Tuesday – Lent 4


Psalmody
16Better is the little that the | righteous has*
         than the abundance of many | wicked.

17For the arms of the wicked shall be | broken,*
         but the LORD upholds the | righteous.

18The LORD knows the days ofthe | blameless,*
         and their heritage will remain for- | ever;

19they are not put to shame in | evil times;*
         in the days of famine
they have a- | bundance.

20But the wicked will perish; the enemies of the LORD are like the glory of the | pastures;*
         they vanish—like smoke
they van- | ish away.
         —Psalm 37:16–20

Additional Psalm: Psalm 37, Psalm 143

Old Testament Reading: Genesis 43:1–28
Joseph’s Brothers Return to Egypt

1Now the famine was severe in the land. 2And when they had eaten the grain that they had brought from Egypt, their father said to them, “Go again, buy us a little food.” 3But Judah said to him, “The man solemnly warned us, saying, ‘You shall not see my face unless your brother is with you.’ 4If you will send our brother with us, we will go down and buy you food. 5But if you will not send him, we will not go down, for the man said to us, ‘You shall not see my face, unless your brother is with you.’” 6Israel said, “Why did you treat me so badly as to tell the man that you had another brother?” 7They replied, “The man questioned us carefully about ourselves and our kindred, saying, ‘Is your father still alive? Do you have another brother?’ What we told him was in answer to these questions. Could we in any way know that he would say, ‘Bring your brother down’?” 8And Judah said to Israel his father, “Send the boy with me, and we will arise and go, that we may live and not die, both we and you and also our little ones. 9I will be a pledge of his safety. From my hand you shall require him. If I do not bring him back to you and set him before you, then let me bear the blame forever. 10If we had not delayed, we would now have returned twice.”

11Then their father Israel said to them, “If it must be so, then do this: take some of the choice fruits of the land in your bags, and carry a present down to the man, a little balm and a little honey, gum, myrrh, pistachio nuts, and almonds. 12Take double the money with you. Carry back with you the money that was returned in the mouth of your sacks. Perhaps it was an oversight. 13Take also your brother, and arise, go again to the man. 14May God Almighty grant you mercy before the man, and may he send back your other brother and Benjamin. And as for me, if I am bereaved of my children, I am bereaved.”

15So the men took this present, and they took double the money with them, and Benjamin. They arose and went down to Egypt and stood before Joseph.

16When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the steward of his house, “Bring the men into the house, and slaughter an animal and make ready, for the men are to dine with me at noon.” 17The man did as Joseph told him and brought the men to Joseph’s house. 18And the men were afraid because they were brought to Joseph’s house, and they said, “It is because of the money, which was replaced in our sacks the first time, that we are brought in, so that he may assault us and fall upon us to make us servants and seize our donkeys.” 19So they went up to the steward of Joseph’s house and spoke with him at the door of the house, 20and said, “Oh, my lord, we came down the first time to buy food. 21And when we came to the lodging place we opened our sacks, and there was each man’s money in the mouth of his sack, our money in full weight. So we have brought it again with us, 22and we have brought other money down with us to buy food. We do not know who put our money in our sacks.” 23He replied, “Peace to you, do not be afraid. Your God and the God of your father has put treasure in your sacks for you. I received your money.” Then he brought Simeon out to them. 24And when the man had brought the men into Joseph’s house and given them water, and they had washed their feet, and when he had given their donkeys fodder, 25they prepared the present for Joseph’s coming at noon, for they heard that they should eat bread there.

26When Joseph came home, they brought into the house to him the present that they had with them and bowed down to him to the ground. 27And he inquired about their welfare and said, “Is your father well, the old man of whom you spoke? Is he still alive?” 28They said, “Your servant our father is well; he is still alive.” And they bowed their heads and prostrated themselves.

New Testament Reading: Mark 12:13–27
Paying Taxes to Caesar

13And they sent to him some of the Pharisees and some of the Herodians, to trap him in his talk. 14And they came and said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are true and do not care about anyone’s opinion. For you are not swayed by appearances, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Should we pay them, or should we not?” 15But, knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, “Why put me to the test? Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.” 16And they brought one. And he said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said to him, “Caesar’s.” 17Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they marveled at him.

