Year A – Lent 3 – Exodus 17:1-7

Exodus 17:1-7 – From the wilderness of Sin the whole congregation of the Israelites journeyed by stages, as the Lord commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. The people quarrelled with Moses, and said, ‘Give us water to drink.’ Moses said to them, ‘Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?’ But the people thirsted there for water; and the people complained against Moses and said, ‘Why did you bring us out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and livestock with thirst?’ So Moses cried out to the Lord, ‘What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.’ The Lord said to Moses, ‘Go on ahead of the people, and take some of the elders of Israel with you; take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. I will be standing there in front of you on the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it, so that the people may drink.’ Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel. He called the place Massah and Meribah, because the Israelites quarrelled and tested the Lord, saying, ‘Is the Lord among us or not?’

Summary – This passage provides one example of God’s miraculous provision of water. The focus here is that God provided even in the midst of their faithlessness. In the Numbers 20 at the end of their 40 years is another event which is similar but the focus  is that Moses in anger struck the rock (who was Christ) twice. “And he said to them, ‘Listen now, you rebels; shall we bring forth water for you out of this rock?’ 11 Then Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came forth abundantly, and the congregation and their beasts drank. 12 But the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, ‘Because you have not believed Me, to treat Me as holy in the sight of the sons of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them'” (Num. 20:10-12). In this place, as Psalm 95 notes, Moses called it Massah (“testing”) and Meribah (“quarreling”).

Insight – During Israel’s time in the wilderness (a forty-year Lent) we often see them being sustained by God’s miraculous power and yet grumbling. They were being led by a spectacular vision of cloud and fire, as well as getting bread literally from the sky (manna). God was their provider. Yet they are worried about water, as though God could give them deliverance from Pharaoh, bread like rain, but was utterly unable to quench their thirst. Now rock and water are very different. They are opposites. Men today can make mud into pure water. Men today with filters can turn the sewage into a sparkling beverage. But only God can bring forth water by striking a rock. Such is God’s power. Learning from their disobedience, rather than provoke God (“tempt”) with our rock-hearted unbelief, let us be refreshed with His thirst-quenching water.

Child Catechism -Why was God displeased with the people? Because they grumbled and tested the Lord.

Discussion  – Are there any “hard” things in your life that God just can’t do?

Prayer – Father in heaven, we are thanking You that You have given us both the Bread of Life and Living Water in the person and work of Jesus our Lord. We know that all the hard things of our lives are not hard for You. You can make hard rocks into liquid streams in the desert. Please do so in our hearts today, In the Name of Jesus our Rock, Amen.

Year A – Epiphany 2 – Psalm 40:1-11

Psalms 40 – To the leader. Of David. A Psalm. 1 I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry. 2 He drew me up from the desolate pit, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. 3 He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD.   4 Happy are those who make the LORD their trust, who do not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after false gods. 5 You have multiplied, O LORD my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you. Were I to proclaim and tell of them, they would be more than can be counted.   6 Sacrifice and offering you do not desire, but you have given me an open ear. Burnt offering and sin offering you have not required. 7 Then I said, “Here I am; in the scroll of the book it is written of me. 8 I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.”   9 I have told the glad news of deliverance in the great congregation; see, I have not restrained my lips, as you know, O LORD. 10 I have not hidden your saving help within my heart, I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation.   11 Do not, O LORD, withhold your mercy from me; let your steadfast love and your faithfulness keep me safe forever.

Summary – This Psalm speaks of the deliverance of David. God heard the cry of David even though he was in a slimy pit. God set him on firm ground. God provided security, pictured in very concrete terms. His feet are now on a rock, rather than in a swamp or bog of mud. This deliverance evokes a song of praise which will call others to such praise. Those who worship the true God will be blessed. God does not require sacrifices, but a willingness to obey Him. God desires those who delight to do His will. The Psalmist has given praise in the congregation of Yahweh’s deliverance and pleads that He will not withhold His mercy, but continue to give covenant love and faithfulness forever.

