FIFTH SUNDAY in LENT
March 26th, 2023
The Rev. Joshua Heimbuck, Pastor
Welcome to all who gathered here to worship this morning, especially to those who have joined us as guests and visitors. May this time of worship make us eager to share the Good News of God’s love and redemption in Christ as we go forth into another week of service to him and one another. Guests and visitors, we are happy to have you join us in worship. Please honor us by signing our Guest Book in the entrance hall of the church as you leave this morning’s worship. Following worship, join us for a cup of coffee, and let us become better acquainted with you as you get to know us better. If you have no church home, we invite you to make Grace Lutheran Church the center of your worship, learning, fellowship, and service. Come to worship with us again and often!
AS WE GATHER
Barabbas was a heartless, brutal criminal with anger in his heart and blood on his hands. Custom dictated that Pontius Pilate should release one prisoner at the feast of Passover. Pilate knows Jesus is innocent and tries to get the crowd to ask for Jesus’ release, but the crowd calls instead for Barabbas. The crowd condemns the innocent Jesus and demands that the guilty Barabbas receive a pardon. We are Barabbas. We are guilty and sinful and deserving of death. But we are also Barabbas in that Jesus takes our place, takes our punishment, and sets us free.
In the name of the Father and of the ☩ Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen
OPENING SENTENCES Psalm 36:5, 7–9
Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens,
Your faithfulness to the clouds.
How precious is Your steadfast love, O God!
The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of Your wings.
They feast on the abundance of Your house,
and You give them drink from the river of Your delights.
For with You is the fountain of life;
in Your light do we see light.
CONFESSION AND ABSOLUTION
Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hidden, cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of Your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love You and worthily magnify Your holy name; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord. Amen
Humble yourselves before God, confess your sins to Him, and implore His forgiveness.
Almighty God, merciful Father, we acknowledge our sinful nature and repent of our sins—those of which we are not aware and those we know full well. We do not love You and other people as we ought. We are often careless with Your creation and heedless in choosing the proper priorities of our lives. Yet it is our intent to say and do that which honors You. For the sake of Jesus grant us Your forgiveness so that, as Your redeemed people, we may be fit places for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and may serve You in time and in eternity.
God be gracious to you and strengthen your faith. In the stead and by the command of our Lord Jesus Christ, I forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father and of the ☩ Son and of the Holy Spirit. Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; He will surely do it. Go in ☩ peace. Amen
Forgiven and reconciled by God, let us be reconciled with one another and share the peace of the Lord as we greet each other.
THE PASSING OF PEACE
The Lord be with you.
And also, with you.
PRAYER OF THE DAY
Almighty God, by Your great goodness, mercifully look upon Your people that we may be governed and preserved evermore in body and soul; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen
OLD TESTAMENT READING Ezekiel 37:1–14
[Ezekiel’s vision of the valley of dry bones is a promise that Israel as a nation, though dead in exile, will live again in their land through God’s life-giving spirit. Three times Israel is assured that through this vision they will know that “I am the LORD.”]
The hand of the LORD was upon me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of the LORD and set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones. And he led me around among them, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley, and behold, they were very dry. And he said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord GOD, you know.” Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the LORD.”
So, I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I prophesied, there was a sound, and behold, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. And I looked, and behold, there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them. But - there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, Thus, says the Lord GOD: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.” So, I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.
Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are clean cut off.’ Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus, says the Lord GOD: Behold, I will open your graves and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will bring you into the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the LORD; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the LORD.”
This is the Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
EPISTLE Romans 8:1–11
[Paul contrasts two ways of living. The unspiritual life may seek to please God but cannot do so, for it is marked by self-reliance. The spiritual life begins with our justification by God and continues in the power of the Spirit who raised Christ from the dead.]
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but-according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
This is the Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
HOLY GOSPEL John 18:33–40
The Holy Gospel according to St. John, the eighteenth chapter.
Glory to You, O Lord.
So, Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”
After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him. But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover. So do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” They cried out again, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a robber.
This is the Gospel of the Lord.
Praise to You, O Christ.
SERMON “BARABBAS” Pr. Josh – Lenten Series by Rev. Dr. Reed Lessing
I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God,
begotten of His Father before all worlds,
God of God, Light of Light,
very God of very God,
begotten, not made,
being of one substance with the Father,
by whom all things were made;
who for us and for our salvation came down from heaven
and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary
and was made man;
and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate.
He suffered and was buried.
And the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures
and ascended into heaven
and sits at the right hand of the Father.
And He will come again with glory to judge both the living and the dead,
whose kingdom will have no end.
And I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified,
who spoke by the prophets.
