9:2–13 Jesus is transfigured to display His divine glory and to prepare His disciples for His death and resurrection. We cannot imagine the glory of God, especially in Christ, who is fully human. Jesus loses none of His divine majesty in the incarnation, but His glory shines through His human nature. His glory reminds us that He freely chose death and resurrection for our sakes. • Lord, bring us to that mountain where we can see Your glory shine. Let us follow You to the glory of Your cross to celebrate Your power and to marvel at Your life given for us. Amen.
9:14–29 Jesus descends from the transfiguration and meets a defiant demon, an anxious father, an astonished crowd, and despairing disciples. Despair threatens to overwhelm our faith too by pointing out how we fail to change or improve, suggesting that God neither cares for us nor has power to help. However, Jesus does not linger in the glory of the transfiguration, but graciously descends to a world of despair and doubt so that He might deliver us. • Lord, thank You for Your compassion, which brings You to our world of pain and dismay. Give us faith to overcome our doubts, and help us believe that all things are possible with You. Amen.
9:30–32 Jesus repeats the prophecy of His Passion and resurrection while the disciples listen in frightened silence. Death is frightening and confusing when we cannot see the promised resurrection. Yet, Jesus bears our fears as well as our sins on the cross in order to deliver us. • Lord, break our fear of death by reminding us that You have died, never to die again. Today, open our frightened hearts with the resurrection’s promise; one day, open our closed eyes with the resurrection’s power. Amen.
9:33–37 Confused by Jesus’ prediction of His death, the disciples return to a subject they know well, their own greatness. Jesus shows them that true status is found in serving those whom God values. When we are tempted to debate who is the greatest, we should instead look to where the Master hangs on the cross. He represents us before the Father in order to redeem us, and He leads us by the cross into a new life. • Lord, forgive us for our battles over greatness. Remind us that You alone are great, for You have served the least among us. Amen.
9:38–41 Jesus opens the disciples’ eyes to see those who do God’s work in dramatic or simple ways. The work of God goes far beyond us. He shows His power and kindness through great life-changing miracles and simple cups of water. • Lord, thank You for Your work through the lives of others. Lead me to welcome those miracles and mercies that You show through every one of Your people. Amen.
9:42–50 Nothing is more important than retaining the faith unto eternal life. Let nothing come between you and the Savior. Though He tests us with fire, He does not consume His own people. Rejoice, for God graciously gives us the faith in which He preserves us to eternity. • Lord, give us the lasting faith that can persevere through every trial. Empty our hands of anything that competes with You, and let us hold firmly to You eternally. Amen.
10:1–12 Jesus teaches that God wants a man and a woman in marriage to be exclusively committed to each other for life. Attempts to alter or get around God’s good intentions bring condemnation, not greater liberty. Thoughtfully and prayerfully embrace God’s ways. What He establishes is for our good and stems from His love and grace. • “O Spirit of the Father, Breathe on them from above, So searching in Your pureness, So tender in Your love That, guarded by Your presence And kept from strife and sin, Their hearts may heed Your guidance And know You dwell within.” Amen. (LSB 858:3)
10:13–16 This story is the key to the chapter, showing us that salvation is a gift of grace through faith in Jesus Christ. We trust the Lord as a child trusts a parent. We do not earn God’s love and favor by keeping the Law, especially when we look for loopholes to excuse our sinful behavior (cf 10:1–12). All people, like helpless children, receive Jesus’ blessing and enter the Kingdom through faith in Him. • “You have promised to receive us, Poor and sinful though we be; You have mercy to relieve us, Grace to cleanse, and pow’r to free. Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus, Early let us turn to You. Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus, Early let us turn to You.” Amen. (LSB 711:3)
10:17–31 Jesus teaches His disciples that not even people with the greatest worldly means (e.g., a rich man) can enter the kingdom of God on their own merit. We cannot justify ourselves; we receive salvation (“inherit eternal life”) solely by grace through faith in Jesus, just like a little child (10:13–16). • “My heart’s delight, My crown most bright, O Christ, my joy forever. Not wealth nor pride Nor fortune’s tide Our bonds of love shall sever.” Amen. (LSB 557:4)
