April 23 2014
TDP: Wednesday after Easter;
Original Broadcast: Wednesday; 2009-04-15;
'For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has spurned the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? ... It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebrews 10:26-31, ESV)
God's judgment is indeed fearful. Those who die without faith in Jesus Christ and his life, death and resurrection for the forgiveness of sinners face the "worse punishment" than death. Hell is the destination for those who reject Jesus. God's Word here speaks to us when we think that our sins are small and unimportant. Jesus died on the cross, suffering hell for all sin. When we reject Jesus acting as if His death means nothing, we face God's outrage. Jesus is the perfect sacrifice for sinners. His death sets us free from sin, death and hell. Our lives should reflect God's perfect gift of Jesus. We are dead to sin we should no longer live in it. Daily we Christians live in the promise of our Baptism. We are buried with Christ and raised again to new life.
Let us pray: Baptized into Your name most holy, O Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, I claim a place, though weak and lowly, Among Your saints, Your chosen host. Buried with Christ and dead to sin, Your Spirit now shall live within. (LSB 590) Amen.
Devo ID: 123
April 22 2014
TDP: Tuesday after Easter;
Original Broadcast: Tuesday; 2009-04-14;
'And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. (Hebrews 10:11-14, ESV)
Over and over again the animals were dragged into the temple and slaughtered. It was an unending supply of payment. But you can't pay for human sin with the blood of bulls and goats. Human sin requires human death. The wages of sin is death, says St. Paul. One sacrifice for sin made all other sacrifices obsolete. Jesus Christ was crucified, dead and buried. He willingly offered himself as the once-for-all sacrifice. Jesus is the perfect sacrifice for sinful people, because he is human, only without sin. Jesus is the perfect sacrifice for sin because he is God. His death is a God-sized death for sin. It is enough for the sin of all people for all time. He is the one time single offering for sin. Jesus is your sacrifice for sin. He went to the cross for you. He has paid the wages of sin for you.
Let us pray: Thy death alone, not mine, O Christ, Has paid the ransom due; Ten thousand deaths like mine Would have been all too few. To whom save Thee, Who canst alone For sin atone, Lord, shall I flee? (LSB 565:4) Amen.
Devo ID: 122
April 21 2014
TDP: Monday after Easter;
Original Broadcast: Monday; 2009-04-13;
'For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, "This is the blood of the covenant that God commanded for you." And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship. Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. (Hebrews 9:19-22, ESV)
Yuck! Forgiveness is bloody business. God really had Moses make the picture clear. The animal is slaughtered. The blood is captured in a bowl and then sprinkled on everything... even people. What a mess. What an ugly picture. The problem is the law. The blood sprinkled everywhere was a warning. "If you don't do this law, blood will be spilt." The blood sprinkled everywhere was also a promise. We don't keep the law and blood is spilt. But it isn't you and I that pay the price it is Jesus. His blood is spilt on the cross. He dies the perfect sacrifice for all human sin. "the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin." (1 John 1:7b).
Let us pray: Wash me and take away each stain; let nothing of my sin remain. For cleansing, though it be through pain, Christ crucified, I come. (LSB 560:3) Amen.
Devo ID: 121
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