HEROD'S DEATH THREAT
Date: 3/16/2017 07:45 - Subscribe


... "Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill You"
(Luke 13:31b).

Read Luke 13:31-35

Each day the danger increases for Jesus. Today,
some Pharisees pass along an alleged death threat.
If Herod did make this threat, it was more of a bluff to
drive Jesus out of the region. Later, he'll have his
chance to kill Jesus in Jerusalem, but he will hand
Him back to Pilate instead. He doesn't want to anger
his Galilean subjects by killing yet another popular
prophet, executing John the Baptist had already cost
him enough.

Jesus refuses to be intimidated. His time in Galilee is
growing extremely short, and He will reach every
person He possibly can before He must move on
toward Jerusalem. Jesus gives them a message to
take back to Herod, "Tell that fox, 'Behold, I cast out
demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and
the third day I finish my course.'" If demons and
diseases cannot stop Jesus from carrying out the
work the Father has set for Him to do, no earthly
ruler will either.

He must go up to Jerusalem. And it is there-like so
many prophets before Him-that Jesus must die. Like
a bird that spreads its wings to gather its chicks and
shield them from danger, Jesus reaches out to His
people, but they turn their backs. On the cross His
arms will be stretched out for them also, but they will
pass by with sneers, insults and mockery.

This brings tears to His eyes. But they are not for Him;
rather, they are for the people of Jerusalem He so
desperately wants to save, but they are unwilling. This
unwillingness will lead to their destruction at the hands
of the Roman legions in another 40 years.

THE PRAYER:

Almighty God, so many times You reached out to Your
people, yet they kept turning their backs on You. Heal
my stubborn heart, so I may know Your peace and joy
through Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior. I pray in
Jesus' Name. Amen.

Lenten Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

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PILATE'S FIRST APPEARANCE
Date: 3/14/2017 06:32 - Subscribe


There were some present at that very time who told Him
about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with
their sacrifices (Luke 13:1).

Read Luke 13:1-5

Today we catch our first glimpse of Pontius Pilate, the
Roman military governor. Jesus is making His way toward
Jerusalem when He gets word of a recent tragic event in
Jerusalem. While some of Jesus' fellow Galileans were
offering sacrifices in the temple courts, Pilate's soldiers
rushed in and killed them. This event is not recorded by
any other Gospel writer or ancient historian and Luke
doesn't explain Pilate's reasons, he is more interested
in Jesus' reaction.

"Do you think that these Galileans where worse sinners
than all the other Galileans because they suffered in this
way?" That's how people thought in that day, and it's a
conclusion we sometimes are too quick to jump to in our
day too. If someone suffers something horrendous such
as a tragic accident or an illness, then God must be
punishing them for some secret sin. Jesus warns us not
to judge by outward appearances.

In a short time another Galilean will be killed at the hands
of Pontius Pilate. People will look at Jesus hanging on the
cross and reach the false conclusion that God is punishing
Him for falsely claiming to be His Son. But in truth, Jesus
is God's perfect Son. He will hang on the cross and endure
punishment for the sins of all people for all time. This He
will do so that God may give complete forgiveness to all
who repent and believe.

Jesus continues, "No, I tell you, but unless you repent, you
will all likewise perish." All people are sinners. Only those
who repent and trust in Jesus' sacrifice in their place will
find salvation and eternal life.

THE PRAYER:

Almighty God, teach me not to judge how You feel about
me or anyone else by mere appearances and
circumstances. Let me instead live by faith in Jesus
Christ my Lord. I pray in His Name. Amen.

Lenten Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

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PEACE AT ALL COSTS?
Date: 3/13/2017 06:30 - Subscribe


(Jesus said) "Do you think that I have come to give peace
on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division" (Luke 12:51).

Read Luke 12:49-53

The hostility against Jesus grows. His enemies will not
stop until He hangs dead on a cross.

That doesn't seem to fit the words of the Christmas angels:
"Peace on earth" (see Luke 2:14). But the angels weren't
talking about peace among people. They said, "Peace
among those with whom God is pleased." God is only
pleased when we recognize our failings, and then trust
Jesus Christ as our Savior.

The Jewish leaders won't accept that they are misleading
God's people. They cling to their errors and refuse to turn to
their Messiah for forgiveness. Jesus warns His disciples
that hostility will one day turn against them.

