Based on Luke 7:1-17
Our reading today includes the healing of the centurion’s servant and the raising of the son of the widow of Nain. Both focus on the power and authority given to the Lord Jesus by His Father in heaven. The centurion who lives his life under the authority of the Roman empire recognizes and respects authority when he sees it. As the centurion can speak a word and command others, he knows the authority and power which Jesus can exercise with just a word. A man of faith, supportive of the Jewish nation and religion, having built the people a synagogue, he has the respect of the elders of the Jews. Still, the centurion is humbled by the prospect of Jesus entering His pagan, Roman home. Unworthy, He sends servants to ask Jesus to simply “say the word” and He knows His servant will be healed. And indeed, hearing these things, marveling at the faith of the Roman centurion, Jesus heals the servant from afar.
In the same way, as Jesus is drawing near to the gate of the town of Nain, encountering the son of a widow being carried, in death, out of town, in His compassion, He stops the procession and speaks to the dead man, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” And the dead man was restored to life and given back to his mother. Again, we see the power and authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, over sickness and death. Let us have no doubt that at that time when we rest in death, our Lord will again speak and say, “I say to you, arise!” And we will be raised!
Prayer: Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be raised to new life. Amen.
Lenten response: Pray the above prayer every time it crosses your mind today.
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. 7:11–22
7:11 After Solomon finished building the Lord’s temple and the royal palace, and accomplished all his plans for the Lord’s temple and his royal palace, 12the Lord appeared to Solomon at night and said to him: “I have answered your prayer and chosen this place to be my temple where sacrifices are to be made. 13When I close up the sky so that it doesn’t rain, or command locusts to devour the land’s vegetation, or send a plague among my people, 14if my people, who belong to me, humble themselves, pray, seek to please me, and repudiate their sinful practices, then I will respond from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land. 15Now I will be attentive and responsive to the prayers offered in this place. 16Now I have chosen and consecrated this temple by making it my permanent home; I will be constantly present there. 17You must serve me as your father David did. Do everything I commanded and obey my rules and regulations. 18Then I will establish your dynasty, just as I promised your father David, ‘You will not fail to have a successor ruling over Israel.’
19 “But if you people ever turn away from me, fail to obey the regulations and rules I instructed you to keep, and decide to serve and worship other gods, 20then I will remove you from my land I have given you, I will abandon this temple I have consecrated with my presence, and I will make you an object of mockery and ridicule among all the nations. 21As for this temple, which was once majestic, everyone who passes by it will be shocked and say, ‘Why did the Lord do this to this land and this temple?’ 22Others will then answer, ‘Because they abandoned the Lord God of their ancestors, who led them out of Egypt. They embraced other gods whom they worshiped and served. That is why he brought all this disaster down on them.’”(NET Bible)
78:1 A well-written song by Asaph.
Pay attention, my people, to my instruction!
Listen to the words I speak!
2I will sing a song that imparts wisdom;
I will make insightful observations about the past.
3What we have heard and learned –
that which our ancestors have told us –
4we will not hide from their descendants.
We will tell the next generation
about the Lord’s praiseworthy acts,
about his strength and the amazing things he has done.
5He established a rule in Jacob;
he set up a law in Israel.
He commanded our ancestors
to make his deeds known to their descendants,
6so that the next generation, children yet to be born,
might know about them.
They will grow up and tell their descendants about them.
7Then they will place their confidence in God.
They will not forget the works of God,
and they will obey his commands.
8Then they will not be like their ancestors,
who were a stubborn and rebellious generation,
a generation that was not committed
and faithful to God.
9The Ephraimites were armed with bows,
but they retreated in the day of battle.
10They did not keep their covenant with God,
and they refused to obey his law.
11They forgot what he had done,
the amazing things he had shown them.
12He did amazing things in the sight of their ancestors,
in the land of Egypt, in the region of Zoan.
13He divided the sea and led them across it;
he made the water stand in a heap.
14He led them with a cloud by day,
and with the light of a fire all night long.
15He broke open rocks in the wilderness,
and gave them enough water to fill the depths of the sea.
16He caused streams to flow from the rock,
and made the water flow like rivers.
17Yet they continued to sin against him,
and rebelled against the Most High in the desert.
18They willfully challenged God
by asking for food to satisfy their appetite.
19They insulted God, saying,
“Is God really able to give us food in the wilderness?
20Yes, he struck a rock and water flowed out,
streams gushed forth.
But can he also give us food?
Will he provide meat for his people?”
21When the Lord heard this, he was furious.
A fire broke out against Jacob,
and his anger flared up against Israel,
22because they did not have faith in God,
and did not trust his ability to deliver them.
23He gave a command to the clouds above,
and opened the doors in the sky.
24He rained down manna for them to eat;
he gave them the grain of heaven.
25Man ate the food of the mighty ones.
He sent them more than enough to eat.
26He brought the east wind through the sky,
and by his strength led forth the south wind.
27He rained down meat on them like dust,
birds as numerous as the sand on the seashores.
28He caused them to fall right in the middle of their camp,
all around their homes.
29They ate until they were beyond full;
he gave them what they desired.
30They were not yet filled up,
their food was still in their mouths,
31when the anger of God flared up against them.
He killed some of the strongest of them;
he brought the young men of Israel to their knees.
32Despite all this, they continued to sin,
and did not trust him to do amazing things.
33So he caused them to die unsatisfied
and filled with terror.
34When he struck them down, they sought his favor;
they turned back and longed for God.
35They remembered that God was their protector,
and that God Most High was their deliverer.(NET Bible)
7:1 After Jesus had finished teaching all this to the people, he entered Capernaum. 2A centurion there had a slave who was highly regarded, but who was sick and at the point of death. 3When the centurion heard about Jesus, he sent some Jewish elders to him, asking him to come and heal his slave. 4When they came to Jesus, they urged him earnestly, “He is worthy to have you do this for him, 5because he loves our nation, and even built our synagogue.” 6So Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to say to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof! 7That is why I did not presume to come to you. Instead, say the word, and my servant must be healed. 8For I too am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me. I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.” 9When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him. He turned and said to the crowd that followed him, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith!” 10So when those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the slave well.
11Soon afterward Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went with him. 12As he approached the town gate, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother (who was a widow ), and a large crowd from the town was with her. 13When the Lord saw her, he had compassion for her and said to her, “Do not weep.” 14Then he came up and touched the bier, and those who carried it stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” 15So the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him back to his mother. 16Fear seized them all, and they began to glorify God, saying, “A great prophet has appeared among us!” and “God has come to help his people!” 17This report about Jesus circulated throughout Judea and all the surrounding country.(NET Bible)
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016.
In regard to the Church Luther says in the same writing: “The Church also has no power to establish new divine promises of grace, as some foolishly speak, that everything which the Church ordains is of no lesser authority than that which is ordained of God, since she is guided by the Holy Spirit. For the Church comes into being through the word of promise through faith … God’s Word stands incomparably high above the Church, in this Word she, as a creature, cannot resolve, order, or execute but can only be resolved, ordered, and carried out. For who generates his father, who has rst called his Creator into being?” (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.