To help prepare for Christ’s Service to us in Word and Sacrament this Sunday, you may wish to pre-read the lessons before hand.
Old Testament: Genesis 3:8-15
Epistle: 2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1
Gospel: Mark 3:20-35
In Genesis 3:8-15, we will hear of God’s promise of a savior after the disobedience of Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve had done what God commanded ought not be done. They ate of the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil. When God approached in the cool of the day, He sought them out in order to bring them back to Himself. As God speaks the curse to the serpent, He points to Jesus who was the seed of the woman, born of the Virgin Mary by divine intervention apart from the normal procreation that happens in the course of nature. That “seed of the Woman”, namely Jesus, was bruised and beaten and died on the cross at the hands of those who were held under the sway of Satan. Jesus bruised the head of the serpent and asserted the rightful order of creation as He redeemed us from the devil’s kingdom by destroying the power and authority of the devil. We now await Jesus’ return. On that day, we shall see all the enemies of Christ placed under His feet and with our eyes we will see that what really happened when Christ died on the cross. Then, the power and authority held by Satan in this world truly came to an end and God’s order of creation was re-asserted as, in the person of Jesus, humanity was placed on the throne over all all things.
In 2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1, we read of our struggle during this “in between time.” Today we live by faith and trust in the work accomplished by Jesus. We don’t see with our eyes the reality of the restoration that He accomplished. Therefore, we are tempted to lose heart as we await the visible restoration of God’s reign and rule in the world. We know the world we see and experience is “wasting away” along with our sinful flesh which is being subdued by the Holy Spirit working in us through His Word. But as we hear of the salvation of Christ through the Word proclaimed and recorded in the Scriptures, we are pointed to the eternal truths that are unseen. Through that Word, the Holy Spirit works to renew and restore us leads tells us of the eternal dwelling which shall be ours because of Jesus’ work for us when we shall see God face to face and be unafraid.
In Mark 3:20-35 we see the world’s reaction to the Gospel preached by Jesus. First, we see the reaction of worldlings held under the sway of Satan as the scribes oppose Jesus claiming He is possessed by a demon. Jesus responds by pointing out that those who hear the Word of God and call the Spirit who utters that Word, “unclean,” commits blasphemy against the Holy Spirit and is guilty of “an eternal sin.” We also see the attack by Jesus’ family including His mother who had heard the Angel speak to her and who had apparently forgotten about the miraculous conception and birth of Jesus. When Jesus’ mother and brothers arrive on the scene, they attempted to perform an “intervention.” They claimed, “He is out of his mind,” because He is preaching a message that makes no sense to them. Jesus then speaks of the new reality His coming into the world – a new reality created by the Holy Spirit through Jesus’ teaching. Pointing to those who are in the house hearing His message and respond by hearing with faith, He says, “whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and brother.”