This Week’s Theme
“Is This Not Joseph’s Son?”
Jesus initially announced his identity as Messiah to his fellow worshipers at the synagogue in Nazareth. While everyone spoke well of him immediately, marveling at his gracious words, they were also troubled by his familiarity: “Is not this Joseph’s son?” Jesus replied to their doubts by acknowledging their skepticism: “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘Physician, heal yourself.’ What we have heard you did at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well.” He had lived among them for thirty years without demonstrating these mighty acts, and now they wanted him to work some miracles among them to prove his identity.
Jesus, however, underscored a truth: that a prophet is not recognized or accepted in his own hometown. Their familiarity with him caused them to doubt his claims. Jesus then gave two examples (the widow of Zarephath and Naaman the Syrian) of how God moved mightily on their behalf, aliens and foreigners, folks other than Israel! God had moved with Elijah and Elisha in spite of Israel’s unworthy behavior. The argument was clear: Nazareth folk proved themselves unworthy of God’s revelation even as Israel proved unworthy to the prophets.
Their reaction was to murder Christ, intending to throw him over the side of a cliff, but they were prevented from their mad acts. It is easy to overlook the truths of our Lord’s testimony and identity when you are overly familiar with them, and do not respond to them. Your prejudice against the Lord can both blind you and hinder him from doing great things among you. Receive his truth or lose your understanding of him. Over-familiarity with the truth, without faith, can prevent you from seeing him as he truly is.
Preparing Our Hearts
Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation
Lord Jesus, please protect us from the effects of skepticism and over familiarity with you and your Word. May your testimony about who you are ever be fresh in our hearts, and may we be ever responding to your truth, delivered from the foolishness of thinking that we understand all we need to know of you and your will. Keep us humble, open, and willing to hear from you, always. Amen.
Call to Worship
Blessed are you, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And blessed is your Kingdom, both now and forever, Amen.
Praising Our God
Te Deum Laudamus
You are God: we praise you; you are the Lord; we acclaim you; you are the eternal Father: All creation worships you. To you all angels, all the powers of heaven, Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise: Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory.
The glorious company of apostles praise you. The noble fellowship of prophets praise you. The white-robed army of martyrs praise you. Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you; Father, of majesty unbounded, your true and only Son, worthy of all worship, and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.
You, Christ, are the king of glory, the eternal Son of the Father. When you became man to set us free you did not shun the Virgin’s womb. You overcame the sting of death and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers. You are seated at God’s right hand in glory. We believe that you will come and be our judge. Come then, Lord, and help your people, bought with the price of your own blood, and bring us with your saints to glory everlasting.
Praise and Thanksgiving (songs and prayers)
Glory be to the Father,
And to the Son and to the Holy Spirit:
As it was in the beginning,
Is now, and ever shall be,
World without end. Amen, amen.
Listening to His Voice
Chronological Reading for the Day
Thursday: Num. 30-31
Lectionary Readings for the Day
Psalm: Ps. 71.1-6
OT: Jer. 1.4-10
Gospel: Luke 4.21-30
NT: 1 Cor. 13.1-13
Reflection: Silence and/or Journaling
Responding in Faith
The Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he arose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven and sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic* church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
*In the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, the term catholic refers to the Church’s universality, through all ages and times, of all languages and peoples. It refers to no particular tradition or denominational expression (e.g., as in Roman Catholic).
Prayers of Confession
Let us now confess our sins to God and receive mercy and grace to help in our time of need.
Assurance of Pardon
Having faithfully confessed and renounced your sin, Christ also has been faithful to forgive your sins and to purify you from all unrighteousness. It is certain, that there is One who has spoken to the Father in your defense, Jesus Christ, the Righteous One who is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and for the sins of the whole world. His grace and peace are with you now. Amen.
Petitions and Supplications, Ending with The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
~ Matthew 6.9-13 (KJV)
Doxology (and/or closing song)
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him above ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.
Departing to Serve
Lord Jesus, grant us eyes to see you as you really are, and not through the lens of our own prejudices and false judgments. Forgive us for the many times we have proudly assumed that we knew you and your mind, and resisted the teaching of your Spirit and our leaders. Free us today to receive a fresh Word from you, that we can rejoice in your will. In your name we pray, amen.
Affirmation for the Day
Those who doubt the Lord should not expect him to act on their behalf.
Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
Give me a free and open heart, that you may teach me the true paths of your mercy and grace.
Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus
Becoming Fishers of Men
Coleman, The Master Plan of Evangelism