Based on Luke 7:18-35
Clearly, there were those in Jesus’ time who struggled with the identity of this holy man. John the Baptizer, himself, questioned at times. “Are you the chosen Messiah?” John wants to know. He is impatient and it seems he is confused. Luke tells us the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected Jesus, not having been baptized. Yesterday, we heard of the Roman centurion whose faith Jesus had not seen in all of Israel. Today, John and the Jewish religious leaders are still wondering, “Who is this rabbi, Jesus?” Wouldn’t it seem those who saw Jesus and heard Jesus and witnessed His healings and miracles would acknowledge Him as Son of God? No more so than those who question and reject Jesus today.
Having never lived in another age, we can’t make comparisons, but today, there seems to be great confusion over the identity of Jesus. Many so-called “progressive” Christians view Jesus as wise sage, but not physically resurrected Lord. Others consider Jesus as one son of God among many. Still others revere Him as great teacher, spiritual guru or anointed prophet, but not Son of God and only Savior of the world. We have a great task before us — the ongoing proclamation of Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life!
Prayer: Lord God, give us hearts to believe and mouths to proclaim that Jesus is Lord! Amen!
Lenten response: If you send an email or text today, end it with post-script, “Jesus is Lord!”
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. 8:1–18
8:1 After twenty years, during which Solomon built the Lord’s temple and his royal palace, 2Solomon rebuilt the cities that Huram had given him and settled Israelites there. 3Solomon went to Hamath Zobah and seized it. 4He built up Tadmor in the wilderness and all the storage cities he had built in Hamath. 5He made upper Beth Horon and lower Beth Horon fortified cities with walls and barred gates, 6and built up Baalath, all the storage cities that belonged to him, and all the cities where chariots and horses were kept. He built whatever he wanted in Jerusalem, Lebanon, and throughout his entire kingdom.
7Now several non-Israelite peoples were left in the land after the conquest of Joshua, including the Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. 8Their descendants remained in the land (the Israelites were unable to wipe them out). Solomon conscripted them for his work crews and they continue in that role to this very day. 9Solomon did not assign Israelites to these work crews; the Israelites served as his soldiers, officers, charioteers, and commanders of his chariot forces. 10These men worked for King Solomon as supervisors; there were a total of 250 of them who were in charge of the people.
11Solomon moved Pharaoh’s daughter up from the City of David to the palace he had built for her, for he said, “My wife must not live in the palace of King David of Israel, for the places where the ark of the Lord has entered are holy.”
12Then Solomon offered burnt sacrifices to the Lord on the altar of the Lord which he had built in front of the temple’s porch. 13He observed the daily requirements for sacrifices that Moses had specified for Sabbaths, new moon festivals, and the three annual celebrations – the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks, and the Feast of Shelters. 14As his father David had decreed, Solomon appointed the divisions of the priests to do their assigned tasks, the Levitical orders to lead worship and help the priests with their daily tasks, and the divisions of the gatekeepers to serve at their assigned gates. This was what David the man of God had ordered. 15They did not neglect any detail of the king’s orders pertaining to the priests, Levites, and treasuries.
16All the work ordered by Solomon was completed, from the day the foundation of the Lord’s temple was laid until it was finished; the Lord’s temple was completed.
17Then Solomon went to Ezion Geber and to Elat on the coast in the land of Edom. 18Huram sent him ships and some of his sailors, men who were well acquainted with the sea. They sailed with Solomon’s men to Ophir, and took from there 450 talents of gold, which they brought back to King Solomon.(NET Bible)
78:36 But they deceived him with their words,
and lied to him.
37They were not really committed to him,
and they were unfaithful to his covenant.
38Yet he is compassionate.
He forgives sin and does not destroy.
He often holds back his anger,
and does not stir up his fury.
39He remembered that they were made of flesh,
and were like a wind that blows past and does not return.
40How often they rebelled against him in the wilderness,
and insulted him in the wastelands!
41They again challenged God,
and offended the Holy One of Israel.
42They did not remember what he had done,
how he delivered them from the enemy,
43when he performed his awesome deeds in Egypt,
and his acts of judgment in the region of Zoan.
44He turned their rivers into blood,
and they could not drink from their streams.
45He sent swarms of biting insects against them,
as well as frogs that overran their land.
46He gave their crops to the grasshopper,
the fruit of their labor to the locust.
47He destroyed their vines with hail,
and their sycamore-fig trees with driving rain.
48He rained hail down on their cattle,
and hurled lightning bolts down on their livestock.
49His raging anger lashed out against them,
He sent fury, rage, and trouble
as messengers who bring disaster.
50He sent his anger in full force;
he did not spare them from death;
he handed their lives over to destruction.
51He struck down all the firstborn in Egypt,
the firstfruits of their reproductive power in the tents of Ham.
52Yet he brought out his people like sheep;
he led them through the wilderness like a flock.
53He guided them safely along, and they were not afraid;
but the sea covered their enemies.
54He brought them to the border of his holy land,
to this mountainous land which his right hand acquired.
55He drove the nations out from before them;
he assigned them their tribal allotments
and allowed the tribes of Israel to settle down.
56Yet they challenged and defied God Most High,
and did not obey his commands.
57They were unfaithful and acted as treacherously as their ancestors;
they were as unreliable as a malfunctioning bow.
58They made him angry with their pagan shrines,
and made him jealous with their idols.
59God heard and was angry;
he completely rejected Israel.
60He abandoned the sanctuary at Shiloh,
the tent where he lived among men.
61He allowed the symbol of his strong presence to be captured;
he gave the symbol of his splendor into the hand of the enemy.
62He delivered his people over to the sword,
and was angry with his chosen nation.
63Fire consumed their young men,
and their virgins remained unmarried.
64Their priests fell by the sword,
but their widows did not weep.
65But then the Lord awoke from his sleep;
he was like a warrior in a drunken rage.
66He drove his enemies back;
he made them a permanent target for insults.
67He rejected the tent of Joseph;
he did not choose the tribe of Ephraim.
68He chose the tribe of Judah,
and Mount Zion, which he loves.
69He made his sanctuary as enduring as the heavens above;
as secure as the earth, which he established permanently.
70He chose David, his servant,
and took him from the sheepfolds.
71He took him away from following the mother sheep,
and made him the shepherd of Jacob, his people,
and of Israel, his chosen nation.
72David cared for them with pure motives;
he led them with skill.(NET Bible)
7:18 John’s disciples informed him about all these things. So John called two of his disciples 19and sent them to Jesus to ask, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?” 20When the men came to Jesus, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to you to ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?’” 21At that very time Jesus cured many people of diseases, sicknesses, and evil spirits, and granted sight to many who were blind. 22So he answered them, “Go tell John what you have seen and heard: The blind see, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have good news proclaimed to them. 23Blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me.”
24When John’s messengers had gone, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? 25What did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Look, those who wear soft clothing and live in luxury are in the royal palaces! 26What did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 27This is the one about whom it is written, ‘Look, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’ 28I tell you, among those born of women no one is greater than John. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he is.” 29(Now all the people who heard this, even the tax collectors, acknowledged God’s justice, because they had been baptized with John’s baptism. 30However, the Pharisees and the experts in religious law rejected God’s purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John. )
31 “To what then should I compare the people of this generation, and what are they like? 32They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to one another,
‘We played the flute for you, yet you did not dance;
we wailed in mourning, yet you did not weep.’
33For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon!’ 34The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look at him, a glutton and a drunk, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ 35But wisdom is vindicated by all her children.”(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.