Our testimony

“Before all this happens, however, they will seize and persecute you, they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons, and they will have you led before kings and governors because of my name. It will lead to your giving testimony.”

Thank you for joining us this Sunday as we testify to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

After a long, nearly three-year journey across Israel and Samaria, preaching the gospel, proclaiming the kingdom, teaching the apostles and disciples, Jesus arrives in Jerusalem. He preaches in the temple precincts with the same message, these times tinged with the exigency of His coming arrest, suffering, death, and resurrection.

As Jesus teaches, people are commenting on the magnificence of the Temple. Indeed, it was the place to be, the place to meet God. We might speed by this comment about the way the Temple was adorned, but we should not set aside its overwhelming presence. Even from afar you could see it towering over Jerusalem. Its walls magnificent white with large gold plates. Sparking jewels and offerings on its walls. This – and it was still under construction. Indeed, it would not be completed until 63 A.D., seven years before it is destroyed completely by the Roman army.

Jesus tells of the Temple’s coming destruction. Now, when someone predicts something like this, especially involving something so magnificent and meaningful in the lives of the people who fill and journey to this holy city, we all want to know more, and the disciples take up our curiosity and ask: “Teacher, when will this happen?”

Certainly, our minds cannot help to think of what is to come. But, in the Gospels Jesus stresses something different no matter how much people persist in their inquiries about the end and His return.

In our own day there are those prophets of doom who say they represent Jesus (really only a shadow of Who Jesus is) and tell us the end is neigh. Our own flights of fancy go from Jesus’ return out of the rising sun in the East with trumpet blast and astride a white steed followed by all who had previously fallen asleep and the heavenly host of angels. Then we start thinking of ourselves, will I be a sheep or a goat?

Yes, there were those time I fed and clothed, visited, but then again, there were times I hoarded, fought, over-ate, and ignored. And we get a little worried – we should because it keeps us honest in our weekly confession. 

Jesus warns us today – do not get caught up in all that end-times stuff. If we truly are to be His disciples and Kingdom dwellers, then we have far more important work to do. There will be bad times; people will disappoint and betray us; storms, earthquakes, and other awful stuff will happen – and through it all, no matter what, we are to testify, to proclaim Jesus and His Kingdom because only His overwhelming presence matters, frees, and makes those who believe ever secure.


If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Throughout this Lent we are delving into the problem of sin and are using our study to set strategies that move us from hard-hearted self-centeredness and spiritual shortcoming to a life deep in line with the life of Jesus. Walking through the seven deadly sins and their antidote, the seven contrary virtues, we find what is required of us. In doing what is required we grow stronger. Having grown stronger, we will walk out of Lent armed with God’s grace and we will overcome!

We have covered pride and envy. Today we will focus on gluttony and lust, two closely related deadly sins. Both have to do with inordinate desire – for more than we require and for the pleasures of the body.

Look at our world right now, right here, locally. Gluttony and lust have taken hold – just look at the paper products, hand sanitizer, or the bread aisle in stores. We need to practice the contrary virtues of abstinence and chastity, a self-denial that raises Christ above all things. Putting Jesus first and trusting in Him shows the world where our great love lives.

Jesus encounters the Samaritan woman at a well. Through their talk Jesus draws out her confession. He presents her with the chance for living water – His baptism, word, and forgiveness. She is shocked, for Jesus tells her everything she had done. Those tough sins of gluttony and lust that had controlled her life were laid bare. Her encounter with Jesus bore fruit, for people came to encounter Jesus through her testimony – and they evolved in their faith. Now, no longer reliant on her word alone, they came to know Jesus personally and to personally experience His living water.

Now is the time to witness. It must not be a witness of sin, but of virtue. We need to show our reliance on and faith in God, the truth of His word, sacraments, and His living water. We need to offer His living water to a scared and sinful world. We need to be truthful, that we are not in control. We can and should take steps, but none of that puts us in charge. God is in control regardless of whether we see it or not. We need to pray for non-believers around the world. Pray that in this time they be protected and that they come to know Jesus’ living water by our faith witness. Fear and worry are not the mark of a true Christian. Instead, let us have a faith that conquers worry and a peace beyond understanding. If Lent is about living our faith more truly, then this is the test. Now is the time to get it right and to be right with God. Like the Samaritan woman, let us hear His voice and open our hearts, let us tell of our encounter with the living water, for that will lead others to Jesus, and in the end, will be what saves us.