The Sadducees Ask About the Resurrection

18And Sadducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection. And they asked him a question, saying, 19“Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife, but leaves no child, the man must take the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. 20There were seven brothers; the first took a wife, and when he died left no offspring. 21And the second took her, and died, leaving no offspring. And the third likewise. 22And the seven left no offspring. Last of all the woman also died. 23In the resurrection, when they rise again, whose wife will she be? For the seven had her as wife.”

24Jesus said to them, “Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God? 25For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 26And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? 27He is not God of the dead, but of the living. You are quite wrong.”

Writing
Faith … is a firm trust that Christ, the Son of God, stands in our place and has taken all our sins upon his shoulders and that he is the eternal satisfaction for our sin and reconciles us with God the Father. He who has this faith … devil nor hell nor sin can harm him. Why? Because God is his protector and defender. And when I have this faith, then I am certain God is fighting for me; I can defy the devil, death, hell, and sin, and all the harm with which they threaten me. This is the great, inestimable treasure given us in Christ, which no man can describe or grasp with words.…

[You are holy] if you believe that God steps in for you and stakes all he has and his blood for you, as if he were saying: Fall in behind me without fear or delay, and then let us see what can harm you; come devil, death, sin, and hell, and all creation, I shall go before you, for I will be your rear guard and your vanguard (Isa. 52:12); trust me and boldly rely upon me. He who believes that can not be harmed by devil, hell, sin,
or death.
         —Martin Luther

Hymnody
The God of Abr’ham praise,
Who reigns enthroned above;Ancient of everlasting days
         And God of love.
Jehovah, great I am!
         By earth and heav’n confessed;
I bow and bless the sacred name
         Forever blest.
         —The God of Abraham Praise
(LSB 798:1)

Prayer of the Day
Lord God heavenly Father, the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, Your servant Moses proclaimed the resurrection to the children of Israel to give them hope in the midst of their darkness. As we journey to the darkness of the cross, give us hope to look beyond it to the light of the resurrection; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord. (1006)

Lenten Catechesis:
What benefits does Baptism give?
Since we know now what Baptism is and how it is to be regarded, we must also learn why and for what purpose it is instituted. We must learn what it profits, gives, and works. For this also we cannot find a better resource than Christ’s words quoted above, “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved” [Mark 16:16]. … The power, work, profit, fruit and purpose of Baptism is this—to save [1 Peter 3:21]. For no one is baptized in order that he may become a prince, but, as the words say, that he “be saved.” We know that to be saved is nothing other than to be delivered from sin, death, and the devil [Colossians 1:13–14]. It means to enter into Christ’s kingdom [John 3:5], and to live with Him forever.
         —Large Catechism IV 23–25

Here you see again how highly and preciously we should value Baptism, because in it we receive such an unspeakable treasure. This also proves that it cannot be ordinary, mere water. For mere water could not do such a thing. But the Word does it and, as I said above, so does the fact that God’s name is included in Baptism. Where God’s name is, there must also be life and salvation [Psalm 54:1]. So Baptism may certainly be called a divine, blessed, fruitful, and gracious water. Such power is given to Baptism by the Word that is a washing of new birth, as St. Paul also calls it in Titus 3:5.
         —Large Catechism IV 26–27

What God does and works in us He intends to work through such outward ordinances. Therefore, wherever He speaks—indeed, no matter what direction or by whatever means He speaks—faith must look there. It must hold to that object. Now here we have the words “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved” [Mark 16:16]. What else can these words refer to but Baptism, that is, to the water included in God’s ordinance? Therefore, it makes sense that whoever rejects Baptism rejects God’s Word, faith, and Christ, who directs us to Baptism and binds us to Baptism.
         —Large Catechism IV 30–31

Suggested Reading from
the Book of Concord
Solid Declaration of the Formula
of Concord III 18–23