10:32–34 Jesus predicts His trial, execution, and resurrection for the third time in Mk (cf 8:31–32; 9:30–32) while walking boldly to His death. Jesus goes to die the sinner’s death, accepting the Law’s penalty in our place. Faith looks to Christ crucified and risen and says “for me.” Luth: “Who is this ‘me’? It is I, an accursed and damned sinner, who was so beloved by the Son of God that He gave Himself for me” (AE 26:176). • “Your grace alone, dear Lord, I plead, Your death is now my life indeed, For You have paid my ransom.” Amen. (LSB 555:6)
10:35–45 Jesus puts our welfare and needs ahead of His own as He conducts His ministry, showing us what real leadership is. Jesus shows that those who lead in the kingdom of God serve others in humility. He leads by laying down His life as the sacrifice for our sins and calls us to similar sacrifice. • Dear Father, You have sent Christ to serve us, although He had the right to demand our service. Forgive us, Father. Lead us to give ourselves for the sake of others, that we, being last, might truly be first with Jesus in His kingdom. Amen.
10:46–52 Though Jesus is intent on going to the cross, He pauses to have mercy on Bartimaeus, who can do nothing to solve his problem except cry out to the Lord, “Have mercy!” Like Bartimaeus, learn to call on the Lord and trust in His power to deliver you. Jesus will hear and respond compassionately. • “Lord, Your mercy will not leave me; Ever will Your truth abide. Then in You I will confide.” Amen. (LSB 559:4)
11:1–11 Jesus enters Jerusalem triumphantly as King, openly accepting messianic titles and fulfilling several OT prophecies. The disciples and the crowds expect Jesus to establish an earthly kingdom. They celebrate His arrival at Jerusalem without a clear view of His express purpose: to die for the sins of the world. Jesus enters Jerusalem in humility to fulfill the plan of salvation by laying down His life for sinners. • “All glory, laud, and honor To You, Redeemer, King, To whom the lips of children Made sweet hosannas ring. The multitude of pilgrims With palms before You went; Our praise and prayer and anthems Before You we present.” Amen. (LSB 442:3)
11:12–14 The curse and destruction of the fig tree warns Jesus’ disciples of impending judgment against the temple and the unfruitful people. Works without faith are truly fruitless. True faith, and the life that flows from it, cannot be separated. They are the good and gracious gifts of our heavenly Father. • “In your hearts enthrone Him; There let Him subdue All that is not holy, All that is not true: Crown Him as your captain In temptation’s hour; Let His will enfold you In its light and pow’r.” Amen. (LSB 512:5)
11:15–19 As prophesied in Mal 3:1–5, Jesus purifies the temple of those who use religion to line their pockets. He does so in the temple court, where genuine worship has been disrupted. Today, Jesus challenges us to eliminate all such barriers to God’s Word in our lives and in our congregations. He is the proper focus of our prayers, the reason for our service; He hallows us as the temple of His Holy Spirit. • “Your name be hallowed. Help us, Lord, In purity to keep Your Word, That to the glory of Your name We walk before You free from blame. Let no false teaching us pervert; All poor deluded souls convert.” Amen. (LSB 766:2)
11:20–26 Jesus teaches that saving faith rescues us from God’s judgment and that, through faith, we have the power to do the work God gives us. Without faith in Jesus, it is impossible to please God or pray to Him. We know God hears our prayers even if we do not receive an answer immediately. Confident prayer, based on faith in Christ crucified and risen, trusts God to answer in His own time and way (cf Rm 8:32). • “Forgive our sins, Lord, we implore, That they may trouble us no more; We, too, will gladly those forgive Who hurt us by the way they live. Help us in our community To serve each other willingly.” Amen. (LSB 766:6)
11:27–33 Opponents of Jesus confront Him and question His authority. Jesus refuses to engage them since He confidently knows the true character of His authority (Mt 28:18). The anger of these leaders brings Jesus ever nearer to the cross, where He acts in weakness to overthrow the authority of the evil one for the sake of our salvation. • Lord God, heavenly Father, You sent Your Son to cleanse the temple of Jerusalem, so now cleanse the hearts of Your people, that they may be temples for Your Holy Spirit. Amen.
