The First Reading occurs at the end of the prophet Isaiah, chapter 66:18-23. The prophet Isaiah has prophesied warnings and punishment to God’s people and to the surrounding nations because of their sinfulness. Destruction would, and did, come because they turned away from the LORD. But here at the end of Isaiah there are words of hope and restoration: the LORD will restore not only His people, but draw to Himself people of every race and language. These words include us who have been brought to the Lord through Jesus. Thanks be to God!
Holy Lord, we give You thanks and praise that You draw us to Yourself in Jesus, forgiving us and giving us the life and blessings You intended from the beginning of creation. Let us always sing Your praises through Jesus Christ. Amen.
The Psalm is recorded in Psalm 50:1-15. Note that this psalm follows a court scene: the Lord is coming to judge His people. Even though they follow the rules about the sacrificial system at the Temple, they are still falling short. What constitutes the heart of worship? Offering a sacrifice of thanksgiving, paying your vows to the Lord, calling upon Him in time of need, and giving Him glory for delivering us.
Holy Spirit, continually call us to worship where we give thanks and praise to You: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, because You are good, because Your steadfast love endures forever. As we have been delivered from sin, death, and the devil through Jesus, let us always give glorify to You. Amen.
The Second Reading is recorded in Hebrews 12:4-29. When our earthly parents disciplined us we wondered if they loved us (yes, they did), the same is often our attitude toward the Lord when He disciplines us – does He love us? Yes, unequivocally. He disciplines us so that we will be drawn closer to Him and be conformed more and more into Christ; He disciplines us for the sake of our lives. Let us be trained and formed by His discipline. Notice how the writer of Hebrews describes the discipline of the Lord, and its result in our lives.
Loving heavenly Father, we are wayward and need Your guidance and correction. We thank and praise You that You love us so much that You would discipline us, guide us, mold us, form us more and more into Christ our Lord and Savior. In His Name we pray. Amen.
The Gospel is recorded in Luke 13:22-30. This day and age we are hearing about universal salvation, that the Lord will save all people, whether they believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior or not. Today’s Gospel refutes the idea of universal salvation – that all will be saved. Notice that the door is narrow that leads to salvation. Notice how those who don’t make it through relied on Jesus just being nearby, they didn’t rely on Jesus as Lord and Savior. But also notice how the passage ends with hope: there will be people from all nations and languages in God’s kingdom, all who trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior.
Lord Jesus, keep us steadfast in You, and lead us into Your eternal kingdom, saved by grace through faith in You as Lord and Savior. Amen.