Sunday John 11:1-45

Prayer: Teach me, O God, through Your Word. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Fifth Sunday in Lent

23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

Mary and Martha were single and living in Lazarus’ house.  They were financially dependent on him.  When Jesus arrived late, they were angry with Him because He allowed Lazarus to die.  Jesus used this opportunity to prove that He was the master over death.  He was directed to the tomb where death was and even the stench of death did not dissuade him and death could not keep Him away.

Our DW asks; “How odd, then, that later it seemed Jesus could not escape his own death?  Yet on the thirds day, when another Mary went to tend the dead, she found a tomb without a stone in place and a grave without a body. Death had lost again. Death has lost forever.”

Prayer: “Jesus, be with those near death; remind them, and us, that you are the resurrection and the life. Amen.”

John 11:1-45

The Death of Lazarus

11 Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. Mary was the one who anointed the Lord with perfume and wiped his feet with her hair; her brother Lazarus was ill. So the sisters sent a message to Jesus,[a] “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” But when Jesus heard it, he said, “This illness does not lead to death; rather it is for God’s glory, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” Accordingly, though Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, after having heard that Lazarus[b] was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.

Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now trying to stone you, and are you going there again?” Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Those who walk during the day do not stumble, because they see the light of this world. 10 But those who walk at night stumble, because the light is not in them.” 11 After saying this, he told them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going there to awaken him.” 12 The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will be all right.” 13 Jesus, however, had been speaking about his death, but they thought that he was referring merely to sleep. 14 Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. 15 For your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” 16 Thomas, who was called the Twin,[c] said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”

Jesus the Resurrection and the Life

17 When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus[d] had already been in the tomb four days. 18 Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, some two miles[e] away, 19 and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them about their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home. 21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.[f] Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” 27 She said to him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah,[g] the Son of God, the one coming into the world.”

Jesus Weeps

28 When she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary, and told her privately, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” 29 And when she heard it, she got up quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet come to the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31 The Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary get up quickly and go out. They followed her because they thought that she was going to the tomb to weep there. 32 When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. 34 He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus began to weep. 36 So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” 37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”

Jesus Raises Lazarus to Life

38 Then Jesus, again greatly disturbed, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. 39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, already there is a stench because he has been dead four days.” 40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” 41 So they took away the stone. And Jesus looked upward and said, “Father, I thank you for having heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.” 43 When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”

The Plot to Kill Jesus

45 Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him.

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Saturday Ezekiel 36:8-15

Prayer: Merciful God, let Your Word speak truth to my heart, in Christ. Amen.

Hope is near

See now, I am for you; I will turn to you…

Is a prophet someone standing on a street corner shouting the end of the earth is coming soon? Or is it someone who predicts the future that predicts scary events?

As we can see, Ezekiel is God’s prophet.  He speaks on behalf of God and he tells the truth so we can see when we need to restore our relationship with God. Sometimes the prophet brings news from God that is comforting.  As in the case of today’s text the Israelites were experiencing hard times and God’s message was to give them hope for better times in the future.

As we know from the other prophets, the words spoken also usually can be applied to our lives today. Our DW explains; “Through this prophet of so long ago, God has a new word to speak to us: God has turned toward us to hear our needs and is at work for our well-being.”

Prayer: “God, speak hope into our world today. Amen.

Ezekiel 36:8-15

But you, O mountains of Israel, shall shoot out your branches, and yield your fruit to my people Israel; for they shall soon come home. See now, I am for you; I will turn to you, and you shall be tilled and sown; 10 and I will multiply your population, the whole house of Israel, all of it; the towns shall be inhabited and the waste places rebuilt; 11 and I will multiply human beings and animals upon you. They shall increase and be fruitful; and I will cause you to be inhabited as in your former times, and will do more good to you than ever before. Then you shall know that I am the Lord. 12 I will lead people upon you—my people Israel—and they shall possess you, and you shall be their inheritance. No longer shall you bereave them of children.

13 Thus says the Lord God: Because they say to you, “You devour people, and you bereave your nation of children,” 14 therefore you shall no longer devour people and no longer bereave your nation of children, says the Lord God; 15 and no longer will I let you hear the insults of the nations, no longer shall you bear the disgrace of the peoples; and no longer shall you cause your nation to stumble, says the Lord God.

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Friday Psalm 130

Prayer: Thank you, gracious God, for the sunlight and for You watching with me in the night. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Sunset, sunrise

my soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning,

Often births and deaths occur in the dark of night.  Long nights have been spent waiting for time to pass while waiting for good news.  Those nights often feel like the go on forever and the whole world is at sleep and almost nothing is being done and we are the lonely ones waiting in the dark.  Our DW writes; “The night becomes a deep chasm that swallows our voice.  We feel so alone. The dawn seems a million miles away, and in that moment, we wonder if it will ever arrive.  Can we hold on until it does?

God never sleeps.  He is awake when everyone else is asleep.  He hears our cries in the darkness:

O Israel, hope in the Lord!

Prayer: “Stay ever at my side, Lord, through the long watches of literal or figurative night. Amen.”

Psalm 130

Waiting for Divine Redemption

A Song of Ascents.

Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord.
    Lord, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
    to the voice of my supplications!

If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
    Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with you,
    so that you may be revered.

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
    and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
    more than those who watch for the morning,
    more than those who watch for the morning.

O Israel, hope in the Lord!
    For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
    and with him is great power to redeem.
It is he who will redeem Israel
    from all its iniquities.