12:1–12 Jesus tells how God deals patiently with people. But eventually, God’s patience runs out, and every person must face judgment. God planned the death of His Son for the sins of all people. Unlike the story here, His beloved Son rose from the dead on the third day, taking up again the life He had laid down for us, to give us the Kingdom as a gift. • “I trust in Him with all my heart; Now all my sorrow ceases. His words abiding peace impart; His blood from guilt releases.” Amen. (LSB 568:3)
12:13–17 Jesus challenges the hypocrites to examine their own hearts and repent. Human hearts naturally belong to their Maker, who stamped His image on them at creation (Gn 1:28). Though sin shattered that image in us, the Lord still wants us for His very own people and sent Jesus to make that possible (Rm 8:29; Eph 4:24; Col 3:10). • “We give Thee but Thine own, Whate’er the gift may be; All that we have is Thine alone, A trust, O Lord, from Thee.” Amen. (LSB 781:1)
12:18–27 The Sadducees try to trap Jesus with a hypothetical question. Jesus turns their question upside down and shows them that they deny God’s power and reject His Word. Like the Sadducees, people today want to limit God to doing what makes sense to them, as if human limitations or reason could bind Him! Despite these things, God keeps His promises to us. He rescues His people even from death and raises all believers in Christ to eternal life. • “There shall we see in glory Our dear Redeemer’s face; The long-awaited story Of heav’nly joy takes place: The patriarchs shall meet us, The prophets’ holy band; Apostles, martyrs greet us In that celestial land.” Amen. (LSB 514:2)
12:28–34 Jesus challenges an expert in the Scriptures to consider the entire Law and to turn to the Lord in faith. Only Jesus has kept the entire Law perfectly. He did this for our salvation, due to His surpassing love for us. • “Thy love to me, O God, Not mine, O Lord, to Thee, Can rid me of this dark unrest And set my spirit free.” Amen. (LSB 567:4)
12:35–37 Jesus challenges His audience to think about the Messiah and realize that He is more than a man. He is God as well. Unbelief blinds people so they do not see Christ in the OT (cf 2Co 3:12–18). God became man, born of Mary, born under the Law, to redeem sinners such as we (cf Gal 4:4–5). • “O come, Thou Key of David, come, And open wide our heav’nly home; Make safe the way that leads on high, And close the path to misery.” Amen. (LSB 357:5)
12:38–40 Jesus warns against using self-serving religion to elevate ourselves above others. Clergy especially need to listen to Jesus at this point. Jesus shows all religious leaders and scholars the model for their leadership: humility, service, and sacrifice, for His sacrifice has atoned for us all. • Lord, grant us humble hearts and willing spirits to fulfill our callings faithfully. Amen.