Insight – This Psalm is applied to Christ in Heb. 10:9. Christ is the obedient worshiper who comes to do the will of the Father. The words of this Psalm easily overlap with the Servant Song of Isaiah 53 in which it is said, “But the LORD was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days” (Isaiah 53:10). This is recalled in Philippians 2:8, when it is explained that Jesus “humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death— even death on a cross.” Such was the obedience of Jesus, the One who came to do the will of the Father.

Discussion – Given the rigorous system of sacrifices in the Old Testament, why does this Psalm say that God does not require such sacrifices?

Prayer – Almighty God, our heavenly Father, we thank you for the sacrifice of our Savior, Jesus the Lord, who came in obedience to suffer death on a cross, that we might have life. Grant that we who are called into His body, the Church, may walk in the same obedience, yielding our wills to His in order to glorify Him, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, world without end. Amen.

Year B – Epiphany 3 – Jonah 3:1-5, 10

 Jonah 3:1-5, 10 – The word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time, saying,  “Get up, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you.”  So Jonah set out and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly large city, a three days’ walk across.  Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s walk. And he cried out, “Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!”  And the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and everyone, great and small, put on sackcloth.  When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it.
Summary – After a time of chastening, God’s command is repeated and this time, Jonah obeys [a pattern that plays out dozens of times daily in my home!].  Jonah made the long land journey from whichever coast where he had been abruptly “deposited”.  He was headed to the greater metropolitan area of Nineveh, the heart of enemy territory.  He walked through the region loudly warning of God’s impending judgment.  But rather than being attacked or scorned, his message was sincerely received and the king declared a fast for everyone, from the youngest to the oldest [and even all the livestock!].  When He saw this, God repealed His judgment and spared the people of that land.
Insight – Throughout this book, Jonah comes across as a big whiner.  We often see him plopping down on the ground to pout.  Then God has to tell him, “Get up!”  The really amazing thing is that Jonah seems to keep sulking around during his hike through Nineveh.  His preaching wasn’t really preaching.  It was just announcing the judgment that was to come.  When he finished, he plopped down again under a shady vine outside of town and waited for the brimstone.  But somehow, the people were deeply haunted and moved by his words, despite their messenger.  They repented and began to fast in the desperate hope that – like the pagan sailors who had to deal with Jonah just a chapter before – “Who knows? Maybe God will see and just might have mercy on us.”  God did see … and more than this, He responded by relenting and sparing the land.  This is a glorious Epiphany passage.  It is like the 2-minute movie trailer previewing the way that God’s grace will be fully extended to the Gentile nations one day [and now is!].  It also highlights the mind-boggling nature of God’s grace.  He absolutely loves to show mercy, but He finds no pleasure in the judgment of the wicked.  I find that I’m an expert at talking myself out of speaking gospel words to others because of the fear that I’ll say something poorly or get stumped or come across as overly-judgmental.  The example of Nineveh is an antidote for me.  My tongue may get tied but God’s word can never be chained.  He is able to speak and work mightily through us, weak flawed earthen vessels.  Speak up when the opportunity providentially arises.  It is God Who gives the increase.
Child Catechism – Which people fasted in Nineveh?  [you may need to define “fasting”] Everyone fasted – great and small.
Discussion – When the storyteller says “God changed His mind”, what does it mean?  God’s word produced the fruit of a great revival throughout the land, despite the fact that it came by the mouth of this weak, whiny, and grudge-bearing prophet who actually wanted to see his audience perish.  What principles can we derive from this about revival and our role in evangelism?  Freebie: This little book includes regular references to wildlife, including the one here in our passage [though not printed above] where even the livestock were required to participate in the fast.  We know that God regarded this as a precious thing because of the last lines of the book, where He expresses deep pity for the toddlers and livestock of the land after they endured fasting.  What is a Christian view of the treatment of animals and animal ethics?
Prayer – God of glory, You have shed Your light abroad into the darkness of the world and drawn all nations to Yourself.  Cause us, by Your Spirit, to likewise delight in mercy, forgiving our enemies as You, in Christ, have forgiven us, in Whose great name we pray.  Amen.
 Contributed by Ben Rossell

Year A – Lent 2 – Genesis 12:1-4a

Second Sunday in Lent
Genesis 12:1-4a: Now the Lord said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.

