April 18 2014
TDP: Good Friday;
Original Broadcast: Friday; 2009-04-10;
'Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!" And having said this he breathed his last. Now when the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God, saying, "Certainly this man was innocent!" And all the crowds that had assembled for this spectacle, when they saw what had taken place, returned home beating their breasts. And all his acquaintances and the women who had followed him from Galilee stood at a distance watching these things. (Luke 23:46-49, ESV)
Today is Good Friday but it doesn't sound all that 'good.' Jesus, the innocent man, dies on the cross. Lots of people are looking on. They are all upset at his death. Even Jesus close friends stood at a distance to watch as Jesus bleeds to death. On this day, we look on too. We see Jesus' cruel suffering. We see Jesus' bloody death. But we dare not turn away because it is here at the cross that Jesus dies for us. It is here at the foot of the cross we see the death of our sin; Jesus' blood shed for us; Jesus body given for us. Through Jesus' willing sacrifice on the cross we receive forgiveness of our sin. The punishment we see is ours. We are now free from the punishment we deserve. We are free to live without fear of death.
Let us pray: What Thou, my Lord, hast suffered Was all for sinners' gain; Mine, mine was the transgression, But Thine was the deadly pain. Lo, here I fall, my Savior! 'Tis I deserve thy place; Look on me with Thy favor, And grant to me Thy grace. (LSB 450:3) Amen.
Devo ID: 120
April 17 2014
TDP: Holy Thursday;
Original Broadcast: Thursday; 2009-04-09;
'In this manner you shall eat [the Passover lamb]: with your belt fastened, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. And you shall eat it in haste. It is the Lord's Passover. For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the Lord. The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt. (Exodus 12:11-13, ESV)
God rescued his people from slavery in Egypt through the death of the Passover lamb. It was killed and eaten and its blood smeared on the door of the house. God's judgment came to Egypt. Every first born child died, except where there was lamb's blood. The lamb died as a substitute instead of the first born in that house. This was the final straw for Pharaoh. He released the Hebrews from slavery and told them to leave. God saves you and me from slavery, too. Our captor is our sin. It rules our hearts and minds and would lead to eternal separation from God, punishment in hell. But God works as he did before. A Lamb is sacrificed instead. Jesus blood is smeared on the cross. He is punished and dies instead of us. God's judgment passes over us to Him.
Let us pray: Gracious God, through Jesus blood you forgive my sin. Keep me faithful to your will. Amen.
Devo ID: 119
April 16 2014
TDP: Wednesday of Holy Week;
Original Broadcast: Wednesday; 2009-04-08;
'Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16, ESV)
There is no way to say, "God doesn't understand me." Through Jesus Christ, God and man together in one person, God knows exactly what you go through every day. He knows what it is to be weak and tempted to sin. And what's more he has sympathy. But it's not that he feels sorry for you. His sympathy actually leads him to action. Jesus dies on the cross to forgive your sin. He didn't fall to temptation. But he knows your weakness. He knows that you do fall. You need forgiveness. And he gives it to you. Faith in Jesus means that you look to him for forgiveness and rejoice that you have it, through Jesus life, death and resurrection.
Let us pray: Dearest Jesus, you know me, forgive my sin, help me to resist temptation. Amen.
Devo ID: 118
April 15 2014
TDP: Tuesday of Holy Week;
Original Broadcast: Tuesday; 2009-04-07;
'Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called "today," that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. (Hebrews 3:12-14, ESV)
It is easy to underestimate the danger of sin. Sin kills. Left unchecked it hardens us against God. Our sinful hearts are slippery. Sin pops up so easily. It seems right. It grows to become a part of our thinking and acting. Sin leads us away from God slowly, step by step, until wrong seems right. The real problem is that it comes from inside. Beware. Your sinful heart can be a dangerous enemy. Daily doses of God's Word are necessary to protect you from your sinful heart. It is the only defense. God's Word shows you your sin. It also shows you your Savior from sin. Jesus He died on the cross and put your sin to death. Through God's Word we are given the gift of repentance. That means we have confidence in Jesus to remove our sin. We turn to him in expectant faith.
Let us pray: Holy Spirit, fix my heart on Jesus in steadfast faith that sin may not have power over me. Amen.
Devo ID: 117
April 14 2014
TDP: Monday of Holy Week;
Original Broadcast: Monday; 2009-04-06;
'Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, [Jesus] himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery... Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. (Hebrews 2:14-18, ESV)
Satan loves to threaten us. "You, sinner, when you die you'll go to hell. God can't love a sinner like you." He has a point. We are sinful. Nothing we can do will change that. It is a life long slavery. We sin. We die. We deserve to go to hell. So Satan threatens. But God has set us free from our slavery to sin. He takes away Satan's treat. Jesus is human in every way, God in human flesh. He makes propitiation for us. All that means is that on the cross he suffers the punishment of hell for us. He takes away hell from us. Satan's threat is empty. "You, sinner, you are going to hell." "Yes, I am a sinner." we reply, "But Jesus saves me through his life, death and resurrection. When I die I'll live with Him forever."
Let us pray: Should some lust or sharp temptation Fascinate my sinful mind, Draw me to Your cross and passion, And new courage I shall find. Or should Satan press me hard, Let me then be on my guard, Saying, "Christ for me was wounded," That the tempter flee confounded. (LSB 421:2)
Devo ID: 116
April 11 2014
TDP: Friday - Lent 5;
Original Broadcast: Friday; 2009-04-03;
'And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?" which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" And some of the bystanders hearing it said, "Behold, he is calling Elijah." And someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink, saying, "Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down." And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. (Mark 15:33-37, ESV)
Jesus' question is a very important question. Why does God forsake Jesus on the cross? What is God in human flesh doing there nailed to a Roman cross? The answer is more even than meets the eye. Of course Jesus suffers from the thorns that the soldiers beat into his scalp, the whip that tore his skin and the nails that hold him to the cross. All of it is terrible. Jesus is forsaken by God. He is God own Son, left to die without help. God, the Father, actually turns away from Jesus and leaves him alone to die. It is hell for Jesus. It is hell for you and me. Our sin deserves just that. God should turn from us and leave us to hell for eternity. But we are not forsaken, instead we are forgiven. Jesus death on the cross is our punishment in hell. Now we have eternal life with God.
