Jesus' parable about the wicked tenants killing the master's son doesn't leave much doubt what Jesus is talking about. The leaders of Israel have killed God's prophets in the past, and now they plot to kill the Son of God. They will get what they deserve. But know this: through His death, we find an escape from death.
We've heard of the parable of the prodigal son. Is it really about him? Or is it about the crazy, inexplicable love and compassion of the father? He gives his son everything, then forgives him when he ruins it. He even reaches out to the begrudging other son who is upset that the father would be so gracious. Come explore that graciousness toward you as well.
Jesus words cannot be explained away. Nor can our sin. Using the tragic end of those whose lives did not seem wicked, He turns everything on you and me to call us to repent for whatever sins we have. Then He goes forward to shed His blood as the ultimate sacrifice for those sins.
In two different pictures, Jesus refers to King Herod as a sly "fox" and to Himself as a "mother hen," longing to protect her children. Would you ever let a mother hen linger in a fox's den? Yet it is not Herod that Jesus fears. There is another enemy, lurking just out of sight that makes Him weep for Jerusalem.
We may think of some sins as "big" and others as "small." Ask yourself this. If Jesus had gone ahead and committed one of our "small" sins, could He still be the perfect Son of God? Could He still save us? He staves off even the seemingly smallest temptations of the devil that He could be our perfect substitute and Savior.
You might think that the transfiguration of Jesus would be the time to talk about all the visible successes of the Church. But what is topic on the tongues of Moses, Elijah, and our Christ that day? They are discussing Christ's departure that is coming up at Jerusalem. They are talking about His death. Yet this is the Church's greatest glory, that God has loved them so.
What if a miracle happened in a city, and no one admits that they saw it? What would be the point of such a miracle? Jesus comes with a miracle that no one wanted when He escaped the murderous plot of His home town, and a mark of rejection was turned back on them. Let us not follow in their footsteps!
At Jesus' baptism, heaven opened. What did that look like? More importantly, what did it mean? The phenomenon demands our attention as we see the Holy Spirit rest on Jesus and the voice of the Father declare what we must all know: This is the Son who pleases Him.
Zechariah had to wait a long time before he could speak again. But that wasn't the only thing that he and others were waiting for. Salvation has arrived! Though Jesus is not even born yet, Zechariah cannot help sing, not about his own new-born son John, but about Jesus, Mary's Son, the Savior of all the nations.
One more year. Last year was a year of opportunities - opportunities that were missed or blown. This year is another year of opportunities. We will not be perfect this year, either. So repent! Do not stay away from the Lord and His Word. Now is the time to hear, to believe, to repent.
Who is Jesus? Where can He be found? His parents lost track of Him and could not find Him. What a terrifying thought! Yet Jesus is still found today, and seen as He truly is. He has a different Father, whose work He carries out in perfect obedience, that we be saved through Him.
By taking on human flesh, the Son of God put Himself in harm's way. Why would He do that? The mystery of the incarnation, that God takes on flesh, was all for the sole purpose of saving us. The does the impossible to accomplish the impossible.
Who could celebrate Christmas? John the Baptist celebrates, even though he isn't born yet! For this other one soon to be born, Jesus, has come for all people in the world. We hope that others will come to know Him as we do.
There are many things in the world that might frighten us. Terrorist attacks, power grabs, mass murders, all make us wonder where the world is going. But take heart! We have a King who is more powerful than they. Every enemy nation that we face now will one day fall, but our King's rule is eternal. Our King, our Lord, our God has overcome this world!
The Last Day has been long in coming, but it is coming. When someone in this life dies, it serves as a wake-up call. Are we ready for that day? Trust in the Lord Jesus. For on that day, all will awaken, some to eternal joy, and others not. Now is the time to listen, to learn, to believe.
There are many ideas of what the Last Day will be like. Is it a day when all our sins will be paraded before the universe? No, it will not be a day of shame, for Christ's righteousness covers our unrighteousness. Instead, it will be a day of joy and dancing, freed from all of our guilt and shame. Rejoice to see that day!
Christians are constantly facing fire for their faith in Christ. The severity of the attacks may ebb and flow, but they are always there. God has promised that they shall come. But there is a greater fire from which we are saved, and for that, we thankfully accept whatever the Lord allows to come our way.
Gehazi wants what his master Elisha refused from the healed man, Naaman. Yet he gets more than he wanted. What does greed ever get us? Things forbidden by God may be a joy for a moment, but in the end, they will lead us away from Him. Don't be a greedy Gehazi! Rather, be like Naaman, and serve only one master - the Lord.
God blessed Moses in many ways. The Spirit of God was on him. But that doesn't mean that Moses could do everything, or never needed any help. So when God takes of that Spirit and puts it on others, should Moses be jealous? No! The work being done is bigger than Moses. It's bigger than us. It's about accomplishing what glorifies God and benefits His people.
Jesus told His disciples to share the gospel in Jerusalem, and in Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. We do the same as we listen to His parting words. Through work here at home and missions we support abroad, share that gospel here, there, and everywhere!
Is it worth being Christian? Keep in mind that there is a difference between that which makes you a Christian (the work of the Triune God) and that which marks you as a Christian (bearing our own cross for the sake of Christ). Yes, it's worth it to honor the God who paid the ultimate price for us.
God is coming. Shall we be afraid? Yes, He comes with vengeance, but it is directed against our enemies. We live in grace. And He comes to do the impossible. He comes to save you, something that you and I cannot do ourselves.
This text is overflowing with the gospel of God. Here, God saves us. Here, God washes away our sins. Here, God makes us heirs of eternal life. May these words become precious to us as we go back to them - and to our baptism! - again and again.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if we had that one thing that automatically made people believe? But even miracles will not do so. A hardened heart won't even believe in the face of miracles. Our duty is simply to preach the Word to others. Pray that more hearts, including our own, listen to God and His grace.
Knowledge is great. Wisdom is better. Wisdom is using your knowledge well. Wisdom invites us to a beautiful banquet, to know the Lord, to believe in Him. Come, eat and drink Find wisdom of God in the gospel.
Elijah had miracle food, but it wasn't enough to lift his hopes. Nor is he lifted up by the great, powerful displays of God's might. He's only lifted up by the gentle whisper of the gospel, that God has reserved, through His word, people who have not forsaken God, and the revelation that God still has plans for His church.