Monday, March 21, 2011

Readings for Sunday, March 27, 2011

This Wednesday we continue to read through Matthew’s account of the passion of Christ with the focus on Jesus before Caiaphas the high priest of the Temple. We also continue reading the Servant Songs in Isaiah and similar Psalms. The Scripture
Lessons for Wednesday night are:

Psalm 54
Isaiah 49:1-
Matthew 26:57-75

This Sunday the Old Testament and Psalm readings relate to the gospel which is about the Living Water. In the Epistle reading, Paul continues to discuss faith as it relates to salvation and righteousness.

Exodus 17:1-7 – The Israelites have followed Moses out into the desert as they are set free from the Egyptian slavery. They are headed to Mt. Sinai but every time they camp somewhere they have something to complain about: bitter (salty) water in chapter 15; nothing to eat in chapter 16; and now nothing to drink. When they complain to Moses, he complains about them to God who promptly solves the problem. Moses then names the place Massah (test) and Meribah (quarrel) because the people argued and tested God. Yet the people, and Moses himself, fail to learn to trust God for all their needs. Do we trust God to provide for our needs (not wants)? Are we willing to endure a little uncertainty as we trust God?

Psalm 95 – The psalmist calls the people to worship and praise God who has created all things. He reminds us not to be stubborn like the Israelites at Massah and Meribah.

Romans 5:1-11 – Paul continues his teaching about faith from our reading last week. Since we are justified, made right, by our faith in Christ and not by anything we do, we now have peace with God. And not only that, God’s love is poured out into our hearts. Why? Because Christ died for us and his death brings us justification. There are two points to consider. First, in verse 1 Paul says that we are now at peace with God. Were we at war? The assumption is that, yes, WE are at war with God but God is NOT at war with us. Would a God who is at war with us send his Son to die for us? What then does that peace mean for us? Second, at the end of verse 9 we read “we will be saved through him (Jesus) from the wrath of God.” The actual Greek here does not have “of God”. Does it make any sense that one part of God, Jesus, will save us from another part of God? I checked about a dozen versions of the Bible and only two do not make the assumption that the wrath Paul is talking about is from God. We have been so indoctrinated to believe that God is a wrathful deity. However, I believe that the wrath Jesus saves us from is our own wrath, the wrath that has kept us at war with God.

John 4:5-42 – This is the story of the Samaritan woman at the well who encounters Jesus and has her life changed by the Living Water. There are many similarities, or should I say opposites, in this story to the Nicodemus story in chapter 3 that we read last week.: a woman vs. a man; at noon vs. at night; out in the open vs. under cover; a Samaritan vs. a Jew; a sinner vs. a righteous Pharisee; sudden spiritual healing vs. none (or a slow conversion – see John 7:45-52 and John 19:38-42). Where have you encountered Jesus? How did you respond? Did you keep it to yourself or did you proclaim it to all who would listen? Have you drank from the well of the Living Water?

I pray that the readings this week will quench your thirst for God.

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