Thursday after Easter 5

1Why do you boast of evil, O | mighty man?*
         The steadfast love of God
endures | all the day.

2Your tongue plots de- | struction,*
         like a sharp razor, you worker | of deceit.

3You love evil | more than good,*
         and lying more than
speaking | what is right.

4You love all words | that devour,*
         O de- | ceitful tongue.

5But God will break you down for- | ever;*
         he will snatch and tear you from your tent; he will uproot you from the land
of the | living.

6The righteous shall | see and fear,*
         and shall laugh at him, | saying,

7“See the man who would not make God his | refuge,*
         but trusted in the abundance of
his riches and sought refuge in his
own de- | struction!”

8But I am like a green olive tree in the | house of God.*
         I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and | ever.

9I will thank you forever, because you have | done it.*
         I will wait for your name, for it is good, in the presence of the | godly.
         —Psalm 52

Additional Psalm: Psalm 107

Old Testament Reading:
Leviticus 24:1–23
The Lamps

1The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2“Command the people of Israel to bring you pure oil from beaten olives for the lamp, that a light may be kept burning regularly. 3Outside the veil of the testimony, in the tent of meeting, Aaron shall arrange it from evening to morning before the LORD regularly. It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations. 4He shall arrange the lamps on the lampstand of pure gold before the LORD regularly.

Bread for the Tabernacle

5“You shall take fine flour and bake twelve loaves from it; two tenths of an ephah shall be in each loaf. 6And you shall set them in two piles, six in a pile, on the table of pure gold before the LORD. 7And you shall put pure frankincense on each pile, that it may go with the bread as a memorial portion as a food offering to the LORD. 8Every Sabbath day Aaron shall arrange it before the LORD regularly; it is from the people of Israel as a covenant forever. 9And it shall be for Aaron and his sons, and they shall eat it in a holy place, since it is for him a most holy portion out of the LORD’s food offerings, a perpetual due.”

Punishment for Blasphemy

10Now an Israelite woman’s son, whose father was an Egyptian, went out among the people of Israel. And the Israelite woman’s son and a man of Israel fought in the camp, 11and the Israelite woman’s son blasphemed the Name, and cursed. Then they brought him to Moses. His mother’s name was Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri, of the tribe of Dan. 12And they put him in custody, till the will of the LORD should be clear to them.

13Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 14“Bring out of the camp the one who cursed, and let all who heard him lay their hands on his head, and let all the congregation stone him. 15And speak to the people of Israel, saying, Whoever curses his God shall bear his sin. 16Whoever blasphemes the name of the LORD shall surely be put to death. All the congregation shall stone him. The sojourner as well as the native, when he blasphemes the Name, shall be put to death.

An Eye for an Eye

17“Whoever takes a human life shall surely be put to death. 18Whoever takes an animal’s life shall make it good, life for life. 19If anyone injures his neighbor, as he has done it shall be done to him, 20fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth; whatever injury he has given a person shall be given to him. 21Whoever kills an animal shall make it good, and whoever kills a person shall be put to death. 22You shall have the same rule for the sojourner and for the native, for I am the LORD your God.” 23So Moses spoke to the people of Israel, and they brought out of the camp the one who had cursed and stoned him with stones. Thus the people of Israel did as the LORD commanded Moses.

Additional Reading: Leviticus 25:1–55

New Testament Reading:
Luke 12:54–13:17
Interpreting the Time

54He also said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you say at once, ‘A shower is coming.’ And so it happens. 55And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat,’ and it happens. 56You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?

Settle with Your Accuser

57“And why do you not judge for your-selves what is right? 58As you go with your accuser before the magistrate, make an effort to settle with him on the way, lest he drag you to the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer, and the officer put you in prison. 59I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the very last penny.”

Repent or Perish

13:1There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? 3No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. 4Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? 5No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree

6And he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. 7And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Look, for three years now I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down. Why should it use up the ground?’ 8And he answered him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure. 9Then if it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’”

A Woman with a Disabling Spirit

10Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. 11And there was a woman who had had a disabling spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. 12When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.” 13And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God. 14But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the people, “There are six days in which work ought to be done. Come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day.” 15Then the Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger and lead it away to water it? 16And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?” 17As he said these things, all his adversaries were put to shame, and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him.

The term repentance is not used in the Holy Scriptures in one and the same sense. In some passages of Holy Scripture it is used and taken to mean a person’s entire conversion. For example, “Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:5). And, “There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:7). But in this passage (Mark 1:15) and elsewhere, when repentance and faith in Christ (Acts 20:21), or repentance and forgiveness of sins (Luke 24:46–47), are mentioned as distinct, to repent means nothing other than to truly acknowledge sins, to be heartily sorry for them, and to stop doing them. This knowledge comes from the Law. It is not enough for saving conversion to God if faith in Christ is not added. The comforting preaching of the Holy Gospel offers His merits to all penitent sinners who are terrified by the preaching of the Law. The Gospel proclaims the forgiveness of sins, not to coarse and self-secure hearts, but to the bruised or penitent (Luke 4:18). The preaching of the Gospel must be added so that the repentance may lead to salvation and not to the Law’s contrition or terrors (2Corinthians 7:10).
         —Solid Declaration of the Formula
of Concord V 7–9

Lo! He comes with clouds descending,
         Once for ev’ry sinner slain;
Thousand thousand saints attending
         Swell the triumph of His train:
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!
         Christ the Lord returns to reign.
         —Lo! He Comes with Clouds Descending (LSB 336:1)

Prayer of the Day
O Jesus, Lord of the Sabbath, rescue us from our hypocrisy, which keeps us from seeing You as the center of all of Scripture and acknowledging the present time as the time of salvation. Call us to repent of our self-righteousness so that we might look to You alone as the source of our life; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (1020)

Suggested Reading from
the Book of Concord
Solid Declaration of the Formula
of Concord VIII 71–76