Summary – Genesis chapter 12 is one of the most important passages in the Bible. It references the call to Abram to leave his father’s land and to go to the promised land. God had promised that he would make Abram great and would bless all the families of the earth through him. Through Abram God would restore to the world what was lost by Adam . The promise involved giving him land, a Seed, and blessing all nations through him. When this promise is fully unpacked by the new covenant era, the land is the whole world, see Romans 4:13, the seed is Christ the new Adam, and the blessing of all nations is the gospel great commission bringing salvation through Christ to the multiethnic Church in all the world.

Insight – The story of Abraham is the story of a man who heard God’s word and then believed. It was Abraham’s faith that made him unique. Abram, as he was called then, believed God and it was reckoned to him for righteousness. Abraham’s faith in God meant that he would also step out to go the land God showed him. In other words he not only believed that God’s word was true, but then put his feet into action. In the New Testament we discover the promise that God made to Abraham now is true of us. We are incorporated into the promises God made to Abraham. This is especially clear in Romans 4:16, “The promise will be guaranteed to all descendants, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham.” What this means for us is just like Abraham we may have a place in the world which God provides, wherever that may be, we are the rightful heirs of the world (Rom 4:13). It also means that like Abraham we may be fruitful and have a “seed” whether that is physical children or spiritual influence or both, and we may be a blessing to future generations through our faithfulness. To the extent that we accomplish these things it will mean that we ourselves have acted like Abraham. We embraced God’s word in faith and then took action.

Child catechism – What did Abraham do when God called him? Abraham believed God’s word and acted on it.

Discussion – Do you think that God can bless you with place, purpose, and influence? Or do you think those kinds of blessings are reserved only for the people that were in the Bible?

Prayer – Heavenly Father we thank you for the example of father Abraham. Grant that we may also have the grace to hear your voice and obey your word and then take action to accomplish what you call us to do. We pray in Jesus name, Amen.

Year A – Lent 1 – Romans 5:12-19

First Sunday in Lent
Romans 5:12-19:
Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death came through sin, and so death spread to all because all have sinned- sin was indeed in the world before the law, but sin is not reckoned when there is no law. Yet death exercised dominion from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sins were not like the transgression of Adam, who is a type of the one who was to come. But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died through the one man’s trespass, much more surely have the grace of God and the free gift in the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abounded for the many. And the free gift is not like the effect of the one man’s sin. For the judgement following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brings justification. If, because of the one man’s trespass, death exercised dominion through that one, much more surely will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness exercise dominion in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. Therefore just as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all. For just as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.

Summary – Paul expresses the core action of Christ over against the fall of Adam into sin. Earlier in the lectionary readings for this Sunday we saw the fall of Adam. Here we see the parallel in the salvation of Christ. As the one act of unrighteousness brought death, so Christ’s one act of obedience brings life to all. In the background of this text is Isaiah 53. The suffering servant’s actions will justify the many and he will be obedient to death. So in this passage Christ’s obedience is the obedience of his one act of forfeiting his life to justify the many on the cross. The result of this obedience is that instead of death reigning over the sons of Adam, now life reigns over the sons of the second Adam. We receive this life by faith in Jesus.

Insight – Many people struggle with the doctrine of original sin. This doctrine is that we are somehow guilty for Adam’s original sin of eating the forbidden fruit. In order to make sense of this, we must understand that there is covenant representation in the Bible. A husband may represent his wife or his children. A leader such as Moses may represent the people. A sacrificial victim on the altar represents the worshiper. And Adam represented all the human race in the garden. While this may seem unfair, our salvation in Christ rests upon the same principle. Unless Christ represented his people on the cross taking the wrath of God for them, there could be no salvation. So rejoice in the doctrine of original sin, but rejoice more in the doctrine of Christ’s representation and covenant headship of his people.

