Please continue to pray for all the victims of violence around the world today as our nation mourns the death of the six in Tucson, AZ.
Our lessons this week are:
Isaiah 49:1-7 - The is the second of four of the Servant Songs found in Isaiah. Last week we read the first one. This one is both personal, "The Lord called me before I was born," and corporate, "You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified." As I asked in Sunday's sermon, "Is the servant an unknown person or the nation of Israel?" My answer is "Yes", it is both. The servant is hidden amongst other people/nations and in whom no one takes notice. The servant is to be a light to the people of Israel and Judah and to their respective nations. But that is not enough for God who calls the servant to be a light to all people and nations so that all may be saved.
Psalm 40:1-11 - This Psalm is 17 verses long. In this portion, the Psalmist proclaims that the Lord has rescued him and he has told everyone about that salvation. He is a light to his congregation, community, and nation. In the unread verses, the Psalmist continues to ask for God's deliverance from the enemies that surround him.
1 Corinthians 1:1-9 - These are the opening greetings from Paul to the church he founded in Corinth. In verses 4-9, Paul gives thanks to God for their faith and knowledge and gifts they have received from God through Jesus Christ. Once these niceties are out of the way Paul digs into the the many troubles that this church is having: divisions, arguments, favoritisms, not sharing the Communion, and arguments over spiritual gifts.
John 1:29-42 - John the Baptist witnesses about the person of Jesus whom he declares to be "The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world." This sentence alone would fill an entire sermon. What is "the sin of the world"? Why is it singular? Why the imagery of a lamb? What is the lamb's significance? How does the Lamb take away the sin? Much of these latter questions concern the Passover rites and the Day of Atonement rites in the Temple. Following John's testimony two of his disciples follow Jesus. One of these two is Andrew and he invites his brother, Simon, to follow with them. Jesus declares that Simon will be called "Cephas" which means "Peter". The Hebrew word "kepha" and the Greek word "petra" both mean "rock".
Have a wonder week digging into the Word of God.