Reformation Day

Psalmody: Psalm 46

The King’s Reign
For the choir director. By the Sons of Korah.
According to alamoth.[1] A song.
The Earth Shaken

God is our refuge and strength,
a helper who can always be found in times of trouble.
That is why we will not fear when the earth dissolves
and when the mountains tumble into the heart of the sea.
Its waters roar and foam.
The mountains quake when it rises. Interlude

A City Unshaken

There is a river—its streams bring joy to the city of God,
to the holy dwelling of the Most High.
God is in her. She will not fall.
God will help her at daybreak.
Nations are in turmoil. Kingdoms fall.
God raises his voice. The earth melts.
The Lord of Armies is with us.
The God of Jacob is a fortress for us. Interlude
Come, look at the works of the Lord.
What a wasteland he has made of the earth!
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth.
He shatters the bow. He cuts up the spear.
He burns the carts[2] with fire.
10 “Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations.
I will be exalted on the earth.”

11 The Lord of Armies is with us.
The God of Jacob is a fortress for us. Interlude

  1. Psalm 46:1 Alamoth is a musical term of uncertain meaning. It probably refers to a method of tuning the instruments.
  2. Psalm 46:9 Or shields. If we keep the reading carts, it refers to the two-wheeled supply carts, not to the war chariots.

Old Testament Reading: Deuteronomy 32:28–52

  28For they are a nation that never takes advice, 
  and they understand nothing. 
  29If only they had been wise, 
  they would have comprehended this. 
  They would have understood 
  what the final outcome would be. 
  30How could one pursue a thousand, 
  and two chase away ten thousand, 
  unless their Rock had sold them, 
  and the LORD had handed them over? 

31Yes, their rock is not like our Rock, 
as our enemies themselves recognize. 
32For their vine grows from the vine of Sodom 
and from the fields of Gomorrah. 
Their grapes are poison grapes. 
They have bitter clusters. 
33Their wine is burning snake venom 
and the deadly poison of cobras. 
  34Do I not have all this stored up with me? 
  Is this not sealed up in my storehouses? 
  35To me belongs vengeance and repayment. 
  It will come at the time when their foot slips. 
  Indeed, the day of their disaster is near, 
  and their impending doom is coming quickly. 

36Yes, the LORD will judge his people, 
but he will change his course of action toward his servants 
when he sees that their strength is exhausted, 
and that there are none left, either as prisoners or still free. 
37Then he will say: 
  Where are their gods, 
  the rock in which they sought refuge, 
  38the gods that ate the fat of their sacrifices 
  and drank the wine of their drink offerings? 
  Let them rise up and help you. 
  Let them be a shelter over you. 

  39Now see that I, only I, am he, 
  and there is not a god comparable to me. 
  I put to death and I make alive. 
  I wound and I heal. 
  There is no one who can deliver out of my hand. 
  40For I lift up my hand to heaven, and I swear: “As I live forever, 
  41if I sharpen the lightning, which is my sword, 
  and my hand grabs hold of judgment, 
  I will take revenge against my adversaries, 
  and I will repay those who hate me. 
  42I will make my arrows drunk with blood, 
  and my sword will devour flesh 
     from the blood of the slain and the captives, 
     from the long-haired heads of the enemy.” 

43Shout out with a cry of joy, you nations, because of his people, 
for he will avenge the blood of his servants, 
and he will return vengeance to his adversaries, 
but he will atone for the ground, for his people. 

44Moses came along with Hoshea son of Nun and spoke all the words of this song in the hearing of the people.

45Then when Moses had finished speaking all of these words to all Israel, 46he also said to them:
“Direct your heart to all the words that I am calling as a witness against you today. Instruct your children with them so that they may be careful to carry out all the words of this law, 47for it is not empty talk for you, because it is your life. By this word you will live long on the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess.”
48On this same day the LORD spoke to Moses:
49“Go up to Mount Nebo, this mountain of the Abarim range, which is in the land of Moab opposite Jericho, and view the land of Canaan that I am giving to the people of Israel as a possession, 50and die on the mountain that you are about to ascend and be gathered to your people, just as Aaron your brother died on Mount Hor and was gathered to his people. 51This will happen because you broke faith with me among the people of Israel at the waters of Meribah Kadesh in the Wilderness of Zin, by not treating me as holy among the people of Israel. 52You may view the land from a distance, but you will not go into the land that I am giving to the people of Israel.”

New Testament Reading: Matthew 20:17–34

Again Jesus Predicts His Death and Resurrection
(Mark 10:32–45)

17As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside; and on the way he said to them, 18“Look, we are going up to Jerusalem. The Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and experts in the law, and they will condemn him to death. 19They will hand him over to the Gentiles to mock, flog, and crucify him. On the third day he will be raised.”
20Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to him with her sons, kneeling and asking something of him. 21He said to her, “What do you want?”
She said to him, “Promise that in your kingdom these two sons of mine may sit, one on your right hand and one on your left hand.”
22But Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?”
They said to him, “We are.”
23He said to them, “You will indeed drink my cup, but to sit on my right hand and on my left hand is not for me to give; rather these places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.”
24When the ten heard this, they were angry with the two brothers.
25But Jesus summoned them and said, “You know that the rulers of the nations lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 26It will not be that way among you. Instead whoever wants to become great among you will be your servant, 27and whoever wants to be first among you will be your slave—28just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Jesus Heals Two Blind Men
(Mark 10:46–52; Luke 18:35–43)

29As they were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. 30There were two blind men sitting by the road. When they heard that Jesus was passing by, they shouted, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” 31The crowd rebuked them, telling them to be quiet. But they shouted even louder, “Have mercy on us, Lord, Son of David!”
32Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want me to do for you?”
33They told him, “Lord, open our eyes.”
34Jesus was moved with compassion and touched their eyes. Immediately they regained their sight, and they followed him.

