Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church

Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church
9 E Homestead Ave. Palisades Park, NJ 07650 201-944-2107 Sundays 11:00 a.m. We preach Christ crucified (1. Corinthians 1,23)

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Psalm 146,2-3.5.7-9; Psalm 50,23

One Message: Christ crucified and risen for you
The Word of the Lord Endures Forever
Verbum Domini Manet in Aeternum

Psalm 146,2-3.5.7-9; Psalm 50,23 4717
14. Trinitatis  059
Hildegard, Abbess of St. Rupert near Bingen, Germany. 1179
17. September 2017 

1. O Jesus Christ, Thou art worthy to be praised, declare Your steadfast love to us, so that we may rejoice in the righteousness.  Amen. (Gradual). 
2. The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies Me; I will show the salvation of God to one who orders his way rightly! I will praise the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being. Do not put your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation. Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, 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 sojourners; He upholds the widow and the fatherless, but He brings to ruin the way of the wicked.
3. The Holy Scriptures tell us that many people, in diverse situations, gave thanks to the Lord. The Psalmist makes the following connection: »The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies the Lord; I will show the salvation of God to the one who orders his way rightly!« In today’s Gospel pericope, St. Luke tells us that only one of the ten lepers made clean by Jesus returned to praise and thank Him. This man was a Samaritan. recall last Sunday’s parable where Jesus made a Samaritan the righteous and neighborly hero rather than the expected Jewish priest or Levite. 
4. Jews and Samaritans had a long and complicated history. The Samaritans were the descendants of the 10 Tribes of Israel who had remained in northern Israel after Assyria had conquered them (721 bc). Roughly 50 years after this conquest, a new Assyrian king, Esarhaddon, brought people from Babylon to settle in the region of Samaria and nearby cities. These Babylonian Assyrians began marrying the local Israelites and thus the Samaritans were born. These Samaritans still worshipped the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but they only accepted the 5 Books of Moses: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy as Biblical books. When the two southern tribes of Judah returned from their own Babylonian Captivity they refused to let the Samaritans help rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. As a result, enmity sprang up between the two groups and this enmity was further worsened when the Samaritans decided to build their own temple at Shechem. By the time Jesus was born, the Jews would have no dealings with the Samaritans (John 4,9). To this day, about 900 Samaritans live in and around Shechem. 
5. The Jews claimed to worship the One True God. The Samaritans made the same claim. Each group believed the other to be in error. Yet, when Jesus healed the lepers in today’s Gospel pericope only the Samaritan returned to praise and thank Him. The other 9 Jews knew the psalm in today’s Introit: »I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.« but they don’t live it. The Samaritan, who did not regard Psalm 146 as Holy Scripture, nevertheless does what the psalm exhorts: He praised God. Christians often find themselves in similar predicaments. We know what God says, You shall not …. or Repent, and believe the gospel, yet we fail at doing and believing. It is the bane of our weak, fallen human nature. 
6. The Bible consistently repeats the laws and promises of God throughout its pages. The Holy Spirit inspired the Biblical authors this way in part to remind us how often we fail and sin, but also to exhort us to holy living and faith. The Scriptures exhort us to not rely on ourselves or our strength, but rather »Put your trust in the Son of Man in whom there is salvation.« That is what the lepers did. They didn’t get well by their own strength or through medicine. Had Jesus not arrived in their midst they would have lived the rest of their lives as outcasts from society and died apart from the fellowship of the temple and their relatives. They begged for mercy, and Jesus showed them mercy: You are healed, go, and show yourselves to the priests and be declared clean. One of the duties of the Jewish priest was to examine lepers and declare them clean and healed of their leprosy; only the priestly declaration would allow these cured men back into Jewish society.  
7. The Samaritan, however, received a double blessing of mercy from Jesus. Our Lord healed him of his leprosy, and when he returned to express his thanks, Jesus told him: Go, your faith has saved you (Luke 17,19). We do not know what this Samaritan thought of Jesus before he met Him. There is good reason to believe that he longed for the promise of the Messiah to be fulfilled. In this he was in agreement with his Jewish cousins. But did he believe Jesus was the Messiah? Did he even know of Jesus before his encounter with Him? The Bible doesn’t answer these questions. However, the Samaritan does seem to at least recognize Jesus’ reputation as a healer, thus with the other lepers he cried out in hope: Please, pity us and heal us too! 
8. Our Lord heeds the cry of the oppressed. »The Lord sets the prisoners free, He gives sight to the blind, He lifts up those bowed down and He watches over the traveler, the widow and the orphan.« You couldn’t get more oppressed than a leper in Jesus’s day. The conventional wisdom at that time was if you became a leper, then it was because you did something despicable so that God punished you. That same wisdom reigns today among Christians and even unbelievers. When someone gets seriously ill, what is one of the first things they ask themselves? What did I do to deserve this from God? Why is He angry at me? Ultimately, these are rhetorical questions because we simply have no word from God concerning the particular event. We can say that such illnesses are the result of the curse of God upon creation on account of Adam’s sin, so we get serious illnesses because we have a weaker body that is now subject to disease and death. Ultimately, we cannot change our fate: all men must die. 
9. The curse, however, is not the final word from God. He ends our sinful condition with the promise: I will send you the Christ and He will not only heal you but save you as well. This promised Christ stood among the lepers and showed them mercy. »Blessed is he whose help and hope is in the Lord.« Jesus is that Lord, that Hope and that Help. Thus, Jesus told the Samaritan: »Your faith has saved you«, for in praising the man who had healed him the Samaritan had been convinced that this Jesus is the Christ. And so this day our Lord tells you: Arise, and go, or your faith in Jesus has saved you.  Amen. 
10. Let us pray. O Lord, Thou hast shown compassion to us; help us to trust You so that each day we in the assurance of Your loving kindness.  Amen. 

