Based on Luke 9:1-9
What does it look like to have total reliance upon God? Jesus sends His disciples out in this passage, giving them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, proclaiming the kingdom of God and healing. As they go, they are to totally and completely rely on God to provide.
The urgency of the Gospel message should compel the disciples to be able to move quickly and lightly. No staff, no bag, no extra snacks. Don’t take money but rely on others to provide for you along the way. Don’t even take a change of clothes (two tunics). And don’t be going from house to house looking for the best accommodations, but when you enter a house, stay there until you leave. And if they won’t receive you in a particular place, once you have proclaimed the nearness of the kingdom of God, move on. Always, keep moving on, and if the message is rejected, shake the dust off your feet and move on.
If only we, today, would share just a measure of that urgency and commitment to sharing Good News with anyone and everyone who would listen. There was a time when our forebears in the old countries sent pastors and laity together to evangelize North America. There was a time when Lutherans planted congregations on every crossroads to provide the Gospel proclamation in every community. In a culture where secularism has convinced many that all roads lead to God and that there is no one true path, there is little urgency any more for the spread of the Gospel. Surely, the world says, love will win, and all will be saved by a gracious God who cares little how you come to Him.
How do we reconcile such an attitude with Jesus words, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). In a time when some in Islam seek to create a world caliphate; in a time when darkness envelopes homes and families through mental illness, PTSD and addiction; in a time when Satan is working through aggressive secularism to lead people away from God, urgency is needed, once again. Go, therefore and proclaim the kingdom of God! Make disciples and baptize and teach them all that Jesus commands.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, as you send us out, give us courage to speak and mouths to proclaim. Amen.
Lenten response: Talk with your spouse, friend or church group about the urgency of the Gospel.
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. 16:1–17:19
16:1 In the thirty-sixth year of Asa’s reign, King Baasha of Israel attacked Judah, and he established Ramah as a military outpost to prevent anyone from leaving or entering the land of King Asa of Judah. 2Asa took all the silver and gold that was left in the treasuries of the Lord’s temple and of the royal palace and sent it to King Ben Hadad of Syria, ruler in Damascus, along with this message: 3“I want to make a treaty with you, like the one our fathers made. See, I have sent you silver and gold. Break your treaty with King Baasha of Israel, so he will retreat from my land.” 4Ben Hadad accepted King Asa’s offer and ordered his army commanders to attack the cities of Israel. They conquered Ijon, Dan, Abel Maim, and all the storage cities of Naphtali. 5When Baasha heard the news, he stopped fortifying Ramah and abandoned the project. 6King Asa ordered all the men of Judah to carry away the stones and wood that Baasha had used to build Ramah. He used the materials to build up Geba and Mizpah.
7At that time Hanani the prophet visited King Asa of Judah and said to him: “Because you relied on the king of Syria and did not rely on the Lord your God, the army of the king of Syria has escaped from your hand. 8Did not the Cushites and Libyans have a huge army with chariots and a very large number of horsemen? But when you relied on the Lord, he handed them over to you! 9Certainly the Lord watches the whole earth carefully and is ready to strengthen those who are devoted to him. You have acted foolishly in this matter; from now on you will have war.” 10Asa was so angry at the prophet, he put him in jail. Asa also oppressed some of the people at that time.
11The events of Asa’s reign, from start to finish, are recorded in the Scroll of the Kings of Judah and Israel. 12In the thirty-ninth year of his reign, Asa developed a foot disease and his disease became severe. Yet even in his disease, he did not seek the Lord, but only the doctors. 13Asa passed away in the forty-first year of his reign. 14He was buried in the tomb he had carved out in the City of David. They laid him to rest on a platform covered with spices and assorted mixtures of ointments. They made a huge bonfire to honor him.
17:1 His son Jehoshaphat replaced him as king and solidified his rule over Israel. 2He placed troops in all of Judah’s fortified cities and posted garrisons throughout the land of Judah and in the cities of Ephraim that his father Asa had seized.
