Luke 4:16-30

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Luke 4:16-30

16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. 17 And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.

       He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,

19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

20 And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” 22 And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth. And they said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?” 23 And he said to them, “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.’” 24 And he said, “Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown. 25 But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens were shut up three years and six months, and a great famine came over all the land, 26 and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. 27 And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.” 28 When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. 29 And they rose up and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff. 30 But passing through their midst, he went away.

Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Dear saints, the Gospel is offensive. Yes, you heard me right – the Gospel is offensive. The Gospel is the Good News; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes. But it is offensive in two different ways. Follow with me on this:

Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the wolrdThe Gospel says that Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. In other words, there is not one person for whom Christ did not die. His crucifixion appeases the wrath of God for all sin of all time. But imagine walking up to a total, complete stranger at the grocery store and telling them, “You are forgiven.” Now, some of them might be Christians and say, “Praise God!” Be I bet that most people and even some Christians would say something like, “Forgiven for what? I haven’t done anything wrong.” For someone who does not have a sense of their sin and guilt, the Gospel is offensive. This is the first way that the Gospel is offensive; it is out of an ignorance of sin and guilt.

The second way that the Gospel is offensive is the exact opposite – for people who have an ignorance of their own righteousness. This is the one that I think is most applicable to you, here. I say that because it is most applicable to me too. It is easy to start comparing ourselves to others – especially as Christians. Sure, we know that we have sinned, but we’ve gotten much better. We have improved. We aren’t as sinful as we were ten years ago, five years ago, last month. Yes, we still sin, but we’re not as bad as the drunks, the abortionists, the terrorists, the adulterers, and the homosexuals. They are the ones who are really sinful. They need to hear a Law-filled sermon and repent of their wicked ways.

But then, we see Jesus giving the Gospel to exactly those people. In fact, those are the very people Jesus is hanging out with in the Gospels. You see, Jesus didn’t come to help those who are basically good and just needed a little help. He came for poor, miserable sinners. He came to those who are captive to their evil lusts, desires, and actions. He came to give sight to those who are blind to any goodness within themselves. He came to release the oppressed slaves of sin.

This is what our Gospel Lesson, which is Jesus’ first sermon, is about. Jesus has come to Nazareth, His hometown. Anointed by the Holy Spirit in His baptism, tempted by the devil in the wilderness, and having manifested His glory at a wedding in Cana, now, here He is. In His synagogue, the place where He had heard the Word of God proclaimed. Now, it is His turn.

He is handed the scroll of Isaiah. He finds the place and reads, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

The people hear those gracious words and wait with bated breath for Jesus to begin preaching. They can’t take their eyes off of Him. Jesus opens His mouth again and says, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

Now, the people’s response in v. 22 is difficult to decide how to translate. The phrase that gets translated ‘spoke well of Him’ is not necessarily meant to be taken in a positive way. It is actually a very neutral phrase. The phrase is simply ’witnessed Him’ (the Greek is the word ‘martyr’ which means ‘witness’). Some places it does mean ’to speak well of,’ (Jn. 1:34; Ro. 10:2), but other places it means ’to witness against’ (Mt. 23:31; Jn. 7:7; Js. 5:3). So there is a possibility that the people were witnessing against Jesus’ gracious words.

But, there is another option. It could also be that they were speaking well of the gracious words Jesus was preaching. But they were really upset about the not-so-gracious words Jesus didn’t speak. You see, Jesus left something out of His reading in Isaiah. The portion of Isaiah that Jesus read is, mostly, from Is. 61:1-2 (He does throw a line from Is. 58:6). But Jesus doesn’t read the line from Is. 61:2 that says He has come to proclaim “the day of vengeance of our God.”

So the text leaves us with two options: Either A – The people were upset right away that Jesus is saying that the text from Isaiah is fulfilled as He read the text. Or B (the option I’m going with)– The people loved hearing about the poor hearing good news, the liberty for the captives, the recovery of sight to the blind, etc. But when they realized that their Homeboy wasn’t proclaiming anything about God’s vengeance on their enemies, they got upset.

But either way, you can hear the people whispering and murmuring to each other: “Hey, wait. Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” “Yeah, He’s the one who made my coffee table.” “He made my made my custom cabinets.” “How could the son of a carpenter be saying this?” “Sure, these words are gracious, but who does He think He is, changing Scripture to skip the line about the destruction of the wicked?”