To God alone be the Glory 
Soli Deo Gloria

All Scriptural quotations are translations done by The Rev. Peter A. Bauernfeind using the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, 4th Edition © 1990 by the Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart, and the Novum Testamentum Graece, Nestle-Aland 27th Edition © 1993 by Deutsch Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart.  

All quotations from the Book of Concord are translations done by The Rev. Peter A. Bauernfeind using Die Bekenntnisschriften der evangelisch-lutherischen Kirche, 12. Edition © 1998 by Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.  

Friday, September 15, 2017

Psalm 24,3-5; Matthew 5,7. 13. Trinity

One Message: Christ crucified and risen for you
The Word of the Lord Endures Forever 
se cwide þæs béaggiefan ábireþ ferhþ

Psalm 24,3-5; Matthew 5,7  4617
13. Sonntag nach Trinitatis  058 
Pulcheria, Empress, Virgin, 453 
10. September 2017 

1. О Lord Jesus Christ, the God who works wonders, make known Your might among Your people and with outstretched arm You redeem us, so that we are free to live as Your children.  Amen. (Gradual
2. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. He will receive blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation. 
  3. In His Beatitudes, Jesus taught: »Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.« The Parable of the Good Samaritan shows what mercy looks like: a stranger takes care of another who might very well walk by him had the situation been reversed. Jews and Samaritans had a tumultuous and strained relationship; yet, in His parable a Samaritan cares for a Jew. Even the Jewish lawyer, one well-versed in the intricacies of the Mosaic law, admits the Samaritan showed mercy to the man left for dead. »Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.« 
  4. The Psalmist asks in today’s Introit: »Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord; and who shall stand in His holy place?« The hill of the Lord is Mt. Zion, and the holy place is in the temple. The holy place housed the table with 12 loaves of bread, a golden lampstand (the menorah) and an altar of incense. To the east was a curtain covered the entrance to the holiest place. Only priests had access to the holy place. So the answer to the Psalmist’s question is: only a Jewish priest can stand in the holy place. Such priests had to be holy, and the Mosaic law was very meticulous in what must be done for a priest to be holy, including »having clean hands, a pure heart, a right heart and one who speaks the truth.« Priest were only allowed to be around dead people if they were their close relatives (Leviticus 21,1-4.11-12); touching a dead person made you unclean for a week, and ritual washing was required to be clean again (Numbers 19,11-14). Thus the priest and Levite in Jesus’ parable choose to walk past the beaten man lest they discover he is really dead and now they are unclean for 7 days and forbidden entry into the temple until the 8. day. 
5. So, a ritually clean and righteous priest may enter the holy place. In the temple this priest represented the people of Israel where he would make sacrifices for them in the temple courtyard and ofer prayers for them in the holy place. Once a year, on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, the high priest was allowed to enter the holiest place where the Glory of the Lord resided upon the ark of the covenant. On this day the chief priest poured the blood of a goat as a sin offering over the ark (Leviticus 16). The Lord declared of this day: »On this day shall atonement be made for you to cleanse you« (Leviticus 16,30). »Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.« 
