Lectionary Summary provided by The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod
ELEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST (Proper 16C)
(25 August 2019)
Hebrews 12:4–24 (25–29)
The Cross of Christ Is the Way into the Kingdom of God
With the cross of Christ, the time has come “to gather all nations and tongues” (Is. 66:18). The sign of the cross is set forth in the preaching of the Gospel, the declaration of the Lord’s glory “among the nations” (Is. 66:19). Many “will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God” (Luke 13:29), but only by the narrow way of the cross. Those who refuse to follow Christ crucified will ultimately find only “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Luke 13:28), whereas Christ’s disciples, called from all the nations, will eat and drink with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of God. They will come into “the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem” (Heb. 12:22).
"For I know their works and their thoughts, and the time is coming to gather all nations and tongues. And they shall come and shall see my glory,  and I will set a sign among them. And from them I will send survivors to the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, who draw the bow, to Tubal and Javan, to the coastlands afar off, that have not heard my fame or seen my glory. And they shall declare my glory among the nations.  And they shall bring all your brothers from all the nations as an offering to the Lord, on horses and in chariots and in litters and on mules and on dromedaries, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, says the Lord, just as the Israelites bring their grain offering in a clean vessel to the house of the Lord.  And some of them also I will take for priests and for Levites, says the Lord.
 "For as the new heavens and the new earth
that I make
shall remain before me, says the Lord,
so shall your offspring and your name remain.
 From new moon to new moon,
and from Sabbath to Sabbath,
all flesh shall come to worship before me,
declares the Lord.
A Psalm of Asaph.
The Mighty One, God the Lord,
speaks and summons the earth
from the rising of the sun to its setting.
 Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty,
God shines forth.
 Our God comes; he does not keep silence;
before him is a devouring fire,
around him a mighty tempest.
 He calls to the heavens above
and to the earth, that he may judge his people:
 "Gather to me my faithful ones,
who made a covenant with me by sacrifice!"
 The heavens declare his righteousness,
for God himself is judge! Selah
 "Hear, O my people, and I will speak;
O Israel, I will testify against you.
I am God, your God.
 Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you;
your burnt offerings are continually before me.
 I will not accept a bull from your house
or goats from your folds.
 For every beast of the forest is mine,
the cattle on a thousand hills.
 I know all the birds of the hills,
and all that moves in the field is mine.
 "If I were hungry, I would not tell you,
for the world and its fullness are mine.
 Do I eat the flesh of bulls
or drink the blood of goats?
 Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving,
and perform your vows to the Most High,
 and call upon me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me."
Hebrews 12:4-24 (25-29)
In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.  And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?
"My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor be weary when reproved by him.
 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives."
 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?  If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.  Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?  For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.  For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
 Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees,  and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.  Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.  See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no "root of bitterness" springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled;  that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal.  For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.
 For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest  and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them.  For they could not endure the order that was given, "If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned."  Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, "I tremble with fear."  But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering,  and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect,  and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
 See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven.  At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, "Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens."  This phrase, "Yet once more," indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain.  Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe,  for our God is a consuming fire.
He went on his way through towns and villages, teaching and journeying toward Jerusalem.  And someone said to him, "Lord, will those who are saved be few?" And he said to them,  "Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.  When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, 'Lord, open to us,' then he will answer you, 'I do not know where you come from.'  Then you will begin to say, 'We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.'  But he will say, 'I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!'  In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out.  And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God.  And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last."