Thursday of Easter 4

7Wondrously show your | steadfast love,*

O Savior of those who seek refuge from their adversaries at | your right hand.

8Keep me as the apple | of your eye;*
         hide me in the shadow | of your wings,

9from the wicked who do me | violence,*
         my deadly enemies who sur- | round me.

10They close their hearts to | pity;*
         with their mouths they
speak ar- | rogantly.

11They have now surrounded | our steps;*
         they set their eyes to cast us | to
the ground.

12He is like a lion ea- | ger to tear,*
         as a young lion lurking in | ambush.

13Arise, | O LORD!*
         Confront him, sub- | due him!Deliver my soul from the wicked by your sword,

14from men by your
hand, | O LORD,*
         from men of the world whose portion is | in this life.
You fill their womb with | treasure;*
         they are satisfied with children, and they leave their abundance to their | infants.

15As for me, I shall behold your face in | righteousness;*
         when I awake, I shall be satisfied
with your | likeness.
         —Psalm 17:7–15

Additional Psalm: Psalm 89

Old Testament Reading:
Leviticus 17:1–16
The Place of Sacrifice

1And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2“Speak to Aaron and his sons and to all the people of Israel and say to them, This is the thing that the LORD has commanded. 3If any one of the house of Israel kills an ox or a lamb or a goat in the camp, or kills it outside the camp, 4and does not bring it to the entrance of the tent of meeting to offer it as a gift to the LORD in front of the tabernacle of the LORD, bloodguilt shall be imputed to that man. He has shed blood, and that man shall be cut off from among his people. 5This is to the end that the people of Israel may bring their sacrifices that they sacrifice in the open field, that they may bring them to the LORD, to the priest at the entrance of the tent of meeting, and sacrifice them as sacrifices of peace offerings to the LORD. 6And the priest shall throw the blood on the altar of the LORD at the entrance of the tent of meeting and burn the fat for a pleasing aroma to the LORD. 7So they shall no more sacrifice their sacrifices to goat demons, after whom they whore. This shall be a statute forever for them throughout their generations.

8“And you shall say to them, Any one of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who sojourn among them, who offers a burnt offering or sacrifice 9and does not bring it to the entrance of the tent of meeting to offer it to the LORD, that man shall be cut off from his people.

Laws Against Eating Blood

10“If any one of the house of Israel or of the strangers who sojourn among them eats any blood, I will set my face against that person who eats blood and will cut him off from among his people. 11For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life. 12Therefore I have said to the people of Israel, No person among you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger who sojourns among you eat blood.

13“Any one also of the people of Israel, or of the strangers who sojourn among them, who takes in hunting any beast or bird that may be eaten shall pour out its blood and cover it with earth. 14For the life of every creature is its blood: its blood is its life. Therefore I have said to the people of Israel, You shall not eat the blood of any creature, for the life of every creature is its blood. Whoever eats it shall be cut off. 15And every person who eats what dies of itself or what is torn by beasts, whether he is a native or a sojourner, shall wash his clothes and bathe himself in water and be unclean until the evening; then he shall be clean. 16But if he does not wash them or bathe his flesh, he shall bear his iniquity.”

New Testament Reading: Luke 10:23–42
23Then turning to the disciples [Jesus] said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! 24For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.”

The Parable of the Good Samaritan

25And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” 27And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” 28And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”

29But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. 31Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ 36Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”

Martha and Mary

38Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. 39And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. 40But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” 41But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

[Dr. Luther writes in his commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians:]

We concede that good works and love must also be taught; but this must be in its proper time and place, that is, when the question has to do with works, apart from this chief doctrine. But here the point at issue is how we are justified and attain eternal life. To this we answer with Paul: We are pronounced righteous solely by faith in Christ, not by the works of the Law or by love. This is not because we reject works or love, as our adversaries accuse us of doing, but because we refuse to let ourselves be distracted from the principal point at issue here, as Satan is trying to do. So since we are now dealing with the topic of justification, we reject and condemn works; for this topic will not allow of any discussion of good works. On this issue, therefore, we simply cut off all laws and all works of the Law. [LW 26:137]

That’s what Luther says.

Troubled hearts should have a firm, sure consolation. Also, due honor should be given to Christ’s merit and God’s grace. Therefore, the Scriptures teach that the righteousness of faith before God stands only in the gracious reconciliation or the forgiveness of sins, which is presented to us out of pure grace, only for the sake of the merit of the Mediator, Christ. This is received through faith alone in the Gospel promise. In the same way also, in justification before God, faith relies neither on contrition nor on love or other virtues. Faith relies on Christ alone and on His complete obedience by which He has fulfilled the Law for us. This obedience is credited to believers for righteousness.
         —Solid Declaration of the Formula
of Concord III 28–30

How were Mary’s thoughts devoted
         Her eternal joy to find
As intent each word she noted,
         At her Savior’s feet reclined!
How kindled her heart, how devout was its feeling,
While hearing the lessons that Christ was revealing!
         All earthly concerns she forgot for her Lord
         And found her contentment in hearing His Word.
         —One Thing’s Needful (LSB 536:2)

Prayer of the Day
Lord Jesus Christ, in Your deep compassion You rescue us from whatever may hurt us. Teach us to love You above all things and to love our neighbors as ourselves; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (C68)

Suggested Reading from the
Book of Concord
Solid Declaration of the Formula
of Concord VIII 23–30

By Rev. Michael Mayer

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