Malagasy Lutheran Church Song & Gospel Second Sunday after Epiphany – week of 18.-23. January 2021

“The Messenger of the Lord among men”

”The Messenger of the Lord who came among men” is the Messiah. He is the Anointed of God. His coming among men is a true visit of God who has sent Him, because He has made of Him the witness of His Name. Thus, He is the representative of God who brings His word and speaks on His behalf. The words He brings are those of reconciliation, namely the word of God who does not forsake men, so He calls them and seeks them to come back to Him. Therefore, these words of Jesus Christ are fulfilled to those who receive Him: « Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward » Mt 10:40-41a. It is to this purpose of receiving His grace that the word of God prompts men. In this regard, this is what King Josaphat said in a meaningful way as he encouraged Israel in the face of her numerous enemies: « Believe in the Lord your God and you will be established; believe his prophets » 2 Chr 20:20. And this was what really happened. The Apostle John also states: « But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God » Jn 1:12. Thus, it is a valuable admonition that the Apostle Paul addressed to the Thessalonicians as He said: « Do not despise the words of prophets » 1 Thess 5:20. Because prophecy is the word of God that He sends and makes His servants, His messengers, say. It is a true blessing for those who believe and receive it: however, it is a judgement for those who refuse and despise it. This is how Moses said to Israel: « The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet[d] like me from among your own people; you shall heed such a prophet » Deut 18:15.For the Lord says: Anyone who does not heed the words that the prophet shall speak in my name, I myself will hold accountable » Deut 18:19. Jesus says to all those who hear His words and who are still doubting: « Do not doubt but believe » Jn 20:27d.

Monday, 18th: The Messenger of the Lord has come among men.
« I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their own people » Deut 18:18a.
Reading 1: Mt 17:1-6. Reading 2: Deut 18:15-19. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Deut 18:18.
Introduction: The Messenger of the Lord who has come among men brings God’s message as the Messenger appointed by Him. He does not speak His own words, but those that the Father makes Him say, as the Lord told Jeremiah in these Words: “Now I have put my words in your mouth” Jer 1:9b. This is precisely what Jesus said to His disciples whom He sent: « for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you » Mt 10:20.

Tuesday, 19th: It is the Lord who appoints the messengers He sends.
« But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise » 1 Cor 1:27a.
Reading 1: Amo 7:10-17. Reading 2: 1 Cor 1:26-31. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: 1 Cor 1:27-28.
Introduction: It belongs to God to choose those He sends to do His work. His election is beyond human understanding, so He says: « For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord » Isa 55:8. Therefore, rejoice and give thanks to God if He has chosen you to be part of His chosen ones, for it is written; « And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified » Rom 8:30.

Wednesday, 20th: Jesus Christ, the Lord’s Messenger who came to save the sinners.
« For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost » Lk 19:10
Reading 1: Ezek 34:11-16. Reading 2: Lk 19:1-10. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Lk 19:10.
Introduction: Because the humankind has fallen into sin, it cannot redeem itself. Jesus has been appointed as Messenger to bring the remission of sin that would redeem them. This is a because of God out of His love; therefore, Jesus says: « Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, „I desire mercy, not sacrifice.‟ For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners » Mt 9:12-13.

Thursday, 21st: The Messenger of the Lord who has come to reconcile us to God.
« So we are ambassadors for Christ…we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God » 2 Cor 5:20.
Reading 1: Heb 9:15-22. Reading 2: 2 Cor 2:16-21. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: 2 Cor 5:20.
Introduction: Jesus’ work of redemption is not limited to only remitting sins, for it is true reconciliation and unification with God, which prompted Him to make the sinner a child and heir of His kingdom (Rom 8:17); it means that he is a son of the heavenly kingdom, and no more a son of this world. In fact, Paul states: « God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord » 1 Cor 1:9.

Friday, 22nd: The Lord’s Messenger has come to serve.
« Just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many » Mt 20:28.
Reading 1: Isa 53:4-10. Reading 2: Mt 20:21-28. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Mt 20:28.
Introduction: Jesus’ humility is inconceivable and profound as He came down to earth and accepted to live among us and serve us. For it is written: « He … did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness » Phil 2:6b-7. It was to this end, indeed, that the Father had appointed Him; therefore, He said: « My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work » Jn 4:34.

Saturday, 23rd: Jesus Christ, the Lord’s Messenger who has come to give eternal life.
« But those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty » Jn 4:14a.
Reading 1: Isa 55:1-3. Reading 2: Jn 4:4-26. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Jn 4:13-14.
Introduction: Jesus is truly the Lord of life and Savior; that’s why He stated: « I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep » Jn 10:11. Indeed, « The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly » Jn 10:10. This refers to eternal life.

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