The Second Sunday after the Epiphany

January 17, 2021 • Pastor William K. Stottlemyer

Today's Reading: John 2:1-11 Daily Lectionary: Ezekiel 39:1-10, 17-29; Romans 7:21-8:17 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him. (John 2:11) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. A wedding is supposed to be a joyous celebration of God's creation. Here a man and woman are united before God and are to be fruitful and multiply. However, because of sin, this wedding at Cana is about to be a time of great sadness. The wine has run out and the party is about to be over until Mary takes action and brings a request to her son. The wedding of Cana shows to us the great lengths that Christ will go in order to help those in need. Here at the request of His mother, Jesus changes water into wine in order that the newly married groom might not be dishonored in the sight of his guests. John tells us that this was the first sign that revealed Jesus' glory. Upon seeing this first miracle the Lord's disciples believed that this was the Christ. Our Savior gives to His people. Jesus reveals His glory during this season of Epiphany so that our faith might grow in the knowledge that our Savior has come into this world to set right that which has been corrupted by sin. Christ came to restore creation, He came to set right that which has been broken by the fall into sin. To bring peace between God and men. Jesus does this through death on the Cross. Daily we receive from the Lord more than we deserve and more than we can ever ask. He reveals Himself to us in the transformation of everyday things. Bread and wine when combined with the Word of God deliver Christ's Body and Blood. Water when combined with the Word becomes a life-giving washing and rebirth by the Spirit of God. By the proclamation of His Word in church, Christ is revealed to His people. As your pastor speaks to you the Law, as he points out your sins, God's will is revealed to you. As the Gospel is proclaimed and your sins are forgiven, Christ's glory is manifested for you. These things are needed so that we might see and hear the great things of God. Then we, like the disciples, by faith believe that Jesus is the Christ. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen Almighty and everlasting God, who governs all things in heaven and on earth, mercifully hear the prayers of Your people and grant us Your peace through all our days; through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord who live and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Collect for Second Sunday after the Epiphany)

Saturday of the Second Week of Lent

March 6, 2021 • Pastor Aaron Fenker

Today's Reading: Introit for the Third Sunday in Lent (Psalm 25:1-2, 17-18, 20; antiphon: v.15-16) Daily Lectionary: Genesis 27:1-29; Mark 8:22-38 "My eyes are continually toward Yahweh, for He will cause my feet to come out from the net." (Psalm 25:15) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Why do you trust the Lord? Why look to Him in time of need? Because He's saved you, obviously! Yes, yes, we all know that. But so often we flip that around. He doesn't rescue you because you trust in Him. He saves you, and because of His acting to save you, you trust Him. He will cause your feet to come out of the net, whatever net you're trapped in. Is it sins? Which sins? How can they be a net for you? They were tied to Jesus on the Cross! Is it persecution for believing in Jesus as your God and only Savior? "A student is not above His teacher." As Jesus was delivered on Easter, so also you will be, too, on your Easter--the Last Day. And that gets you to the next net--death. Yeah, Jesus rose, and He will raise you. That's His promise. The Lord will cause your feet to be brought out of the net of your grave, and the sins that put you there. Your feet, and your entire body, soul, and spirit, were placed into something even stronger than the flimsy net of sin, death, and the devil. Your heart, soul, mind, strength, your body, soul, and spirit were all placed into Jesus Your Savior. You're baptized. Nothing can ever keep you down. Jesus saves you. He didn't save you because you trusted Him. He saves you and therefore you trust Him. He went through Cross, death, and grave to do it. He'll save you. He really will. He already has! When you get out of your coffin you'll see it. You'll see Him, forever and ever! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. In all the strife Of mortal life Our feet shall stand securely; Temptation's hour Will lose its pow'r, For You will guard us surely. O God, renew With heav'nly dew Our body, soul, and spirit Until we stand At Your Right hand Through Jesus' saving merit. ("Who Trusts in God a Strong Abode" LSB 714, st.3)