Child’s catechism – How are we made righteous? By the obedience of Jesus, the second Adam.

Discussion – What are some other examples of one person or thing representing another person thing?

Prayer – Almighty God, we praise you that you sent Jesus Christ as the second Adam to be obedient on our behalf, to do that which we could not do. Strengthen us as we seek to follow him , our covenant head, in all things even during this Lenten season. We ask this in his name, Amen.

Year B – Trinity 7 – 1 Samuel 17:32-49

1 Samuel 17:32-49:  David said to Saul, “Let no one’s heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” 33 Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are just a boy, and he has been a warrior from his youth.” 34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep sheep for his father; and whenever a lion or a bear came, and took a lamb from the flock, 35 I went after it and struck it down, rescuing the lamb from its mouth; and if it turned against me, I would catch it by the jaw, strike it down, and kill it. 36 Your servant has killed both lions and bears; and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, since he has defied the armies of the living God.” 37 David said, “The Lord, who saved me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, will save me from the hand of this Philistine.” So Saul said to David, “Go, and may the Lord be with you!”

38 Saul clothed David with his armor; he put a bronze helmet on his head and clothed him with a coat of mail. 39 David strapped Saul’s sword over the armor, and he tried in vain to walk, for he was not used to them. Then David said to Saul, “I cannot walk with these; for I am not used to them.” So David removed them. 40 Then he took his staff in his hand, and chose five smooth stones from the wadi, and put them in his shepherd’s bag, in the pouch; his sling was in his hand, and he drew near to the Philistine.

41 The Philistine came on and drew near to David, with his shield-bearer in front of him. 42 When the Philistine looked and saw David, he disdained him, for he was only a youth, ruddy and handsome in appearance. 43 The Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44 The Philistine said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and to the wild animals of the field.” 45 But David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with sword and spear and javelin; but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This very day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head; and I will give the dead bodies of the Philistine army this very day to the birds of the air and to the wild animals of the earth, so that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, 47 and that all this assembly may know that the Lord does not save by sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s and he will give you into our hand.” 48 When the Philistine drew nearer to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. 49 David put his hand in his bag, took out a stone, slung it, and struck the Philistine on his forehead; the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell face down on the ground. (NRSV)

 

Summary:  This familiar scene between David and Goliath has become an iconic showdown for all those underdogs pitted against an invincible foe.  But David is not the lone hero of this story (nor would he let himself be); Instead, it was for the Lord’s honor and His glory that David fought (vv45,46).  Probably the age of an older teen at the time, David was nevertheless behaving as the noble and true leader for God’s people—though it would still be years before he was publically recognized as the king.

 

Insight:  Can you image that your parents were once teenagers?  It may be hard to believe, but all of us adults were at one time in your, or in your older siblings, shoes.  Being a young adult is not quite like being an adult, but it certainly feels like you’re not kid anymore.  We’ve been there and so was David.  Despite his youth, he demonstrated a remarkable level of spiritual maturity and wisdom.  His youthful drive and focus was one of humble servanthood and properly placed zeal.  Something we adults, and future adults alike, do well to learn from.

 

Child Catechism:  Why would David fight Goliath?  Because he had defiled the armies of the living God.

Discussion:  Parents, what teenage challenges did you face and overcome with God’s help?  Children (and youth adults), what Goliath-size challenges are your facing in your youth?

 

Father we remember your steadfast love and devotion to your people

In all stages of our life, protector us and stand with us

Our battles are your battles

In the power of your Spirit and the name of the King, Jesus the Christ. Amen.

