Greetings in the Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ:
Today, June 29, 2020 is when the Christian Church celebrates the Feast of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Apostles. While the Christian church today recognizes that they may not have died on the same day, tradition says that this is the day that they were both martyred in Rome by Emperor Nero.
This post is one of what I hope is many devoted to the Feast Days that the historic Christian Church observed that are generally neglected today. I pray that you find this message beneficial in your devotions this or another day.
The verse or theme for this feast is “Alleluia. On this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Alleluia.” It is from Matthew 16:18b. The focus for your devotion this day is that “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.” So confessed Saint Peter. And Christ promised to build His Church on it by the forgiveness of sins (Matthew 16:16-19). Christ does this so we do not try to build the Church ourselves, on this or that person, or by any human means. Let no one boast in men, whether Paul or Cephas, for all are yours, and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s (1 Corinthians 3:21-23). The same Lord who worked through Peter’s ministry worked also through Paul’s and is still at work in His Gospel and Sacraments (Galatians 2:7-8). The Church of every age must be recalled to hear the Word of this Gospel – the free forgiveness of sins for Christ’s sake apart from the Law – and believe. The Holy Spirit makes no distinction among men, but cleanses hearts by faith alone. So too will we be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus (Acts 15:7-11). Both Peter and Paul were imprisoned (Acts 12:1-11), both wrote Scripture (2 Peter 3:15-16), both opposed the world – and sometimes each other (Galatians 2:11-16) – but all that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for us (Galatians 2:5).
First Reading: Acts 15:1-21
Psalm: Psalm 46 (antiphon v. 11)
Epistle: Galatians 2:1-10
Holy Gospel: Matthew 16:13-19
The hymn appointed for this day is “Lord Jesus Christ, the Church’s Head” as found on page 647 in the Lutheran Service Book. You may hear the hymn at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6OU-4swg44
Collect of the Day: Merciful and eternal God, Your holy apostles Peter and Paul received grace and strength to lay down their lives for the sake of Your Son. Strengthen us by Your Holy Spirit that we may confess Your truth and at all times be ready to lay down our lives for Him who laid down His life for us; even Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Pastor Jim Tuell