Trinity 22 (Reformation Day)

1God is our ref- | uge and strength,*
         a very present help in | trouble.

2Therefore we will not fear though the | earth gives way,*
         though the mountains be moved into the heart | of the sea,

3though its waters | roar and foam,*
         though the mountains tremble at its | swelling.

4There is a river whose streams make glad the cit- | y of God,*
         the holy habitation of the | Most High.

5God is in the midst of her; she shall | not be moved;*
         God will help her when | morning dawns.

6The nations rage, the kingdoms | totter;*
         he utters his voice, the | earth melts.

7The LORD of hosts is | with us;*
         the God of Jacob is our | fortress.

8Come, behold the works | of the LORD,*
         how he has brought desolations | on the earth.

9He makes wars cease to the end | of the earth;*
         he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots | with fire.

10“Be still, and know that | I am God.*
         I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted | in the earth!”

11The LORD of hosts is | with us;*
         the God of Jacob is our | fortress.
               —Psalm 46

Additional Psalm: Psalm 115

Old Testament Reading:
Deuteronomy 32:28–52
[The Song of Moses]
28“For they are a nation void of counsel,
         and there is no understanding in them.
29If they were wise, they would understand this;
         they would discern their latter end!
30How could one have chased a thousand,
         and two have put ten thousand to flight,
unless their Rock had sold them,
         and the LORD had given them up?
31For their rock is not as our Rock;
         our enemies are by themselves.
32For their vine comes from the vine of Sodom
         and from the fields of Gomorrah;
their grapes are grapes of poison;
         their clusters are bitter;
33their wine is the poison of serpents
         and the cruel venom of asps.
34“‘Is not this laid up in store with me,
         sealed up in my treasuries?
35Vengeance is mine, and recompense,
         for the time when their foot shall slip;
for the day of their calamity is at hand,
         and their doom comes swiftly.’
36For the LORD will vindicate his people
         and have compassion on his servants,
when he sees that their power is gone
         and there is none remaining, bond or free.
37Then he will say, ‘Where are their gods,
         the rock in which they took refuge,
38who ate the fat of their sacrifices
         and drank the wine of their drink offering?
Let them rise up and help you;
         let them be your protection!
39“‘See now that I, even I, am he,
         and there is no god beside me;
I kill and I make alive;
         I wound and I heal;
         and there is none that can deliver out of my hand.
40For I lift up my hand to heaven
         and swear, As I live forever,
41if I sharpen my flashing sword
         and my hand takes hold on judgment,
I will take vengeance on my adversaries
         and will repay those who hate me.
42I will make my arrows drunk with blood,
         and my sword shall devour flesh—
with the blood of the slain and the captives,
         from the long-haired heads of the enemy.’
43“Rejoice with him, O heavens;
         bow down to him, all gods,
for he avenges the blood of his children
         and takes vengeance on his adversaries.
He repays those who hate him
         and cleanses his people’s land.”

44Moses came and recited all the words of this song in the hearing of the people, he and Joshua the son of Nun. 45And when Moses had finished speaking all these words to all Israel, 46he said to them, “Take to heart all the words by which I am warning you today, that you may command them to your children, that they may be careful to do all the words of this law. 47For it is no empty word for you, but your very life, and by this word you shall live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess.”

Moses’ Death Foretold
48That very day the LORD spoke to Moses, 49“Go up this mountain of the Abarim, Mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab, opposite Jericho, and view the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the people of Israel for a possession. 50And die on the mountain which you go up, and be gathered to your people, as Aaron your brother died in Mount Hor and was gathered to his people, 51because you broke faith with me in the midst of the people of Israel at the waters of Meribah-kadesh, in the wilderness of Zin, and because you did not treat me as holy in the midst of the people of Israel. 52For you shall see the land before you, but you shall not go there, into the land that I am giving to the people of Israel.”

Additional Reading: Deuteronomy 33:1–29

New Testament Reading:
Matthew 20:17–34
Jesus Foretells His Death a Third Time
17And as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside, and on the way he said to them, 18“See, we are going up to Jerusalem. And the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death 19and deliver him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.”

A Mother’s Request
20Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came up to him with her sons, and kneeling before him she asked him for something. 21And he said to her, “What do you want?” She said to him, “Say that these two sons of mine are to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.” 22Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?” They said to him, “We are able.” 23He said to them, “You will drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.” 24And when the ten heard it, they were indignant at the two brothers. 25But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 26It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 27and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, 28even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Jesus Heals Two Blind Men
29And as they went out of Jericho, a great crowd followed him. 30And behold, there were two blind men sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was passing by, they cried out, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” 31The crowd rebuked them, telling them to be silent, but they cried out all the more, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” 32And stopping, Jesus called them and said, “What do you want me to do for you?” 33They said to him, “Lord, let our eyes be opened.” 34And Jesus in pity touched their eyes, and immediately they recovered their sight and followed him.

May you ever cherish and treasure this thought. Christ is made a servant of sin, yea, a bearer of sin, and the lowliest and most despised person. He destroys all sin by Himself and says: “I came not to be served but to serve” (Matt. 20:28). There is no greater bondage than that of sin; and there is no greater service than that displayed by the Son of God, who becomes the servant of all, no matter how poor, wretched, or despised they may be, and bears their sins. It would be spectacular and amazing, prompting all the world to open ears and eyes, mouth and nose in uncomprehending wonderment, if some king’s son were to appear in a beggar’s home to nurse him in his illness, wash off his filth, and do everything else the beggar would have to do. Would this not be profound humility? Any spectator or any beneficiary of this honor would feel impelled to admit that he had seen or experienced something unusual and extraordinary, something magnificent. But what is a king or an emperor compared with the Son of God? Furthermore, what is a beggar’s filth or stench compared with the filth of sin which is ours by nature, stinking a hundred thousand times worse and looking infinitely more repulsive to God than any foul matter found in a hospital? And yet the love of the Son of God for us is of such magnitude that the greater the filth and stench of our sins, the more He befriends us, the more He cleanses us, relieving us of all our misery and of the burden of all our sins and placing them upon His own back. All the holiness of the monks stinks in comparison with this service of Christ, the fact that the beloved Lamb, the great Man, yes, the Son of the Exalted Majesty, descends from heaven to serve me.
               —Martin Luther

He whom the sea
         And wind obey
Doth come to serve the sinner in great meekness.
         Thou, God’s own Son,
         With us art one,
Dost join us and our children in our weakness.
               —O Jesus Christ, Thy Manger Is
(LSB 372:2)

Prayer of the Day
Almighty and gracious Lord, pour out Your Holy Spirit on Your faithful people. Keep us steadfast in Your grace and truth, protect and deliver us in times of temptation, defend us against all enemies, and grant to Your Church Your saving peace; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (F33)

Reformation Day
On October 31, 1517, an Augustinian monk posted ninety-five statements for discussion on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. Dr. Martin Luther hoped that posting his theses would bring about an academic debate regarding repentance, the sale of indulgences, and other matters of concern within the Roman Catholic Church. However, Rome eventually excommunicated Luther, judging him to be a heretic. Luther’s reforms, centered on the teaching that a believer is justified by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, sparked religious reforms not only in the German states but also in many European countries. In 1667, Elector John George II of Saxony standardized the custom of observing Luther’s October 31 posting of the Ninety-five Theses.

Suggested Reading from the Book of Concord
Apology of the Augsburg Confession XXIV (XII) 22–26