Year B – Proper 13 – Psalm 51

To the leader. A Psalm of David, when the prophet Nathan came to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.

1 Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
4 Against you, you alone, have I sinned,
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are justified in your sentence
and blameless when you pass judgement.
5 Indeed, I was born guilty,
a sinner when my mother conceived me.
6 You desire truth in the inward being;*
therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and put a new and right
* spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from your presence,
and do not take your holy spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and sustain in me a willing
* spirit.

Summary David hopes in God’s covenant love (v.1).  He seeks not only forgiveness, but change (v.2).  He acknowledges that no matter who else is hurt, sin is sin because it’s against God Himself (v.4).  He asks to be purged with hyssop (v.7), the plant with which priests sprinkled blood on formerly-diseased houses to declare them clean (so, he’s asking God to be his Great High Priest in sprinkling blood to declare him clean).  He fears that he might be among those who share in the Holy Spirit but fall away (v.11, cr. Heb. 6:4-6).  He desires the restoration of his joy in God (v.12).  And he wants all this mercy to overflow in evangelism (v.13) and praise (v.14). 

Insight  How will we think about and confess our sinfulness?  We are not without divine direction: God placed within the Psalter—His prescribed hymnbook—King David’s confession.  It isn’t just any confession: as a psalm written to the choirmaster for corporate use, it’s specially intended to inform and shape our own thinking and feeling about confession.  And confession is something that Jesus assumes we’ll need every day, as seen in the words He taught us to pray, “give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us trespasses…”   So, confess: confess as one shaped by David’s confession, and as one who trusts that forgiveness is already there, since Jesus always lives to make intercession for us, so that even as we sin, we already have an advocate with the Father.

Child Catechism
Q:  When you sin against mom or dad, who are you sinning against ultimately
A:  God and God alone.

DiscussionAs you listen to this prayer, what do you notice as things that David hopes will come to pass?

Prayer Have mercy on us, O God, according to Your steadfast love.  We have committed sins against You, and You alone—wash us from them.  Sprinkle us with Christ’s blood, and declare us clean.  May we not be among those who share in Your Holy Spirit only temporarily.  Return to us the joy of Your salvation, that we might praise You and lead others to do the same, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  AMEN.

Contributed by Scott Cline

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Year B – Proper 13 – John 6:24-35

So when the crowd saw that Jesus was not there, nor his disciples, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum, seeking Jesus.  When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?”  Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves.  Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you.  For on him God the Father has set his seal.”  Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?”  Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”  So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you?  What work do you do you perform?  our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as i is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'”  Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven.  For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”  They said to him, “Sir give us this bread always.”  Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”

Summary – This passage showcases Jesus’ classically instructive manner of discoursing with His questioners.  Followed by a crowd, He points out that this crowd has only followed Him to see Him do magic tricks that fill their bellies.  When they ask then what they are supposed to do instead, the answer is simply to believe in the Christ.  Appealing to Israel’s history, the rejoinder is, “Why should we believe you since our fathers had manna in order to believe God?”  Jesus, instead of providing them just another entertaining and filling trick of feeding 5000, gives them  virtually the same answer: believe in me, I am the bread from heaven that the manna prefigured.

Insight – We are people that want to have things proved to us.  Why should I believe that the stove will burn me if I touch it?  Why should I believe that the knife will cut me?  Maybe we know someone who had something really out of the ordinary happen to them which provided for their needs or answered their prayers in a special way.  Maybe we wish that would happen to us so that we would have proof that God cares, or proof that God wants us to do a certain thing.  But when people came to Jesus saying that, He simply told them they’re looking in the wrong place.  Those special things that may happen, like how the Israelites were miraculously provided manna, are great, but really all they do is point to God.  Don’t spend your time, Jesus told them, focusing on those out-of-the-ordinary things; focus on ME.

Child Catechism – What must you do to be doing the works of God?   Believe in Jesus.

Discussion – What are some areas you wish you had concrete proof of?

