Lent Vespers 2013
Christ's High Priestly Prayer

Christ in the Temple
Heinrich Hofmann

During the Season of Lent, Concordia will be meditating upon Christ's High Priestly Prayer. Christ prayed this prayer on the Eve of His Passion, interceding with the Father that His Work of atoning for the sins of all men on the Cross will glorify God and Himself, the success of which Blessed Work accrues to the benefit of all mankind.
A priest is an officer who intercedes in behalf of sinners before God. The priest can do so because He brings the Satisfaction for sins that Reconcile God to man and also, on the basis of that Satisfaction, God hears the pleas of the priest on behalf of the sinner.
Unlike, however, all other priests, Christ is a priest for Whom no intercession is necessary. No intercession is necessary for Christ because Christ Himself is God and, therefore, Holy and of no need of intercession. The Apostle St. Paul writes: "For such a high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled7, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself."8 
Christ is also an extraordinary priest because while He Himself is the Priest, He is also the Sacrifice to propitiate God. Jesus says: "Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minsiter, and to give his life a ransom for many." St. Matthew 20:28, underscore added. Christ, while our High Priest, is also our Paschal Lamb. The Apostle St. Paul writes: "For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us." I Corinthians 5:7. And so we sing in the Communion hymn: " Offered was He for greatest and for least/ Himself the Victim and Himself the Priest."15 The Lutheran Hymnal, #307, Draw Night and Take the Body of the Lord.
Christ's High Priestly Work in our behalf is given to us in His Word and Sacraments. The Apostle St. Paul writes: "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ." Galatians 3:26-27. Through putting on the Work of Christ in Holy Baptism, we gain salvation and life eternal. I Peter 3:21, Romans 6:3-5, Titus 3:4-7.
And Christ is risen from the dead and seated at the Right Hand of God. And He continues at the Right Hand of All Power to intercede for men. The Apostle St. John writes: "My little children, these tings write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." I John 2:1-2. Luther writes: "This is the kind of joy and comfort St. Bernard10 had in his heart, so that he could say, on the basis of this article: 'How can I ever become sad and mournful or discouraged? After all, my flesh and blood sits in heaven above. I expect He will not be my enemy.'" Luther's Works, Vol. 13, p. 245.
And through this Blessed High Priestly Work of Christ God gives to men life eternal. Jesus prays in His High Priestly prayer: "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." St. John 17:3.

The Festival of Ash Wednesday (Observed)
17 February 2013
Christians Store up Eternal Treasures in Heaven through God's Word and Sacraments, the Gospel.

Lent Vespers 1
24 February 2013
God's Glory is the Cross of Christ because the Cross is His Mercy toward Fallen Men to Give Life Eternal.

Lent Vespers 2
3 March 2013
The Gospel Restores the Image of God in Men and, thereby, Saves and Gives Life Eternal.

Lent Vespers 3
10 March 2013
The Gospel Saves because the Gospel is
God's Truth of Absolution.

Lent Vespers 4
17 March 2013
Christ Prays for the Eternal Well-Being of the Church when He Prays for the Success of the Gospel.

The Festival of Maundy Thursday
28 March 2013
God's Last Will and Testament of the Gospel Bequeaths to Men Absolution of Sin and Life Eternal.

The Festival of Good Friday
29 March 2013
God's Death on the Cross Converts Death to Mere Sleep from which Christians will Awaken on the Last Day.