12:41–44 Jesus uses the sacrifice of a widow to illustrate for His disciples the character of absolute dependence on God. Wealth and possession can pose a spiritual threat—wealth has a way of owning its possessor. Jesus’ love and sacrifice motivate us to offer our whole lives to Him as our daily offering of gratitude. He gave up everything, including His life, on the cross for us. • “Take my life and let it be Consecrated, Lord, to Thee; Take my moments and my days, Let them flow in ceaseless praise.” Amen. (LSB 783:1)
13:1–2 Jesus begins to talk about the fall of Jerusalem and the end of the world with a prediction of the temple’s destruction. What makes a house of worship worthy is not its outward appearance but the Word of God in it. The temple in Jerusalem had been the “embassy” of heaven on earth. With the birth of Jesus, this temple would no longer serve that purpose. Now, in Jesus Christ, the fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily among us (cf Col 2:9). • “To this temple, where we call You, Come, O Lord of hosts, and stay; Come with all Your loving-kindness, Hear Your people as they pray.” Amen. (LSB 909:2)
13:3–13 Jesus warns His disciples about the coming troubles they will face as they bring the Gospel into the world. He encourages them to trust God and rely on the Holy Spirit, especially when they face opposition and persecution. Nobody likes to be shown his or her sin. As Christians proclaim Law and Gospel, they need to be ready to endure the loss of everything, including their lives. Because God wants all people to hear the Gospel, He prolongs the NT age so that the Church may witness to all the earth. To Him alone we owe the survival of our personal faith as well. • “Lord of harvest, great and kind, Rouse to action heart and mind; Let the gath’ring nations all See Your light and heed Your call.” Amen. (LSB 830:6)
13:14–23 Jesus warns His followers of the imminent destruction of Jerusalem, which was fulfilled during the Jewish revolt against the Romans (AD 66–70). These events foreshadowed the end of the world. Jesus tells us these things so that we may be prepared to resist evil and proclaim the Gospel more fervently while we have time to do so. When Jesus returns on the Last Day, He will judge all people. Prior to that glorious and victorious day, evil will erupt and bring destruction. Yet, God holds on to His people throughout these events, anchoring believers in Jesus Christ by His Holy Spirit. • “Jerusalem the golden, With milk and honey blest—The promise of salvation, The place of peace and rest—We know not, oh, we know not What joys await us there: The radiancy of glory, The bliss beyond compare!” Amen. (LSB 672:1)
13:24–27 Jesus will return on the Last Day to judge all humanity, fulfilling OT prophecy and His own predictions. No one will enter the kingdom of God by works, nor will any mere religion save anyone. Because Jesus died and rose for us and because the Holy Spirit created and sustained saving faith in His people, we can be sure of our salvation no matter how fearsome the Last Day may be. • Set my heart, O Savior, on the life and hope above, so that shadows of this world may not darken my sight. Amen.
13:28–31 Jesus answers the original question of “when?” about the destruction of the temple (v 4). The events of vv 14–23 would take place within a generation. The fall of Jerusalem foreshadows the end of the world, which will come later (vv 24–27). Today, we need to focus on the calling we have as Christ’s Church: Gospel proclamation and outreach (cf Mt 28:18–20). God has created this time before the second appearing of Jesus so that we may come to faith and call others to faith and salvation. • “My Savior paid the debt I owe And for my sin was smitten; Within the Book of Life I know My name has now been written. I will not doubt, for I am free, And Satan cannot threaten me; There is no condemnation!” Amen. (LSB 508:5)
13:32–37 In contrast to the fall of Jerusalem (vv 5–23), which will happen within a generation, no one knows the day when Jesus will return to judge the world (vv 24–27). Jesus exhorts us to vigilance and encourages us to use the available time wisely, proclaiming the Gospel for the salvation of others. Jesus promises to be with us always and has poured out on us His Holy Spirit for the work of evangelizing the nations. • “The world is very evil, The times are waxing late; Be sober and keep vigil, The Judge is at the gate; The Judge that comes in mercy, The Judge that comes with might, To terminate the evil, To diadem the right.” Amen. (TLH 605:1)
14:1–2 The Jewish leaders desperately try to find a way to execute Jesus quickly and quietly before He gains full support for His mission. Yet, God is at work in this, using even the opposition of His enemies for His gracious purposes. The Lord is likewise at work in the events of our lives today, bringing about good even amid suffering. Pray for His aid and comfort while trusting He has a plan for you. How joyful to know His plan of salvation in Jesus, who has taken away all our sins. • Sustain us, dearest Jesus, for You are the bread of life we celebrate, our life and hope to come. Amen.