Prayer – Father, we are so often distracted by the world and by our unbelief.  Cause us to cling to belief in Jesus Christ whom you have sent, that we may never hunger and never thirst.  Amen

Year B – Proper 13 – We Gather Together

We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing;
He chastens and hastens His will to make known.
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing.
Sing praises to His Name; He forgets not His own.

Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,
Ordaining, maintaining His kingdom divine;
So from the beginning the fight we were winning;
Thou, Lord, were at our side, all glory be Thine!

We all do extol Thee, Thou Leader triumphant,
And pray that Thou still our Defender will be.
Let Thy congregation escape tribulation;
Thy Name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!

This hymn has a strong Dutch background, written at a time when the Dutch Protestants were forbidden to “gather together” while under a Spanish (Roman Catholic) king, Philip II. The origin of this is adversity and religious persecution. Note the last line which calls out for liberty, “O Lord, make us free.” Though not all the original Dutch lyrics are present in our version, throughout there is a reference to the battle:

So from the beginning the fight we were winning;
Thou, Lord, were at our side, all glory be Thine!

In America it began to be sang in English at the beginning of the 1900s with a 19th century melody. It gained in popularity in 1935 when it was included in the Methodist Hymnal and has come to be associated with Thanksgiving.

Let us rejoice that we have the freedom to “gather together” and let us be ever mindful of the cost of that freedom.

Year B – Proper 12 – Psalm 14

To the leader. Of David.

1 Fools say in their hearts, ‘There is no God.’
They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds;
there is no one who does good.
2 The Lord looks down from heaven on humankind
to see if there are any who are wise,
who seek after God.
3 They have all gone astray, they are all alike perverse;
there is no one who does good,
no, not one.
4 Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers
who eat up my people as they eat bread,
and do not call upon the Lord?
5 There they shall be in great terror,
for God is with the company of the righteous.
6 You would confound the plans of the poor,
but the Lord is their refuge.
7 O that deliverance for Israel would come from Zion!
When the Lord restores the fortunes of his people,
Jacob will rejoice; Israel will be glad.

SummaryThere are people—fools—who say in their hearts that there is no God, so that they can do abominable deeds (v.1).   The omniscient God investigates mankind, as it were, to see whether anybody at all is wise—which is to say, whether anybody at all seeks after God (v.2); devastatingly, His conclusion is that we all have gone astray, we are all alike perverse, and not one of us does good (v.3).  Don’t those who hate His people have any knowledge at all (v.4)?  Don’t they know that God is, and that He has spoken, and that He will judge?  They may block God out of their minds, now, so that they need not fear God when they sin (v.1), but the day is coming when they will fear Him, and in great terror (v.5).  Why?  Well, for some, because they have messed with the poor, and God is the refuge of the poor (v.6), and He will not hold him guiltless who messes with the poor.  O that deliverance from Zion would come into this messed up world and into our messed up hearts (v.7)!  And deliverance has come, from Zion, into our world and into our hearts: The Word who became flesh and dwelt among us, and whose Spirit continues to dwell among us and within us.  Praise be to God!

Insight Those who say in their hearts that there is no God, often say so with only their hearts—their lips may say very Christian things.  Often, they say this in their hearts by choosing to forget that God is, and that He watches.  They, in their hearts, intentionally forget that God is, so that they may sin without consciousness of God looking over their shoulders.  They are fools.  They are you and I, every time we sin.  Sin always involves atheistic lapses: you cannot sin willfully while fully embracing God for all that He says He is.  

Child Catechism
Q:  Who says in his or her heart that there is no God?
A:  The fool.

DiscussionAre you as conscious of God while sinning as you are while worshipping?  What changes?  Is God less actually real at this time than at that time?  Or what is going on in our hearts that makes the difference?  Do we intentionally orient our hearts away from faith, when it’s convenient?

PrayerAlmighty God and Everlasting Father, we are foolish when we sin, for we say in our hearts that You are not.  You look down from heaven on us to see whether any of us are wise, in seeking after You—you see that apart from Your grace, we do not.  We have all gone astray, and none of us do good unless You do it in us.  But You do do it in us, for deliverance has come from Zion: Jesus, Your Son, our Lord; and so, we will rejoice and be glad in He who always gives us the victory.  AMEN.

