“Jesus!” (Luke 2:21)

Circumcision and Name of Jesus
Sunday, January 1, 2023

“Jesus!” (Luke 2:21)

[In 2022 and now into 2023, we are celebrating the 175th anniversary year of our Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. Today, on this eighth day of Christmas, we are observing the Circumcision and Name of Jesus. And today is January 1, New Year’s Day. Our message this morning brings together all three of these themes. This past week I came across a sermon by Friedrich Wyneken, the second president of the Missouri Synod, on the Circumcision and Name of Jesus, preached on New Year’s Day, January 1, 1868. I read it and thought it was excellent. So I edited it down to manageable size–sermons back then were over a half-hour–and I adapted it for our use today. This message blessed me, and I know it will bless you. The text is the Holy Gospel, Luke 2:21, “And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.”]

Beloved in Christ: By the grace of God we are starting a new year today. Not for nothing did God arrange it that the world’s celebration of the new year coincides with the church’s celebration of the Lord’s name-day and the day of His circumcision. Therefore, on this first day of the new year, together with the Holy Spirit, let us consider the meaning of Christ’s circumcision and the name Jesus, and how these apply to us at the beginning of the new year.

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Published in: on December 31, 2022 at 11:36 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“O Holy Night” (Luke 2:1-20)

The Nativity of Our Lord: Christmas Eve
Saturday, December 24, 2022

“O Holy Night” (Luke 2:1-20)

It’s Christmas Eve! A night to celebrate. A holy night. For on Christmas Eve we start our annual celebration of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Tonight we hear again the familiar Christmas Gospel. We sing the Christmas carols. We light the candles. This is a night to gather here in church with our family and to celebrate as a church family. It is a holy night indeed. And so our theme this evening: “O Holy Night.”

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Published in: on December 24, 2022 at 11:34 am  Leave a Comment  
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“Day of Judgment, Day of Redemption, Days of Distress” (Malachi 4:1-6; Luke 21:5-36)

Twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost
November 13, 2022

“Day of Judgment, Day of Redemption, Days of Distress” (Malachi 4:1-6; Luke 21:5-36)

“Day of Judgment, Day of Redemption, Days of Distress”: We hear about all of these days in our readings today. All these days are guaranteed. God’s word makes it so. All these days will happen. In fact, some of them are happening already. But there is a day ahead that is not yet here. It’s still to come. And we need to be ready for it. Let’s find out.

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Published in: on November 12, 2022 at 12:17 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“God, Be Merciful to Me, a Sinner!” (Luke 18:9-17)

Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost
October 23, 2022

“God, Be Merciful to Me, a Sinner!” (Luke 18:9-17)

“So this Pharisee and a tax collector walk into a temple. . . .” No, this isn’t the start of some kind of a joke. Rather, it’s the start of a parable that Jesus tells. And this story makes a very important point. So we will be wise to listen up and take it to heart.

Our text is the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector, from Luke 18. And we’re told why Jesus proceeds to tell this story. It’s because there were people “who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt.” Now I don’t suppose there are any people today who have that kind of attitude, are there? Oh, you and I both know there are. And in fact, sometimes we ourselves–that could describe you and me, that we think we’re pretty good in ourselves, and we look down upon others. So the parable that Jesus is about to tell is very relevant to our day and to our own lives.

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Published in: on October 22, 2022 at 8:45 am  Leave a Comment  
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“The Poor Man and Rich Lazarus” (Luke 16:19-31)

Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost
September 25, 2022

“The Poor Man and Rich Lazarus” (Luke 16:19-31)

Our text today is the story commonly known as “The Rich Man and Poor Lazarus.” But I’m going to suggest to you today that we could just as well call this story “The Poor Man and Rich Lazarus.” As we shall see. So let’s go.

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Published in: on September 24, 2022 at 12:08 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“God’s Open, Narrow Door” (Luke 13:22-30)

Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost
August 21, 2022

“God’s Open, Narrow Door” (Luke 13:22-30)

In our text today, someone asks Jesus a question: “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” Well, that seems like a reasonable question, something you might ask a visiting rabbi. An interesting academic question, to be sure: “Are only a few people going to be saved?”