Brothers and sisters, here lies our danger. We cannot be too eager for the destruction of the wicked. Because of our sin, we deserve the same destruction. Without the Gospel, we too are destroyed. We can get too presumptuous and think that we have moved on past our need of the Gospel. When we start to neglect hearing the Gospel, we are in great danger because we do not know when the Gospel will no longer be proclaimed to us.

The Gospel is the Good News of the forgiveness of sin and is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes. You could take Hitler, Osama bin Laden, and a serial rapist and roll them all into one person and Jesus still died for that person’s sin. Because of the cross, all their sins are forgiven. And for any scumbag who believes that Jesus’ death forgives them of their sins, that faith is counted by God as their righteousness. That is the Gospel. We don’t like to hear that. But Jesus says, “There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents that over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance” (Lk. 15:7).

The people of Nazareth didn’t like the fact that Jesus doesn’t speak about God’s vengeance on sinners. So, Jesus’ sermon takes a turn. He stops preaching the Gospel completely because the people are already rejecting those words of grace. And Jesus goes all Law. He says to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘Physician, heal yourself.’” And, that is basically what the people say while Jesus hangs on the cross in Lk. 23:39, “He saved others; He cannot save Himself. If He is the King of Israel, let Him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in Him.”

In other words, Jesus is saying, “You are going to demand that I do some miracle before you believe that what I’m telling you is true. You aren’t going to get one. You have to believe My word. Remember the days of Elijah? Many widows were in Israel. But because Israel had rejected God’s word, Elijah wasn’t sent to any of them but only to heathen widow from Sidon, Israel’s enemy. Also, there were many lepers in Israel during Elisha’s day, but they too rejected God’s word. So Elisha didn’t heal any of them. He only healed an officer of the enemy army – Naaman the Syrian.”

This, of course, sets the people off. They are filled with wrath. And they are ready to kill the Preacher of Good News by throwing Him off a cliff. But that death was not the way that God would take away their sin.  So Jesus simply passes through that murderous crowd and walks away.

And even in this, we see the grace of Jesus. There was a more torturous death that Jesus didn’t walk away from. Passion of Christ on the CrossAs the nails pierced His hands and feet, Jesus prayed for those who were killing Him, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” (Lk. 23:34). Jesus was there on that cross dying for the sins of those who were crucifying Him. He was dying for the sins of these people in Nazareth who rejected Him and tried to kill Him. And He was dying for your sins as well.

Brothers and sisters, the Gospel that Jesus preaches is offensive, but it is true. He has died for your sins. Jesus’ ministry is all grace. He has been anointed with God’s Spirit to minister to the poor, the captive, the blind, the oppressed. He has come to bring God’s favor not to the righteous, but to sinners – to you. Amen.

The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

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John 2:1-11 – They Have No Wine

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John 2:1–11

1 On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2 Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. 3 When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” 4 And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” 5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Water into Wine Jesus Christ6 Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. 7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. 9 When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom 10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” 11 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.

Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Our Gospel text begins with four words that should send a thrill up your spine, “On the third day.” John could have written, ‘a couple days later,’ or ‘Tuesday,’ or any other indication of time. But John, inspired by the Holy Spirit, wrote, “On the third day.” John wants us to see the connection between Jesus’ first sign and the resurrection because they are linked.

For the first time, Jesus manifests His glory to His disciples ‘on the third day’ at a wedding because Jesus came to end divorce. The divorce between men and women, between body and soul, between God and man. Jesus makes you, the Church of redeemed sinners, to be His holy bride without wrinkle or blemish. This miracle at a wedding feast shows that Jesus comes to reunite you with God as you were meant to be, in harmony and peace with yourself, your neighbor, and with God.

This is Jesus’ first sign. While this is the first miracle of Jesus chronologically, it is also the first sign because it is the primary sign. Jesus turning water into wine defines all the other signs of His ministry because it is an act of pure grace.

To see this, let’s get this miracle set up in its context: Jesus has been baptized. He has been in the wilderness for forty days being tempted by the devil, but not falling into any sin. Then, Jesus returns to inhabited society. Jesus has called five of His disciples. Three days later, Jesus, His disciples, and His mother are all invited to a wedding. At that wedding feast, the wine runs out.

