Grace and Peace,
More rain today which is much needed. I had hoped to get the leaves and nuts mowed up this morning but that of course didn’t happen. I had tried yesterday but the battery was dead on the lawn tractor and the short charges I was giving it didn’t do the trick because of the frequency of the stops I make. Oh, well, I’ll have to try again after some drier weather.
Our readings this week continues in Hebrews and Mark and we come to an end with Job. I may actually have to preach this week on the book of Job.
Job 42:1-6, 10-17 – In the first verses of this reading Job humbly acknowledges that he spoke without knowledge and repents. In the skipped verses God rebukes Job’s friends. In the last verses, God restores to Job all that he lost and more. My Bible commentary says, “It is important not to see this scene as some sort of reward for behavior, since the entire drama has been played to defeat such a notion. God gives all this to Job out of God’s wondrous goodness.” In a patriarchal (man centered) society, Job’s new world is radically different. Note that the 3 daughters are named, not the sons, and they receive an equal share of the inheritance which was unheard of in the ancient world.
Psalm 34:1-8 (19-22) – The psalmist praises God for delivering him from his troubles. Note the words that start each sentence: “I will bless the Lord”, “My soul makes its boast”, “O magnify the Lord”, “I sought the Lord”, and finally “O taste and see that the Lord is good.” The psalmist has faith that God will protect and redeem the afflicted.
Jeremiah 31:7-9 – God promises a future in which all of God’s scattered people will be reunited including the blind, lame, pregnant, and those women giving birth. The path home will be smooth, straight, and next to a flowing brook.
Psalm 126 – The psalmists celebrates the reversal of fortune for the Israelites by God. It will be like water in a desert, mourners shouting with joy, and farmers reaping their sheaves.
Hebrews 7:23-28 – The understanding of Jesus as High Priest by the writer of Hebrews has intensified in chapter 7. These last six verses sum up the argument that priests in the temple, especially the high priest, is no longer needed. The temple priests must make continual sacrifices for the people whereas Jesus only needed to make one sacrifice, himself, for the sins of all people. The temple priests had to choose and train new priests because they would eventually retire and die, whereas Jesus died once, rose, and lives forever. The temple priests had to make a sacrifice for their own sins, while Jesus was without sin, or, as Hebrews 7:26 puts it, “[Jesus is] holy, blameless, undefiled, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens.”
Mark 10:46-52 – Not too many people who are healed by Jesus get named in the New Testament, but this blind beggar does: Bartimaeus. The gospel writer is funny here: he names the beggar twice. In Aramaic “Bar” means “son of”. That means that “Bartimaeus, son of Timaeus” is a repetition. (FYI – “Abba” means “father” in Aramaic, In the passion narrative, Barabbas means “Son of the father”. Jesus, who took his place on the cross, is also a “Son of the Father” = Barabbas. There must be some irony here.) This healing of a blind man occurs right after Jesus’ 3 announcement of his impending death and resurrection and the disciples’ confusion of what this means. This story is also at the end of Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem because the next story is his entry into that great city. This journey started north of Galilee in chapter 8 and when they reached Bethsaida, on the coast of Lake Galilee, Jesus cured an unnamed blind man. This healing is follow by Peter’s declaration of who Jesus is, the first announcement of Jesus’ death and resurrection, and Peter’s attempt to stop him. Throughout this journey the disciples are continually blind to the work of God in Jesus. How are we blind to the work of God in Jesus in our modern day and age?
Have a great week! Don’t forget to take a moment each day to let Jesus serve you. Then let Jesus show you the work of God.
Peace in Christ,
Pastor Gary Taylor