But what was the question behind the question? Why did the guy ask this? Let’s consider the possibilities. Was it just idle curiosity, like, “How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?” Could be. Or maybe this fellow thinks God is too loose, letting in all the riff-raff he sees hanging around Jesus. A righteous God shouldn’t be that soft in his justice.

On the other hand, perhaps he asks his question in order to put God on trial. Maybe he thinks God is too strict. If God were really a decent God, he would let everybody in. You know, there are lots of people who think that way today. “God wouldn’t dare to send anybody to hell! The God I believe in wouldn’t do that!” That’s how people think today.

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Published in: on August 20, 2022 at 11:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Do Not Be Anxious about Your Life” (Luke 12:22-34)

Ninth Sunday after Pentecost
August 7, 2022

“Do Not Be Anxious about Your Life” (Luke 12:22-34)

In the Holy Gospel for today, Jesus says, “Do not be anxious about your life.” Really, Jesus? Are you kidding me? “Do not be anxious”?? How can you say that? I mean, look at my life. There’s so much to be anxious about! Take my personal finances, for instance. Since January 1, year-to-date, in just seven months my individual retirement accounts are down almost $9,000. And this, for an individual approaching retirement! In these past seven months, I’ve had to buy a new phone and a new used car. During this same time, I’ve had to have a health checkup, dental work, and two eye surgeries, which were not all covered by insurance. Gas, groceries, rent–all up, substantially. Inflation this year has been the highest it’s been in decades. Well, you get the picture. And for many of you, the picture has been equally as bleak.

And what about all the people in our area who have suffered major losses from the torrential downpours and the flash flooding of the last couple of weeks? Are you going to tell them to cheer up and put on a happy face? How in the world could Jesus say, “Do not be anxious about your life”? Was he just being the Pollyanna of Palestine? Out of touch with reality?

No, far from it. In fact, Jesus was and is very much in touch with reality. It’s just that he sees a far greater reality than we often take into account. He sees the bigger picture, both for our present life and for our eternal future. And so now let’s see what Jesus sees and takes into account when he tells us, “Do Not Be Anxious about Your Life.”

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Published in: on August 6, 2022 at 12:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Distracted Discipleship and the One Thing Needful” (Luke 10:38-42)

Sixth Sunday after Pentecost
July 17, 2022

“Distracted Discipleship and the One Thing Needful” (Luke 10:38-42)

Are you anxious and troubled about many things? Does your busy-ness distract you from the one thing needful? If so, join the club. That’s where I find myself all too often. But if that’s you too, then our message today is what you need to hear. For Jesus is in the house today, and when Jesus speaks, we need to listen. And so our theme this morning: “Distracted Discipleship and the One Thing Needful.”

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Published in: on July 16, 2022 at 7:25 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“The Good Samaritan” (Luke 10:25-37)

Fifth Sunday after Pentecost
July 10, 2022

“The Good Samaritan” (Luke 10:25-37)

Our text is the Holy Gospel for today, from Luke chapter 10. It’s the parable of “The Good Samaritan.” And, as often happens, there’s something that happens in real life that leads Jesus to tell this or that parable. On this occasion, it’s an interaction Jesus has with a certain lawyer in the crowd. Now when it says “lawyer” here, it’s not talking about the kind of lawyer you see advertising their law office on a billboard or TV commercial. It’s not the kind of prosecuting or defense attorney you see portrayed on TV shows or movies. No, when it says “lawyer” here, it’s talking about an expert in the Law of Moses. This would be a Jewish scholar who knows all the moral, civic, and ceremonial laws of ancient Israel, as found in the books of Moses.

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Published in: on July 9, 2022 at 11:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Peace Be to This House!” (Luke 10:1-20)

Fourth Sunday after Pentecost
July 3, 2022

“Peace Be to This House!” (Luke 10:1-20)

“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Yes, peace to you! Peace be to this house! That’s what Jesus told me to tell you, isn’t it? He sends out his laborers into the harvest field and instructs them, “Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house.’” So today, the first thing I want to say to you is what Jesus told me to tell you: Peace be to this house.

Friends, today I want to tell you why you need this peace and what kind of peace it is. I want to tell you where this peace comes from and how it gets to you. And I want you to know how you can be sure that you have this peace. So our theme this morning: “Peace Be to This House!”

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Published in: on July 1, 2022 at 8:54 pm  Leave a Comment  
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