Friday after Trinity 23

1By the waters of Babylon, there we sat | down and wept,*
         when we remembered | Zion.

2On the | willows there*
         we hung | up our lyres.

3For there our captors required of us songs, and our tormentors, mirth, | saying,*
         “Sing us one of the songs of | Zion!”

4How shall we sing the | LORD’s song*
         in a | foreign land?

5If I forget you, O Je- | rusalem,*
         let my right hand for- | get its skill!

6Let my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth, if I do not re- | member you,*
         if I do not set Jerusalem above my | highest joy!

7Remember, O LORD, against the Edomites the day of Je- | rusalem,*
         how they said, “Lay it bare, lay it bare, down to its foun- | dations!”

😯 daughter of Babylon, doomed to | be destroyed,*
         blessèd shall he be who repays you with what you have | done to us!

9Blessèd shall he be who takes your | little ones*
         and dashes them a- | gainst the rock!
               —Psalm 137

Additional Psalm: Psalm 130

Old Testament Reading:
Jeremiah 25:1–18
Seventy Years of Captivity
1The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah (that was the first year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon), 2which Jeremiah the prophet spoke to all the people of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem: 3“For twenty-three years, from the thirteenth year of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah, to this day, the word of the LORD has come to me, and I have spoken persistently to you, but you have not listened. 4You have neither listened nor inclined your ears to hear, although the LORD persistently sent to you all his servants the prophets, 5saying, ‘Turn now, every one of you, from his evil way and evil deeds, and dwell upon the land that the LORD has given to you and your fathers from of old and forever. 6Do not go after other gods to serve and worship them, or provoke me to anger with the work of your hands. Then I will do you no harm.’ 7Yet you have not listened to me, declares the LORD, that you might provoke me to anger with the work of your hands to your own harm.

8“Therefore thus says the LORD of hosts: Because you have not obeyed my words, 9behold, I will send for all the tribes of the north, declares the LORD, and for Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and I will bring them against this land and its inhabitants, and against all these surrounding nations. I will devote them to destruction, and make them a horror, a hissing, and an everlasting desolation. 10Moreover, I will banish from them the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the grinding of the millstones and the light of the lamp. 11This whole land shall become a ruin and a waste, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. 12Then after seventy years are completed, I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity, declares the LORD, making the land an everlasting waste. 13I will bring upon that land all the words that I have uttered against it, everything written in this book, which Jeremiah prophesied against all the nations. 14For many nations and great kings shall make slaves even of them, and I will recompense them according to their deeds and the work of their hands.”

The Cup of the LORD’s Wrath
15Thus the LORD, the God of Israel, said to me: “Take from my hand this cup of the wine of wrath, and make all the nations to whom I send you drink it. 16They shall drink and stagger and be crazed because of the sword that I am sending among them.”

17So I took the cup from the LORD’s hand, and made all the nations to whom the LORD sent me drink it: 18Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, its kings and officials, to make them a desolation and a waste, a hissing and a curse, as at this day.

New Testament Reading:
Matthew 26:1–19
The Plot to Kill Jesus
1When Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said to his disciples, 2“You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.”

3Then the chief priests and the elders of the people gathered in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, 4and plotted together in order to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him. 5But they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar among the people.”

Jesus Anointed at Bethany
6Now when Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, 7a woman came up to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head as he reclined at table. 8And when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste? 9For this could have been sold for a large sum and given to the poor.” 10But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me. 11For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. 12In pouring this ointment on my body, she has done it to prepare me for burial. 13Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.”

Judas to Betray Jesus
14Then one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests 15and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. 16And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him.

The Passover with the Disciples
17Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Where will you have us prepare for you to eat the Passover?” 18He said, “Go into the city to a certain man and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, My time is at hand. I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.’” 19And the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover.

The prophet also interprets it thus, after his splendid and extensive predictions about this King: He is to rule over all, smashing kings and whatever else is great and resists Him. Lest anyone understand this according to the Jewish delusion that it would happen physically, in the manner of the world, He means to say: “It is certainly true that He is to be great and mighty above all kings on earth. But let me give you the true explanation of how He will deal with this matter and by what manner and form He will achieve such a dominion. He is not going to be a secular lord and king, as I and my descendants in Jerusalem and other kings are. Instead, He will come to earth and share the ordinary life and society of men. He will live His life like an ordinary man, and others will see nothing special or extraordinary about Him.”

In this life, the prophet says, He will “drink from the brook”; that is, He will suffer and die. By “drink” or “cup” Scripture means any sort of torture, misery, and suffering, just as Christ prayed in the garden, where He sweat blood (Luke 22:44) and said (Matt. 26:39): “Dear Father, if it is possible, remove this cup from Me. But if it cannot be otherwise but that I drink it, Thy will be done.” You see, that is the kind of drinking of which this verse speaks. The prophets also speak thus and call it “being drunk” when God punishes. Therefore “to fill the cup” or “to make drunk” means to suffer great torture and pain, and “cup” symbolizes that specific portion of suffering which God awards to Him. Jeremiah 25:15, 16, Psalm 75:8, and many other places express it this way.

Therefore Christ had to drink a “cup” on earth and be “drunk”; that is, He suffered torture and pain and perished before all the world. Furthermore, in His own kingdom He was so miserable and poor that He had no place where He could lay His head (Matt. 8:20). No crown, royal adornment, or pomp could be seen about Him—nothing but cross, nails, and blood. There He hung, unable to touch either heaven or earth and unable to stand up on His feet.
               —Martin Luther

How weak the effort of my heart,
         How cold my warmest thought!
But when I see Thee as Thou art,
         I’ll praise Thee as I ought.
               —How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds (LSB 524:5)

Prayer of the Day
Eternal God, merciful Father, You have appointed Your Son as judge of the living and the dead. Enable us to wait for the day of His return with our eyes fixed on the kingdom prepared for Your own from the foundation of the world; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (A87)

Suggested Reading from the Book of Concord
Apology of the Augsburg Confession XXVII (XIII) 9–10

By Rev. Michael Mayer

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