Contributed by Scott Cline

Year B – Proper 12 – O Lamb of God Most Holy

O Lamb of God most holy!
Who on the cross didst suffer,
And patient still and lowly,
Thyself to scorn didst offer;
Our sins by Thee were taken,
Or hope had us forsaken:
Have mercy on us, O Jesus.

Thy peace be with us, O Jesus.

Though the harmony was arranged by J.S. Bach, this hymn’s text and tune was written by a grad­u­ate of the Un­i­ver­si­ty of Leip­zig (BA 1506), who was a monk. His name was Nikolaus Decius. In about 1519 he was in a  clois­ter at Ste­ter­burg, and began to hear of the Reformational work of Martin Luther. God was working in this man to accept the free grace of God. The great truths of the Reformation were founded upon the truth of justification by faith. As he begin to embrace the Reformational faith, God called him to Stet­tin as an evan­gel­i­cal preach­er and served the  Church of St. Ni­cho­las.

This hymn is often used for the Lenten season, but its truth is useful always. I calls for the  Lamb of God to have mercy on us and to grant us peace. Jesus is able to do this because he is most holy and he atoned for our sins through the cross. The most personal truth of many in this hymn to me is that “Our sins by Thee were taken.” Decius believed the gospel. He embraced the truth that his sins “by Thee were taken” and therefore as a result he believed Christ’s peace was with him.

Year B – Proper 12 – John 6:1-21

After this Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. And a large crowd was following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing on the sick. Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples. Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand.  Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?”  He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do.  Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread would not be enough for each of them to get a little.”  One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?”  Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, about five thousand in number.  Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted.  And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples,“Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.” So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten. When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, “This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!”  Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.  When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea,  got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing.  When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were frightened.   But he said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.”   Then they were glad to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.

Summary – In these two well-known stories, Jesus demonstrates His authority over creation.  A lot of the populated places were near the coast of the Sea of Galilee, and was divided up into various precincts under different lords in the Roman Empire.  Thus, saying they “went to the other side” of the Sea doesn’t necessarily mean a strict crossing of the diameter of the lake, but a crossing of the border into the next precinct.  Jesus also demonstrates His purpose for His Kingdom:  He wasn’t going to be made king by human hands, but by His Passion and Ascension to the right hand of the Father.

Insight – Did you ever wish you could change something that happened in the world?  That you could stop some event from happening or make the world good by doing something?  People in Jesus’ time wanted to overthrow Roman rule and set Jesus up as their king forcefully.  But Jesus instead, “withdrew to the mountain by himself.”  Here we see that no matter how hard we try, it is not our work that will bring Christ’s Kingdom on earth!  We can’t make it happen on our own.  We must faithfully pray, “Thy Kingdom come,” with a mind that Christ will indeed subdue all His enemies on His own time and will use us.  But it’s His plan and His work, not ours.

Child Catechism – Who is King of the World?  Jesus Christ.

Discussion – Wouldn’t it have been easier for Jesus to just become a human king?

Prayer – Thank you Lord that in your perfect plan, you have chosen to reign over the world and submit it to your lordship.  Use us as vessels for your Kingdom and may your kingdom come in this world.  Keep us from trying to do your job for you.  In Christ’s name, Amen.

Year B – Proper 11 – Mark 6:30–34, 53–56

Mark 6:30–34, 53–56 NRSV –    The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. 6:31 He said to them, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. 6:32 And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves. 6:33 Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they hurried there on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them. 6:34 As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. 6:53 When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored the boat. 6:54 When they got out of the boat, people at once recognized him, 6:55 and rushed about that whole region and began to bring the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. 6:56 And wherever he went, into villages or cities or farms, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged him that they might touch even the fringe of his cloak; and all who touched it were healed.