And I believe in one holy Christian and apostolic Church,
I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins,
and I look for the resurrection of the dead
and the life ☩ of the world to come. Amen
PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH
Gracious God, you provide us with every gift of creation, and you quench our thirst with living water. Receive these tokens of your goodness for us. May our lives be bread for the hungry and streams in the wilderness, signs of the abundance of your love and grace in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
The Lord be with you.
And also, with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give Him thanks and praise.
PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING
Blessed are You, O Lord our God, King of all creation, for all You have done for Your people in Jesus Christ, our Lord. We thank You for bringing life out of death through the sacrifice of our Lord to pay the price of our sins. Accept our humble thanks here offered and grant that all who partake of Christ’s holy body and blood this day be filled with Your heavenly peace and joy. By the working of the Spirit, keep us sanctified in body, soul, and spirit. Give us hearts to rejoice in the fellowship of Your Table and finally may we be granted our places with all Your saints in glory. This we ask through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen
THE WORDS OF OUR LORD
Our Lord Jesus Christ, on the night when He was betrayed, took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to the disciples and said: “Take, eat; this is My ☩ body, which is given for you. This do in remembrance of Me.”
In the same way also, He took the cup after supper, and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them, saying: “Drink of it, all of you; this cup is the new testament in My ☩ blood, which is shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”
PROCLAMATION OF CHRIST
As often as we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
O Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, in giving us Your body and blood to eat and to drink, You lead us to remember and confess Your holy cross and passion, Your blessed death, Your rest in the tomb, Your resurrection from the dead, Your ascension into heaven, and Your coming for the final judgment. So, remember us in Your kingdom and teach us to pray:
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name,
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth
as it is in heaven; give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those
who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom
and the power and the glory
forever and ever. Amen
The peace of the Lord be with you always.
Let us pray.
We give You thanks, Father, for the life and knowledge You have revealed to us through Jesus, Your Son. To You be glory forever. We bless You for having fed us with the body and blood of our Savior Jesus Christ, assuring us thereby that we are truly members of His Body, the Church. Sanctify us by the working of Your Holy Spirit that we may continue in this fellowship and do the good works that You desire us to do as we await the final resurrection and fullness of Your heavenly kingdom; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, to whom, with You and the same Spirit, be all honor and glory, forever and ever. Amen
The Lord bless you and keep you.
The Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you.
The Lord look upon you with favor and T give you peace and may you be a blessing to others!
THE PRESENCE of CHRIST is celebrated in The Lord’s Supper. He comes to us in a real and present way with his life-giving body and blood in the bread and wine of The Sacrament to assure us of our forgiveness and to strengthen us in faith and service. All who trust and believe the words “given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins” are welcome. Come, receive Christ’s presence in the meal prepared for you. Enjoy his presence. Children are encouraged to come forward with their parents and/or grandparents and receive a blessing.
SUNDAY BIBLE STUDY — The seven signs in John’s Gospel — Join us for a discussion on Christ’s seven signs beginning with a wedding feast in Cana and ending with the resurrection of Lazarus. Throughout this trip, we will see the incredible events of water turned into wine, a sick boy restored, a lame man brought to his feet, thousands fed, a storm silenced, a blind man gaining sight, and a dead man coming forth from his tomb.
THE SEVEN SIGNS
Changing water into wine (John 2:1–11)
Healing the royal official’s son (John 4:46–54)
Healing the paralyzed man (John 5:1–15)
Feeding the five thousand (John 6:5–14)
Walking on water (John 6:16–21)
Healing the man born blind (John 9)
Raising Lazarus from the dead (John 11:1–45)
Hope to see you Sunday mornings beginning at 9:00.
CELEBRATE LENT — Each Wednesday at noon throughout March, you are invited to attend midweek Lenten Devotions.
CUB SCOUT VOLUNTEERS NEEDED — Cub Scouts Volunteers needed—as was announced last week a volunteer is needed each Thursday afternoon from 2:45-4:30 to unlock and then lock the Fireside Room for the Cub Scouts. There is a sign-up sheet on the table in the back of the sanctuary. Volunteers are needed for April and May. Please consider signing up. It’s an easy job!
Our “Easter Brunch Connection” will be held on Sunday, April 9th immediately following our Easter Service. If you can bring a food item, please sign up on the posted sign on the Blessings Board near the Administration Wing.
THIS WEEK AT GRACE
March 27th – April 2nd, 2023
MONDAY, March 27th Campus Ministry 5:00 PM
TUESDAY, March 28th Campus Ministry 5:00 PM
WEDNESDAY, March 29th Women’s Bible Study 10:00 AM
Midweek Lenten Devotion NOON
Choir Rehearsal 7:00 PM
THURSDAY, March 30th Campus Ministry 5:00 PM
SUNDAY, April 2nd Bible Study 9:00 AM
Sunday School 9:00 AM
Worship 10:00 AM
Coffee Fellowship 11:00 AM