6. The priest who enters the holy place »will receive blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation.« The Epistle to the Hebrews tells us that Jesus is our high priest (Hebrews 4,14). Jesus represented us and offered up prayers to His Father and He was heard because of His reverence (Hebrews 5,7). Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old under Moses as the covenant Jesus mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises (Hebrews 8,6). In speaking of a new covenant, Jesus makes the first covenant obsolete (Hebrews 8,13). The first covenant enacted by Moses was built on the promise of forgiveness through animal sacrifices. The Old Testament priest made sacrifices every day and every year the high priest performed the atonement sacrifice. The second covenant enacted by Jesus was also built on the promise of forgiveness through a sacrifice. The New Testament priest made one sacrifice on Good Friday; He offered Himself up as that sacrifice. The Epistle to the Hebrews tells us: »For by a single offering Jesus has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified« (Hebrews 10,14). 
7. Jesus’ vicarious sacrifice has made us holy and righteous. Jesus deigned by means of His humanity: to become neighbor to us (Bede 67). He found us spiritually forsaken, destitute and left for dead, and like the Samaritan in His parable, Jesus rescued us, nurtured us back to health and promises to do so all our lives. Jesus showed us mercy. No one is more a neighbor to us than he who shows us mercy (Bede 70). Jesus then exhorts His Christians to holy living: go, and do likewise, as the Samaritan; that is, go, and be merciful; be a neighbor to those in need. Show that you truly love your neighbor as yourself, doing with love whatever you can to help him (Bede 70). »Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.«  Amen. 
8. Let us pray. O Heavenly Father, Your Name is worthy to be praised; bless us this time forth and forevermore, so that we rejoice in Your righteousness and pass on to others Your gracious mercy.  Amen. 

To God alone be the Glory 
Gode ealdore sy se cyneþrymm

All Scriptural quotations are translations done by The Rev. Peter A. Bauernfeind using the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, 4. Edition © 1990 by the Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart, and the Novum Testamentum Graece, Nestle-Aland 27. Edition © 1993 by Deutsch Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart. 
ELKB. Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche in Bayern. www.bayern-evangelisch.de/www/index.php. Copyright © 2013 Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche in Bayern. 
        The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers, Vol. 4. © 1963 Henry Regnery Co. 

VELKD. Vereinigte Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche Deutschlands. www.velkd.de. Copyright © 2013 Vereinigte Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche Deutschlands. 

Psalm 147,1.3.5-6.11; Isaiah 29,18. 12. Trinity

One Message: Christ crucified and risen for you
The Word of the Lord Endures Forever
Verbum Domini Manet in Aeternum

Psalm 147,1.3.5-6.11; Isaiah 29,18 4517
12. Trinitatis  057
Phoebe, Deaconess at Cenchreae (eastern port of Corinth), appr. 58. Romans 16,1
Gregory the Great, Pope, 604 
3. September 2017 

