Malagasy Lutheran Church Song & Gospel – 22nd – 27th March 2021 Week of preparation for “The passion of the Lamb of God” *

The “Week of preparation for the Passion of the Lamb of God” is the preparation of the believer’s heart and soul to meditate on the unprecedent torture that Jesus willingly took on Himself—His enduring the most terrible suffering which ended up with His death on the cross for us sinners. “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed” Is 53:5. It is called “Lent” in the Church calendar, a season when fasting is practiced with the purpose of dedicating ourselves to prayer and meeting with Christ and the knowledge of the reason He suffered for the sake of the sinners, and of regaining self-awareness to come to repentance thanks to the forgiving love of Christ. For even when His sweat was gushing out, mixing with His blood as a result of the flogging with the studded whip and the crown of thorns that was used to pierce His head, He still prayed for us, saying, « Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing » Lk 23:34a. For it is written, « Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him » Jn 3:17—that is, to forgive sins. In this regard, the Pharisees criticized Him as they saw Him and His disciples eating with sinners and tax collectors; however, Jesus said to them: « 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. Thus, the Father sent Jesus to save the sinners as it is written: « He will not wrangle or cry aloud, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets. He will not break a bruised reed or quench a smoldering wick until he brings justice to victory » Mt 12:19-20. The fasting that God requires from us sinners is to get rid of sin so that we may live (Ezek 33:11), and to believe in the word of the Gospel which says, « For our Paschal Lamb, Christ, has been sacrificed » 1 Cor 5:7b.

Monday, 22nd: The affliction of the Lamb of God.
« Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world » Jn 1:29.
Reading 1: Isa 53:7-8. Reading 2: Jn 1:25-31. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Jn 1:29.
Introduction: The work of sin is a most serious matter, because it separates from God (Is 59:2) and leads to death, as, « The sting of death is sin » 1 Cor 15:56a. As far as sin is concerned, it is true that: « for people are slaves to whatever masters them » 2 Pet 2:19. Paul said, « Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? » Rom 7:24b. Jesus has come and said: « So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed » Jn 8:36.

Tuesday, 23rd : Christ endured death to accomplish redemption.
« For this reason he is the mediator of a new covenant…because a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions under the first covenant » Heb 9:15a.
Reading 1: Jn 14:1-7. Reading 2: Heb 9:11-15. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Heb 9:15a.
Introduction: The Holy Scripture says: « for the wages of sin is death » Rom 6:23a, besides, Jesus’s suffering brought about life for us, according to what is written: « but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord » Rom 6:23b, because He died in our stead and raised again in order to raise us to life with Him. In this respect, He says: « because I live, you also will live » Jn 14:19c.

Wednesday, 24th: Christ took on the likeness of the sinner in order to save him.
« And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross » Phil 2:7d-8.
Reading 1: Isa 53:4-6. Reading 2: Phil 2:5-11. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Phil 2:8.
Introduction: Jesus’s death for us sinners was what brought life for us. In this, He both reconciled us to God and urges us to live for Him. In this respect, Paul said: « I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship » Rom 12:—that is, being died to sin and alive to God (Rom 6:11).

Thursday, 25th: Christ, the Great and Good Shepherd died for His sheep.
« I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep » Jn 10:11.
Reading 1: Heb 13:18-21. Reading 2: Jn 1:9-15. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Jn 10:11.
Introduction: Jesus made the sinners His friends, holding them close to His heart; hence, He took great trouble to save them according to His word, « For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost » Lk 19:10. Therefore, His word proved Himself true, »No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends » Jn 15:13.

Friday, 26th: Christ made an eternal covenant of redemption by His blood.
« This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood » Lk 22:20.
Reading 1: Heb 9:22-28. Reading 2: Lk 22:14-23. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Lk 22:20.
Introduction: The covenant of redemption that Jesus Christ achieved by His blood is most powerful. Indeed, it is written, »without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins » Heb 9:22b. As a result, « how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to worship the living God » Heb 9:14.

Saturday, 27th: Christ calls the sinners to receive His redemption.
« Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest » Mt 11:28.
Reading 1: Isa 55:1-5. Reading 2: Mt 11:25-30. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Mt 11:28-30.
Introduction: The statement of the Holy Scripture is absolutely true as it says: « There is no peace, says the Lord, for the wicked » Isa 48:22, namely those who live to sin and reap its bad fruit (Gal 6:7). In fact, sin is a heavy burden that is hard to bear, yet those who receive Jesus will be able to praise God, saying, « Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up; God is our salvation » Ps 68:19. He stills calls us, « Come! »

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