By Jeff Gibbs This lection from John 16 shows how important it is to first interpret what a text meant before one can take in hand the question of what it means. These words of Jesus address his disciples in the upper room the night that he was betrayed, the day before he was crucified, ..
By David Maxwell The Breath of God “[Jesus] breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld” (Jn 20:22–23). This is not the first time that God breathed on human beings. By breathing ..
By Kent Burreson Passing from one divine feast to another, from palms and branches, let us now make haste, O faithful, to the solemn and saving celebration of Christ’s passion Let us behold him undergo voluntary suffering for our sake, And let us sing to him with thanksgiving a fitting hymn: “Fountain of tender mercy ..
Editor’s note: The following homiletical help is adapted from Concordia Journal, January 1980. By William J. Schmelder The preacher needs to resist mightily the temptation to use this text as the occasion for letting the congregation have it. It would be easy to become a stern preacher of the law, and to use this text ..
By Michael J. Redeker The fourth Sunday in Lent is known as Laetare (rejoice) Sunday. It is the midway point in Lent and has been viewed as a day of celebration as the mood of Lent is briefly lessened. Luke 15 is filled with parables of rejoicing; the shepherd rejoices over finding the one lost sheep, ..
By Glenn Nielsen In this text Jesus doesn’t explicitly accuse someone of something that needs repentance. Rather, he says the unfortunate people in the tragedies were not worse sinners. So this sermon focuses on the second half of repentance—the turning toward Jesus in faith—although a short section does mention what we need to turn away from. ..
By Paul Sieveking This week’s lessons are confrontational. The Old Testament lesson is a confrontation between Jeremiah and the people of Judah. In the Gospel we hear of the confrontation between Jesus and the Pharisees. They confront us with a “prophetic word” that our people and maybe we, ourselves, may not want to hear. In Luke ..
By Kou Seying Confessing the truth means renouncing the false at the same time, “Do you renounce the devil, and all his works, and all his ways?” Often, the latter is ignored due to various theological lapses or cultural and individualistic reasons. In this text, we have a glimpse of the nature of truth and ..
By Mark Rockenbach In the beginning God said, “Let there be light” (Gn 1:3) and there was light. The voice of God called into existence not only light, but also water, land, vegetation, and living creatures. Once all was created God did not go silent but he continued to speak. God said, “Let us make ..
By Paul R. Raabe This gospel lesson records part of Jesus’s Galilean ministry, after he went down from Nazareth to Capernaum. Here we see Jesus teaching, casting out demons, and healing the sick. It is important when preaching on this text to put it into the right slot or category. Here the malady is not human ..
By David Peter This text is appropriate for reflection early in the Epiphany season for several reasons. First, it reports one of Jesus’s first acts of his public ministry. Second, it is one of the first times that Jesus publicly identifies himself as the Messiah. Third, it sets him clearly on the path to rejection ..
By David I. Lewis Introduction Today’s gospel lesson records the beginning of the miraculous signs (αρχη των σημειων) which Jesus did as recorded in the Gospel of John: Jesus changes gallons of water into excellent wine (καλος οινος). How preachers and commentators have interpreted the significance of this event has varied. For instance, some argue ..
By Robert Kolb I am not particularly fond of John the Baptist. It is not his strange clothes or his strange diet that puts me off. I know lots of people with strange clothing eating strange foods. His threatening me with fire is the reason I would rather avoid John. Fire hurts, a long time. ..
By Thomas Manteufel This story shows the holy family in Jerusalem at the feast of Passover. According to Deuteronomy 16:16, all male Israelites were obligated (though the women were not forbidden to show devotion in this way also) to come to the Lord’s house to celebrate the feasts of Passover, Weeks, and Booths. The young ..
By Jeffrey A. Oschwald Luke 7:18‒35 presents the preacher with a challenge: although unified by references to John, the three subsections are diverse in topic and style. As Fitzmyer notes, the passage deals with (1) John’s question and Jesus’s answer, (2) Jesus’s testimony concerning John, and (3) Jesus’s judgment of his generation’s assessment of himself ..