Worship Helps for Lent 5

The Voice from on High
James Tissot
1836-1902

Worship Theme: Before Jesus was born, believers had to regularly offer up sacrifices for sin. Only the High Priest could go before God with the blood and prayers of the people. These sacrifices would go on and on for the entire life of the Old Testament believer as a vivid reminder that God would send a Savior who would be sacrificed on the behalf of all people. Today the Word of God shows that Jesus, our High Priest, would sacrifice himself and bring a new covenant of life that would last forever.

Old Testament: Jeremiah 31:31 "The time is coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. 32 It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them," declares the LORD. 33 "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time," declares the LORD. "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34 No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest," declares the LORD. "For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more."

1. What is the old covenant that the LORD had made with Israel when he took them out of Egypt?

2. What would be the new covenant that the LORD would make?

Epistle: Hebrews 5:7 During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8 Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9 and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him 10 and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.

3. How did Jesus show “reverent submission” when he prayed with “loud cries and tears”?

4. Does verse 9 mean that only those who perfectly obey Jesus can be saved?

Gospel: John 12:20 Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the Feast. 21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. "Sir," they said, "we would like to see Jesus." 22 Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus. 23 Jesus replied, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. 27 "Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name!" Then a voice came from heaven, "I have glorified it, and will glorify it again." 29 The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him. 30 Jesus said, "This voice was for your benefit, not mine. 31 Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. 32 But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself." 33 He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.
  
5. How would the death of Jesus be judgment for the world?

6. Who is the prince of the world that would be driven out of his position of power?


Answers:
1. The old covenant the Lord revealed to the children of Israel in the desert was a covenant that regulated everything the children of Israel did. They had laws of what to eat, how to clean, what to touch and not touch. They had Sabbath laws. God required animal sacrifices for many reasons; some happened daily.

2. The Lord says the new covenant “will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers.” It would not contain any laws, rules, or regulations that have to be kept or symbolic, repeated sacrifices. Jesus would fulfill all of God’s demands. Jesus would keep all the laws and rules for all people. Jesus’ death would be the only sacrifice that would finally pay for the sins of the whole world. Jesus’ death would open the way to God; the veil in the temple was torn in two. Instead of a covenant of “You must do this and not do that,” Jesus’ new covenant comes through the assurance, “It is finished.” All of Jesus’ work is bestowed to us as the Holy Spirit uses the Word and Sacraments to create and sustain faith in our hearts.

3. Jesus’ “reverent submission” is seen clearly in the agony of his prayers in Gethsemane the night before his death. There he said, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

4. No. The Apostle John writes, “We obey his commands and do what pleases him. And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ.” (1 John 3:22-23) Faith is obedience to God and is worked in the individual by God’s grace through the Word and Sacraments.

5. Jesus paid for the sins of the whole world at the cross. Those who reject this truth will be judged and condemned. Those through faith who believe Jesus’ sacrifice was good for all eternity will enjoy heavenly bliss for all eternity.

6. Satan is the prince of the world. Jesus defeated him by apparent surrender to death.


Putting your faith into action
“You keep your end of the deal. I’ll keep mine.” That’s what God had told Israel, but they could not do it. The sin that prevented them from being faithful is the same sinful nature that keeps us from ever keeping up our end of any deal with the holy God. Rejoice and live in the new covenant he made, a new and binding promise to forgive our wickedness and forget our sins, all because the blood of Jesus Christ, his Son and our Savior, has purified us from all sin. 


A reading from the Book of Concord for Lent 5
We will reply to those passages that the adversaries quote in order to prove that we are justified by love and works.  They quote 1 Corinthians 13:2, “If I have all faith … but have not love, I am nothing.”  Paul testifies to the entire Church (they say) that faith alone does not justify.  This passage of Paul requires love.  We also require this.  For we have said that renewal and beginning to fulfill the Law must exist in us, according to Jeremiah 31:33, “I will put My law within them, and I will write it on their hearts.” If anyone should cast away love, even though he has great faith, he does not keep his faith, for he does not keep the Holy Spirit.   In this passage Paul does not talk about the way of justification.  Instead, he writes to those who, after they had been justified, should be urged to bring forth good fruit lest they lose the Holy Spirit.  They quote this one passage, in which teaches about fruit [of faith].  Yet they leave out many other passages in which he discusses the way of justification.  Besides, they add a correction to the passages that speak of faith, namely, that the passages ought to be understood as applying to “faith formed by love.”  They add no correction that there is also need for faith, which believes we are counted righteous for Christ’s sake as the Atone-ment.  The adversaries exclude Christ from justification and teach only a righteousness of the Law. – Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article V, Love and Fulfilling the Law (paragraphs 97-100)


Text of the Hymn of the Day: My Song Is Love Unknown
My song is love unknown, My Savior's love to me,
Love to the loveless shown That they might lovely be.
Oh, who am I That for my sake
My Lord should take Frail flesh and die?

He came from his blest throne Salvation to bestow,
But such disdain! So few The longed-for Christ would know!
But oh, my friend, My friend indeed,
Who at my need His life did spend!

Sometimes they strew his way And his sweet praises sing,
Resounding all the day Hosannas to their King.
Then "Crucify!" Is all their breath,
And for his death They thirst and cry.

Why? What has my Lord done? What makes this rage and spite?
He made the lame to run; He gave the blind their sight.
Sweet injuries! Yet they at these
Themselves displease And 'gainst him rise.

They rise and needs will have My dear Lord made away.
A murderer they save; The Prince of life they slay.
Yet cheerful he To suff'ring goes
That he his foes From death might free.

In life no house, no home My Lord on earth might have;
In death no friendly tomb But what a stranger gave.
What may I say? Heav'n was his home
But mine the tomb Wherein he lay.

Here might I stay and sing; No story so divine,
Never was love, dear King, Never was grief like thine.
This is my friend, In whose sweet praise
I all my days Could gladly spend!

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