Summary – This passage shows Jesus being overwhelmed by the needs of the crowds during these days. As the disciples have gone out in His name, now their is greater demand for Jesus’s personal ministry of healing. In this setting Jesus seeks to pull away from the crowds and permit the disciples rest, since “they had no leisure even to eat.” However the crowds continue to impress their needs upon him so much so that their plan to get away was halted when everyone hurried their after them. Mark is drawing our attention in this context of busyness to Jesus’s compassionate response. “As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd” (34).

Insight – How do you respond to increasing demands on your time, energy and availability? In our day we speak of being overworked, stressed out, frazzled, burning the candle at both ends and fried. Jesus and the disciples are very overwhelmed but the response of Jesus is one of compassion.  He acted selflessly even in the context of physical stress. Because of His compassion He evidenced God’s power through Him so that the last word is, “And wherever he went, into villages or cities or farms, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged him that they might touch even the fringe of his cloak; and all who touched it were healed.” All who came into contact with Jesus received God’s healing power. When we display compassion in the chaos of our stresses, God’s power also touches others.

Catechism – How did Jesus view the crowds? He viewed them with compassion since they were like sheep without a shepherd.

Discussion – When you are overwhelmed how do you respond to people around you? What are some ways to respond compassionately to others?

Prayer – Father of our Lord Jesus, we praise you that you sent to us a compassionate Shepherd in the Lord Jesus. We ask that you would make us more like Him as we continue to trust in the full healing he provided through the cross and resurrection. In Christ’s Name, Amen.

 

Year B – Proper 11 – Psalm 23

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

SummaryGod made sheep, and rolling, green meadows, and clear, mountain pools, and wise, tender shepherds so that we could know what it’s like to be loved and led by Him.  Being loved and led by God is like being full, having eaten so much of the best grass that you’re ready to lie down in it.  It’s like having your soul refreshed by a deep, cool spring.  It’s like knowing, when you’re in a dark and craggy valley, that you’re there with a shepherd who’s ready to pull you out of danger and beat off wolves, and that you’re in that valley only because he’s leading you through to a glorious meadow on the other side.  It’s like having a king’s feast spread out for you while your enemies look on.

Insight Do you remember, in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, when Lucy reads in the magician’s book a “Story for the Refreshing of the Soul”?  I think Psalm 23 is something like that.  God could have simply said, “I love and lead you;” but, apparently, that didn’t cut it, in His opinion.  You aren’t supposed to boil Psalm 23 down to a lesson, like, “I should remember that God loves and leads me”—no, you’re supposed to sit back, relax, and imagine it.  Put yourself in it.  Experience it.  Psalm 23 has a way of giving you a taste of what it talks about.

Child Catechism
Q:  Why will you not lack?
A:  Because the Lord is my shepherd.

DiscussionWhy would a shepherd lead his sheep through the valley of the shadow of death?

PrayerLord, You are our shepherd—we will lack nothing that is best for us.  You make us to lie down in green pastures.  You lead us beside still waters.  You refresh our souls.  You lead us in paths of righteousness, and You do that for Your own Name’s sake.  Even when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we will fear no evil, for You are with us—Your rod and Your staff comfort us.  You prepare a table before us in the presence of our enemies.  You anoint our heads with oil; our cup overflows.  Your goodness and mercy follow us all the days of our lives, and we will dwell in Your house forever.  AMEN.

Contributed by Scott Cline

Year B – Proper 11 – Ephesians 2:11-22

“So then, remember that at one time you Gentiles by birth, called “the uncircumcision” by those who are called “the circumcision”–a physical circumcision made in the flesh by human hands–remember that you were at that time without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.  But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far of have been brought near by the blood of Christ.  For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us.  He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it.  So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off a d peace to those who were near; for through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father.  So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone.  In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.”

Summary – The stage has been set: you have been saved by grace through faith for good works.  But now the question arises for 1st century Gentiles of Ephesus: how can I be saved if God’s word came to Jews all these years?  Paul provides the answer: that which divided Jews from Gentiles, namely bloodline (v 11), covenant sign (circumcision v 11), and Jewish covenant code (Torah v 15) has been overcome that Jews and Gentiles may become one body.  Those distinguishers are not gone entirely: Jews are still Jews and Gentiles still Gentiles by birth; some are still circumcised physically and all are circumcised spiritually (in the heart) and new covenantally (by baptism); and the Torah still guides righteous living and covenant keeping.  Nevertheless, the things about these three areas that kept Jew and Gentile separate have been washed away in Christ who has preached peace to those far off and those near.