1. O Jesus Christ, Thou art worthy to be praised continually, teach us to boast in You, so that we remain humble and gladly hear Your gospel.  Amen. (Gradual). 
2. In that day the deaf will hear the words of a book, and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind will see. Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; His understanding is beyond measure. The Lord lifts up the humble; He casts the wicked to the ground. But the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him, in those who hope in His steadfast love. 
3. The Prophet Isaiah foresaw a time when the deaf will hear and the blind will see; the meek will be refreshed with joy and the poor will exult the Lord (Isaiah 29,18-19). Isaiah’s vision was fulfilled by Jesus in His ministry. St. Mark tells us in his Gospel that Jesus healed a man who was both deaf and dumb (Mark 7,32.35). The crowds zealously proclaimed this miracle (Mark 7,36), also fulfilling Isaiah’s prophecy that the poor would exult the Lord; in fact, they declared that Jesus has done all things well (Mark 7,37). If we look a little more deeply at what the crowd declares we discover that the Greek word καλως that the esv translates as „well“ also means „rightly“ or „correctly“. So we can also understand the crowds to be confessing: Jesus has done all things correctly. 
4. This nuance highlights the confession of the crowds. Isaiah says the Messiah will heal the deaf and blind. We have seen Jesus heal the deaf and blind. Therefore, Jesus is correctly fulfilling the Messianic prophecies; He must be the prophesied Messiah! The Psalmist exhorts the people to sing praises to God who heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds. The Messianic confession of the crowd was based on more than just one act of healing. Prior to this miracle in Chapter 7, St. Mark records 13 miracles performed by Jesus ranging from healing various ailments, casting out demons, calming a storm and feeding 5000 men with 5 loaves and 2 fish. The crowds have seen Jesus exhibit Divine power and authority in different circumstances of several months. But Jesus didn’t merely perform miracles; He also taught people the Scriptures. His first sermon is an 18-word sentence: »The time is fulfilled, and the reign of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel« (Mark 1,15). Jesus preached to the crowds on the plains, in the synagogues and even in the temple courtyard. Jesus would read the Law and the Prophets in the synagogue and declare: »Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing« (Luke 4,21). The people soon realized that Jesus taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes (Mark 1,22). Truly, »Our Lord is great, and abundant in power; His understanding is beyond measure.«  
5. The Synoptic Gospels tell us that one of Jesus’ preferred modes of teaching was through parables, that is, a simple story that highlights a specific spiritual lesson to be meditated upon; we would classify a parable as an allegory or a simile in English literature. Parables are easy to remember and I suspect most of us can recall a number of Jesus’ parables from memory. When asked about His parables by the apostles, Jesus tells them: »The mystery of the reign of God has been given to you, but for those outside everything is in parables so that they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand, lest they should turn and be forgiven« [Isaiah 6,9-10] (Mark 4,10-12). So what is this mystery of God’s reign that Jesus reserves for His apostles? A: 1. a mystery is something that entices us to solve and humans generally have a desire to unravel a mystery as popular interest in detective or crime novels and TV shows consistently reveal. 2. Jesus wants people to solve His mystery of God’s reign. 3. that mystery is simply this: Jesus is the promised Messiah; this mystery is taught but many reject Him, and only a few hear and believe. These believers have solved the mystery: Moses and the Prophets prepared the way for the Messiah; Jesus is the Messiah, and the redemption of the world is nigh. With this mystery revealed and solved, we are able to read all the Scriptures and discover what they teach us about Christ and His reign, namely: Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life; no one goes to the Father except through Jesus (John 14,6). »Jesus lifts up the humble and He casts the wicked to the ground.« As Jesus tells His disciples, the parables separate mankind into two groups: those who believe in Jesus and those who do not believe. Believers search the parables for the treasures they teach about the reign of God’s, but unbelievers merely hear them as stories without understanding their deeper spiritual teaching.  
6. »The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him and who hope in His steadfast love.« Martin Luther exhorts us to take this verse to heart as he encourages us to fear, love and trust God. King Solomon teaches in his Proverbs: »The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge« (Proverbs 1,7). Jesus furthers our knowledge of God by revealing to us the mysteries of the reign of God (Mark 4,11). The great mystery of God’s reign is revealed by Jesus when He tells His apostles: »The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after 3 days rise again« (Mark 8,31). At first, the apostles could not accept this and they try to convince Jesus to walk another path, a path befitting the Messiah with power and ruling authority over the land. But Jesus would not be deterred from walking the path that led Him up to the Roman cross. The chief priests and the scribes mocked Jesus as He hung on the cross (Mark 15,31), but when Jesus had breathed His last a centurion confessed: »Truly this man was the Son of God!« (Mark 15,39). The great mystery of the Messiah revealed by Jesus is that the Son of God has arrived to lay down His life as a ransom and in doing so will redeem the world from its sin (Mark 10,45). 
7. We thus praise Jesus with hymns of joy for He has saved us from our sinful state; He has healed our broken hearts and bound up our wounds. We have faith in Jesus, and He promises us: »For to the one who has, more will be given« (Mark 4,25). Go in peace, for you have Jesus and He will give you an abundant inheritance when your place is ready for you in heaven.  Amen. 
8. Let us pray. O Lord, Thou who is eternally blessed; pour out the spirit of wisdom and knowledge so that when we read Your Holy Scriptures we see and understand all that they teach and proclaim.  Amen. 