Listen to the urgency in His voice: "I came to cast fire on
the earth, and would that it were already kindled! I have a
baptism to be baptized with, and how great is My distress
until it is accomplished!" The fire Jesus wishes to cast is
the cross; His bloody sacrifice divides believers from
unbelievers. The fire of that cross rages across the earth
to this very day.

Jesus asks, "Do you think that I have come to give peace
on earth?" How often do we compromise the truth or stand
in silence trying to live at peace with others? Not so with
Jesus. He refuses to wash His hands if it will support a
satanic lie. He powerfully attacks the deception of the
Pharisees and scribes so they will recognize Satan's lies
and turn to Him for salvation.

THE PRAYER:

Almighty God, there can be no compromise between You
and Satan, truth and error, life and death, heaven and hell.
Help me cling at all costs to the peace believers have with
You, which Jesus Christ won. I pray in His Name. Amen.

Lenten Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

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I'M NOT WASHING
Date: 3/13/2017 08:04 - Subscribe


The Pharisee was astonished to see that He did not first
wash before dinner (Luke 11:3cool.gif.

Read Luke 11:37-54

Jesus is on His way to Jerusalem for the last time. One
Sabbath He stops to teach in a synagogue. After the
service a Pharisee invites Him to share His morning meal.
Before they eat, the Pharisee and his other guests carefully
wash their hands, according to Jewish traditions. They
believe eating with unwashed hands would contaminate the
food which, in turn, made the body unclean in God's eyes.

It was time for Jesus to confront that error. Knowing all
humans are contaminated by the sinful nature they receive
from their parents and not from eating unclean food, Jesus
refuses to wash His hands. His host is astonished, but Jesus
refuses to back down.

He then starts blasting the traditions they trust to earn their
way to heaven. It may seem unwise for Jesus to turn up the
heat, but it is the greatest act of kindness anyone could do
for them. If they keep straining to wash a little uncleanness
from their hands, they will never let God remove the
uncleanness and sin from their hearts, minds and souls.

This brings a complaint from the scribes. When He attacks
the Pharisees, Jesus is really attacking the scribes, whose
traditions the Pharisees are following. Jesus turns the heat
up again. He accuses the scribes of burying God's gracious
Old Testament promises beneath their traditions, which
deceive people into relying on their own works rather than
God's free forgiveness as given through His Son, the Messiah.

The Pharisees and scribes strenuously object. They pressure
Him to speak on more things, lying in ambush, hoping He will
blurt out something carelessly.

THE PRAYER:

Almighty God, Your Son Jesus made clear there is only one
way into Your presence, through faith in Him. Drive from my
heart and mind the lie that there are many ways. I pray in
Jesus' Name. Amen.

Lenten Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

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GROWING URGENCY
Date: 3/12/2017 07:15 - Subscribe


(Jesus said) "Let these words sink into your ears: the Son
of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men"
(Luke 9:44).

Read Luke 9:37-45

Coming down with His three disciples from the Mountain of
Transfiguration, Jesus encounters a demon that His other
disciples are unable to cast out. With divine might and
majesty, Jesus overpowers the demon and sends him away.
The crowd is completely amazed and stands marveling at
what God has done. Jesus knows His disciples are still
clinging to hopes of an earthly kingdom, and He doesn't
want them to get swept away by the excitement of the
crowds. So He turned to talk directly to them. To get their
attention He could have easily said, "Listen carefully.
" Instead, He says something even more striking: "Let
these words sink into your ears."

And what are the extremely important words Jesus has to
tell them? They are these: "The Son of Man is about to be
delivered into the hands of men." Despite their dreams, and
the hope of the crowd following them, Jesus' suffering is
close at hand. He is "about to be delivered into the hands
of men."

But Jesus reveals one more painful fact about His coming
suffering He did not reveal the first time: it will come about
through an act of betrayal. Of course, Jesus knows the
identity of His betrayer, but He withholds that information,
for now. Not only will He be rejected and, consequently,
subjected to violent brutalities and death, but treachery will
be connected with these events as well.

The disciples fail to understand and are afraid to ask Jesus
anything about it. The suspense is building as Jesus'
destiny-and our salvation-draw near.

THE PRAYER:

Almighty God, Your Son single-mindedly set His steps to
fulfill Your plan to save the world. Give me an unwavering
faith to follow Him all my days. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Lenten Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

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