Ask yourself, is this really a big deal? Sure, it was probably embarrassing for the new husband and wife. It was probably very upsetting for their bottle-chugging uncle, Chuck. But does it go any farther than that? The world is full of people who are sick, lame, blind, and deaf. Lepers are everywhere. So many people are cruelly possessed by demons. There are wicked rulers and wars. All these things are more important in the grand scheme of things. But here comes Mary, the mother of our Lord, and she says, “They have no wine.”

Child WhiningReally, Mary? You are bringing the Son of God into this situation, and you’re doing it like this? Mary, you sound like a whiny child. Parents, you know what I’m talking about. Your kid lethargically walks up to you and says in their whiney little voice, “There’s nothing to eat.” You know that they are in a very ungrateful, impolite way they are asking you for food. It is very easy to get upset when our children approach us like this. I get upset. But notice the faith of your children in this. They feel a need, and where do they go? They go to you. They know that you provide food and so they present their need to you trusting that you will translate their statement into a request. And lovingly or, maybe, not so lovingly, you give them what they haven’t asked for simply because you are gracious.

Mary comes to Jesus, not asking for anything, but simply making a statement, “They have no wine.” And Jesus responds with a phrase that is really difficult to translate. Literally, He says, “Woman, what to you and to Me?” Our translation mostly gets it – but it leaves Mary out of Jesus’ statement. Maybe, to get the sense a little better we should understand Jesus as asking, “Woman, why should we be bothered about this?”

There are all sorts of reasons for Jesus to do nothing. First, He hasn’t been asked to do anything; He’s only been rudely told that the wine, which isn’t necessary, has run out. But, secondly and even more shocking, is what we hear from the master of the feast. In v. 10 after the master tastes the water that Jesus made into wine, he tells the groom, “Hey, there has been a mistake here. This is the top-shelf wine. This stuff tastes way better than the swill you have been serving up until now. You are supposed to serve this good stuff first. Then, when the people have become intoxicated,” (not ‘drunk freely’ [every other place where this word is used in Scripture Lk. 12:45; Eph 5:18; 1 Th. 5:7; Rev. 17:2 and in ancient Greek literature it means ‘drunk, intoxicated’]), “then serve the cheap stuff because their numbed brains and taste buds won’t be able to tell the difference.”

This is the scene that the text paints for us. Jesus is at a wedding reception where at least some of the people are sloshed. It’s scandalous! This is the type of behavior of Jesus that led the Pharisees to their grumbling accusation in Lk. 15:2, “This Man receives sinners and eats with them.” And what does Jesus do for these sinful people? He gives them 120-180 more gallons of good wine.

Now don’t walk out on me because I know what you are thinking. “Pastor, are you saying that Jesus gives wine to drunks.” Yup, but it’s not me saying it so much as the Bible.

“Pastor, are you saying that Jesus gives not only more wine but better-tasting wine to people who can’t appreciate it because they are three sheets to the wind?” Yup; it’s what the text says.

“Pastor, this cannot be. Jesus shouldn’t give anything good to such undeserving, ungrateful, sinful people who are only abusing what God gives. Sinners like this need a fire and brimstone sermon.”

You are right. But that is precisely where the Law points its finger at you. Do you really think you are less sinful than the people at this wedding feast? Do you think that you don’t abuse God’s good gifts of grace and mercy? Do you really think that you appreciate and give proper thanks for all that God does for you? Repent.

God doesn’t save you on the condition that you, then, turn into someone worth saving. God always gives more than you ask. God always gives better than you deserve. He never holds back on giving what is right and good to you. Even though you take God’s free gifts of forgiveness, mercy, and grace and abuse them and do not appreciate them, He still gives His forgiveness, mercy, and grace freely and recklessly.

images (1)This most clearly seen on the cross. To the lost, rebellious, drunk-with-sin, unthankful human race, Jesus gives what is most precious and what should make all our hearts burst with gladness. Jesus gives His very blood and His perfect obedience to the Father.

Jesus knows we will be too numb to appreciate it like we should. Jesus knows that we will abuse this great and unfathomable gift. But He gives it nonetheless. Because of Jesus, God showers His gifts of love – not because you are worthy or will respond rightly, but because He is generous and loving to you. And because His works toward you are always, always pure and unmerited grace. Amen.

