O dearest Jesus, what law hast Thou broken That such sharp sentence should on Thee be spoken? Of what great crime hast Thou to make confession, What dark transgression? LSB 439 st. 1
“Pilate addressed them once more, desiring to release Jesus, but they kept shouting, ‘Crucify, crucify him!’ A third time he said to them, ‘Why? What evil has he done? I have found in him no guilt deserving death. I will therefore punish and release him.’ But they were urgent, demanding with loud cries that he should be crucified. And their voices prevailed. So Pilate decided that their demand should be granted.” Luke 23:20-24
Three times Pilate affirmed Jesus’ innocence: “What evil has he done?” But the crowd kept shouting, “Crucify him!” And there’s Jesus, standing in silence. He is the spotless Lamb, led to slaughter. Soon, the shouting match ends with the headstrong demand of the crowd prevailing over Pilate’s plea.
Shouting matches rarely turn out well. We desire to be heard over our neighbor. We want things our way and blame others for our mistakes. Like the crowds, we shout against all authority in what we say and do. Like Pilate we desperately want our plea for the innocent to be heard, but too quickly give up to sin’s demands. This Lententide, repent and see the Lord of Life, giving Himself up on His cross for our sin and punished with our death.
O dearest Jesus, what law hast Thou broken? That such sharp sentence should on Thee be spoken? Jesus Christ, our God and Lord, willingly gave Himself over to the cross to pay for your crimes and die for your sins. And in the end, Jesus has the last word. In His resurrected glory He announces that your sins are forgiven.
Let us pray: O crucified Lord of Glory, for our crimes and transgressions You went to the cross to die. Grant us repentant hearts that we may recognize You as our substitute in Your cross and passion, that in Your death we receive life. It is in Your name we pray. Amen.
In Christ you are forgiven. Whatever you or I have done, however dark it is, has been taken on in His holy life and His bitter sufferings and death. Jesus' Lent is our Lent. But it doesn't end there! His Easter is ours as well!
Encouragement is a funny beast. We look for it all the time and often it is very elusive. At LCMS RSTM we are all about providing encouragement to those with whom we work. This is especially important since so often the trees of doubt and worry, of loss and need are so close to the eyes of these folks that it is impossible to see the forest before them. To see down the road a smidgen is hard, let alone focusing on the prize of which St. Paul speaks in Philippians 3. How then are we to find encouragement when ministry seems so difficult?
Simply put, we turn to the Lord. In Him and His Word, we find repeatedly that though we are weak, yet we are strong, though we are fallen, we are redeemed in Christ and even when all seems for naught, God has a purpose for our future. Indeed, we who wait on the Lord turn to His words which remind us, "Be strong, and let your heart take courage"! ... See MoreSee Less
When the woes of life o’ertake me, Hopes deceive, and fears annoy, Never shall the cross forsake me; Lo, it glows with peace and joy. LSB 427 st. 2
“And he said to all, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.’” Luke 9:23
“How is your walk with Jesus going?” This question is quite common in the church, and it can be hard to nail down its meaning. How is your prayer life? How is your church attendance? How is your marriage? In other words, our “walk with Jesus” is used to mean how well we are reflecting Him, and how well we are living the way He would have us live.
Jesus paints our walk with Him quite differently; rather than describing the measure of our own sanctification, our Lord describes the Christian walk as one of death. We are not walking empty-handed but carrying our cross, and there is only one place where that journey ends: Golgotha. The Christian life is lived at the foot of the cross. While the crosses we carry throughout our Christian life may look different for each of us, they are all the same in their end. No one carries a cross except to be crucified upon it.
Here, however, lies the beauty of the Christian life: our own crucifixion is not an occasion for sorrow but for joy, because we have been crucified with Jesus! As Paul teaches us in Romans chapter 6, we have been crucified and buried into Jesus’ death through our baptism and our walk to Golgotha is no longer a walk to death, but to life! To follow in the footsteps of Jesus, footsteps that lead to His death and burial, is to walk in the Way of Life! Therefore, the death of a Christian, whether young or old, can truly be called “blessed;” the Christian takes up his cross and follows Jesus to Golgotha and into death, knowing that following Jesus into the grave is also to follow Him out of it!
