Planning for the Third Sunday after Pentecost

Posted by Andrew R. Jones on Apr 30, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Pentecost-3Learn more about the readings, music, and worship-service planning helps for the Third Sunday after Pentecost (June 10, 2018).

Season & Preparations

The season of Pentecost is a time of consistency and steadiness in the Church Year. The color for the season, green, evokes a sense of growth and life. The theme of the day focuses on the cosmic conflict between Satan and God. Jesus is the victor in that conflict, and we share in that victory because of His death and resurrection. On Pentecost 3, we see one way in which Christ will help provide for His people by defeating one of their greatest enemies: Satan.

Readings & Theme

View the readings on Lutheran Calendar >

The Old Testament Reading for the Third Sunday after Pentecost records the confrontation between God and Adam, Eve, and the serpent immediately after humanity’s fall into sin. God hands out punishments to all three involved. Today’s reading covers only the curse handed down to the serpent as that is the focus for the day. However, don’t overlook what happens before the punishments. Adam and Eve hide. They are embarrassed and ashamed. This is what we do with sin. We try to hide it. Then notice what God does. He comes and finds Adam and Eve. He does not wait for them to find Him. Not only that, after the punishments are given, God clothes Adam and Eve with something better than what they had conjured up for themselves. God’s care does not cease because of sin. It continues.

We see God’s provision and care continue in the person of Jesus. In the Gospel for the week, from Mark 3, some scribes accuse Jesus of being possessed by Beelzebul, a demon. Jesus tells them that “whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin” (v. 29). In saying Jesus was possessed by a demon, the scribes were blaspheming the Holy Spirit. Why? Because Jesus is possessed by the Holy Spirit, not by a demon. To accuse the Holy Spirit of being a demon is indeed blasphemy.

The Epistle continues our look at the book of 2 Corinthians. We continue in chapter 4, where Paul reminds the Corinthian church that “he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus” (v. 14). Regardless of what occurs in this earthly life, our resurrection from the dead is secure, and we will be with Jesus in the life to come.

Hymns & Music

The Hymn of the Day for Pentecost 3 is “Rise! To Arms! With Prayer Employ You” (LSB 668). This hymn encourages steadfastness against Satan and proclaims the victory we have over him in and with Christ, themes that connect well to the Old Testament Reading and the Gospel for the day. The hymn also connects well to the Epistle as it focuses on resurrection and eternity. Here is the end of stanza one:

Fear not the hordes of hell,
Here is Emmanuel.
   Hail the Savior!
The strong foes yield
To Christ, our shield,
And we, the victors, hold the field.

Also consider “Rise, Shine, You People” (LSB 825) and “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” (LSB 656/657), as these draw on similar themes of God’s protection and victory over Satan.

Because the psalm of the day is Psalm 130, you may also wish to use “From Depths of Woe I Cry to Thee” (LSB 607), a paraphrase of Psalm 130 by Martin Luther. Luther begins the final stanza with these words:

Though great our sins, yet greater still
   Is God’s abundant favor;
His hand of mercy never will
   Abandon us, nor waver.

This is the truth of the Genesis 3 account and the truth of the incarnation. God’s favor is greater than your sin. God will never abandon you.

Additional Resources for Worship & Study

As you work through Mark’s Gospel in this Pentecost season, I highly recommend using James Voelz’s Concordia Commentary: Mark 1:1–8:26.

Connecting with the Old Testament Reading, consider this Arch Book for teaching the story of the fall to children: Falling into Sin.

Looking for additional information on planning for the Third Sunday after Pentecost? Download our planning sheet to help you get started!

Download Planning Sheet


Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Quotations marked LSB are from Lutheran Service Book, copyright © 2006 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Tags: The Season after Pentecost, Service Planning