Lent 2018
                                     Jesus is the Good Shepherd Who Shepherds His Flock
                                             by His Passion through the Rod and Staff of
                                                             His Word and Sacraments.
                                                                         Lent 2018.

     During the season of Lent this year, Concordia will be meditating on Psalm 23. Psalm 23 is Messianic Psalm that teaches us about the Person and Work of Christ to save men from their sins and give life eternal. Psalm 23 famously begins, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” v. 1. The Hebrew were for “wanting” or “lacking” (chasar) used in Psalm 23:1 is the same word used in Psalm 8:5 do describe Christ’s Passion: “What is man, that thou art mindful of him? And the Son of Man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast [caused Him to lack {want of} God for a little while].” Christ lacked God because He bore the guilt of all men. He successfully Atoned for the sins of all men because He was only forsaken “for a little while”, in other words, the eternities of suffering for all men came to an end. Anything short of eternity is a “little while”.
     Christ not only wiped clean of sin men’s slates, but He also filled up their slates with good works forever pleasing to God because He walked in the paths of righteousness for all men. “He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” v. 3. Hence, the righteousness of faith is truly the righteousness of God because God stakes His Good Name on it. Christ bestows this blessed work of His Passion upon men through His Word and Sacraments.
      Christ shepherds His Church the Rod and Staff of His Word and Sacraments.  “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” v. 4. Christ’s Gracious Rod and Staff are His Word and Sacraments through which He rules men Graciously with the Absolution of all their sins. “In the ‘rod and staff’ we can see God’s Word and Sacraments, by which God supplies His believers with fortitude and stamina for the worst perils of their heavenward way.”1

     Because Christ our Good Shepherd shepherds men through His Grace of the Forgivness of sins, men are delivered from death and ushered into life eternal. David writes:

                                                                                                 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the day sof my life:
                                                                                                          and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. (v. 6)
Christ Our Good Shepherd Shepherds and Saves by His Rod and Staff, namely, His Word and Sacraments.
The Festival of Ash Wednesday:  The Focus of God is Mercy Toward Sinners for Christ’s Sake.

Vespers I: 
Christ Our Good Shepherd Lacked God so Men would Never Lack Anything.

Vespers II:  Christ Our Good Shepherd Restores the Souls of Men by Fulfilling All Righteousness for Them.

Vespers III: 
Christ Our Good Shepherd Shepherds and Saves by His Rod and Staff, namely, His Word and Sacraments.

Vespers IV: 
“Christ, Our Good Shepherd, Provides Richly for His Flock, the Church, through the Gospel.”