Insight – Getting a goldfish to walk around on your carpet apart from water is a pretty hopeless task, isn’t it?  Well, before Jesus came to earth, people who were not Jews were basically hopeless in trying to be a true person of God, a Jew.  But when Jesus died, His death got rid of the thing that separated Jews from people who weren’t by making it so that if you believe in Him, you were a true Jew, whether you used to be one or not.  That way, all different kinds peoples on Earth could be made a part of His family!

Child Catechism – What kind of person can be part of God’s family?  Every kind!

Discussion – If someone said to you, “I believe I am an Apostle and Prophet of God,” how would you answer them?  (think vs 20)  If someone said, “We should throw out the Old Testament because Eph 2:15 says Christ abolished it,” what would you tell them?

Prayer – Father, no barrier is too great that your grace cannot overcome it.  Thank you for your sovereign and all-powerful nature which gives us hope that you can and will keep any promise you have made.  Shape us in the image of your Son, by your Spirit, for your glory.  Amen

Year B – Proper 10 – Mark 6:14-29

Mark 6:14–29 NRSV –    King Herod heard of it, for Jesus’ name had become known. Some were saying, “John the baptizer has been raised from the dead; and for this reason these powers are at work in him.” 6:15 But others said, “It is Elijah.” And others said, “It is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.” 6:16 But when Herod heard of it, he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.” 6:17 For Herod himself had sent men who arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because Herod had married her. 6:18 For John had been telling Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” 6:19 And Herodias had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not, 6:20 for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he protected him. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed; and yet he liked to listen to him. 6:21 But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and for the leaders of Galilee. 6:22 When his daughter Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it.” 6:23 And he solemnly swore to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom.” 6:24 She went out and said to her mother, “What should I ask for?” She replied, “The head of John the baptizer.” 6:25 Immediately she rushed back to the king and requested, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” 6:26 The king was deeply grieved; yet out of regard for his oaths and for the guests, he did not want to refuse her. 6:27 Immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard with orders to bring John’s head. He went and beheaded him in the prison, 6:28 brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl. Then the girl gave it to her mother. 6:29 When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.

Summary – The incident of the death of John the Baptizer is well known. It demonstrates the level of wickedness that indwelt the Herodian dynasty.  Herod the Great had claimed to be “King of the Jews” and as we read in Matthew 2, He tried to kill Jesus. Here the apple does not fall far from the tree – This king is actually Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great. Mark portrays him like Ahab, the Old Testament king of Israel in the episode with Elijah, since John is an Elijah. The scheming Herodias is a Jezebel, Ahab’s wife, who had a special hatred for Elijah (1 Kings 16:29-19:3; 21:1-29). In the end John’s head is served on a platter as though they have complete power over John, the most powerful prophet of God. But it becomes clear through the rest of the Gospel and in Acts, the only power they have is what God has permitted for His own purposes.

Insight – If we only had this portion of the Gospel to read it would seem as though the enemies of God are winning. But this is not true and is only one moment in the grand Story of our salvation. God is in control and John’s death set the stage for Jesus’s death. Through Jesus’s death and resurrection he took the throne of heaven to rule the world and be the true king. As Jesus would say later to Pilate, “You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above” (John 19:10). At His trial Jesus said, “I am [Messiah]; and ‘you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power,’ and ‘coming with the clouds of heaven.’” (14:62) Therefore we should never fret if rulers do evil since Jesus reigns.

Catechism – How did John the Baptist die? He was beheaded by Herod Antipas.

Discussion – Are there evil rulers in the world today? How is God using them to accomplish His purposes?

Prayer – Father in Heaven, You have raised Jesus to be the True King and Lord of all, Grant us the faith to trust in His power and endure until His kingship is visible to all the world. We pray in His mighty name. Amen.