3The Lord was with Jehoshaphat because he followed in his ancestor David’s footsteps at the beginning of his reign. He did not seek the Baals, 4but instead sought the God of his ancestors and obeyed his commands, unlike the Israelites. 5The Lord made his kingdom secure; all Judah brought tribute to Jehoshaphat, and he became very wealthy and greatly respected. 6He was committed to following the Lord; he even removed the high places and Asherah poles from Judah.
7In the third year of his reign he sent his officials Ben Hail, Obadiah, Zechariah, Nethanel, and Micaiah to teach in the cities of Judah. 8They were accompanied by the Levites Shemaiah, Nethaniah, Zebadiah, Asahel, Shemiramoth, Jehonathan, Adonijah, Tobijah, and Tob-Adonijah, and by the priests Elishama and Jehoram. 9They taught throughout Judah, taking with them the scroll of the law of the Lord. They traveled to all the cities of Judah and taught the people.
10The Lord put fear into all the kingdoms surrounding Judah; they did not make war with Jehoshaphat. 11Some of the Philistines brought Jehoshaphat tribute, including a load of silver. The Arabs brought him 7,700 rams and 7,700 goats from their flocks.
12Jehoshaphat’s power kept increasing. He built fortresses and storage cities throughout Judah. 13He had many supplies stored in the cities of Judah and an army of skilled warriors stationed in Jerusalem. 14These were their divisions by families:
There were a thousand officers from Judah. Adnah the commander led 300,000 skilled warriors, 15Jehochanan the commander led 280,000. 16and Amasiah son of Zikri, who volunteered to serve the Lord, led 200,000 skilled warriors.
17From Benjamin, Eliada, a skilled warrior, led 200,000 men who were equipped with bows and shields, 18and Jehozabad led 180,000 trained warriors.
19These were the ones who served the king, besides those whom the king placed in the fortified cities throughout Judah.(NET Bible)
85:1 For the music director; written by the Korahites, a psalm.
O Lord, you showed favor to your land;
you restored the well-being of Jacob.
2You pardoned the wrongdoing of your people;
you forgave all their sin. (Selah)
3You withdrew all your fury;
you turned back from your raging anger.
4Restore us, O God our deliverer!
Do not be displeased with us!
5Will you stay mad at us forever?
Will you remain angry throughout future generations?
6Will you not revive us once more?
Then your people will rejoice in you!
7O Lord, show us your loyal love!
Bestow on us your deliverance!
8I will listen to what God the Lord says.
For he will make peace with his people, his faithful followers.
Yet they must not return to their foolish ways.
9Certainly his loyal followers will soon experience his deliverance;
then his splendor will again appear in our land.
10Loyal love and faithfulness meet;
deliverance and peace greet each other with a kiss.
11Faithfulness grows from the ground,
and deliverance looks down from the sky.
12Yes, the Lord will bestow his good blessings,
and our land will yield its crops.
13Deliverance goes before him,
and prepares a pathway for him.(NET Bible)
9:1 After Jesus called the twelve together, he gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, 2and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. 3He said to them, “Take nothing for your journey – no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, and do not take an extra tunic. 4Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave the area. 5Wherever they do not receive you, as you leave that town, shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” 6Then they departed and went throughout the villages, proclaiming the good news and healing people everywhere.
7Now Herod the tetrarch heard about everything that was happening, and he was thoroughly perplexed, because some people were saying that John had been raised from the dead, 8while others were saying that Elijah had appeared, and still others that one of the prophets of long ago had risen. 9Herod said, “I had John beheaded, but who is this about whom I hear such things?” So Herod wanted to learn about Jesus.(NET Bible)
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016.
Scripture is the primum principium; it is [Luther writes] “in itself the most certain, the most accessible, the most readily understandable (book) which interprets itself and approves, judges, and illumines all (words) of all.” It must “reign as queen.” (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.