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To Seek and Save – A Series of Services for Lent and Holy Week
March 18, 2020 – Week 3: Up to Jerusalem
They were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. Mark 10:32
Opening Hymn Jesus, I Will Ponder Now – LSB #440 (verses 1, 2 & 6)
- Jesus, I will ponder now
On your holy passion;
With your Spirit me endow
For such meditation.
Grant that I in love and faith
May the image cherish
Of your suff’ring, pain and death
That I may not perish.
- Make me see your great distress,
Anguish and affliction.
Bonds and stripes and wretchedness
And your crucifixion;
Make me see how scourge and rod,
Spear and nails did wound you,
How for them you died, O God,
Who with thorns had crowned you.
- Graciously my faith renew;
Help me bear my crosses,
Learning humbleness from you,
Peace mid pain and losses.
May I give you love for love!
Hear me, O my Savior,
That I may in heav’n above
Sing your praise forever.
Invocation and Litany
P In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.
P I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?
C My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
P He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.
C Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep …
P The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.
C The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forev-ermore.
Confession and Absolution
P Let us confess our sins to God and ask his forgiveness for the sake of Jesus our Savior.
C Almighty God, we have sinned against you in our thoughts, words and actions. We do not love you or share your love with others as we should. We put our needs ahead of the needs of others. We listen to your Word but then turn away to follow our own sinful desires. Have mercy on us and forgive our sins.
P God, in mercy, sent his Son to be our Savior. Jesus carried our sins in his own body to the cross. He rose from the dead, and through faith in his name we have the hope and promise of eternal life. I announce to you that your sins are forgiven in the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
C From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth!
Prayer of the Day
P Lord Jesus, for our sake and in obedience to your Father’s will, you set your face to go to Jerusa-lem, knowing that there you would be arrested, condemned and crucified. Yet you also knew that you would rise to life in triumph over sin, death and the devil. As you faithfully followed your Fa-ther’s will, help us to follow faithfully in your steps, during this Lenten season and always. Amen.
Old Testament Reading Isaiah 2:1-3
The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. It shall come to pass in the latter days that the moun-tain of the house of the Lord shall be estab-lished as the highest of the mountains, and shall be lifted up above the hills; and all the nations shall flow to it, and many peoples shall come, and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
New Testament Reading Revelation 21:1-5
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
Gospel Reading Mark 10:32-34
And they were on the road, going up to Jeru-salem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. And they were amazed, and those who fol-lowed were afraid. And taking the twelve again, he began to tell them what was to hap-pen to him, saying, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be deliv-ered over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliv-er him over to the Gentiles. And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise.”
Sermon Hymn “Come, Follow Me,” the Savior Spake – LSB #688 (verses 1 & 2)
- “Come, follow me,” the Savior spake,
“All in my way abiding:
Deny yourselves, the world forsake,
Obey my call and guiding.
O bear the cross, whate’er betide,
Take my example for your guide.
- “I am the light, I light the way,
A godly life displaying;
I bid you walk as in the day;
I keep your feet from straying.
I am the way, and well I show
How you must sojourn here below.
Sermon Message – Up to Jerusalem
When you travel, do you plan ahead? Do you work with a travel agent or set everything up for yourself? Will you need airline tickets or a rental car? Which hotel is best for you and your family? What sights will you see along the way? Is it business travel or are you getting away for a nice family vacation?
When it was time for Jesus’ final trip to Jerusalem, he and his disciples would “go up” to the city in the hills of Judea. Jesus’ itinerary was set. This was his purpose; this was the reason he had come. As the cross drew nearer, Jesus would say, “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour” (John 12:27). This was no vacation trip. This was “business,” his Father’s business, the fulfillment of the promise made in Eden. Jesus’ travel plan was established and in place before he was born in Bethlehem; his travel plan was in place before the world was created. Jesus’ itinerary was foretold in great detail in the inspired writings of the Old Testament Scriptures. Jesus knew exactly what lay ahead for him.
There was excitement and anticipation as Jesus and his disciples approached Jerusalem. The crowds of Jewish pilgrims going up for the Passover knew that Jesus was coming to the festival. Among many of them there was the hope that this miracle-working rabbi might, in fact, be the Messiah. People had been asking, “When the Christ appears, will he do more signs than this man has done?” (John 7:31) Some were not so sure. They had questions and they debated among themselves: “Is the Christ to come from Galilee? Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the offspring of David, and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David was? So there was a division among the people over him” (John 7:41-42). But maybe, just maybe it was true. Maybe Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ, the Messiah! Some people were hopeful. Surely he was going to Jerusalem at Passover to establish his throne and his kingdom! Many of the people wanted to see that, but many of the religious leaders were not so eager to see a new king usher in a new kingdom. They wanted to stop him but they were afraid because he was so popular with the people: “Some of them wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him” (John 7:44).