The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Luke 2:40-52 – Among the Things of His Father

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Luke 2:40-52

40 And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him.

41 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. 42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. 43 And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, 44 but supposing him to be in the group they went a day’s journey, but then they began to search for him among their relatives and acquaintances, 45 and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for him. Jesus in the Temple Twelve46 After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 And when his parents saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.” 49 And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” 50 And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them. 51 And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.

Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

I would guess that a perfectly obedient child is easy to neglect. I don’t know personally, but I guess. They assume He is with them.

This text leaves all sorts of questions about everything Jesus did during those three days unanswered. What did He eat? Where did He sleep? How was He kept safe? What about His parents? Mary and Joseph had no way to get hold of Him. They can’t text Him to see where He is. They cannot put out an Amber Alert for others to look for Him. They have to go back, but even going back has risks. If they start back and He leaves the city, what happens if they miss Him on the road? What if He decides to hole up somewhere along the way?

Joseph and Mary have failed as parents. They are feeling the burning shame of leaving a twelve-year-old alone for three days in the big city. When they finally do find Him, there in the Temple, Mary takes all of those feelings of shame, pain, and grief and speaks harshly to Jesus. It is His fault. Why is Jesus treating them so? He should have stayed with His parents, right?

Repent.

Our anxiety and guilt transform us into something nasty. We choose to feel the way we feel. Our reactions are under our control and no one else’s. Even if we are provoked, that is no excuse. AngerNo one makes us angry. Rather, we give in to our anger and let it have the best of us. In our fight or flight instinct, we usually choose to fight, and we blame others for our overreactions.

Yes, there are times when we are victims, but we add to the hurt. We hurt ourselves with bad responses to bad behavior. There is no excuse, nowhere to point the finger of blame, for our anger, gossip, or worry but to our own sinful selves.

Mary did a bad thing – she neglected her Son. But she made it worse by blaming Him. “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.”

Jesus rebukes her, but He is gentle. “Why were you looking for Me?” In other words, “Why did I get lost? Whose responsibility was it to watch over Me? What went wrong?” But then He continues to correct Mary’s heated accusation. “Did you not know that I must be in My Father’s house?” Joseph was not His father. Jesus had been safely tucked away there in the Temple.

Now, every English Bible fails at Jesus’ words which get translated, “Did you not know that I must be in My Father’s house?” Luke doesn’t use either the word must or the word house. The most literal way to translate Jesus’ words is, “Did you not know that it is necessary for Me to be among My Father’s things?”

Whenever you hear this text, remember this. Jesus doesn’t say, “I must be.” He says, “It is necessary.” Those important words, “It is necessary,” indicate that Jesus is fulfilling prophecy. Jesus will use the same words later to say that it is necessary for Him to be betrayed, beaten, and be crucified. It is necessary for Him to suffer and die. It is necessary for Mary, for you, for me.

The other problem is when our translations speak of the Father’s house. There is nothing in Jesus’ words here that carries the idea of Him being in the Father’s house. It is not necessary for Jesus to be in the location of a particular building that was His Father’s. Instead, Jesus says that it is necessary to be among His Father’s things. The things like the lampstand, the altar of incense, the altar of burnt offerings, and all of that stuff of sacrifice. Jesus is in the midst of the stuff that makes God’s people clean through blood. Jesus is among the stuff that reconciles the people to God. The whole purpose of the Temple was to give God’s people safe access to Him. God didn’t need the Temple, we do.

Jesus is among the things of His Father because Jesus is the Thing of His Father. He is the Thing that makes mankind clean and reconciles all sinners back to God. On the cross, Jesus is there at the altar making the one-time blood payment for your sin. He is there as both the Priest and the Victim.

Luke gives an important clue to foreshadow all of this: Joseph and Mary find Jesus on the third day. This does foreshadow the Resurrection, but it also tells you where to find Jesus. You live in the third day. You live in the time of the Resurrection.

So where is Jesus today? He is still there among His Father’s things. We sinners tore down the Temple – which is Jesus’ own body. And Jesus rebuilt that Temple again on the third day. You see Jesus is where God has promised to dwell and abide with you. Jesus is where you have access to the Father.