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Thursday Ezekiel 1:1-3, 2:8-3:3

Prayer: Teach me, O God, through Your Word, in Christ. Amen.

A spoonful of prophecy

He said to me, O mortal, eat what is offered to you; eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel. (v. 3:1)

Ezekiel was with the Israelites in exile in Babylon.  In a vision he saw strange creatures and one ordered him to eat a scroll.  The scroll contained bad news for Israel; that there would be “lamentation and mourning and woe.”  But the scroll tasted sweet as honey.  And this is where Ezekiel’s mission as a prophet begins.

To be a prophet is not necessarily to predict the future, but to tell us when we have gone wrong.  And to warn us that unless we change our ways, we will face terrible consequences.  They point us to the correct path and often their words are uncomfortable to hear. Do we know who the prophets are today?  Who is a prophet that speaks to us?

Prayer: “Open my ears to hear your life-giving words, O Lord. Amen.”

Ezekiel 1:1-3, 2:8-3:3

The Vision of the Chariot

In the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month, as I was among the exiles by the river Chebar, the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God. On the fifth day of the month (it was the fifth year of the exile of King Jehoiachin), the word of the Lord came to the priest Ezekiel son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of the Lord was on him there.

Ezekiel 2:

But you, mortal, hear what I say to you; do not be rebellious like that rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I give you. I looked, and a hand was stretched out to me, and a written scroll was in it. 10 He spread it before me; it had writing on the front and on the back, and written on it were words of lamentation and mourning and woe.

3 He said to me, O mortal, eat what is offered to you; eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel. So I opened my mouth, and he gave me the scroll to eat. He said to me, Mortal, eat this scroll that I give you and fill your stomach with it. Then I ate it; and in my mouth it was as sweet as honey.

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Wednesday Isaiah 7:10-14

Prayer: Thank you, God, for the signs you give that show your love and faithfulness. Help me to see them and share your love. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Annunciation of Our Lord

14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.

At the supposed spot where Mary was greeted by the angel and told of the son she would bear, there is today a church, and an altar. People come to this spot from all over the world to take pictures and preserve the vision to share and to remember.  Our DW tells us that one time a woman was sweeping in front of the altar and the tourists were complaining.

We should remember that Mary was an ordinary woman and could very well have been in that place sweeping or some mundane task.  Imagine her surprise when she is told of this mission for God she was about to step into.

Our DW reminds us; “Jesus arrived in the ordinary way, through the womb of a woman, as all babies do.  But Mary’s life—and the lives of God’s people—would never be the same again. God gives signs of extraordinary love in ordinary ways: in Isaiah’s time, in Mary’s, and in ours; in the waters of baptism, in bread and wine, in you and me.”

Prayer: “God, help me to be surprised by you as you reveal your extraordinary nature in often ordinary ways. Amen.”

Isaiah 7:10-14

Isaiah Gives Ahaz the Sign of Immanuel

10 Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, saying, 11 Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven. 12 But Ahaz said, I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test. 13 Then Isaiah said: “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary mortals, that you weary my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.

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Tuesday Colossians 1:9-14

Prayer: O God, teach me in the light of Your Word, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Heaven up!

13 He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son

I don’t know the game “Seven up.”  Our DW writes that it was a favorite game in school while in the fifth grade. Although she tried to explain it, I am not sure how it worked, but it had to do with trying to guess who tapped you while you were sitting at your desk with head down and eyes closed.  The point was to learn how to feel included in the group because they thought enough of you to invite you to play the game.  They would say “head up, seven up.”

Our DW relates this to today’s text where we don’t have to hope in darkness because our God

has invited us to belong to Him and the powers of evil cannot touch us.  “We have been ‘tapped’ for Jesus’ kingdom and have inherited what belongs to Him—life abundant. This gives us courage and strength as we await the fullness of this inheritance, both now and in the ‘heaven up.’”

11 May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience

Prayer: “Lord Jesus, thank you for your love and forgiveness.  In your name I pray. Amen.”

Colossians 1:9-14

For this reason, since the day we heard it, we have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God. 11 May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13 He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

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Monday Psalm 146

Prayer: Gracious God, thank You for sending people that bring me happiness and thank You for sharing in my struggles so that I know that I am not alone. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Sharing the load

    the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down…

What troubles you these days? For many it is aging loved ones, or long-term illness, or divorce; things that cause worry, regret, fear, loss, grief, sleeplessness, or stress, or financial hardships.  There are many things that can cause us to feel burdened and alone in our struggles. They may seem to never allow you to be confident again.

But “the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down.”  Psalm 146 promises that God will be with you and will help you carry the burdens that weigh on you.  Our DW declares; “God who created the universe also created you.  God will lift you to your feet to stand tall and face the coming day.”

Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God,

Prayer: “God, help me to find confidence knowing that you watch over me this day and always. Amen.”

Psalm 146

Praise for God’s Help

Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord, O my soul!
I will praise the Lord as long as I live;
    I will sing praises to my God all my life long.

Do not put your trust in princes,
    in mortals, in whom there is no help.
When their breath departs, they return to the earth;
    on that very day their plans perish.

Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
    whose hope is in the Lord their God,
who made heaven and earth,
    the sea, and all that is in them;
who keeps faith forever;
    who executes justice for the oppressed;
    who gives food to the hungry.

The Lord sets the prisoners free;
    the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
    the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the strangers;
    he upholds the orphan and the widow,
    but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.

10 The Lord will reign forever,
    your God, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise the Lord!

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