1. Everything in the text sets up the polarity of earth and heaven, mortification and glorification, humiliation and exaltation. We preach the cross, because it is the only way to glory. Just look at Jesus, who set His face toward Jerusalem, endured the cross, despising its shame, and is now seated at the right hand of power, with all things under His feet.
  2. The word of faith means the word that declares us righteous and gives us Christ’s own righteousness as a gift. At the start of the Passion Season, these texts call us deny ourselves and our pride that comes by our obedience to the Law, and to cast all of our sins, failures, and weaknesses onto Christ, to trust Him alone for our salvation.
  3. First, if this passage from Hebrews 3 shines any further light on the Transfiguration account (Luke 9 is already quite bright!), it’s that on the mountain Jesus is showing us where following Him leads to in the end. No wonder Peter wanted to stay.
  4. The resurrection of Christ is not God’s way of loving the last enemy (15:26). He despises it; defeats it. He makes such a mockery of it that it loses its name among Christians. Death is dead and can no longer be called death, but merely sleep, just a sweet and momentary sleep until the living Christ’s parousia (v. 23).
  5. The basis of Christian proclamation is the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as a historical event. But what His death and resurrection are as events, now become reality for us, delivered to us through preaching and holy baptism, so all who receive His death and life have the hope of resurrection.
  6. The texts for this week offer great consolation for pastors and preachers. Don’t miss out on preaching this consolation to your people, too. Christ is at work in us, though we are insufficient for such a ministry to save souls from destruction.
  7. Christians are caught up in the love of God in Christ. In this love they grow together as the body of Christ into mature manhood. And in the struggle and despite all the sin that clouds our eyes, we will see clearly Him who loved us and gave Himself for us. The more we fix our eyes on Him, the more we grow in His love.
  8. 1 Corinthians 12:12-31 is part of Paul’s continuing catechesis on the church. The church as God the Holy Spirit’s own creation through the Gospel is not to be preached or taught as any kind of human organization.
  9. This text teaches us about concepts found in the Third Article of the Creed; concerning the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, and the communion of the saints (or of holy things). I would suggest, along with your study of the text, a devotional study of the Large Catechism on the Third Article this week.
  10. Having Romans 6 as the Epistle for the Baptism of our Lord, and paired with Luke’s account of Jesus’ baptism and Isaiah’s prophetically rich baptismal language in Isaiah 43, allows preaches to proclaim Romans 6 in a more appropriate liturgical context. It could only be better, were someone in your congregation to be baptized on this day. If that’s your situation, the sermon will almost write itself.
  11. St. Paul’s argument in Ephesians 1 shows that our salvation is necessary, not because God is bound by His own law, but because God willed it. Once God decides to be merciful, He will not do otherwise. Promise? Promise.
  12. Lutheran pastors have at least three sermons in these three days. The calendar allows preachers to wed together some important themes this Christmas. The Magnificat (conception), the birth account from Matthew 1, and the fuller account of Christ’s birth from Luke 2 give clear shape to the proclamation for the Feast of the Nativity. The Epistle readings, however, should also be considered as the Holy Spirit’s interpretation of the nativity.

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