Based on Luke 8:19-25
There are times when it seems Jesus is a bit insensitive to his family. At the wedding at Cana in Galilee, when His mother, Mary, asks Him to help with the wine shortage, He responds, “Woman, what has this to do with me?” In our account above, the Lord seems to dismiss His mother and His brothers, asserting that only those who hear the word of God and do it are His mother and His brothers.
Of course, what Jesus says here is true, and elsewhere, we are told that His mother and His brothers are sometimes looking for Him to save Him from Himself — to rein Him in, perhaps, before He runs afoul of the Jewish or Roman authorities. If that is their goal, then Jesus will have none of it, as He is all about sharing the Good News of the Kingdom. If Jesus’ family were afraid for Him because of His preaching, teaching and healing, then surely, it was a sign of a lack of faith or trust in Jesus and the Father’s will for Him. They would, then, be acting contrary to the Word of God.
In the next instance, we see that the disciples, themselves, are sometimes fearful and lacking faith. It is an all too common human response, when we are beset by storms in life, by illness, loss, uncertainty, difficulty of any kind, that we assume Jesus must be asleep in the boat, or not with us in the boat of our lives at all. We cry out, “Lord, don’t you care that I am perishing?” And His reply, “Oh ye of little faith!” Though we all face trials and challenges in life, the Lord is with us and will finally calm our frightened hearts and minds. With a word, He rebukes the wind and the waves and brings calm. This is truly the peace of God which passes all human understanding (Philippians 4:7). It is the peace that Christ gives that is not like the world’s peace (John 14:27). It is not the absence of wind and waves in life, but the ability to have peace and calm in the midst of it, because Jesus Christ, Lord of life and death is with us always.
Are you, even now, beset by storms in your life? Are you or your loved ones dealing with sickness, grief, addiction, lack of faith? Does it seem, at times, that the Lord has abandoned you — leaving you alone in a sinking boat? The Lord says, “Peace be with you!”
Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, grant me peace and calm in the midst of the storms of life. Amen.
Lenten response: Share the peace of the Lord with someone who needs it 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. 11:1–23
11:1 When Rehoboam arrived in Jerusalem, he summoned 180,000 skilled warriors from Judah and Benjamin to attack Israel and restore the kingdom to Rehoboam. 2But the Lord’s message came to the prophet Shemaiah, 3“Say this to King Rehoboam son of Solomon of Judah and to all the Israelites in Judah and Benjamin, 4‘The Lord says this: “Do not attack and make war with your brothers. Each of you go home, for I have caused this to happen.”’” They obeyed the Lord and called off the attack against Jeroboam.
5Rehoboam lived in Jerusalem; he built up these fortified cities throughout Judah: 6Bethlehem, Etam, Tekoa, 7Beth Zur, Soco, Adullam, 8Gath, Mareshah, Ziph, 9Adoraim, Lachish, Azekah, 10Zorah, Aijalon, and Hebron. These were the fortified cities in Judah and Benjamin. 11He fortified these cities and placed officers in them, as well as storehouses of food, olive oil, and wine. 12In each city there were shields and spears; he strongly fortified them. Judah and Benjamin belonged to him.
13The priests and Levites who lived throughout Israel supported him, no matter where they resided. 14The Levites even left their pasturelands and their property behind and came to Judah and Jerusalem, for Jeroboam and his sons prohibited them from serving as the Lord’s priests. 15Jeroboam appointed his own priests to serve at the worship centers and to lead in the worship of the goat idols and calf idols he had made. 16Those among all the Israelite tribes who were determined to worship the Lord God of Israel followed them to Jerusalem to sacrifice to the Lord God of their ancestors. 17They supported the kingdom of Judah and were loyal to Rehoboam son of Solomon for three years; they followed the edicts of David and Solomon for three years.
18Rehoboam married Mahalath the daughter of David’s son Jerimoth and of Abihail, the daughter of Jesse’s son Eliab. 19She bore him sons named Jeush, Shemariah, and Zaham. 20He later married Maacah the daughter of Absalom. She bore to him Abijah, Attai, Ziza, and Shelomith. 21Rehoboam loved Maacah daughter of Absalom more than his other wives and concubines. He had eighteen wives and sixty concubines; he fathered twenty-eight sons and sixty daughters.
22Rehoboam appointed Abijah son of Maacah as the leader over his brothers, for he intended to name him his successor. 23He wisely placed some of his many sons throughout the regions of Judah and Benjamin in the various fortified cities. He supplied them with abundant provisions and acquired many wives for them.(NET Bible)
82:1 A psalm of Asaph.
God stands in the assembly of El;
in the midst of the gods he renders judgment.
2He says, “How long will you make unjust legal decisions
and show favoritism to the wicked? (Selah)
3Defend the cause of the poor and the fatherless.
Vindicate the oppressed and suffering.
4Rescue the poor and needy.
Deliver them from the power of the wicked.
5They neither know nor understand.
They stumble around in the dark,
while all the foundations of the earth crumble.
6I thought, ‘You are gods;
all of you are sons of the Most High.’
7Yet you will die like mortals;
you will fall like all the other rulers.”
8Rise up, O God, and execute judgment on the earth!
For you own all the nations.(NET Bible)
8:19 Now Jesus’ mother and his brothers came to him, but they could not get near him because of the crowd. 20So he was told, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.” 21But he replied to them, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.”
22One day Jesus got into a boat with his disciples and said to them, “Let’s go across to the other side of the lake.” So they set out, 23and as they sailed he fell asleep. Now a violent windstorm came down on the lake, and the boat started filling up with water, and they were in danger. 24They came and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we are about to die!” So he got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waves; they died down, and it was calm. 25Then he said to them, “Where is your faith?” But they were afraid and amazed, saying to one another, “Who then is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him!”(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.