christian missionaries on the continent of Europe (Acts 15:22-40). Paul and Silas were imprisoned together at Philippi (Acts 16:19-40), and Silas was with Paul during the riot at Thessalonica. He was then sent away to Beroea and remained there when Paul went on to Athens. He rejoined Paul at Corinth. When Paul left Corinth, Silas remained, and this seems to be the end of the relationship between the two. Silas is not mentioned again. Silas-Silvanus was probably the Silvanus who delivered First Peter (5:12); some say he was the author of 1 Peter or at least the amanuensis. Legend says that he was bishop of Corinth and that he died in Macedonia. His traditional feast day in the West has been July 13. The Lutheran calendar joins his commemoration with that of Timothy and Titus on January 26.
Excerpts from New Book of Festivals & Commemorations: A Proposed Common Calendar of Saints by Philip H. Pfatteicher, copyright, 2008 by Fortress Press, an imprint of Augsburg Fortress.
From an essay by Wilhelm Löhe
Among the means which the Church uses to save souls, preaching stands first. It is the means by which those are called who stand afar off, and those who have been called are rendered steadfast in their calling and election. In preaching, the Church does not aim to support the holy Word by human art, but the chief matter is not to hinder its power and operation and not to impose upon the Word any kind or manner of operation which does not befit it.
The preacher proclaims salvation in Christ Jesus with the consciousness that it is not what he does, but the noble contents of the Word itself that must separate souls from the world and bring them near to God. Of course the preacher believes and therefore speaks, and it is a detestable contradiction to preach and yet not believe; but a true preacher will not try to recommend the truth by imparting his faith and experience; rather he seeks to bring his people to say with the Samaritans: “Now we believe, not because of your saying; for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.”
An upright preacher does not purposely withdraw himself, nor does he purposely make himself prominent, but he comes with the Word and the Word comes with him; he is a simple, faithful witness of the Word, and the Word witnesses to him; he and his Word appear like one thing. All his preaching is based upon holy peace. Even when he rebukes, and zeal for God’s house eats him up, it is not the wrath of the restless world, but the wrath of the unapproachable God of peace, that burns within him. It is not he that speaks, but the Lord speaks in him and through him, and his execution of his office is worthy of the Lord.
Wilhelm Löhe, Three Books Concerning the Church, trans. Edward T. Horn (Reading: Pilger, 1908), 181f., rev. PHP.
Almighty God, you called your saints Timothy and Titus [and Silas] to the work of evangelists and teachers, and made them strong to endure hardship and joyful in prison: Strengthen us to stand firm in adversity and to live lives that are self-controlled, upright, and godly in this present time, that with sure confidence we may wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us and who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Titus 2:12-13, LFF, rev. PHP
Readings: Isaiah 62:1-7; Psalm 112:1-9 or 23; 2 Timothy 1:1-8 or Titus 1:1-5 or Titus 2:11-15; John 10:1-10
Hymn of the Day: “Spread, O spread, thou mighty Word” (H82 530, LBW 379, LSB 830, ELW 663)
Prayers: For the hesitant; For reconciliation; For mixed marriages; For Christians in Turkey; For the Greek Orthodox Church in Greece and Crete.
Preface: Epiphany (or Pentecost, BCP)
This daily prayer and Bible reading guide, Devoted to Prayer (based on Acts 2:42), was conceived and prepared by the Rev. Andrew S. Ames Fuller, director of communications for the North American Lutheran Church (NALC). After a challenging year in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been provided with a unique opportunity to revitalize the ancient practice of daily prayer and Scripture reading in our homes. While the Reading the Word of God three-year lectionary provided a much-needed and refreshing calendar for our congregations to engage in Scripture reading, this calendar includes a missing component of daily devotion: prayer. This guide is to provide the average layperson and pastor with the simple tools for sorting through the busyness of their lives and reclaiming an act of daily discipleship with their Lord. The daily readings follow the Lutheran Book of Worship two-year daily lectionary, which reflect the church calendar closely. The commemorations are adapted from Philip H. Pfatteicher’s New Book of Festivals and Commemorations, a proposed common calendar of the saints that builds from the Lutheran Book of Worship, but includes saints from many of those churches in ecumenical conversation with the NALC. The introductory portion is adapted from Christ Church (Plano)’s Pray Daily. Our hope is that this calendar and guide will provide new life for congregations learning and re-learning to pray in the midst of a difficult and changing world.