To God alone be the Glory 
Soli Deo Gloria

All Scriptural quotations are translations done by The Rev. Peter A. Bauernfeind using the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, 4th Edition © 1990 by the Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart, and the Novum Testamentum Graece, Nestle-Aland 27th Edition © 1993 by Deutsch Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart.  

All quotations from the Book of Concord are translations done by The Rev. Peter A. Bauernfeind using Die Bekenntnisschriften der evangelisch-lutherischen Kirche, 12. Edition © 1998 by Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.  

Regular Service Schedule

Beginning Sunday September 17th

our Sunday worship time will be at 11:00 a.m. 


Monday, August 28, 2017

LCMS Disaster Relief Fund

For those wishing to donate to help those effected by Hurricane Harvey in Texas, Louisiana and beyond, you may do so at our synodical disaster relief site: 



You may also click on the sites link on the right side of the page anytime to quickly access the site and make a donation. 

Psalm 113,3-4.6-7; Daniel 9,18. 11. Trinity

One Message: Christ crucified and risen for you
The Word of the Lord Endures Forever 
se cwide þæs béaggiefan ábireþ ferhþ

Psalm 113,3-4.6-7; Daniel 9,18  4417
11. Sonntag nach Trinitatis  056 
Monica, Widow mother of Augustine, 387
Caesarius, Bishop of Arles, France, 542 
27. August 2017 