Let us pray: Jesus, you were forsaken in my place. Thank you for your forgiveness. Amen.
Devo ID: 115
April 10 2014
TDP: Thursday - Lent 5;
Original Broadcast: Thursday; 2009-04-02;
'And they brought [Jesus] to the place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull). And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. And they crucified him and divided his garments among them, casting lots for them, to decide what each should take. And it was the third hour when they crucified him. And the inscription of the charge against him read, "The King of the Jews." And with him they crucified two robbers, one on his right and one on his left. (Mark 15:22-27, ESV)
Crucifixion is a horrible form of execution. The Romans were exceedingly efficient. The main reason for nailing someone to a cross is deterrent. A naked person on a cross says, "If you do what he did this is what you get." Myrrh was given as a drug to make the victim easier to deal with. It dulled the senses and made them a bit more docile. Jesus refuses. He doesn't have to be convinced. He goes to the cross willingly. He doesn't want the pain dulled. He suffers the full brunt of it, and even more. This whole reason Jesus was born was for this crucifixion, this punishment. And Jesus death on the cross is a deterrent to. Jesus is God's sacrifice in place of you. His horrible death is punishment for your sin. Because of Jesus willing sacrifice your sins are forgiven.
Let us pray: Thou hast suffered great affliction And hast borne it patiently, Even death by crucifixion, Fully to atone for me; Thou didst choose to be tormented That my doom should be prevented. Thousand, thousand thanks shall be, Dearest Jesus, unto Thee. Amen. (LSB 420:6) Public domain
Devo ID: 114
April 9 2014
TDP: September 15;
Original Broadcast: Tuesday; 2009-09-15;
'See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, ... And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. (Colossians 2:8-9,13-14, ESV)
What a mystery, that God could dwell completely in Jesus Christ. This means that Jesus is nothing other than God himself. Jesus is, walking, talking, breathing, living, dying God in human flesh. There is no other way to think about it. God was born in barn, fed and taught by human parents, loved and hated, feared and trusted, and finally crucified dead and buried but raised again and alive. And all this for a purpose. In sin, you and I were as dead as Jesus in the grave. But God made us alive with Jesus. He forgives all our sin. He pays the debt we owe God, because we fail to live up to his perfect law. That's what God is doing, living and talking, and eating and breathing and dying in Jesus. Our sin is nailed to the cross. Our punishment is paid in full by God, himself.
Let us pray: Dearest Jesus, you became human to pay for my sin, help me to live every day as your forgiven child. Amen.
Devo ID: 163
April 8 2014
p>TDP: Tuesday - Lent 5;
Original Broadcast: Tuesday; 2009-03-31;
'And the high priest stood up in the midst and asked Jesus, "Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?" But he remained silent and made no answer. Again the high priest asked him, "Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?" And Jesus said, "I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven." And the high priest tore his garments and said, "What further witnesses do we need? You have heard his blasphemy. What is your decision?" And they all condemned him as deserving death. (Mark 14:60-64, ESV)
Make no mistake about it. The church killed Jesus because he said he was God. You can almost see the hopeful look in Jesus eyes as the Chief Priest asks him, "Are you God, in the flesh?" "Yes! I AM!" Jesus says it clearly using words that they can't miss. They should rejoice, and fall at his feet and beg forgiveness. Instead, they condemn him to death for "blasphemy" that is, "claiming to be God." There is no middle ground to stand on. Either Jesus is God as he said, or he is crazy as a loon. The proof of what Jesus says stands clearly on his resurrection. He was killed. Crucified dead and buried and after three days dead, He came alive again a fully human, living breathing person. Everything Jesus said and did hinges on his walking out of his tomb alive. If he did that, than everything else he said and did is true. Jesus did rise from the dead. He did suffer and die on the cross. And your sins are forgiven.
Let us pray: Dearest Jesus, thank you for the forgiveness of sins you have won for me on the cross. Amen.
Devo ID: 113
April 7 2014
TDP: Monday - Lent 5;
Original Broadcast: Monday; 2009-03-30;
'And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And he said to his disciples, "Sit here while I pray." And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. And he said to them, "My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch." And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, "Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will." (Mark 14:32-36, ESV)
When Jesus prays in the Garden, he is fully aware of what is about to happen. He is facing unspeakable pain. The betrayal of his friends. The cruel undeserved beating from the Roman guards. The nails piercing his flesh. The naked public display of his beaten, bloody, dead body. While the disciples sleep, Jesus does what any person would do... he prays. "God! Please take this cup from me." But he also does what you and I cannot do. "I leave this in your hands completely." Jesus has complete trust in God, the Father. Jesus is focused on something more important to him than the suffering he is about to face. You. He willingly goes to the cross, suffering and death, so that you can have forgiveness. Only the life, death and resurrection of Jesus can do that.
Let us pray: Thou hast suffered great affliction And hast borne it patiently, Even death by crucifixion, Fully to atone for me; Thou didst choose to be tormented That my doom should be prevented. Thousand, thousand thanks shall be, Dearest Jesus, unto Thee. (LSB 420:6) Amen.
Devo ID: 112