Monday in Holy Week

Psalmody
1Contend, O LORD, with those who con- | tend with me;*
         fight against those who fight
         a- | gainst me!

2Take hold of shield and | buckler*
         and rise | for my help!

3Draw the spear and javelin against my pur- | suers!*
         Say to my soul, “I am your sal- | vation!”

4Let them be put to shame and dishonor who seek after | my life!*
         Let them be turned back
and disappointed who devise
evil a- | gainst me!

5Let them be like chaff be- | fore the wind,*
         with the angel of the LORD
driving | them away!

6Let their way be dark and | slippery,*
         with the angel of the LORD
pur- | suing them!

9Then my soul will rejoice | in the LORD,*
         exulting in his sal- | vation.

10All my bones shall say, “O LORD, who is | like you,*
         delivering the poor from him
         who is too strong for him, the poor
         and needy from him who | robs him?”
         —Psalm 35:1–6, 9–10

Additional Psalm: Psalm 71, Psalm 143

Old Testament Reading: Exodus 9:1–28
The Fifth Plague: Egyptian Livestock Die

1Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘Thus says the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, “Let my people go, that they may serve me. 2For if you refuse to let them go and still hold them, 3behold, the hand of the LORD will fall with a very severe plague upon your livestock that are in the field, the horses, the donkeys, the camels, the herds, and the flocks. 4But the LORD will make a distinction between the livestock of Israel and the livestock of Egypt, so that nothing of all that belongs to the people of Israel shall die.”’” 5And the LORD set a time, saying, “Tomorrow the LORD will do this thing in the land.” 6And the next day the LORD did this thing. All the livestock of the Egyptians died, but not one of the livestock of the people of Israel died. 7And Pharaoh sent, and behold, not one of the livestock of Israel was dead. But the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people go.

The Sixth Plague: Boils

8And the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “Take handfuls of soot from the kiln, and let Moses throw them in the air in the sight of Pharaoh. 9It shall become fine dust over all the land of Egypt, and become boils breaking out in sores on man and beast throughout all the land of Egypt.” 10So they took soot from the kiln and stood before Pharaoh. And Moses threw it in the air, and it became boils breaking out in sores on man and beast. 11And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils, for the boils came upon the magicians and upon all the Egyptians. 12But the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he did not listen to them, as the LORD had spoken to Moses.

The Seventh Plague: Hail

13Then the LORD said to Moses, “Rise up early in the morning and present yourself before Pharaoh and say to him, ‘Thus says the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, “Let my people go, that they may serve me. 14For this time I will send all my plagues on you yourself, and on your servants and your people, so that you may know that there is none like me in all the earth. 15For by now I could have put out my hand and struck you and your people with pestilence, and you would have been cut off from the earth. 16But for this purpose I have raised you up, to show you my power, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth. 17You are still exalting yourself against my people and will not let them go. 18Behold, about this time tomorrow I will cause very heavy hail to fall, such as never has been in Egypt from the day it was founded until now. 19Now therefore send, get your livestock and all that you have in the field into safe shelter, for every man and beast that is in the field and is not brought home will die when the hail falls on them.”’” 20Then whoever feared the word of the LORD among the servants of Pharaoh hurried his slaves and his livestock into the houses, 21but whoever did not pay attention to the word of the LORD left his slaves and his livestock in the field.

22Then the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward heaven, so that there may be hail in all the land of Egypt, on man and beast and every plant of the field, in the land of Egypt.” 23Then Moses stretched out his staff toward heaven, and the LORD sent thunder and hail, and fire ran down to the earth. And the LORD rained hail upon the land of Egypt. 24There was hail and fire flashing continually in the midst of the hail, very heavy hail, such as had never been in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation. 25The hail struck down everything that was in the field in all the land of Egypt, both man and beast. And the hail struck down every plant of the field and broke every tree of the field. 26Only in the land of Goshen, where the people of Israel were, was there no hail.

27Then Pharaoh sent and called Moses and Aaron and said to them, “This time I have sinned; the LORD is in the right, and I and my people are in the wrong. 28Plead with the LORD, for there has been enough of God’s thunder and hail. I will let you go, and you shall stay no longer.”