Prayer of the Day

Almighty and gracious Lord, pour out Your Holy Spirit on Your faithful people. Keep us steadfast in Your grace and truth, protect and deliver us in times of temptation, defend us against all enemies, and grant to Your Church Your saving peace; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Reformation Day

On October 31, 1517, an Augustinian monk posted ninety-five statements for discussion on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. Dr. Martin Luther hoped that posting his theses would bring about an academic debate regarding repentance, the sale of indulgences, and other matters of concern within the Roman Catholic Church. However, Rome eventually excommunicated Luther, judging him to be a heretic. Luther’s reforms, centered on the teaching that a believer is justified by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, sparked religious reforms not only in the German states but also in many European countries. In 1667, Elector John George II of Saxony standardized the custom of observing Luther’s October 31 posting of the Ninety-five Theses.

Suggested Reading from the Book of Concord: Apology of the Augsburg Confession XXIV (XII) 22–26

 [Thus there have been in the Law emblems of the true sacrifice.] But in fact there has been only one propitiatory sacrifice in the world, namely, the death of Christ, as the Epistle to the Hebrews 10:4 teaches: It is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. And a little after, of the [obedience and] will of Christ, 10:10: By the which will we are sanctified by the offering of the body 23]of Jesus Christ once for all. And Isaiah interprets the Law, in order that we may know that the death of Christ is truly a satisfaction for our sins, or expiation, and that the ceremonies of the Law are not; wherefore he says, Is. 53:10: When Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin, He will see His seed, etc. For the word employed here, asham (greek),signifies a victim for transgression; which signified in the Law that a certain Victim was to come to make satisfaction for our sins and reconcile God, in order that men might know that God wishes to be reconciled to us, not on account of our own righteousnesses, but on account of the merits of another, namely, of Christ. Paul interprets the same word asham as sinRom. 8:3: For sin (God) condemned sin, i.e., He punished sin for sin, i.e., by a Victim for sin. The significance of the word can be the more easily understood from the customs of the heathen, which, we see, have been received from the misunderstood expressions of the Fathers. The Latins called a victim that which in great calamities, where God seemed to be especially enraged, was offered to appease God’s wrath, a piaculum; and they sometimes sacrificed human victims, perhaps because they had heard that a human victim would appease God for the entire human race. The Greeks sometimes called them kaqavrmata and sometimes periyhvmata. Isaiah and Paul, therefore, mean that Christ became a victim, 24] i.e., an expiation, that by His merits, and not by our own, God might be reconciled. Therefore let this remain established in the case, namely, that the death of Christ alone is truly a propitiatory sacrifice. For the Levitical propitiatory sacrifices were so called only to signify a future expiation. On account of a certain resemblance, therefore, they were satisfactions redeeming the righteousness of the Law, lest those persons who sinned should be excluded from the commonwealth. But after the revelation of the Gospel [and after the true sacrifice has been accomplished] they had to cease; and because they had to cease in the revelation of the Gospel, they were not truly propitiations, since the Gospel was promised for this very reason, namely, to set forth a propitiation.

25] Now the rest are eucharistic sacrifices, which are called sacrifices of praise, Lev. 3:1f.; 7:11f.; Ps. 56:12f., namely, the preaching of the Gospel, faith, prayer, thanksgiving, confession, the afflictions of saints, yea, all good works of saints. These sacrifices are not satisfactions for those making them, or applicable on behalf of others, so as to merit for these, ex opere operato, the remission of sins or reconciliation. For they are made by those who have been reconciled. 26] And such are the sacrifices of the New Testament, as Peter teaches, 1 Pet. 2:5An holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices. Spiritual sacrifices, however, are contrasted not only with those of cattle, but even with human works offered ex opere operato, because spiritual refers to the movements of the Holy Ghost in us. Paul teaches the same thing Rom. 12:1Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable, which is your reasonable service. Reasonable service signifies, however, a service in which God is known, and apprehended by the mind, as happens in the movements of fear and trust towards God. Therefore it is opposed not only to the Levitical service, in which cattle are slain, but also to a service in which a work is imagined to be offered ex opere operato, The Epistle to the Hebrews 13:15, teaches the same thing: By Him, therefore, let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually; and he adds the interpretation, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. He bids us offer praises, i.e., prayer, thanksgiving, confession, and the like. These avail not ex opere operato, but on account of faith. This is taught by the clause: By Him let us offer, i.e., by faith in Christ.

By Rev. Michael Mayer

Lutheran Pastor of two small Lutheran Churches in rural SW Ontario.