Esther: Lesson 9: Origin of Purim and Conclusion

Purim

In our earlier lessons, we learned of Mordecai’s character, which showed him to be a self-serving person.  Last week, we learned about Mordecai’s Edict in the King’s name, which allowed the Jews to rid the Persian Empire of their “enemies.”  In total, about 75,000 people were killed.       The Jews Celebrate, not Their […]

Understanding Alzheimer’s

Neurons.jpg

This is our pastor’s article for the September issue of our newsletter.   We are defective copies of imperfect copies of flawed copies.  Humanity’s fall into sin introduced, not only death but also physical decay and disease.  We admit as much every Sunday in our Confession of Sin: “We are by nature sinful” (LSB 151, […]

Luke 13:22-30: Are YOU Saved?

Anxious Person

Convinced of being correct, with themselves as judge of right and wrong, Jewish men readied themselves for the fight.  Against whom were they fighting?  Other Jews.  Those from the School of Hillel, such as Saul, who later became the Apostle Paul, argued that every Jew would receive salvation.  Not so taught Shammai, the other leading […]

Romans: Lesson 4: God Gives Salvation but also Judges

Apse Mosaic of Christ (1911)

Paul is dealing with both Jewish works-righteousness and Gentile sinful license.  Against works-righteousness, he drew from Isaiah 51, affirming that salvation IS the righteousness of God.  Against sinful license, he adapted from the Apocrypha book of Wisdom as a foil to confront sin: If pagans have no excuse before God, how much more so for […]

Esther: Lesson 8: Mordecai’s Revenge

Esther2

Haman’s plan to kill the Jews backfired and resulted in his death.  We also learned much about Mordecai and his character.  Though he is no Haman, he is both good and evil—and very self-serving!  Mordecai:  let Esther go to the palace, knowing she would be sent into a harem and become a “sex slave” (although […]

Luke 12.49-53, Hebrews 11:24-12:3: Eternal Peace

Great Cloud of Witnesses3

“Do you think I came to bring peace on earth?  No, I tell you, but division.”  We don’t expect such crazy-sounding talk from Jesus, the Prince of Peace, do we?  We expect Jesus to bring the family together—but He, instead, says something else.  He sets father against son, mother against daughter, and in-law against in-law. […]

Romans: Lesson 3: Ignorance is No Excuse—Not When You Aren’t Really Ignorant

Ignorance is not bliss

Paul writes a letter to the church at Rome to correct ideas that the Jews and Gentiles brought with them into the Church.  The Jews brought a work righteousness, displayed by following Old-Covenant rituals (Law).  The Gentiles brought their current-day mores, thinking that grace allowed them to continue in sin.  After the faintest of praise […]

Esther: Lesson 7: Haman Gets His Comeuppance

Esther Accuses Haman

Events at Esther’s banquet did not turn out as Haman thought.  He envisioned receiving honor but, instead, his nemesis, Mordecai, was honored.  Even worse, Haman walked beneath Mordecai, who was on horseback, proclaiming: “Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor.”  When Haman returned home, his “wise men,” magi, […]

Luke 12:32-40 (Genesis 15:1-6): Who’s Promising?

Promises

She chuckles in response: “Promises, promises.”  Her ears have taken in her husband’s words before as he sits in comfort, watching the game.  “I’ll get to it later,” but later never comes.  Oh, he’s sincere: he does plan to take out the garbage.  But something comes along and the intent to do so is gone, […]

Romans, Lesson 2: Set Apart for the Gospel

Set Apart for the Gospel

The Opening Salvo As was the custom of letters in his day, Paul first identifies himself as the author.  Next, the author would identify the recipient(s) and then greet them. 1 Maccabees 10:25: “King Demetrius to the nation of the Jews: Greetings.” Acts 15:23: “From the apostles and the elders, your brothers, to the brothers […]