Wednesday of Easter 4

7The law of the LORD is perfect, reviv- | ing the soul;*
         the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the | simple;

8the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing | the heart;*
         the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening | the eyes;

9the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for- | ever;*
         the just decrees of the LORD are true, and righteous alto- | gether.

10More to be desired are they than gold, even | much fine gold;*
         sweeter also than honey and drippings of the | honeycomb.

11Moreover, by them is your | servant warned;*
         in keeping them there is | great reward.

12Who can dis- | cern his errors?*
         Declare me innocent from | hidden faults.

13Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion | over me!*
         Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great trans- | gression.

14Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable | in your sight,*

O LORD, my rock and my re- | deemer.
         —Psalm 19:7–14

Additional Psalm: Psalm 50

Old Testament Reading:
Leviticus 16:1–24
The Day of Atonement

1The LORD spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they drew near before the LORD and died, 2and the LORD said to Moses, “Tell Aaron your brother not to come at any time into the Holy Place inside the veil, before the mercy seat that is on the ark, so that he may not die. For I will appear in the cloud over the mercy seat. 3But in this way Aaron shall come into the Holy Place: with a bull from the herd for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering. 4He shall put on the holy linen coat and shall have the linen undergarment on his body, and he shall tie the linen sash around his waist, and wear the linen turban; these are the holy garments. He shall bathe his body in water and then put them on. 5And he shall take from the congregation of the people of Israel two male goats for a sin offering, and one ram for a burnt offering.

6“Aaron shall offer the bull as a sin offering for himself and shall make atonement for himself and for his house. 7Then he shall take the two goats and set them before the LORD at the entrance of the tent of meeting. 8And Aaron shall cast lots over the two goats, one lot for the LORD and the other lot for Azazel. 9And Aaron shall present the goat on which the lot fell for the LORD and use it as a sin offering, 10but the goat on which the lot fell for Azazel shall be presented alive before the LORD to make atonement over it, that it may be sent away into the wilderness to Azazel.

11“Aaron shall present the bull as a sin offering for himself, and shall make atonement for himself and for his house. He shall kill the bull as a sin offering for himself. 12And he shall take a censer full of coals of fire from the altar before the LORD, and two handfuls of sweet incense beaten small, and he shall bring it inside the veil 13and put the incense on the fire before the LORD, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat that is over the testimony, so that he does not die. 14And he shall take some of the blood of the bull and sprinkle it with his finger on the front of the mercy seat on the east side, and in front of the mercy seat he shall sprinkle some of the blood with his finger seven times.

15“Then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering that is for the people and bring its blood inside the veil and do with its blood as he did with the blood of the bull, sprinkling it over the mercy seat and in front of the mercy seat. 16Thus he shall make atonement for the Holy Place, because of the uncleannesses of the people of Israel and because of their transgressions, all their sins. And so he shall do for the tent of meeting, which dwells with them in the midst of their uncleannesses. 17No one may be in the tent of meeting from the time he enters to make atonement in the Holy Place until he comes out and has made atonement for himself and for his house and for all the assembly of Israel. 18Then he shall go out to the altar that is before the LORD and make atonement for it, and shall take some of the blood of the bull and some of the blood of the goat, and put it on the horns of the altar all around. 19And he shall sprinkle some of the blood on it with his finger seven times, and cleanse it and consecrate it from the uncleannesses of the people of Israel.

20“And when he has made an end of atoning for the Holy Place and the tent of meeting and the altar, he shall present the live goat. 21And Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess over it all the iniquities of the people of Israel, and all their transgressions, all their sins. And he shall put them on the head of the goat and send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a man who is in readiness. 22The goat shall bear all their iniquities on itself to a remote area, and he shall let the goat go free in the wilderness.

23“Then Aaron shall come into the tent of meeting and shall take off the linen garments that he put on when he went into the Holy Place and shall leave them there. 24And he shall bathe his body in water in a holy place and put on his garments and come out and offer his burnt offering and the burnt offering of the people and make atonement for himself and for the people.”

New Testament Reading: Luke 10:1–22
Jesus Sends Out the Seventy-Two

1After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go. 2And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. 3Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. 4Carry no moneybag, no knapsack, no sandals, and greet no one on the road. 5Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house!’ 6And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest upon him. But if not, it will return to you. 7And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages. Do not go from house to house. 8Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you. 9Heal the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ 10But whenever you enter a town and they do not receive you, go into its streets and say, 11‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near.’ 12I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.

Woe to Unrepentant Cities

13“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 14But it will be more bearable in the judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. 15And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You shall be brought down to Hades.

16“The one who hears you hears me, and the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”

The Return of the Seventy-Two

17The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” 18And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. 20Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

Jesus Rejoices in the Father’s Will

21In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 22All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”

We are addressing people who regard God as a true God, who is truthful and does not lie, people who regard the apostles as His ambassadors and witnesses, as men who proclaim His Word and who must be heard as He Himself is heard. As Christ says (Luke 10:16): “‘He who hears you hears Me,’ and he who hears Me hears My Father.” Those are our principia, the bases and the chief article on which the entire Christian doctrine is founded. For all of Scripture asserts solely of that God and of His Son and apostles that their proclamation constitutes the right Word of God and that whoever believes this will be saved. If you deny all of that, I shall have nothing to do with you. For whoever denies God and His Word, His Baptism and Gospel, will not find it hard to deny the resurrection of the dead as well. If you dare to say that God is not God and that the apostles and Christendom do not teach and believe correctly, it is easy for you—and nothing seems better—to knock the whole bottom out of the barrel and say that there is no resurrection, neither heaven nor hell, neither devil nor death nor sin, etc. For what will you believe if you do not believe that God is something?

But if you choose to be numbered among those who regard God and His apostles, His Word and Christendom, as truthful, we shall indeed convince and constrain you to believe also this article. For what Christendom believes and the apostles proclaim cannot be a lie. Thus it is also impossible for the apostles to be false witnesses of God; otherwise God would not be truthful and could not be God. Now that these principia stand, it follows logically and necessarily that you have to believe the resurrection of the dead, as surely as God is God. For He revealed the resurrection through His Son in Scripture and had it proclaimed through the apostles; and it was accepted and believed by Christendom. … It must be correct and true.
         —Martin Luther

Enter, mighty Word, the field;
Ripe the promise of its yield.
But the reapers, oh, how few
For the work there is to do!
         —Spread the Reign of God the Lord (LSB 830:5)

Prayer of the Day
Almighty God, You have built Your Church on the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Christ Jesus Himself as the cornerstone. Continue to send Your mes-sengers to preserve Your people in true peace that, by the preaching of Your Word, Your Church may be kept free from all harm and danger; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (C67)

Suggested Reading from
the Book of Concord
Solid Declaration of the Formula
of Concord VIII 16–22

By Rev. Michael Mayer

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