By Gerhard Bode Liturgical Setting The Gospel reading for the First Sunday after Christmas observes the Presentation of our Lord in the Temple. Textual Comments 2:22-23 After Mary’s forty-day purification is completed, she goes to the temple with Joseph and the infant Jesus. The couple offers sacrifices in keeping with the law, but the centerpiece ..
By Jeffrey A. Oschwald Year Β is far and away the most evangelically diverse Adventtide of the three-year series. Years A and C are devoted entirely to their respective Gospels, Matthew and Luke. In Year B, on the other hand, we have readings from every Gospel except Matthew (whose Gospel does provide the reading for ..
By Jeffrey A. Oschwald The Gospel for Advent 3 from John seems to overlap extensively with the previous Sunday’s Gospel from Mark. Both provide an introduction to John the Baptist, and both describe details of his ministry. Our goal this week, then, will be to discover the ways in which this text builds upon the ..
By Jeffrey A. Oschwald Advent 2 presents us with the New Testament doorkeeper par excellence: John. This should make it very easy for the preacher to connect this week’s message with the previous week’s and so build on the theme. Instead of using the same format for these “Helps,” however, I would like to focus ..
By Jeffrey A. Oschwald One of my greatest Advent frustrations over the years has been an ongoing encounter with a fundamental misunderstanding of the season’s purpose. Whether introducing the season to people unfamiliar with it, searching for materials to use in the classroom, or planning our own family Advent celebrations, I have for years seen, and ..
By Travis J. Scholl Is there any better way to preach on the last Sunday of the church year than to preach Christ “raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep” (v. 20)? This pericope falls in the middle of Paul’s great resurrection chapter. What precedes it is his theological ..
By Travis J. Scholl “Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers and sisters, you do not need to have anything written to you” (v. 1). Indeed, we do not need to be told that our world is in crisis. Global and local events cascade into a rapid succession of actions and reactions. Some of ..
By William W. Schumacher, We sketched a connected theme in the previous two lessons, both of which dealt with the struggle of faith in a fallen world. The first focused on “Life by the Spirit of Christ,” and the second celebrated “Hope in the Midst of Suffering.” This third of our consecutive readings turns our eyes ..
By William W. Schumacher, The previous text (Ro 8:12-17) presented us with “Life by the Spirit of Christ.” The present text, the second of three consecutive readings from this chapter, encourages us under the theme of “Hope in the Midst of Suffering.” Paul does not pretend that faith in Christ removes life’s difficulties. In fact, ..
By William W. Schumacher, The texts for Propers 10-12 are consecutive readings from the eighth chapter of Romans, closely related thematically, and therefore can naturally be grouped as a three-week sermon series. All three texts deal profoundly and realistically with a common theme: The struggle of faith in a fallen world. The first part, following this ..
By Anthony Cook, Textual Comments: Proper 9 presents a sobering reminder of the Christian’s constant struggle to walk in the newness of life. The reader can hear the anguish in Paul’s voice, “For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against ..
By Anthony Cook, Textual Comments: In the section of Romans preceding this text (6:12-23), Paul illustrates our relationship with God as both instruments and slaves of righteousness, but in this section, the opening illustration is that of marriage. In the same way that a bride is bound to her husband until death, so too we are ..
By Anthony Cook, Introduction to the Sixth-Eighth Sundays after Pentecost As I began to prepare homiletical helps for Propers 7-9,I realized that the three sequential texts comprise the central portion of a larger section of Romans normally identified as Romans 6:1-8:39. This section transitions from the previous section, Romans 5:12-21, which contrasts Adam’s disobedience and its ..
By William W. Schumacher, This pericope is an interesting selection for a couple of reasons. For one thing, the assigned verses for this Sunday’s Epistle lesson combine two rather different thoughts. Verses 6-11 develop the theme of peace with God through justification, introduced in the beginning of the chapter. Verse 12 starts a new idea, vividly ..
William W. Schumacher, The story of Abraham (or Abram, as he is called in the parts of Genesis to which Paul refers) shows that God’s promises are received by faith. By pointing to the patriarch, Paul underscores that everything depends on what God says, on His word of promise. The part of the Abraham story ..
By William W. Schumacher, It is always a challenge to preach on a very familiar text in such a way that people actually hear the message afresh. Familiarity breeds, if not contempt, then complacency and inattention. For Lutherans, these verses from the third chapter of Romans are perilously familiar, and both the preacher and his hearers ..