Let us Pray: Lord Jesus Christ, we thank You for bearing our sins on Your cross as You suffered, died, and rose for the forgiveness of our sins. Be with us as we take up our cross and follow You, that at the end of this life’s journey we may be where You are. In Your most holy Name we pray. Amen.
This link below is one place to keep updated on disaster response efforts in Nebraska. But right now, there are two very important pieces of information that we want you to see right away.
1. If you or your congregation has a need as a result of the flooding, there is a link where you can submit information about your need.
2. If you want to offer aid, there is a link with a form you can fill out to do so.
In the cross of Christ I glory, Tow’ring o’er the wrecks of time. All the light of sacred story Gathers round its head sublime. LSB 427 st. 1
“But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” Galatians 6:14
We love feeling satisfaction in a job well done. It is that feeling which often keeps us going on the job, in the classroom, or with a home project. Indeed, we crave it and delight in it. Yet what happens when satisfaction and contentment are no longer enough? It is then that we begin to boast and glory in ourselves and our work for others to notice, so we may have their praise and avoid their persecution. We often find much in our lives to boast in: Our job, our money, our marriage and children, our pedigree, or our piety and what we gave up for Lent. We can even glory and boast in the love, kindness, and charity we show to others—which, then, makes those acts none of those things. However, the reality is that whatever we boast in, it all leads to the same place: ashes to ashes, dust to dust. We may avoid persecution; we may gain worldly glory; but on our own, we cannot avoid death.
Which is why St. Paul reminds us today that the only true glorying and boasting is in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Baptized into Christ’s death, the world has been crucified to us. We no longer desire its praise or fear its persecution, but, in the salvation Christ won for us, we eagerly wait for the day when we will arise anew and hear Him tell us, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” So that when we leave the Lord’s Table Sunday after Sunday, we can then go out and truly fast, pray, love others, and live an honest life without seeking the praise of the world. Because we know where our true glory and salvation is and always will be: in Christ and Him crucified.
Let us Pray: Heavenly Father, in our Baptism keep our eyes fixed on the cross of Your Son so that we may always glory and boast in Him alone, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Jesus Lents, suffers, and dies for you.....Sunday, March 17
Jesus, refuge of the weary Blest Redeemer, whom we love, Fountain in life’s desert dreary, Savior from the world above: Often have Your eyes, offended, Gazed upon the sinner’s fall; Yet upon the cross extended, You have borne the pain of all. (LSB 423 st.1)
“Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:4-5
Have you ever had to carry a burden for another? Maybe a close family member had an illness or some disability, and you found yourself struggling to care for their needs on top of your own. Maybe a loved one confided in you a personal struggle they were having, and you felt the weight of that problem pressing down on you as your heart went out to them and you offered them encouraging words and lifted them in prayer. As believers in Christ, we are called to carry the burdens of one another. “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2). In so doing, God uses us as His instruments of love and mercy to help others in their earthly afflictions.
Christ knew what it was to bear the burdens of others. But He did not stop at bearing the pain of illness or personal struggles–He bore the weight of our every sin. He was pierced for us…crushed for our iniquities. When we bear another’s suffering, we’ve given them temporary relief. But when Christ bore the pain of all on the cross, He won for us eternal relief. He defeated sin, death, and the devil and He won us peace with our heavenly Father. He is our Blest Redeemer, and we owe to Him our deepest gratitude and love for all He has done and continues to do for us.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, we owe You everything for bearing our sins on the cross and for taking the punishment that we so justly deserved. In this Lenten season, let us daily remember Your finished work that we may strive to live in a way that honors and glorifies Your holy name, now and forever. Amen.