1. О Lord Jesus Christ, In God my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to Him. To you, O Lord, I call; my rock, be not deaf to me, hear the voice of my pleas for mercy, when I cry to You for help..  Amen. (Gradual
2. O my God, incline Your ear and hear. Open Your eyes and see our desolations, and the city that is called by Your Name. For we do not present our pleas before You because of our righteousness, but because of Your great mercy. From the rising of the sun to its setting, the Name of the Lord is to be praised! The Lord is high above all nations, and His glory above the heavens! who looks far down on the heavens and the earth? He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap, 
  3. The Prophet Daniel knows how man stands before the Lord: »O God, we do not present our pleas before You because of our righteousness, but because of Your great mercy.« Jesus told the parable in today’s Gospel pericope to some who trusted in themselves and treated others with contempt (Luke 18,9). The „some“ Jesus told this parable to were the Pharisees. These Jewish men fervently followed the Mosaic law and considered themselves righteous under the law. The tax collector was a stark contrast to the Pharisee. The tax collector is condemned by the same law as unrighteous.   
  4. God’s law condemns every man and woman equally. A person will seek righteousness in one of two ways: 1. turn to that same condemning law and strive to follow it with the intent of meriting righteousness by doing the works of the law; or 2. seek righteousness outside him/herself. The 1. approach is that undertaken by the Pharisee, and the 2. approach is that taken by the tax collector.    
5. Jesus teaches that the self-righteous approach with the law utilized by the Pharisees does not exalt but rather humbles a person. Self-righteousness is not true righteousness; it will not justify a person. True righteousness is trusting in the righteousness of another, that is, to trust completely in God and His mercy. Those who humble themselves before God will be exalted by Him. Thus, Jesus’ parable presents a shocking reversal: the Pharisee who is considered righteous leaves the temple unjustified, but the tax collector who is considered unrighteous leaves the temple justified. 
6. Humility and exaltation are common themes in the Bible. The Apostle Paul describes Jesus this way: »Christ Jesus, who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but He emptied Himself by taking the form of a slave, being born in the likeness of men, and being found in human form He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death on a cross. Therefore, God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Hm the Name that is above every name, so that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow in heaven, on earth and under the earth so that every tongue confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the Glory of God the Father« (Philippians 2,5-11). Jesus therefore fulfills what the Psalmist praises in today’s Introit: »Blessed be Jesus, the Name of the Lord, from this time forth and forevermore! From the rising of the sun to its setting, the Name of the Lord is to be praised!«  
7. Christianity is not another religion where you earn justification and favor by trying to please God with good works. Christianity is the realization of the reign of God in our midst manifested by Christ Jesus. Christianity is based on faith that receives God’s justification by grace. Christianity shows us that God the Father loves us and redeems us through the vicarious merit of His Son Jesus Christ who was crucified and risen from the dead.  
8. In today’s Gospel parable: the tax collector left justified because he trusted in the mercy and grace of God. Jesus arrived to call sinners to repentance and to justify them. You leave today justified just as the tax collector was. Our trust is in Christ who gives us His own righteousness and in doing so He justifies us. Christ humbled Himself so that He could exalt you. Go in peace; you are forgiven and you are justified.  Amen. 
9. Let us pray. O Heavenly Father, Give thanks to the Lord and call upon His Name; proclaim His deeds among the peoples!  Amen. 

To God alone be the Glory 
Gode ealdore sy se cyneþrymm

All Scriptural quotations are translations done by The Rev. Peter A. Bauernfeind using the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, 4. Edition © 1990 by the Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart, and the Novum Testamentum Graece, Nestle-Aland 27. Edition © 1993 by Deutsch Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart. 
ELKB. Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche in Bayern. www.bayern-evangelisch.de/www/index.php. Copyright © 2013 Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche in Bayern. 

VELKD. Vereinigte Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche Deutschlands. www.velkd.de. Copyright © 2013 Vereinigte Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche Deutschlands. 

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Psalm 74,1-3.20-21; Psalm 33,12. 10. Trinity

One Message: Christ crucified and risen for you
The Word of the Lord Endures Forever
Verbum Domini Manet in Aeternum

Psalm 74,1-3.20-21; Psalm 33,12 4317
10. Trinitatis  055
Bernard of Clairvaux, France, Hymnwriter, Theologian, and Abbot, † 1153 
20. August 2017 