14:3–9 A woman anoints Jesus for His burial, sacrificing expensive ointment out of love for Him. The woman’s clear focus on Jesus testifies to her devotion toward Him. Her sacrifice reveals her deep love for Him and sets a wonderful example for later Christians. Today, devote yourself to Jesus by prayer and service. He now stands at the Father’s throne, praying for you, serving as your Savior. • “I’ll think upon Thy mercy without ceasing, That earth’s vain joys to me no more be pleasing; To do Thy will shall be my sole endeavor Henceforth forever.” Amen. (LSB 439:12)
14:10–11 Judas, one of the Twelve whom Jesus appointed, decides to betray Him to the authorities. Even Judas’s betrayal of Jesus plays an important role in the plan of salvation, culminating in the cross and empty tomb. Simple association with Christians or a knowledge of Christ cannot save. Only faith in Jesus as Savior rescues from sin and death. • My sinful heart would betray You, dear Lord, and arrest my faith. Deliver me from evil by Your grace. Amen.
14:12–21 Jesus arranged for the Passover to be eaten at a secret location in Jerusalem. Opposition to the Gospel comes from Satan, the world, and even from within the ranks of Jesus’ followers. God uses these enemies to accomplish His plan of salvation at the cross. The sacrifice of the Passover lamb would foreshadow the sacrifice of our beloved Redeemer for us. • “A Lamb goes uncomplaining forth, The guilt of sinners bearing And, laden with the sins of earth, None else the burden sharing; Goes patient on, grows weak and faint, To slaughter led without complaint, That spotless life to offer.” Amen. (LSB 438:1)
14:22–25 Jesus establishes the Lord’s Supper, giving communicants His true body and blood for the forgiveness of sins under the bread and wine. Because of our sin, we could not have fellowship with God. However, Jesus creates a new relationship between God and sinners through His suffering and death on the cross. By His blood, He seals His testament of peace and forgiveness, which we receive in this Sacrament. • “O Lord, we praise Thee, bless Thee, and adore Thee, In thanksgiving bow before Thee. Thou with Thy body and Thy blood didst nourish Our weak souls that they may flourish: O Lord, have mercy! May Thy body, Lord, born of Mary, That our sins and sorrows did carry, And Thy blood for us plead In all trial, fear, and need: O Lord, have mercy!” Amen. (LSB 617:1)
14:26–31 Jesus fulfills the Scripture that promises the forgiveness of sins through the sacrifice of the Shepherd, even though all His sheep desert Him. Good intentions do not substitute for faith. Only through God’s strength can any Christian face trial. Even though Jesus’ sheep will run away, He will lay down His life for them. • Faithful Shepherd, keep me close this day and always. Amen.
14:32–42 On the eve of His Passion, Jesus prays in agony, yet He concludes by praying that the Father’s will be done. The disciples fall asleep while praying, faithless in the critical hour. Spiritual sleepiness steals over us too when we need to watch and pray. But our Savior is ever vigilant and interceding on our behalf, that the Lord might answer our prayers in mercy. • Faithful High Priest, intercede for us at Your Father’s throne, that He may pardon and bless us for Your sake. Amen.
14:43–50 Representatives of the Jewish ruling Council arrest Jesus, apprehending Him at night outside the city to avoid causing a riot among His supporters. God’s plan of salvation moves forward, using the “success” of these enemies to move closer to the cross for the sake of our salvation. • “O wondrous Love, what have You done! The Father offers up His Son, Desiring our salvation. O Love, how strong You are to save! You lay the One into the grave Who built the earth’s foundation.” Amen. (LSB 438:3)
14:51–52 Jesus is abandoned by His disciples, including a young man (possibly Mark) who has witnessed the arrest. We cannot count on our own courage or strength in the face of Satan and his forces. Jesus accomplishes the plan of salvation without aid from any human ally. • Stand with me, Jesus, and grant me courage to withstand all temptations by which I might depart from Your good way. Amen.
