Thursday of the Week of Pentecost

Today's Reading: Joel 3:1-5

Daily Lectionary: Numbers 24:1-25; Luke 23:1-25

For behold, in those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem. (Joel 3:1)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Just before Jesus' ascension, He was teaching His disciples when they asked, "Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" (Acts 1:6) Jesus was the Messiah, they reasoned. And that meant a kingdom, power, and glory. The Messiah was supposed to kick out the Romans, establish David's throne, and make Israel great again!

But who are we to point fingers? After all, we're no different than the disciples. We look for God's kingdom in all the wrong places: in our opinions, thoughts, feelings, and our good works. We like to be kings and queens of our own little kingdoms, seeking after popularity and pleasure. Like the disciples, we set our minds on the things of men, not the things of God.

And like the disciples, King Jesus must reveal His Kingdom to us, just as we pray in the Lord's Prayer: "Thy Kingdom come," and not "My kingdom come." The Lord sent the prophet Joel to speak His promise of restoration in Jesus' death and resurrection. Ten days after Jesus' ascension, the Lord sent the disciples and apostles to Jerusalem to speak of the restoration accomplished in Jesus' death and resurrection.

That's where the promised Kingdom of God is found: in Jesus crucified for you; in Jesus' resurrection for you; in Jesus' ascension for you; in Jesus' Word spoken to you; in Holy Baptism that brings you into His Kingdom; in the Lord's Supper where you feast at the King's table with His Body and Blood; in the Absolution where you hear the King's decree: You are forgiven all your sin!

The kingdom, power, and the glory of Jesus are found on the cross and the empty tomb, in His Word, water, Body and Blood for you, for that is where He restores, heals, and saves us. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

Your kingdom come. Guard Your domain And Your eternal righteous reign. The Holy Ghost enrich our day With gifts attendant on our way. Break Satan's pow'r, defeat his rage; Preserve Your church from age to age. (Our Father, Who from Heaven Above, LSB 766:3)

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