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Archive for September, 2015

“Pure doctrine calls for and creates pure lives. This does not mean that we would overleap the church militant and seek to establish the church triumphant here and now, and make a “pure” church, such as cannot exist this side of the Parousia, the condition and criterion of unity. The church in this aeon is a pure church and has pure doctrine when it knows that it is made up of sinners under the forgiveness of God in Christ; it is translating pure doctrine into practice when it calls sin sin and summons the sinner to repentance, and forgives him with divine authority and without measure or restraint. The church leaves no repentant sinner outside her full fellowship; and she cannot include the man who prefers his sin to that fellowship. – by Rev. Prof. Martin Franzmann, Lutheran: “The Nature of the Unity We Seek”, 1957

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Lord God, heavenly Father, through the prophet Jonah, You continued the prophetic pattern of teaching Your people the true faith and demonstrating through miracles Your presence in creation to heal it of its brokenness. Grant that Your Church may see in Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the final end-times prophet whose teaching and miracles continue in Your Church through the healing medicine of the Gospel and the Sacraments; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Reading:  The Book of Jonah

About Jonah:

A singular prophet among the many in the Old Testament, Jonah the son of Amittai was born about an hour’s walk from the town of Nazareth. The focus of his prophetic ministry was the call to preach at Nineveh, the capital of pagan Assyria(Jonah 1:2). His reluctance to respond and God’s insistence that His call be heeded is the story of the book that bears Jonah’s name. Although the swallowing and disgorging of Jonah by the great fish is the most remembered detail of his life, it is addressed in only three verses of the book (Jonah1:17; 2:1, 10). Throughout the book, the important theme is how God deals compassionately with sinners. Jonah’s three-day sojourn in the belly of the fish is mentioned by Jesus as a sign of His own death, burial, and resurrection (Matthew12:39-41). (From The Treasury of Daily Prayer, published by Concordia Publishing House;  for more on Jonah go here.)

Reflection:

We simply stand under God’s overflowing grace like rain, allowing its cool refreshment to fill our dry cracks. Then we pick up the bucket and dump it on someone else. Grace flows from Yahweh not on those who attempt to earn it, but on those who confess their need for it. The Spirit-empowered response is then to share it. But Jonah is like the angry older brother in the parable of the Prodigal Son (Lk 15:28-30): he views God’s lavish welcome for undeserving sinners who repent as an insult to his “deserving” self. The prophet has yet to embrace the Law and Gospel character of God expressed in James 2:13: “For judgment is without mercy to one who has not shown mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.” (From Dr. Reed Lesssing’s Commentary on Jonah)

Jesus made a comparison between Himself and Jonah when He was asked for sign, see St. Matthew 12: 38-42.   Here are some more details of a comparison between Jesus and Jonah.

Jonah ran away and the Lord ran to His people.

Jonah ran away twice.   The Lord never runs away and He sought Jonah twice, as He sought Adam, you, more than twice.

The Lord put Jonah in the belly of the great fish because Jonah refused to preach repentance to Ninevah. The Lord was put in the belly of great fish, death, “the heart of the earth”, because He preached repentance.

The Lord heard Jonah cry out in prayer in the belly of the great fish  to be saved and he was heard. The Lord cried out, not for His salvation (as He did not need to), but ours and He was heard:  “It is finished” (John 19:30).

The Lord punished Jonah in the belly of the great fish. The Lord took on the punishment which He did not deserve, the chastisement of us all, that makes us whole (cf. Isaiah 53).  He was not punished for His sin, for He had none, but He became sin.

The Lord called Jonah to preach His Word. The Lord is the Word made flesh (St. John 1: 14), God’s own sermon to us all and in particular in His three nights in the heart of  the earth, preaching our salvation by faith through His grace through the Word of His blood (cf.Hebrews 12:24).

The Lord caused the great fish to spew Jonah out of the belly of the great fish. The Lord laid down His life to take it up again and death could not hold Him (John 10:18).

Jonah was disappointed and angry that the Ninevites repented and that the Lord did not destroy themJesus rejoices that so many came to faith and He sent out His apostles with the message of the Kingdom of God.

Jonah was swallowed by the great fish. Jesus swallowed up death itself.

 Behold, something greater than Jonah is here!  Allelulia!

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Cartoon of the Day

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None of the other evangelists described the history of the Lord Jesus to such an extent as Matthew.

Concordia and Koinonia

Prayer of the Day:

O Son of God, our blessed Savior Jesus Christ, You called Matthew the tax collector to be an apostle and evangelist. Through his faithful and inspired witness, grant that we also may follow You, leaving behind all covetous desires and love of riches; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

About St. Matthew: 

St. Matthew, also known as Levi, identifies himself as a former tax collector, one who was therefore considered unclean, a public sinner, outcast from the Jews. Yet it was such a one as this whom the Lord Jesus called away from his occupation and wealth to become a disciple (Matthew 9:9-13). Not only did Matthew become a disciple of Jesus, he was also called and sent as one of the Lord’s twelve apostles (Matthew 10:2-4). In time, he became the evangelist whose inspired…

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Quote of the Week

“I think instead of ‘In remembrance of Me’ being carved on altars it would be awesome to have, “Sir, we would see Jesus.” (John 12:21)

-Pastor Gaven Mize, Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Church, Hickory, North Carolina

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I recently received an e-mail from our TV provider with this subject line: “Don’t let your Sundays go to waste!  Every game, every Sunday.  GET NFL SUNDAY TICKET”

If we don’t receive every game, every Sunday then the Lord’s day goes to waste? I don’t think so.  I like football but football is not the main attraction on a Sunday.  When Bill Clinton was president, The New York Times had an ad for their rag showing  Bill Clinton holding up a copy of the Times’ Sunday edition with the caption:  “Sunday was made for The New York Times”.  I don’t think so.  We go to waste without His forgiveness, His Body and Blood, His every Word in preaching and praise:  go to waste as in starving to death.  No wonder our nation is going to waste.  There are no tickets to buy in the Church, Christ’s own Body but His Cross the sign of our admission, His price, in repentance and His peace.  Indeed, don’t let the Lord’s Sunday go waste!

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