The kingdom of God would come, but not in the way that people expected. The King would be glorified, but the cross would come first. On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus told his disciples what to expect and his description of what lay ahead was not at all what they expected. Even on the way the disciples no doubt wondered why Jesus was headed, so to speak, into the enemy camp. The disciples were frightened. They knew that the Pharisees and chief priests had tried for a long time to trap Jesus and accuse him of false teaching. They despised his miracles and accused him of being in league with the devil. These opponents endlessly criticized the disciples and their Mas-ter. And now Jesus was headed right into their headquarters—in Jerusalem.
In Jerusalem, Jesus would be delivered into the hands of his enemies. He would be betrayed by one of his own disciples, and even the cost of the betrayal—thirty pieces of silver—was foretold in Scripture. Jesus told his disciples that he would be betrayed, arrested, condemned to death, mocked, flogged and crucified. And then, in a puzzling and astounding statement, Jesus told his followers that on the third day after his death he would rise from the dead. It was true that, ac-cording to Jewish teaching, the righteous would rise from their graves on the last day. Martha had confessed this to Jesus before her brother Lazarus was raised. She had said concerning her brother, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day” (John 11:24). Jesus’ dis-ciples knew about that resurrection. But what did Jesus mean by saying he would rise in three days? Was he going to rise from the dead now, before the Day of Judgment? What was that all about? Earlier, when Jesus was transfigured, he had told Peter, James and John not to tell any-one about what they had seen that day until he had risen from the dead. The three disciples had discussed “what this rising from the dead might mean” (Mark 9:10). This business of “rising from the dead” was new territory for them. But death wasn’t new to them. They knew what death was, and if Jesus was announcing that he would die in Jerusalem, then why were they going there? They didn’t want Jesus to die and they didn’t especially want to die either. But this was what the itinerary foretold. Jesus, when warned earlier about approaching Jerusalem, had said, “I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the day following, for it cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem’” (Luke 13:33). There in Jerusalem he would perish, and there he would rise.
According to Scripture, our own itinerary, apart from Jesus, ends in certain death. It is deadly path and destination of our own choosing. “The wages of sin is death,” Scripture tells us. We, by our sin and rebellion against God, delivered ourselves into the grip of the enemy. We are on a dead-end road. Apart from Jesus, we were captive to sin, death and the devil, helpless to free ourselves. Only Jesus our Savior, who went up to Jerusalem for our sake, could set us free and put our feet on a new path and give us a new travel plan. By his suffering and death, Jesus paid the penalty we owed for our sin and destroyed the devil, who held us enslaved by death. By his resurrection, the greatest miracle, the greatest of the Messiah’s signs, an event foretold yet still so unexpected, Jesus guarantees for us the gift of eternal life in his presence. We have a new itin-erary and a new destination. There was a cost for this trip, a cost so great we could never pay it. Jesus paid the price with his blood shed on the cross.
When we die, when we fall asleep in Jesus, we will immediately be at home with the Lord. Our fi-nal, eternal destination will be fully revealed when Jesus returns in glory as Judge and King. God will make all things new. He will create a new heaven and a new earth. Our home will be “the holy city, new Jerusalem,” the place where God himself will dwell with us, where he will wipe away our tears. It is our final destination, where we will live in the presence of our Savior forever. It is the trip of a lifetime, with all expenses paid. Amen.
Hymn of Response “Come, Follow Me,” the Savior Spake – LSB #688 (verses 4 & 5)
- I teach you how to shun and flee
What harms your soul’s salvation,
Your heart from ev’ry guile to free,
From sin and its temptation
I am the refuge of the soul
And lead you to your heav’nly goal.”
- Then let us follow Christ, our Lord,
And take the cross appointed
And firmly clinging to his Word,
In suff’ring be undaunted.
For those who bear the battle’s strain
The crown of heav’nly life obtain.
Prayers – Each petition ends with the following response:
P Jesus our Savior,
C Lead us to follow in your footsteps.
P Lord Jesus, you set your face to go to Jerusalem, knowing that you walked in the way of the cross, into suffering and death, for the sake of our salvation. Help us to take up our crosses and follow you. Jesus our Savior,
C Lead us to follow in your footsteps.
P Lord Jesus, you did not turn away from suffering and pain, but endured it all for us. Help us to bring comfort, peace and hope to those who are suffering, especially … and all those we name in our hearts. Jesus our Savior,
C Lead us to follow in your footsteps.
P Lord Jesus, during this season of Lent, as we remember your suffering and death, we also look forward to celebrating your resurrection and the life that we have in your name. Keep us faithful until you return in glory to take us to yourself forever. Jesus our Savior,
C Lead us to follow in your footsteps.
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven; give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.
P And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God,
C Prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
P And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
C “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man.
P He will dwell with them, and they will be his people,
C And God himself will be with them as their God.
P The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
Closing Hymn When I Survey the Wondrous Cross – LSB #425 (verses 1, 2 &4)
- When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of Glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss
And pour contempt on all my pride.
- Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast
Save in the death of Christ, my God;
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to his blood.
- Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a tribute far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all!
By Carol Geisler. © 2020 Creative Communications for the Parish, a division of Bayard, Inc., 1564 Fencorp Dr., Fenton, MO 63026. 800-325-9414. www.creativecommunications.com. All rights reserved. Permission given to post.