Worship Helps for Pentecost 9

Isle of Skye
Artist: Richard Ansdell

Worship Theme: Last week we saw how Jesus gives the Bread of Life through faithful public ministers. This week we focus more on their message. Public ministers must faithfully proclaim God’s Word. When pastors do not preach the whole truth of God, they destroy faith and turn people away from Jesus, for “faith comes from hearing the message” (Romans 10:17).  Nothing else will do.

Old Testament: Numbers 27:12-23 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Go up this mountain in the Abarim range and see the land I have given the Israelites. 13 After you have seen it, you too will be gathered to your people, as your brother Aaron was, 14 for when the community rebelled at the waters in the Desert of Zin, both of you disobeyed my command to honor me as holy before their eyes." (These were the waters of Meribah Kadesh, in the Desert of Zin.) 15 Moses said to the LORD, 16 "May the LORD, the God of the spirits of all mankind, appoint a man over this community 17 to go out and come in before them, one who will lead them out and bring them in, so the LORD's people will not be like sheep without a shepherd." 18 So the LORD said to Moses, "Take Joshua son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit, and lay your hand on him. 19 Have him stand before Eleazar the priest and the entire assembly and commission him in their presence. 20 Give him some of your authority so the whole Israelite community will obey him. 21 He is to stand before Eleazar the priest, who will obtain decisions for him by inquiring of the Urim before the LORD. At his command he and the entire community of the Israelites will go out, and at his command they will come in." 22 Moses did as the LORD commanded him. He took Joshua and had him stand before Eleazar the priest and the whole assembly. 23 Then he laid his hands on him and commissioned him, as the LORD instructed through Moses.

1. Why did Moses ask that God appoint a man to replace him as leader of God’s people? (See 27:17.)

2. How did God describe Joshua, Moses’ replacement?

Epistle: Hebrews 13:7-8, 17-21 Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. … 17 Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you. 18 Pray for us. We are sure that we have a clear conscience and desire to live honorably in every way. 19 I particularly urge you to pray so that I may be restored to you soon. 20 May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, 21 equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

3. What is the one reason why believers should obey faithful pastors and submit to their authority? (See 13:20.)

4. How does the writer to the Hebrews describe Jesus, now that the Father has raised him from the dead? (See 13:20.)

Gospel: Mark 6:30-34 The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. 31 Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest." 32 So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. 33 But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.

5. What did Jesus want his disciples to have? What stopped them?

6. How did Jesus feel about the crowds that followed him? Why did he feel that way?

7. How did Jesus respond to the people’s needs?


Answers:
1. Moses asked God to appoint a replacement for him so that the LORD’s people would not be like sheep without a shepherd. (Isn’t Moses’ love for the Israelite people amazing, considering how often they complained about his leadership over the years?)

2. God described Joshua, Moses’ replacement, as a man in who was in the spirit.  This may mean a bold spirit of leadership or the Holy Spirit who gives such boldness.

3. Christians have good reason to obey faithful pastors and submit to their authority because Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever: Jesus’ words do not change. The grace we receive from him does not change.

4. The writer to the Hebrews (we are not certain who he was) describes Jesus as “the great Shepherd of the sheep.”

5. After they returned from a preaching trip, Jesus wanted his disciples to have a vacation. They didn’t get it, for large crowds followed them when they tried to get away.

6. Mark says that he had compassion on them because, spiritually-speaking, they were wandering aimlessly like lost sheep with no shepherd.

7. He began to give them the Bread of Life by his faithful Word, teaching them the truths of God.


Putting your faith into action
It is curious that a small wound in the body can cause death. A lead slug only a few millimeters in diameter can enter the body and the person dies. A knife wound only a few inches deep and confined to a small percentage of the total body is lethal. We all know the reason—the body works together as a unit. There is a relationship between every part and every other part. In the body of the church, you are an important part. The body may be able to live without you, but it certainly won’t be as strong. The church needs every member. Each congregation needs everyone to participate in using God’s gifts in support of the mission of the congregation. Your time, your abilities, and your finances, if missing, will be noticeable. Continue to be active in doing your part as a steward of God’s blessings in the church.

A reading from the Book of Concord for Pentecost 9
Confession is mentioned at different times in the Psalms. “ ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’ and You forgave the iniquity of my sin” (32:5).  Such confession of sin, which is made to God, is contrition itself.  When confession is made to God it must be made with the heart, not only with the voice.  Confession is contrition in which, feeling God’s anger, we confess that God is justly angry and that He cannot be reconciled by our works.  Yet, we seek for mercy because of God’s promise.  Such is the following confession, “Against You, You only, have I sinned … so that You may be justified in Your words and blameless in Your judgment” (Psalm 51:4).  This means, “I confess that I am a sinner and have merited eternal wrath.  Nor can I set my righteousnesses, my merits, against Your wrath.  So I declare that You are just when You condemn and punish us.  I declare that You are clear when hypocrites judge You to be unjust in punishing them or in condemning the well-deserving.  Yes, our merits cannot satisfy Your judgment.  But we will be justified if You justify us, if through Your mercy You count us righteous.”  Perhaps someone may also cite James 5:16, “Confess your sins to one another.”  But here the reference is not to confession made to priests, but is the reconciliation of brothers to each other.  Confession should be mutual. – Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article XIIB, Confession and Satisfaction, paragraphs 10-12


Text of the opening hymn: Christ Is Made The Sure Foundation
Christ is made the sure foundation,
Christ, our head and cornerstone,
Chosen of the Lord and precious,
Binding all the Church in one,
Holy Zion's help forever
And our confidence alone.

To this temple, where we call you,
Come, O Lord of hosts, and stay;
Come with all your lovingkindness,
Hear your people as they pray,
And your fullest benediction
Speak within these walls today.

Grant, we pray, to all your faithful
All the gifts they ask to gain,
What they gain from you forever
With the blessed to retain,
And hereafter in your glory
Evermore with you to reign.

Praise and honor to the Father,
Praise and honor to the Son,
Praise and honor to the Spirit,
Ever Three and ever One,
One in might and one in glory

While unending ages run!

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