Isaiah 50:4-10: This reading is filled with hope in the face of persecution and hardship. The hope and assurance of the prophet Isaiah is in the Lord, and it is the Lord Who empowers Isaiah to proclaim the message of the Lord. Isaiah’s message was a message of hope for God’s people who were feeling forlorn and forsaken.
Read the passage a second time, and as you do, read the passage as if Jesus Himself was speaking the words. This passage is part of the Servant’s Song of the book of Isaiah, a passage that looks forward to the Messiah. The Servant’s Song in Isaiah is a section that is prophetic of Jesus. As you reread the passage from the perspective of the passage speaking about Jesus, you will be amazed as to how it fits Jesus’ life. If you want to read more of the Servant’s Song in Isaiah and see how it is prophetic of Jesus, read Isaiah 52:13-15, and 53:1-12. This passage was written over 500 years before Jesus.
As the disciples of Jesus, let us see and remember how the Old Testament points to Jesus and the fulfilling of God’s promises, and let us trust in the Lord that He will fulfill His promises, just as He has done in this prophecy recorded in Isaiah.
Lord God, You have made many promises to Your people over the centuries. We thank You that we can read Your promises in the Bible. And we praise You for Your faithfulness to fulfill Your promises, especially as You have fulfilled them in Jesus. Enable us to trust in Your faithfulness to keep Your promises, and by grace receive what You have promised. In the Name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
Psalm 116:1-9: What a wonderful psalm of praise! The psalmist was in mortal danger and cried out to the Lord. In His grace and mercy, the Lord rescued the psalmist. The response of the psalmist? Praise, rest in God, and on-going trust. We, too, face mortal danger against sin, death, and the devil, but the Lord has rescued us in Jesus. Our response? Like the psalmist, let us praise, rest in God’s grace, and trust in His on-going care for us.
Almighty God, at times in life we are assailed by forces and powers to great for us. Hear our cry to You. Answer and rescue us by Your grace. Open our mouths to give You thanks and praise, open our hearts to rest in You, and open our lives to trust You into eternity. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.
James 3:1-12: The Second Reading is a continuation of reading through parts of the book of James. Have you ever gossiped? Have you ever passed on a juicy story about someone else, even if it is true? Have you ever spoken words that hurt the reputation of another? We all have. Read James’ words about how destructive our words can be. Turn from gossip. It does no good to us, to our hearers, and certainly does no good to those about whom the gossip speaks.
Holy Spirit, bridle our tongues so that we don’t speak words that destroy others. Forgive us when we do, and turn us from gossip. Let our words be words that build up others, and let our words be words of praise led by You. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.
Mark 9:14-29: In today’s Gospel, we see a man who is desperate to find help for his son. Parents can understand this man’s motivation to find help wherever he can for his son who is enslaved to evil. The man went to Jesus’ disciples, who could not help him. Finally, after the Transfiguration, Jesus returned to the crowds. The man came to Jesus, pleading for help, if Jesus even can help. Well, Jesus can and will help. Notice the honesty with which the man speaks to Jesus, “I believe; help my unbelief!” And Jesus does help him.
How much faith is enough? Do we have enough faith? The prayer of the man is a great prayer for all of us. We have faith, but may the Lord Jesus increase our faith.
Lord Jesus, we believe, but help our unbelief. Increase our faith. Enable us to know that You are faithful and that we can put our total trust in You. To You be the thanks and praise for Your faithfulness to keep us always in Your care. In Your Name we pray. Amen.