14:53–65 The Jewish ruling Council convicts Jesus of blasphemy for claiming to be the messianic King. Even though all of Jesus’ supporters have abandoned Him, He stands ready to bear the sins of the world. God uses the plans and plots of His enemies to accomplish our salvation. • “Jesus, I will ponder now On Your holy passion; With Your Spirit me endow For such meditation. Grant that I in love and faith May the image cherish Of Your suff’ring, pain, and death That I may not perish.” Amen. (LSB 440:1)
14:66–72 While Jesus stands firm before Caiaphas, on trial for His life, Peter three times denies knowing Jesus. Fear leads us to do things we later regret. Only God can give us the courage to face difficult situations, especially persecution. Not only did Jesus later forgive Peter, but He also even reinstated this apostle to his office (cf Jn 21:15–19). Therefore, be comforted because your Lord will likewise be merciful toward you. • “What punishment so strange is suffered yonder! The Shepherd dies for sheep that loved to wander; The Master pays the debt His servants owe Him, Who would not know Him.” Amen. (LSB 439:4)
15:1–5 The Jewish leaders bring Jesus to Pilate, hoping to get a death penalty conviction from him. The world does not understand the kingdom of God, where God rules by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, nor does the world understand its King. Jesus endures His trial silently, without making a legal defense. He willingly goes to the cross for us. • “O mighty King, no time can dim Thy glory! How shall I spread abroad Thy wondrous story? How shall I find some worthy gifts to proffer? What dare I offer?” Amen. (LSB 439:8)
15:6–15 Despite knowing that Jesus is innocent, Pilate condemns Him to death by crucifixion under pressure from the Jewish leadership and the crowds. Even though Pilate wants to release Jesus, he sentences Him to death to keep himself out of trouble. Often, Christians face similar temptations to act contrary to God’s Word and will for their own safety. We can pray that the Lord would grant us courage to trust His will and share His will. He has promised to give us His Holy Spirit to strengthen us for every challenge. • “I’ll think upon Thy mercy without ceasing, That earth’s vain joys to me no more be pleasing; To do Thy will shall be my sole endeavor Henceforth forever.” Amen. (LSB 439:12)
15:16–20 Roman soldiers mock Jesus as the King of the Jews, inflicting terrible physical and emotional pain. Paying for the sin of the world was costly. Jesus’ tremendous love for us kept Him on course to the cross. • “Whence come these sorrows, whence this mortal anguish? It is my sins for which Thou, Lord, must languish; Yea, all the wrath, the woe, Thou dost inherit, This I do merit.” Amen. (LSB 439:3)
15:21–32 Jesus is crucified, bearing the punishment for the sins of the world. This is what it costs to atone for sins. At any time, Jesus can halt the proceedings, save Himself, and condemn His enemies. His love for us and His obedience to the Father lead Him to make this sacrifice instead. • “The sinless Son of God must die in sadness; The sinful child of man may live in gladness; Man forfeited his life and is acquitted; God is committed.” Amen. (LSB 439:5)
15:33–41 Jesus pays for the sins of the world on the cross, opening the way to God through faith in Him. As God and man in one person, He dies under the curse of the Law (Gal 3:13–14). The penalty for sin is death (cf Rm 6:23a). Jesus pays that penalty for us all (cf Rm 6:23b). • “What language shall I borrow To thank Thee, dearest Friend, For this Thy dying sorrow, Thy pity without end? O make me Thine forever! And should I fainting be, Lord, let me never, never, Outlive my love for Thee.” Amen. (LSB 450:5)
15:42–47 Friends bury the body of Jesus quickly. The approaching Sabbath Day was holy to the Lord, and no work could be done (Ex 20:8–11). Even in the tomb, death does not conquer Jesus—His body does not decay (cf Ac 2:31). Jesus completes His mission with this last step in His state of humiliation. He has fully paid for the sins of the entire world! • Grant me patience, dearest Jesus, to bear the reproaches of those who do not know and confess the blessings of Your death and resurrection. Give me boldness to confess You before the world. Amen.