Cross and CommunionSo, here He is. Present in His Body and Blood. Here He is in His holy Word. Here He is among you, His purchased, chosen, elect people. He is in the preaching of His Gospel and in the Absolution. Here is where Jesus is and remains for you.

Jesus welcomes Joseph and Mary back into His fold, and He welcomes you.

Your sins do not and can not stop His love. Jesus is faithful to the end. His mercy endures forever. Treasure these things up in your heart. And be fed, be forgiven, be here. Amen.[1]

The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

[1] I am thankful to a sermon by Rev. David H. Petersen as inspiration for this sermon.

For Thirty-Four Years, I Am Baptized

Thirty-four years ago today, my parents did the best thing they could do for me. They brought my sinful, not-so-little infant body to the waters of Baptism. And they didn’t stop there. They, then, did the second best thing they could do for me (and the thing that I am learning is constantly difficult) – they continually catechized me in the Word of God.

In those waters of baptism, God joined me to the death and resurrection of Jesus (Ro. 6:3-5).

Baptism 2In those waters of my baptism, the all-consuming Flood of God condemned all that was unbelieving in me while God safely placed me in the ark of His catholic Church.

In those waters of my baptism, God led me out of slavery to sin and drowned all the evil that pursued me. Yet, I went safely through the waters.

In those waters of my baptism, God led me into His Promised Land.

In those waters of my baptism, God sent His appointed messenger, not with a burning coal to touch my lips, but with a few handfuls of water to splash on my forehead.

In those waters of my baptism, the Holy Spirit descended upon Me, and God said, “You are my beloved son.”

None of this was my own doing. It was God’s. He washed. He condemned. He delivered. He absolved. He chose. He elected. He predestined.

I was passive through it all. Check that. I was kicking and screaming and resisting.

Like Naaman, I and others often scoff at the idea that water could cleanse me of my leprosy of sin (1 Kgs. 5:1-14). However, the Scriptures repeatedly promise that it wasn’t simply water. It is water with a promise. A promise of God. God said it. Baptism saves me (1 Pe. 3:21). I can’t change it – and neither can God. His promises are sure, certain, and unchangeable.

Cross and CommunionThe best part of all of this: today, God is going to continue to make promises to me. God is going to feed me with His Body and Blood. The resurrected Body and Blood of Jesus will be placed in my mouth so I know my sins are forgiven and also that I too, like Jesus, will rise again on the Last Day.

Exodus 15:1b-18 is now my song as it is the song of all the baptized:

1 “I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously;

the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea.

2 The Lord is my strength and my song,

and he has become my salvation;

this is my God, and I will praise him,

my father’s God, and I will exalt him.

3 The Lord is a man of war;

the Lord is his name.

4 “Pharaoh’s chariots and his host he cast into the sea,

and his chosen officers were sunk in the Red Sea.

5 The floods covered them;

they went down into the depths like a stone.

6 Your right hand, O Lord, glorious in power,

your right hand, O Lord, shatters the enemy.

7 In the greatness of your majesty you overthrow your adversaries;

you send out your fury; it consumes them like stubble.

8 At the blast of your nostrils the waters piled up;

the floods stood up in a heap;

the deeps congealed in the heart of the sea.

9 The enemy said, ‘I will pursue, I will overtake,

I will divide the spoil, my desire shall have its fill of them.

I will draw my sword; my hand shall destroy them.’

10 You blew with your wind; the sea covered them;

they sank like lead in the mighty waters.

11 “Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods?

Who is like you, majestic in holiness,

awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?

12 You stretched out your right hand;

the earth swallowed them.

13 “You have led in your steadfast love the people whom you have redeemed;

you have guided them by your strength to your holy abode.

14 The peoples have heard; they tremble;

pangs have seized the inhabitants of Philistia.

15 Now are the chiefs of Edom dismayed;

trembling seizes the leaders of Moab;

all the inhabitants of Canaan have melted away.

16 Terror and dread fall upon them;

because of the greatness of your arm, they are still as a stone,

till your people, O Lord, pass by,

till the people pass by whom you have purchased.

17 You will bring them in and plant them on your own mountain,

the place, O Lord, which you have made for your abode,

the sanctuary, O Lord, which your hands have established.

18 The Lord will reign forever and ever.”

Thirty-four years now, I am baptized. And for that, I praise God.