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Twenty-First Sunday after Pentecost

We focus on the 1 Thessalonians text today, specifically verse 13, and we read a devotion from Reformation Heritage Bible Commentary: Colossians/Thessalonians.

Scripture Readings

Leviticus 19:1–2, 15–18
Psalm 1
1 Thessalonians 2:1–13
Matthew 22:34–46

Read the propers for today on lutherancalendar.org.

Introduction

At the end of our Epistle for today, we are reminded of the importance of God’s Word, which is at work in the hearts and minds of those who believe in Christ Jesus. It is this Living Word that creates faith in us. It is this Word that, combined with water, gives us a Baptism of the forgiveness of sins and everlasting life. It is this Word through which God offers us absolution and assures us of the hope that is ours in Christ.

Devotional Reading

word of God. The message Paul preached was not his own creation. He received it from the Lord to pass on to faithful persons who were able to preserve and teach it (1Co 15:3; Gal 1:11; 2Tm 2:2). . . . We should not pass too quickly over this important point. Our ears are filled with words these days. From the moment we awake in the morning, we may click on the radio or TV. An abundance of type adorns our shelves and stuffs our mail boxes and email inboxes. A world of words is available to us at the click of a button on devices not only found in our offices but now on our own persons. In such a word-rich environment, we may easily hear the Law and the Gospel as just more messages to file, delete, process, or ignore. We may regard these words as not much different from mere human words, which are powerless to accomplish what they say. The Thessalonians in Paul’s day did not experience the same word clutter that we have today yet they could rightly wonder how the things Paul had to say would prove any different from the words of the next travelling teacher or the tent mender in the next stall at the marketplace. Praise be to God, they received the Word from Paul and his colleagues as something absolutely unique among all the other words and voices that they had ever heard. . . .

which is at work. The Greek term is energetai, which could also be translated “working effectively.” It is the source of our English word “energy.” The Lord’s Word will produce visible fruit among those who listen and believe (Is 55:10–11). Such a life-changing effect cannot be produced by mere human words. The Greek could also be translated “WHO is at work” (referring to God); perhaps Paul was inspired to write in this way, thereby making the point that God works through His Word. . . . Notice also the little word “is.” It speaks in the present tense—the Word of God is at work right now, Paul wrote to the Thessalonians. Realize that the same is true for us right now. As you read the Letter from the apostle and as you take in its message of sin and grace, promise and hope, that word is at work in your life as a believer. By faith the Word that you receive—unfiltered from the Father who exhorts and encourages (v. 12), filtered from the word clutter that clamors and nags—is working your deliverance from every evil of body and soul. It aims to deliver you from the kingdom of this world to that kingdom which has no end.

Devotional reading is from Reformation Heritage Bible Commentary: Colossians/Thessalonians, pages 92–93 © 2012 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Hymn

Pieces are the Old Testament Canticle and New Testament Canticle from “Service of Prayer and Preaching,” pages 260–67 in Lutheran Service Book. Video © 2017 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.

 

Written by

Anna Johnson

Deaconess Anna Johnson is a marketing manager at Concordia Publishing House. After graduating from the deaconess program at Concordia University Chicago, she continued her studies at the University of Colorado—Denver in education and human development. She has worked as a church youth director and served a variety of other nonprofit organizations, such as the Lutheran Mission Society of Maryland. Anna loves playing video games and drinking a hot cup of tea almost as much as she loves her cat and her husband.

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