Good Afternoon Everyone,
Grace and Peace to all.
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Now, on to the scriptures.
This is the Sixth Sunday of Easter and we continue our readings in Acts, 1 Peter, and John.
Acts 17:22-31 – The Apostle Paul is on his second missionary and itinerant journey through Asia Minor (now Turkey), Macedonia, and Greece. (I would be willing to bet that you have a map of Paul’s journeys at the back of your Bible. Check it out!) After a rough three weeks in Thessalonica Paul was sent to Athens by the new believers. Athens was the nominal capital of Greece and was very cosmopolitan. It had temples and shrines to all the Greek gods and many gods of foreigners. He spent his days arguing in the synagogues and the common marketplaces about Jesus. Some Greeks thought he was crazy but many wanted to hear more because philosophical debate was common in Athens and many liked to learn new things. So they invited Paul to speak at the Areopagus (hill of Ares, the god of war, and next to the Acropolis). Paul’s short speech is our text today. His argument is that he knows who the “unknown god” is and everyone has been searching for God. Yet, God is near and God sent the one who will judge all.
Psalm 66:8-20 – A psalm of praise for God who brings us through all our troubles and whose love has been steadfast.
1 Peter 3:13-22 – Peter encourages his church to continue doing the good things that defines the church even if they suffer from doing those things. His logic seems flawed to us: “It is better to suffer from doing good then from doing evil.” Don’t we wish that those who do good should be rewarded while those who do evil should be punished and suffer? If you are going to suffer you might, through the love of God, try to relieve someone else’s suffering, right? The “Why?” is answered “because Christ suffered for sins once and for all”. A stranger section is verses 19-20 which declares that Jesus preached the good news to those who died in the Flood. If you know how to explain this please let me know.
John 14:15-21 (22-31) – This is the second section of seven in Jesus’ Last Discourse which goes from Chapter 14-16 and is followed by Jesus’ prayer in Chapter 17. The lectionary cuts off the reading at verse 21 but we might just as well read the entire section. Three ideas are present here: 1) Jesus is leaving and returning for good reason, to do God’s will; 2) Followers of Jesus will obey his commandments which is really only one at 13:34, “Love one another”; and 3) God will send the Holy Spirit, also know as the Advocate, to lead us in truth, remind us of Jesus’ teaching, and teach us new things.
May these comments lead you into all righteousness (help you to grow in love) and prompt you to read the Good News.