Additional Reading: Lamentations 1:1–22

New Testament Reading: Hebrews 2:1–18
Warning Against Neglecting Salvation

1Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. 2For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, 3how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, 4while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.

The Founder of Salvation

5Now it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. 6It has been testified somewhere,

“What is man, that you are mindful of him,
         or the son of man, that you care for him?

7You made him for a little while lower than the angels;
         you have crowned him with glory and honor,
         8putting everything in subjection under his feet.”

Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. 9But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

10For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. 11For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, 12saying,

“I will tell of your name to my brothers;
         in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.”

13And again,

“I will put my trust in him.”

And again,

“Behold, I and the children God has given me.”

14Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. 16For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. 17Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

Writing
And it is the sweetest comfort that sin, which made its habitation in human flesh, was condemned in the same human flesh, in the person of Christ. Our body is the body of death, but in that same body of ours which the Son of God assumed from us, death was again destroyed. Although our sins have separated us very far from God (Is. 59:2), so that we have been alienated from the grace, righteousness, and life of God (Eph. 2:12), yet the Son of God has brought very close to us those heavenly blessings which had been removed far from us (Eph. 2:13–19), laying them before us through His incarnation in the flesh which is of the same substance with our own, so that of His fullness we have received grace for grace (John 1:16). This is the most comforting and salutary exchange, that the Son of God has received from us a human nature and sanctified and blessed and exalted and glorified it in His own person.

Moreover, in His Holy Supper He joins Himself to us in that flesh, so that we may be strengthened by this most certain pledge of the salvation and glorification of our nature; for He does not blush to call us brothers. Therefore, because we are such, He also joins Himself to us in that flesh and blood (Heb. 2:14). Flesh brought death into this world and, again, the flesh of the Son of Man was given for the life of the world in order that he who eats the flesh of Christ may have eternal life. (John 6:54)
         —Martin Chemnitz

Hymnody
Worship, honor, pow’r, and blessing
         Thou art worthy to receive;
Highest praises, without ceasing,
         Right it is for us to give.
Help, ye bright angelic spirits,
         All your noblest anthems raise;
Help to sing our Savior’s merits,
         Help to chant Immanuel’s praise!
         —Hail, Thou Once Despised Jesus (LSB 531:4)

Prayer of the Day
Almighty God, grant that in the midst of our failures and weaknesses we may be restored through the passion and intercession of Your only-begotten Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (L29)

Lenten Catechesis:
What is the Sacrament of the Altar?
“Now, what is the Sacrament of the Altar?”

Answer, “It is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, in and under the bread and wine, which we Christians are commanded by Christ’s Word to eat and to drink.” … We say that though the Sacrament is bread and wine, it is not mere bread and wine, such as are ordinarily served at the table [1 Corinthians 10:16–17]. But this is bread and wine included in, and connected with, God’s Word.

It is the Word, I say, that makes and sets this Sacrament apart. So it is not mere bread and wine, but is, and is called, Christ’s body and blood [1 Corinthians 11:23–27]. … It is not the word or ordinance of a prince or emperor. But it is the Word of the grand Majesty, at whose feet all creatures should fall and affirm it is as He says, and accept it with all reverence, fear, and humility [Isaiah 45:23; Philippians 2:10].

It is true, indeed, that if you take away the Word or regard the Sacrament without the words, you have nothing but mere bread and wine. But if the words remain with them, as they shall and must, then, by virtue of the words, it is truly Christ’s body and blood. What Christ’s lips say and speak, so it is. He can never lie or deceive [Titus 1:2].

The Word by which it became a Sacrament and was instituted does not become false because of the person or his unbelief. For Christ does not say, “If you believe or are worthy, you receive My body and blood.” No, He says, “Take, eat and drink; this is My body and blood.” … “No matter whether you are worthy or unworthy, you have here His body and blood by virtue of these words that are added to the bread and wine.” Note and remember this well. For upon these words rest all our foundation, protection, and defense against all errors
and deception that have ever come or may
yet come.
         —Large Catechism V 8–11, 13–14, 17–19

Suggested Reading from
the Book of Concord
Solid Declaration of the Formula
of Concord V 1–6

By Rev. Michael Mayer

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