Tuesday after Trinity 20

14Turn again, O | God of hosts!*
         Look down from | heaven, and see;

have regard for this vine, 15the stock that your right hand | planted,*
         and for the son whom you made strong | for yourself.

16They have burned it with fire; they have | cut it down;*
         may they perish at the rebuke | of your face!

17But let your hand be on the man of your | right hand,*
         the son of man whom you have made strong | for yourself!

18Then we shall not turn | back from you;*
         give us life, and we will call up- | on your name!

19Restore us, O LORD | God of hosts!*
         let your face shine, that we | may be saved!
               —Psalm 80:14–19

Additional Psalm: Psalm 80

Old Testament Reading:
Deuteronomy 18:1–22
Provision for Priests and Levites
1“The Levitical priests, all the tribe of Levi, shall have no portion or inheritance with Israel. They shall eat the LORD’s food offerings as their inheritance. 2They shall have no inheritance among their brothers; the LORD is their inheritance, as he promised them. 3And this shall be the priests’ due from the people, from those offering a sacrifice, whether an ox or a sheep: they shall give to the priest the shoulder and the two cheeks and the stomach. 4The firstfruits of your grain, of your wine and of your oil, and the first fleece of your sheep, you shall give him. 5For the LORD your God has chosen him out of all your tribes to stand and minister in the name of the LORD, him and his sons for all time.

6“And if a Levite comes from any of your towns out of all Israel, where he lives—and he may come when he desires—to the place that the LORD will choose, 7and ministers in the name of the LORD his God, like all his fellow Levites who stand to minister there before the LORD, 8then he may have equal portions to eat, besides what he receives from the sale of his patrimony.

Abominable Practices
9“When you come into the land that the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominable practices of those nations. 10There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer 11or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, 12for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD. And because of these abominations the LORD your God is driving them out before you. 13You shall be blameless before the LORD your God, 14for these nations, which you are about to dispossess, listen to fortune-tellers and to diviners. But as for you, the LORD your God has not allowed you to do this.

A New Prophet like Moses
15“The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen—16just as you desired of the LORD your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly, when you said, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God or see this great fire any more, lest I die.’ 17And the LORD said to me, ‘They are right in what they have spoken. 18I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. 19And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him. 20But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.’ 21And if you say in your heart, ‘How may we know the word that the LORD has not spoken?’—22when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.”

New Testament Reading:
Matthew 14:22–36
Jesus Walks on the Water
22Immediately [Jesus] made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. 25And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. 26But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. 27But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”

28And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. 30But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” 31Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Jesus Heals the Sick in Gennesaret
34And when they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret. 35And when the men of that place recognized him, they sent around to all that region and brought to him all who were sick 36and implored him that they might only touch the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well.

What can be set forth to us that is more useful and more suitable for consolation than the example of Peter? He advances on the water to meet Christ. And when he stepped out of the boat, he first walked on the water to come to Jesus. As the evangelist says, he ran with great impetuosity, with heroic and special spirit, because he knew that Christ was there; and he had the Word and the promise of the Word for his petition: “If it be Thou, bid me come to Thee on the water” (Matt. 14:28). But soon, when a little wind blows, he wavers and sinks. What now? Where is that great spirit? Why did you doubt? But it pleased Christ that he should be tried in this way. For if he had not been tried, he would have been puffed up. But it is better to be tried than to be puffed up. For in this way the promises are retained, and in this way we learn to understand those sobs of the saints, as in Ps. 6:1: “O Lord, rebuke me not in Thy anger.” For David, too, was such a great man that God gave him the testimony: “I have found in David, the son of Jesse, a man after My heart, who will do all My will” (Acts 13:22; cf. 1 Sam. 13:14). Yet he prays in this way and struggles with the trials of unbelief and despair.

In this way we, too, have been called, and we have promises that are much clearer and more glorious than those the fathers had. Thus Peter praises this good fortune of ours when he says (2 Peter 1:19): “And we have the prophetic Word made more sure. You will do well to pay attention to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place.” Grace and eternal life have been promised and offered to us in a much more glorious way than to them. For the Son has come, and all the promises have been fulfilled. We hear the Son Himself; we have the sacraments and absolution; and day and night the Gospel proclaims to us: “You are holy. You are holy. Your sins have been forgiven you. You are blessed, etc.” But what do we do? We still tremble, and we cling to our weakness throughout our life. But why are we not aroused by the example of the patriarchs, who believed to complete perfection? I reply that they, too, were weak, just as we are, although we have richer promises than they had. But it comes to pass as God’s voice says to Paul: “My power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9). For God could not retain and fulfill His promises in us if He did not kill that stupid, proud, and smug flesh in us.
               —Martin Luther

O Christ, whose voice the waters heard
And hushed their raging at Thy word,
Who walkedst on the foaming deep
And calm amid its rage didst sleep:
O hear us when we cry to Thee
For those in peril on the sea.
               —Eternal Father, Strong to Save
(LSB 717:2 alt.)

Prayer of the Day
Almighty and most merciful God, preserve us from all harm and danger that we, being ready in both body and soul, may cheerfully accomplish what You want done; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (A72)

Suggested Reading from the Book of Concord
Apology of the Augsburg Confession XXII (X) 1–8

By Rev. Michael Mayer

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