Friday of the Second Week of Lent

March 5, 2021 • Pastor Aaron Fenker

Daily Lectionary: Genesis 24:32-52, 61-67; Mark 8:1-21 "They were seeking from Him a sign from heaven, tempting Him." (Mark 8:11) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Jesus isn't a showman. He doesn't parade Himself around doing parlor tricks, miracles on a whim, just to get people to believe in Him. When we get power, wealth, strength, we tend to flaunt it, brag about it, show it off. We'll all flex, given the opportunity. Jesus doesn't flex. He doesn't need to. But that's the temptation swirling around Jesus. "You don't need to be this or that Jesus. You don't need to be Savior Jesus." The devil tempts Him, "All these kingdoms I will give you if you will bow down to me" (Matthew 3). Peter tempted Him, "Being crucified shall never happen to You, Lord" (Matthew 16). They were doing it here, and they'd do it again. "Tell us, Christ, who struck you" (Matthew 26). "Come down from the cross, and we'll believe in You" (Matthew 27). Jesus "didn't count equality with God as something to be stolen, but He made Himself nothing, taking on the form of a servant, becoming obedient unto death, even death on a cross" (Philippians 2). And that's the only sign Jesus actually does. He dies. "The sign of Jonah--for as Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days, so the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth three days and nights." He does this for you. To save you. He goes to His Cross, stays on His Cross, but does not stay dead in His tomb. And you are saved. Thanks be to God Jesus isn't like us! He doesn't do anything for recognition, He does all that He does simply to save you. No signs, no wonders. He dies and rises for you. You are saved. Need a sign for that? Look no further than the Lord's own signs--His Word and Gifts: Baptism, Absolution, the Gospel, the Supper of His Body and Blood. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. No blinding sign we ask, No wonder from above. Lord, help us place our trust alone In your unswerving love. ("O Christ, You Walked the Road" LSB 424, st.3)

Wednesday of the Second Week of Lent

March 3, 2021 • Pastor Aaron Fenker

Today's Reading: Small Catechism: The Sixth Commandment Daily Lectionary: Genesis 22:1-19; Mark 7:1-23 "You shall not commit adultery." (Small Catechism: The Sixth Commandment) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. What's the Sixth Commandment all about? Jesus is pretty clear on that one, not just at Sinai, but also in what we call His Sermon on the Mount: "You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery,' but I say to you that anyone who looks at a woman and thinks of her with lust has committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5). There's no getting around that. When the Triune God created man He said, "Be fruitful and multiply." This blessing from God is now all out of whack in the desires of mankind, because we also join in, rebelling in heart, soul, mind, and strength. We do what we want. We do what feels good. We jump the tracks of what the Lord intended for marriage, a beautiful intimacy between two human beings. We turn a blind eye to divorce. We act like husband or wife, with many people along the way. We live in a world where sex sells, along with other deeper, darker things which ought not to be named among us! Put away your porn. Stop dating for the sake of dating. Stop doing things that are for marriage alone. But if you really want to keep doing them, not caring in the least what God says about them, then the Lord promises that He will give you exactly what you want. He'll hand you over to these things (Romans 1). This isn't about God's setting up rules, or being a prude. This is actually all about Jesus. He saves His Bride, the Church. He dies for Her. Sheds His blood for Her. Marriage, between one man and one woman, is all a picture of this. The relationship between Jesus and His Church is one of mercy, love, and forgiveness, and the Lord brings husbands and wives together so that their household would be of His mercy, love, and forgiveness. You are a member of the Church, the Lord's Bride, because you are baptized into Him. You're saved from your lusts. They aren't you anymore! Jesus sets you free, forgives you, enlivens you to be with the husband or wife He's chosen for you in holiness and honor. After all, Jesus died for you. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Father, You created Adam, Crafted Eve, and made them one; Jesus, from their sin You saved us, As God's true incarnate Son; Holy Spirit, You forgive us; From our sins we are released. Bring us, Lord, at last to heaven, To the endless wedding feast. ("Gracious Savior, Grant Your Blessing" LSB 860, st.5)