 

Contributed by M. West

Year B – Easter 7 – Psalm 1

Psalm 1:  Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path that sinners tread, or sit in the seat of scoffers; 2 but their delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law they meditate day and night. 3 They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither.  In all that they do, they prosper. 4 The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. 5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; 6 for the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.  (NRSV)

Summary:   There is a lot of advice floating around in the world.  There are self-help sections in bookstores and libraries; entire magazines devoted to telling you one hundred and one ways to do this or that; and then, if all else fails, you can just “research” it on the internet.  Of course, not all of this advice can be trusted.  Psalm 1 presents us with two fundamental options for life:  we either ground ourselves upon the law of the Lord or we don’t.  For when we do, we are better equipped at judging those other various advice and paths in this life.  Not only that, but our lives will have stability and worth as the Lord watches over us.  But in sharp contrast, for those who do not listen to God; they are like chaff blown in the wind and perish under judgment.

Insight:  The stability and success of our lives is measured a bit differently then we might suppose.  But Psalm 1 makes two general points about measuring life:  First, God’s advice is the only life-giving approach to life.  The Apostle John is even more explicit in this week’s epistle reading:  “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 Jn. 5:12).  In other words, we are either dead or alive; grounded upon the Creator and his guidance or left suppressing his existence, and so, making up self-serving advice as we go along.  That is no way to be stable.  Second, only true happiness and joy are found in him.  In fact, it is Christ’s own joy in us.  Listen to his prayer to the Father:  “But now I am coming to you, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves” (Jn. 17:13).  God himself lived among humanity and shared true life and true joy with us; that is something to meditate upon day and night.

Child Catechism:  Where is wisdom found?  In the only Creator of the universe, who spoke by the prophets and by his Son; and has given us guidance by his Spirit’s written Word.

Discussion:  Psalm 1 says that God’s law combats bad advice, what would be an example of bad advice?   Can even sinful people often good advice?  Consider what James says about doubt and instability in his epistle (cf.  1:5-11), what was his answer towards doubt?  How does prayer strengthen our devotion and understanding of God and his word?

Father,  May Christ’s joy and wisdom enter our hearts and minds,  that those of who doubt may ask in only faith,  that we might speak truly and loving to the unstable world,  in the power of your life-giving Spirit and Son, you lives and reigns with you, Amen.

 

Contributed by:  M.  West

Year B – Easter 4 – Psalm 23

Psalm 23:  The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters; 3he restores my soul.  He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff—they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long.  (NRSV)

Summary:  Despite its lack of cultural relevance, our thoughts of a what a shepherd is, remains a powerful and moving metaphor; Especially when we consider how such imagery informs the Lord’s devoted interaction and guidance within our individual lives.  Throughout history, readers have found this psalm particularly comforting and deeply personal.  God’s care and leading are intimately felt by David’s firsthand experience and poetic imagery.  Thankfully we have a share in David’s voice:  even in the darkest valley, our Divine Shepherd is leading you and me.

Insight:  Biblically, shepherding is a leadership trait that describes even ungodly leaders.  Naturally, such bad leaders were called ‘bad’ shepherds, and they were one of the most damaging and reoccurring threats to the flock of Israel (Jeremiah 23).  However, God was never unsympathetic to such leadership problems; he promised one day to shepherd his people himself (Ezekiel 34).  So when Jesus came onto the scene proclaiming he was the ‘good’ shepherd (Jn 10:14), he was more than just speak of his tender care and pastoral heart,[1] he was claiming to be David’s divine shepherd of Psalm 23.  In fact, “no human king of Israel was ever given the title [of shepherd].”[2]  But now, we have the privilege and responsibility to serve the Shepherd King of Israel.

Likewise, the image of Christ as a shepherd should instill in us a picture of great dignity as well as unsurpassable tenderness.  In Psalm 23, David expresses them both.  He was a man striving to live in that appropriate fear and adoration of Lord.  As we serve the risen and reigning Christ, we must impress upon ourselves the same:  we too have nothing to fear, with no wants, and only the shepherd’s leading:  Surely, goodness and mercy follow us all the days of our lives!

Child Catechism:  How is God a shepherd?  God rules the universe with a shepherd’s caring and tender guidance, deserving for his name’s sake, all creation’s love and respect.