1. O Jesus Christ, Thou our Vindication, keep us as the apple of Your eye and hide us in the shadow of Your wings, so that our eyes behold Thy Righteousness.  Amen. (Gradual). 
2. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom He has chosen as His heritage! O God, why have You rejected us forever? Why does Your anger smoke against the sheep of Your pasture? Remember Your congregation, which You have purchased of old, which You have redeemed to be the tribe of Your inheritance; and this Mount Zion, where You have dwelt. Turn Your footsteps toward the perpetual ruins; The enemy has damaged everything within the sanctuary. Have regard for the covenant, for the dark places of the land are full of the habitations of violence. Let not the downtrodden turn back in shame; let the poor and needy praise Your Name. 
3. The Pslamist’s exhortation: »Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom He has chosen as His heritage!« is contrasted against Jesus’ declaration: »O Jerusalem, would that you had known on this day the things that make for peace! For the days will arrive upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you, surround you, hem you in on every side and tear you down to the ground. They will not leave one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation« (Luke 19,42-44). 
4. Israel had been chosen from among all the nations to carry from generation to generation the promise first given to Adam and Eve: I, the Lord, will send mankind a Savior to deliver them from Your fall into sin and redeem them from the curse of sin, which is death. The Apostle Paul says it this way: »To Israel belongs the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, the promises, the patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, is the Christ who is God over all« (Romans 9,4-5). 
5. The Psalmist asks the question: »O God, why do You cast us off; why does Your anger smoke against the sheep of Your pasture?« Stephen gives the answer: »O elders and scribes, you are stiff-necked and always resist the Holy Spirit. Which of the Prophets did not your fathers persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the advent of the Righteous One, Jesus, whom you have now betrayed and murdered« (Acts 7,51-53). The Jewish political and religious leaders had rejected the temple where the Lord had dwelt on Mt. Zion. Jesus proclaimed that He is the physical dwelling of the Lord in their midst; His body is the holy temple. 
6. What happened at the temple in Jesus’ day? A: In Jesus’ day, the temple served three functions: 1. the courtyard served as a place for Jews and God-fearing Gentiles to gather, worship and pray; 2. the courtyard served as a place where rabbis and scribes taught the Scriptures; and 3. the Mosaic covenant sacrifices were performed there where the sins of the people were forgiven. Jesus fulfilled the temple’s role of sacrifice. He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1,29). For the Jews, to reject Jesus their Messiah is to reject Moses, the temple and the sacrifice for sin; in short, to reject Jesus was to reject their Judaism. To reject Jesus is to reject both the Father and the Holy Spirit, for Jesus and the Father are one, and they send the Holy Spirit who teaches us and brings to remembrance all Jesus said (John 10,30; 14,6).  
7. The Romans destroyed the temple twice: 1. they crucified Jesus, and 2. when the Jews rebelled a generation later (ad 66), General Titus besieged Jerusalem, captured the city and destroyed the temple as the remaining Jewish rebels made their last stand there. At the end of August 70 the temple sacrifices ended and have never been reinstituted. The true temple, Jesus, was was destroyed and rebuilt in His crucifixion and resurrection. His one-time sacrifice fulfilled His Father’s covenant promise given to Moses at Mt. Sinai. 
8. The Introit prophesied this about the temple 1000 years before it occurred: »O Lord, direct Your steps to the perpetual ruins; the enemy has destroyed everything in the sanctuary.« Yet the Lord does not forget His Israel He regards His covenant with them. The apostles preached the gospel of Christ crucified first to the Jews and only then to the Gentiles. Those who reject this gospel have the sign of their unbelief in the rubble of the Jewish temple that now is occupied by Islam’s Dome of the Rock mosque; those who receive this gospel have the sign of their belief in the empty tomb of Jesus’ resurrection. The Apostle Peter writes in his epistle: »As you draw near to Christ, a Living Stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy« (1. Peter 2,4-5.9-10). 
9. As God’s people in Christ, He defends you and your cause: »Blessed is the congregation whose God is the Lord, the people whom He has chosen as His heritage.« »The Eye of the Lord is on those who fear, love and trust Him, on those who hope in His steadfast love and mercy, so that He delivers them from eternal death and keeps them alive with eternal life« (Psalm 33,18-19).  Amen. 
10. Let us pray. O God, Thou art the Shepherd of Thy people; keep us safely in Your fold, so that we may withstand the trials and temptations of this world.  Amen. 

To God alone be the Glory 
Soli Deo Gloria

All Scriptural quotations are translations done by The Rev. Peter A. Bauernfeind using the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, 4th Edition © 1990 by the Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart, and the Novum Testamentum Graece, Nestle-Aland 27th Edition © 1993 by Deutsch Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart.  

All quotations from the Book of Concord are translations done by The Rev. Peter A. Bauernfeind using Die Bekenntnisschriften der evangelisch-lutherischen Kirche, 12. Edition © 1998 by Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.