The Book of Numbers gets its name from the censuses in chapters 1 and 26. It recounts the travels and experiences of the people of Israel from Sinai to the borders of Canaan. Laws and directives of all kinds are scattered throughout Numbers and interspersed with Israelite history. Read an excerpt from the Lutheran Bible Companion: Volume 1 below to learn about some of the laws that governed the Israelites.
Psalm 22 has one of the most memorable opening lines, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” These words are instilled into our memories as the words Jesus spoke from the cross. Psalm 22 is appropriately one of the two psalms appointed for Good Friday in both the three-year and one-year lectionaries (along with Psalm 31).
In Mark 10, Jesus demonstrates how He is the perfect sacrifice for all by humbly obeying God the Father through His death and resurrection.
James, the brother of Jesus, is the author of this book. It is important to remember that James is related to Jesus by Mary, their mother, as Jesus is the Son of God, conceived by the Holy Spirit. Given that James wrote his book around the year AD 50, we know that Jesus has risen and ascended. Pentecost has taken place and the first Christians, equipped with the Holy Spirit and the ability to speak local tongues, are moving out to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. James is writing to Jewish Christians living in the diaspora, that is, the dispersion of Jews into Gentile nations. His goal is to teach wisdom to these men and women who are amid unbelievers, and perhaps more important, those who belong to pagan religions.
This blog post is adapted from Lutheran Bible Companion, Volume 1: Introduction and Old Testament.
This blog post is adapted from Blessed Be His Name by Rev. Dr. Kevin Golden.
If you are a pastor, when was the last time you preached on one of the Psalms? If you are not a pastor, when was the last time you heard a sermon on one of the Psalms? Is it just me, or are the Psalms often overlooked and underused in preaching? I began to notice this several years ago and found I was not alone. Others had noticed a lack of Psalms sermons too.
In this weekend’s Gospel reading, we find Jesus calling Peter, Andrew, and James and John, the sons of Zebedee, to be His disciples. Mark moves quickly through John the Baptist’s call in the wilderness, his Baptism of Jesus, and Jesus’ temptation. When John baptizes Jesus, Jesus’ Father in heaven endorses His Son with the words, “with You I am well pleased.” (Mark 1:11) After this, Jesus endures Satan’s temptation in the wilderness, proving Himself to also be the Son of Man: He resists the lure of sin, unlike Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, and unlike the Israelites who wandered in the wilderness for forty years (an important parallel to the forty days Jesus spent in the wilderness). Jesus calls out that the kingdom of God—His kingdom—is at hand. In this context, Jesus initiates His earthly ministry by calling the disciples with whom He will share it.
Christmas is a time of celebration that the Savior of the Nations is born! His name is revered throughout the earth as we rejoice in God’s promises fulfilled. Isaiah 9:6–8 is an incredibly well-known verse about Christ’s birth. Read Luther’s commentary on these verses from Luther’s Works, Volume 16: Lectures on Isaiah Chapters 1–39 below.