Discussion:  In the Near East, shepherding was a regal image as well as a commonplace profession; what modern everyday occupations might you use to describe God’s guidance?  How does C.S. Lewis’ Aslan help depict the appropriate fear and adoration of who God is?

Prayer – Father, we thank for your shepherd-like leading and provision in our lives, Grant us the grace to follow the one and only Shepherd King:  Christ Jesus;  And it is in his Name and the blessed unity of his Spirit that we pray.  Amen.

Contributed by:  M. West


[1] Peter C. Craigie.  Ezekiel.  (Philadelphia:  Westminster, 1983):  243.

[2] Timothy S. Laniak.  Shepherds After My Own Heart:  Pastoral Traditions and Leadership in the Bible.  (Downers Grove:  InterVarsity, 2006):  249.

Year B – Palm Sunday – Philippians 2:5-11

“5Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, 7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, 8 he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death — even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Summary – Last week we read where Jesus, Glorified by God alone to the office of the Eternal High Priest and was the only begotten Son of the Father offered up prayers to the only One who could save Him from Death. We are called to have the same mind wherein Jesus was heard because of his respectful submission as in one believing, trusting even worshiping the Father. Even though He was a Son, he learned obedience through what He suffered. Thus, being made perfect we too are called to have the same mind set.

Insight – We should practice the same mind of Christ Jesus, “who .  .  .  .  emptied himself, taking the form of a slave.” We too should empty and humble ourselves and become obedient to God and His truth even to the point of death. Our level of commitment and benevolence should be such as we are to be total servants of the most high God putting off “immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” (Galatians 5:17-24, NASB)

Childs Catechism – Should we be committed to serve like Jesus in every area of our lives? Yes, we should be committed to serve like Jesus in every area of our lives.

Discussion – What does it mean to be committed even to the point of death? Did Jesus have to do that?

Prayer – Dear Lord God and heavenly Father, bless us O God, bless us O Lord, protect us and give us strength to be the servants You have called us to be. Prepare us O God for such servant-hood and forgive us when we fail in our commitments to You in our everyday lives serving others. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Contributed by Rev. Tom Miller, MA

Year B – Fifth Sunday in Lent – Hebrews 5:5-10

“5 So also Christ did not glorify himself in becoming a high priest, but was appointed by the one who said to him, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you”; 6as he says also in another place, “You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek.” 7In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; 9and having been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him, 10having been designated by God a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.”

Summary – Jesus, Glorified by God alone to the office of the Eternal High Priest begotten of the Father offered up prayers to the only one who could save Him from Death; Jesus was heard because of his Reverent submission. Even though a Son, he learned obedience through what He suffered. Thus, being made perfect Jesus is the only source of our salvation.

Insight – Jesus did not assume the glory of the priestly office for Himself but rather was called of God (John 8:54). That is, the Father glorified and appointed Him to the priesthood. This appointment was the result of the Sonship of Christ which qualified Him for the office. Only the divine Son could have fulfilled such an office.  Jesus did not represent Himself to be the Son of God, but was from everlasting [in eternity] the only-begotten son of God.  He is a Priest absolutely because He stands alone in that character without an equal.  He was always obedient to the Father’s will but the special obedience needed to qualify Him as our High Priest He learned through suffering. He was High Priest already in the purpose and eyes of God before His crucifixion, but after it, by it, He was made perfect.

Childs Catechism – Is Jesus the perfect son of God the only source of our salvation? Yes, Jesus is the perfect son of God and the only source of our salvation, and He says: “anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life, and does not come under judgment, but has passed from death to life.” (John 5:24, NSAB)

Discussion – What qualified Jesus to be the High Priest forever? If God could save Him from death why did He have to die?

Prayer – Lord God and heavenly Father, our ways are not Your ways nor our thoughts. Help us O God, Help us O Lord to think of one another as Christ thought of us giving Himself on the cross that we might live. We thank you Lord for all you have done, You alone are God and the great High Priest and we worship You alone with great thanksgiving and we do so in your name Jesus, Amen.

Contributed by Rev. Tom Miller, MA